Recently, the Finnish minister of interior affairs Päivi Räsänen from the Finnish Christian Democratic Party made a speach during some Christian summer festivities. She talked about the Biblical morals being higher than any other set of morals and that she considered abortion to be an execution comparable to the slaughter of animals. She even went as far to say, that sometimes people need to think if they have a moral obligation to act against the law, if it contradicts the “law” of her god. Naturally, she being the minister in charge of our police force, her comments reached the news and caused a bit of an uproar.

Finland is a very modern and forward looking society. Such comments as those of the minister are generally considered very regressive even by the standards of our leading conservative party. The Finnish Christian Democratic Party is unlike it’s German counterpart not a popular party in politics. They are considered ultra-conservative fundamentalists by most people. But their religiously motivated political comments are often related to the views of the Lutheran Church.

Here in Finland we have a state church. It has been divorced from the very secular government we have in just about any decision making process. As it tries to settle itself into the modern society as a source of moral values, and as it is part of our government at least on paper, then it is natural that politicians who make an appeal to a god in their rhetorics are seen as part of that institution. And why not? No god ever appears to tell us that these people are not really appearing on his/her behalf. If they are using the authority of this god, then they and their god must bear the burden of responsibility for their actions and inaction. Yes?

In Finnish language we have a very descriptive word for anyone appealing to a god. We call them “hihhulit”. It is not only descriptive, but also degratory word. It paints a picture of a person not really right of mind. A bit looney. Most of our politicians would not make appeals to any gods as they would run the risk of being categorized as simpletons. Our interior minister however, is a representative of a minor fundie party that got a minister into the cabinet because we have a coalition government at the moment. A lot of the smaller parties recieved one or two ministry offices.

The said minister has since explained her comments, by saying that she does not promote anarchy. That a person who has Biblical moral has to think twice before accepting a position in wich the law would demand that person to act against their conscious – Such as a doctor performing abortions.

It seems to me that the dear minister has totally failed to see the irony of her comments. If we were to accept “Biblical morals” over the secular morals of our society, she – as a woman – could not even hold a position as a minister. It also goes to show how there are no actual Biblical morals, as she a devout folower of what she thinks is Biblical morals has rather secular interpretation of it. Where in the Bible does it say “thou shalt not commit abortions”? The “law” of this god seems so poor, that it is seen as inferior by just about any modern society. But she would rather pick and choose from the laws of Moses what she thinks her god meant as actual laws. It is ridiculous. Wich of the laws of Moses are the laws meant by his god to be followed by people some 2000+ years after the flesh and blood son of this god was alledgedly executed? Did Jesus die so that you could eat pork, or not? Should homosexuals be stoned to death, or not? Shold unruly children be stoned to death, or not? What is the method by wich we evaluate wich laws from the Bible are still morally good and wich ones are not? It is all about the Euthypro dilemma by Socrates, once again.

The minister also pulled the Hitler card. Wich shows rather poor understanding of official political rhetorics and of history. In her attempt to correct the speach she had made to her own crowd, she said, something on the lines of like nobody thinks the nazi stormtroopers should have obeyed their superiors. Obviously she either does not know, or trusts her audience does not know history, nor how the laws of war are governed. No individual concentration camp guards were covicted for obeying orders.

The minister is entiteled to her own opinions and her own morals be it’s source a few thousand year old book, wich makes no claims about abortion, but sets very clear rules for eating shellfish, or pig and describes in detail how slavesownership should be handeled, when and how is it OK to beat your slave to death and how a good Christian slave should be obidient to the owner.

After the news of the opinions of the minister (that really should not have come as a surprice to anyone) some few hundred people resigned from the Lutheran state church. There were som hundred people who joined back also. On a normal day the rate is something like 70-80 resigning and about 10 joining back again.

I suppose it is obvious, that the former group of people are mostly the types who have lost their faith in the church and it’s fantasy stories long before, but such stupid and regressive comments are only the last straw to them. We are a secular and progressive society and a culture where, even traditionally, religious bullshit has had only marginal impacts. (I suppose this is because of the practicality demanded from people trying to survive in these rather hostile conditions and because of the lack of long term big civic culture, but more on those issues later.)

Who do you suppose are the hundred, or so, people who joined back to the church in that same time frame? Why had these people resigned in the first place? Are they the ultra-conservative Lutherans who resigned to resist women becoming priests and bishops? Or had they resigned because they thought the Lutheran church should take an open stance against abortion?

In my view, if the Finnish Lutheran church made the effort to condemn abortion after the woman’s right to choose has been accepted as a healthy and obvious liberty in our society for such a long time, it would be a political suicide by the church. In addition many of the current bishops are rather progressive, so that would propably not even represent their own values.

Päivi Räsänen wants to open up the discussion about abortions once more. This is not the only issue in our society, that has been decided ages ago, but has been rehashed by the neo-conservative ideals creeping into our country. Frankly, it is tiresome, as there are real issues we have not yet solved, that we should deal with and not return again and again to these same old problems a minor part of our society has trouble accepting, simply because they are affraid of a change, they think they see in the future, even though it allready happened.