A gender neutral marriage law was recently affirmed in the Finnish parliament. This aroused some attention and controversy. There were arguments for and against it being presented. They were much the same as in this issue around the globe where ever it has become into focus. I do not even try to repeat them all here. There are a couple of concerns I would like to address about this discussion.

“Born this way.” The question wether, or not, homosexuality is a trait a person has from birth is not and should not be brought up in the entire discussion about marriage. It is totally irrelevant. Even the question, if someone chooses, or not, to be a homosexual is irrelevant to the question of marriage. We do not really know, if people are genetically caused to be homosexuals or wether it is a trait that developes onto the person. We do know that a lot of homosexuals would choose not to be homosexuals, if they possibly could. The reason to that is, that the society around them has trouble accepting them as they are and in respect to that some of them even learn to have similar cultural reasons of having trouble of accepting themselves as they are.

The real question is not what causes homosexuality, but wether we have any actually rational and sane reasons to think it is wrong on any level. We do not. The “reasons” presented to make the claim, that there is something wrong about homosexuality are presented as follows and often the path from one claim to a nother are presented on this line of thought:

Is it a sin? Now, sin is something determined to be some sort of violation of the will of some particular gods. Freedom of religion however dictates necessarily for a peacefull and mutually respectfull society to exist, that the beliefs about the divinities, or the supernatural in general, may not decide legal processes, or be used to step on the rights of a nother individual. Not even within a religious group that has accepted one doctrine or a nother. That is, even if the Catholic church and all the victims of rape by Catholic priests thought it was not really a crime, by the secular mutual standards of the modern soceity, they still are and should be treated as such. Therefore even if the majority of religions in any given country thought, that eating shellfish or being homosexual was a sin, they could not ethically make it illegal based on that imaginary guess on what their god supposedly thought was a sin.

Because the entire issue of marriage equality has been raised mostly in secular countries (and not in the Vatican or Iran), the question wether it is a sin is irrelevant. In modern democracies religions are a private matter and sin is something you discuss privately with your particular god, if you wish, who then redeems you from it, or judges you from it. Or you do not bring this or any other subjects to your god, if you even have one in the first place. This is why the people whose dislike of something like homosexuality often is derived from religious prejudices, often move to the camp of inventing seemingly secular “reasons” to justify their feelings about the issue.

Is it unnatural? There are people who try to frame sexuality into this tight box of reproduction. They have the right to do so in the privacy of their own homes, but not force the idea on others. No doubt that this line of argumentation appeals to all sorts of simpletons, as it seems simple. However, human sexuality is far from simple. I could discuss how a lot of animal species have homosexual behaviour, but from experience I know that this tends to lead down the rabbit hole of humans not being animals. Wich strangely often leads us back to the idea of sin. No, humans are not the same animals as those other animals that also engage in homosexual behaviour. That is there just to show you, that it is natural in the sense that it happens in the nature. But wether or not any animals engaged in homosexual behaviour does not in any way address wether it is right or wrong. Animals do not drive cars, but we do not try to ban driving a car because we see it as unnatural. Sex is as much just a form of reproduction and should be as much limited to that, as human transportation is all about walking and should be limited to walking. If you do not want to run or ride a bike, fine then don’t. But do not try to make running illegal. OK?

Gods are by definition unnatural. They are not part of nature, if they even exist beyond our natural brains. Should we ban gods because they are unnatural? Everything that happens in nature is natural. Salt is natural. Polio is natural. Homosexuality is natural. The only relevant question about homosexuality regarding laws is wether it is harmfull or not and if then to what extent. The entire question wether it is unnatural is ridiculous.

Is it harmfull? People see a lot of harm done to the homosexuals by people who feel justified in disliking, or even hating them for the “reasons” they give, that I listed abowe. There are also people who have been harmed by homosexuals. This works much the same way as with racism. When people are harmed by the representative of this, or that group of people, they make the connection between the group and the deed. Despite wether or not the group identity, or what ever makes the purpetrator of the harm part of that group – even skin colour, or sexual orientation –  was actually the motive for the deed. If a homosexual rapes a child, it is not the homosexuality that caused the deed. Any more than, if a white man shoots a black man, him being white was his motive for the act. The rape of a child is the result of the rapist being a) rapist and b) pedophile not being homosexual. If the rapist was not a homosexual, he would simply have chosen his target differently. The white man shooting the black man may have been motivated by any number of reasons from theft to racism. But even if it was racism, the motive was not him being white.

As for the marriage equality, there have been a number of more, or less comic attempts to stop the change, that has now finally taken place. There is this notion, that a family unit ideally consists of a father, a mother and some children. The idea has been, that the reason why the society recognizes a marriage as a special status between two people is because they are able to reproduce and should be given social support to be better able to do this. It is a ridiculous notion, in that even if that could be proven to be some form of ideal family unit, it does not mean all families need to reach such an ideal. Especially not those families who do not find the arrangement ideal in any way. By the same token, people who can not have children should not be allowed to get married and old people whose children have grown to adulthood should divorce.

There is this claim, that there is some sort of harm done to adopted children in same sex marriages. This claim has not been confirmed in any scientific arena. But even if it could ever be proven that the children have it better in a heterosexual family than in a same sex family, that would be a moot point. It is like saying that since the rich families can better nourish the needs of their kids, than the poor ones we should ban the poor people from getting married, and/or from having children.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle aito avioliitto mielenosoitus

The picture abowe is from a “Genuine Marriage” demonstration at 24. september 2016 , that gathered almost a hundred demonstrators (wich is pretty few even in Finnish terms) in Helsinki to protest against the gender neutral marriage law. It seems they had more balloons than demonstrators.

Last but not least the most stupid argument against the gender neutral marriage must be the slippery slope argument. Wich is that if this is allowed, what next? Shall we allow polygamy, marriages with children and marriages with house pets? It shows the level of stupid from the political side that opposed the gender neutral marriage, that they themselves did not laugh at the representative who presented this ridiculous argument. Was it not the same as arguing that if we allow people to drive cars, we may have to allow people to drive tanks next? If you do not understand the difference between two consenting adults havign sex and sex with a child or an animal, never get any children or pets. As for the polygamy, where in any holy books ever does it even hint that, that was a sin? It is a separate discussion we may have in the future, but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the gender neutral marriage law.

Not long ago the Finnish parliament voted about a proposal for marriage equality. It went through, though just barely. Both socialist parties and the Green party were all for it. The ruling conservative party was divided in the middle, the protest party of “True” Finns and the minute Christian Democratic party were totally against.

The arguments for and against in the parliament echoed the arguments presented in the wider social discussion about the issue. The pro marriage equality arguments claimed that this is a human rights issue and a question about fairness. The arguments against were about how a god might get upset at Finns and how unnatural gay sex is and of course how children deserve a mommy and a daddy. The law proposal, naturally, incorporated a legalization of adoption by homosexual couples.

There was a big cry out about Russia no longer giving children to be adopted to Finland at all, as they have banned adoption to Sweden because of marriage equality laws over there.

Soon after the vote there was a compromize proposal by the Finnish president Sauli Niinistö of the “Kansallinen Kokoomus” the ruling conservative party, wich by the way sports very liberal economic values and is not so conservative about the preservation of the Finnish society in regards to government owning in big business, or the wellfare state for that matter. Sauli proposed, that only people who were wed in a church could be henceforth be called married and that everybody else should be called living in a “pair relationship” or a “couple relationship”. This idea, or more like a brainfart, lost me all of the respect I ever had for him. If his childish proposal would step into action, my parents marriage of nearly sixty years (before the passing of my dad) and my very own marriage to my wife would be rendered into “pair relationships.

Now, of course, if me and my wife would get the same legal benefits as the married in church couples, the only negative side to this would be the social value of my marriage being obviously degrated by a made up terminology, that would at the same time set the unions of the homosexuals at not much better place than they were before the vote (exept for the adoption rights). Not so serious defeat to me. But unfair none the less. I can not help, but to wonder, how Sauli was unable to realize how stupid and not a compromise his idea was. I have been together with my wife through ups and downs for over twenty years. Who has the right to rename our union from the outside? It is as if Sauli did not realize that the very point of equality laws in general is to lessen the evil of segragation within a society.

Now, of course, what Sauli was doing, was only “making good” to his “promises” during the presidential elections, when he first introduced this idea of his. It was a bit underhanded policy to attack the “weak spot” of his main opponent Pekka Haavisto of the Green Party, who is an openly homosexual man. Niinistö won by a narrow marginal, but in his campaign he used this idea of his about the “pair relationship” to insiniuate, that as a president he would somehow be in a position to stop the marriage equality law from passing, wich is of course false, but no doubt it was meant to and did appeal to the sort of conservative voters, whom one would expect to have voted for him anyway – just to stop a green homosexual from being chosen as the president. As if Sauli had to remind the voters of the sexual orientation of his opponent and like that should have even been an issue in the elections. I thought it was sorry of him then, but somehow now reminding us of his folly of a compromize that would not satisfy anybody (not anyone at the opposite ends of this issue anyway) and that he possibly can not make good for his “promises” because the presidential position is more of a symbolic leader, than actual political power weilding dictator, like in some other countries – best left unnamed here…

 

If someone has a problem of having their marriage being called by the same name as homosexuals, after these have been added to the people who can be married and get the same legal benefits and reverence of any other married people, let those people with the problem then change the name they use for their marriage. The problem is theirs. Inside their heads, so why should anyone else be moved by it? I do not care, if they call it the heterosexual marriage, traditional marriage, church marriage, or what ever. I would rather that people would not build such lines of segragation within any society, but if people want to segragate themselves, then that is their problem not the people who want to be equally included into the society. Right? In Finland we have had civil marriages for our entire indipendend history and they have been called marriages. Nothing else. Would Sauli really want to be remembered as the president who took that right away because religious people got upset about homosexuals being added to the same category as the rest of us in civil marriage? I do not see how the equal marriage issue even has anything to do with the religious lives of others, when we are talking about the civil marriage as accepted by the state – a legal contract between two individuals regardless of their religious affiliations, not marriages set in church by the authority of imaginary entities. The Finnish religious communities still have legally every chance to segragate homosexuals and whom ever they want to frown upon from their services. The civil marriage as set by the state has nothing at all to do with the religious lives of anybody.

I have heard some of moaning about how our society is already equal enough and how it is unfair towards the Christians, that they are not allowed to follow their conscience, that tells them ostracising homosexuals is what their god expects of them. However, I am not at all sorry to say, that it is not at all unfair, to make the society even more equal and that if a person has conscience, religion, or ideology, that tells them to oppress other people by their origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation, it gives them none what so ever ethical justification to do so.

After the descision of the parliament thousands of people have left the Finnish Lutheran church, because archibishop Kari Mäkinen tweeted that he was happy about our society moving in a more equal direction. These religious fundamentalists have done so through an internet service put up by some Finnish atheists. A service, that was highly critiqued by the same Christian conservatives, for making leaving the church too easy, as before it was set up one had to go to the local parish to fill in forms and explain why one no longer wanted to be the member of the church. A degrading process by all means. By leaving the official state Lutheran church, the fundies who have now left the church would have rendered themselves unable to get married and only be able to achieve the same status for their union as the homosexuals and other people married by the state and not the church, if the proposal of the president went through. Ridiculous…

It seems our archibishop is more enlightened and humane, than our president. I am surprised. Now, as a final point to the ridiculous of the religious right anti equality movement, someone has laid a complaint about the archibishop, to the diocese, that he has not presented the faith he is supposed to present. I do not know of whom are they talking about. Their god or the church, but the committee that examines this is led by the archibishop himself and consists of bishops who appointed him in the first place and he does set the policies of the church. I guess he can raise his considerable salary (at least twice as much money as an average parliamentary representative) to examine himself and policies laid out by himself. What a mess.

Yesterday, there was a “hetero pried” demonstration in Helsinki, Finland. I have never seen, or heard any public demonstration get as much media attention beforehand. Mainly due, that the media seemed to find this event to have some comical value to it. But also because it seems to divide to opinions of people in high measure.

The “hetero pride” demonstrators presented this new word, which I could loosely translate as “homozation” of the society. They had this demonstration to oppose such cultural shift as described by this term. Now, to me it seems what they meant by this statement was that they felt the homosexuals are too open about their sexuality and are presented too much in the media. For some reason, they also felt that this threatens the “traditional family values”.

It is actually hard to get to what these people really want. If they are aware of the fact that homosexuality is not something a person chooses as a conscious choise, it is a bit like demonstrating against invalids being too open about their existance. Now, there used to be a time when the media did not present invalids or people whith birth defects, nor homosexuals. And before that there was the time when women or coloured people had no public opinion, or room to speak for themselves.

Perhaps it is the tabu nature of sexuality that annoys some people, when such issues are discussed in the public arena. The cultural change that has been going on, is that we treat women, representatives of different races, invalids, people whith birth defects and even homosexuals as equal human beings as the rest of us. The fact that some of these groups may have more media attention today than their actual persentage of the population demands, is only due to the fact that they have been oppressed and looked down by the “majorities” before. And as the countermovement to homosexuals having same rights as heterosexuals proves, it is still a current subject and important topic of discussion.

What then are the “traditional family values” referred to in this conversation? Are we talking about the ancient tyranny of the oldest (or strongest)  male in a familygroup, or what? Or perhaps it is just the ideal of a family unit whith dad, mom and some kids? But that ideal has never been reality for a great many people. I have a bunch of friends who have been raised by their single moms and they have turned out just fine. Why not, if the society supports these less fortunate families it should be just OK. Right?

What about the homosexuals adopting then, is that an abomination to the traditional family values? I do not see why, this is a problem. If a couple adopts a kid who has no parents, then that is one less kid in an institution, right? And it seems to me the chances are, that this couple has better income than a single mom, or dad so they are less in need of social support by the society. And how is any of this away from the “ideal” family whith different gender parents? How was their existance as a family unit in any way threatened by the existance of some other sort of family unit?

If your god is against you being a homosexual nor adopting kids, or if you happen to be one, then how is it any of your business if some other family is not following the demands of your god?

There were at the “hetero pried” event some 50 demonstrators in front of the Finnish parliament house and about 70 counter demonstrators. To the counterdemonstrators it seemed like a joke, but I do not find it too comical, that this counterprogressive movement is trying to organize. Yes, I admit that the 50 people in the demonstration is laughably few, and that they do have their right to present their view.

It was interresting though, how this ridiculously small demonstration thanked some of the leading edge Finnish politicians like opposition leader Timo Soini (from the populistic True Finns –  a revealing name for the party) and minister of interior Päivi Räsänen (from the very small fundamentalist Christian Democrats party) for upholding and campaigning for their ideals.

What was really funny how some of the hetero demonstrators looked like characters from the art work of Tom of Finland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_of_Finland

Which kind of makes one question wether if they have some personal problems whith their sexual identity to make such a fuss about it, when it is and will be the majority position and if there are some rubber masks in their basements…

After having several conversations whith people who percieve themselves as “pro-life” because of their Christian moral high ground, I have come to the conclusion, that the entire anti-abortion theme within Christianity is a political scam. It is easy to appeal to people by oversimplifications of difficult issues. Painting the foetus and even the zygote as a baby and then demanding, that the baby should not be “murdered” is a very effective way to win over people who do not have the information, or the ability, or especially, who do not whish to deal whith such hard issues.

When people who are generally rather lazy to join any political, or religious movements (and often have recieved the initial indoctrination in their childhood) have been brought over by this obvious lie about the decision on abortion being a simple yes, or no decision between a desire to murder and a desire to protect a child, those people have been persuaded by this emotional appeal to join in on rather extremist and regressive political movements. Religions are just politics and this example, if anything, proves that.

Many, though not all, of the pro-life people are in favour of the capital punishment. How hypocritical can you get? Military actions, such as pre-emptive strikes against potential enemies are also highly favoured by many of them. Many of them even percieve collateral damage and lives lost that way as a natural part of life. Even when those people are the representatives of a different religion as caused by their cultural heritage and will according to these “pro-lifers” end up in eternal suffering as a result of that obvious accident. This is showing such self sentered arrogance, it is hard for me to stomach.

We know that the number of abortions is best lessened by sexual education, easy access to conraception, and by social wellfare, that supports the mothers in dire situations. But most of the so called “pro-life” advocates are against any of those really effective ways to cause abortions to be lessened. The double standard is obvious. We know that the human population on this planet is growing exponentially and that there must be a limit of how many of us can fit here comfortably. We know that in many countries where abortions are illegal there are more abortions made per capita, than in countries where they are legal and that in those cases abortions are often also made by quacks and home made utensils often in late term situations, by desperate people. We know that it is allways a very hard decision for the woman, but that it should be her decision, because it is her body that is housing the foetus and in most cases it is she who has to provide for the child wether she can, or not.

Many of the “pro-life” people admit that when it comes to choosing between the life of the mother and the foetus, they are willing to save the would be mother rather than the foetus. How is it, that the life of the foetus suddenly becomes less valuable than that of the woman? Was it not less of a person in the beginning? Human life does not begin at the conception, it begins at birth. However, it is a slow process from a very simple organism to a fully nerally developed individual, that is even able to feel and become a person. By far most legal abortions are made before the mid term of the pregnancy, when the zygote has not even developed neural system equal to that of a fish.

And where in the Bible does it say that no abortions should be made? There are a number of places where the god of the Bible either cause abortions by demand through prayer, or orders the adherents to perform such by the thousands. There is no denial that more pregnancies end in misscarriages, than in abortions, so if the alledgedly allmighty god did not cause those misscarriages, then why did this god not prevent them either. In any case this Middle-Eastern god is the greatest performer of abortions and is in direct responsibility of a greater number of them than any other reason.

A nother thing about “pro-life” is the hidden agenda, that as the Middle-Eastern god demands women should be second rate members in any society. It is natural for parents to be occupied by their offspring, but it is typically a cultural phenomenon, that by the children a woman is more tied to the confines of a home, than the man. There is no physiological reason other than brest feeding, that causes this. But there are a lot of myths build around this. And of course as the “pro-life” movement is predominantly religious, there is also the obvious political reason of making the religious women feel guilty for not producing more children, who in the eyes of any church organization after all are future tithe payers. Religions, you see, if you have not yet figured this out yourself, are infact money making corporations. They pay actual money to the ritual experts and in addition these priests get political prestige. No-one becomes a bishop or such, if he does not have the ambition to be the leader of others and the inclination to make rules for other people to live by. That is by virtue politics.

But there is yet a nother side to this. It is that religions often stand on a concept of a soul. Some supernatural entity that is alledgedly you. That your person is not of this flesh, but that it may survive your death. This concept is of course appealing, but quite unverified. Where the hell does such and entity come from? And when does it enter to dwell in your body, not to leave it until the body dies? As a sort of parasite. It really does not matter wheter there is any mentioning about at which point the soul enters the body in any of the holy books, since we have no actual evidence about such a thing as a soul existing at all. It is just fancy. A natural way of projecting hopes and fears into whishfull thinking, by inserting this imagined unnatural element of a soul.

The conversation about the abortion is not only about subjucating women – as undeniably odrered by this Middle-Eastern god (no real surprice there) worshipped by the Christians, but also for covering up the lie, that there even exist a soul. The lie to cover up the fact, that there simply is no way of determining when does such a thing as the soul enter the body, nor where does it come from anyway, since we have no way of determining the soul even to exist anyway. Well, exept that it was natural for people who had no knowledge about the neural impulses in the brain to explain consciousness through magic and gods. We allready know better, that the consciousness is a product of the physical brain and that it is quite natural, that no supernatural, nor anything else unnatural is required. So, why does our society cling on to this silly ancient concept of a soul? Perhaps, because it is a game of politcal power being played on people, their cultural heritage, their ignorance, their emotions, their money and ultimately nothing else.

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.

Ancient Roman historian by the name of Cornelius Tacitus wrote a book about the Germans, titeled cleverly Germania less than hundred years from the first Anno Domini – the year of our lord the emperor Augustus. It was his sociopolitical outcry for the Roman nation to hold back to the good old days. His entire idea was to present the Germans as some sort of “noble savages” and to hold them in contrast to the corrupted Romans. His warnings about the Germans being a threat to the Roman empire were somewhat predated, since it took several centuries before the Germans could actually present any real danger to the Empire.

Besides the Germans Tacitus also describes other nations east of Rein and north of Danube. He was not a linguist and presumably never even ventured to these remote areas. Therefore it is quite understandable that he lists the Balts among German nations. However Tacitus was a sound historian who had a comprehension of historical integrity. And alltough his writing is full of his own moral opinions (social morals was his point after all) many of his observations have been confirmed by archaeological data.

Tacitus wrote about Finns, but his description of these people is obviously about nomadic hunter & gatherer people. If we exclude his moral remarks, it is pretty accurate description of the lifestyle of the Saami people .  South of these he describes two tribes or nations one of wich he calls the Suiones who are a primitive tribal agricultural society and a similarly organized group called the Sitones. The Suioni have been long understood, and with good reason, to be the forebears of the Swedes. Sitones, on the other hand have not been eagerly reclaimed by any nation as their ancestors, for the simple reason, that Tacitus the moral “magistrate” tells us the Sithoni are have the lowest possible understanding of morals.

It is my firm opinion however, that these Sitones are the ancestors of my own people the modern day Finns. Their geographical location according to the sources of Tacitus lied north of the Siuones, and archaeological data from burial customs confirms, that the old Norse understanding of North was actually North-East. The lists of Tacitus mention clearly separate and significant groups of people living in different geological areas. It has been surmised that the ancestors of the Modern day Finns in such lists could be grouped together along the Aestes, that have been presumed to be the ancestors of Estonians. That could also be, but then it leaves out the Sitones.  Who were the Sitones, if they were not the Finns? The name could be misderived from Sigtuna, but Sigtuna is part of ancient tribal area of the Swedes. There is no record that it ever was separate from the Suiones. And is it not more prudent to assume that the name Sitones comes from the Finnish word Suomi, than from Sigtuna? For those of you who did not know this, we Finns do not call ourselves Finns, but “suomalaiset” and our native country is not Finland, but Suomi.

What was the immorality practices by the Sitones, that led Tacitus to condemn them to be the lowest among nations? Why have generations of researchers from many nations shunned these people as their own ancestors? Well, the Sitones had women chieftains. It seems this was an abomination beyond excuses in the sight of any Mediterranean culture contemporary to Tacitus, or just about any Indo-European culture almost up to our days, and it seems,  sometimes even today.

Modern archaeological data from Finland has shown that in the iron age Finnish culture, women could have high prestige items such as scales, money and even weapons, for themselves as part of their attire at least when buried. We have no reason to assume these were not part of their personal property in life also. The traditional Finnish poetry – parts of wich have been inherited directly from that iron age culture – tells us that women could be leaders of the highest social ranking. In the traditional Finnish agricultural society the might of womans magic was considered to be very powerfull and most often surpassing, that of the man.

Yes, it is quite likely, that the Sithoni had women rulers and that they were the ancestors of modern day Finns. Is it possible, that this is not the case? Yes, when we are dealing with as old documents as the sciptures of Tacitus, other confirming sources are very hard to come by. But either way, we can only go by the most likeliest propability. To understand the bias of the later research and why male researchers of for example 19th and early 20th century have been willing not to see these “immoral” Sithones as the oldest reference to the nation to wich they were trying to build a separate history and identity. As we know, such an identy easily becomes a self fullfilling prophesy.

Today Finland is a nation that has had female political leaders. The Finnish Lutheran church boasts with women Bishops and the position of women is over all rather good in comparrison to most of the world. We were the second nation in the world to have equal voting rights for women. In my view, this is not mere coincidence, since the ancient and traditional Finnish culture had no trouble with women having power in the society, it was easier for my people to accept such modernizations as rather natural.

No this is not about astronomy, nor about astrology. This is about alledged differences between the genders. Oh, there are differences, all right. Some are physical and some are cultural, but what defines the differences between sexes?  Our hormonal levels define a lot of differences between individuals and we can safely say, that statistically women belong to one physiological group of hormonal activity and men to a nother. 

It is very hard to break the bonds of who you are, and most of us there is no need. We expect to be defined by our gender since our culture teaches us that it is an important nominator. But no matter how conservative our backround culture is, things have not been as they are allways, and if they have changed before they might just change today also.

Of lately there has been a lot of publicity to such amateur evolutionist claims that go a long way to explain our behaviourial models by explaining them through these presumed roles of the genders in so to speak natural state of human society as hunter-gatherers. Most of what I have run into in this field is total crap.

The typical presumed natural state of human society during the tens of thousands of years of stone age is that men were hunters and women were gatherers and took care of the children. This supposedly goes to explain a legion of cultural and physiological differences between the sexes. To me it seems obvious that such claims often come from a world view, where a person explains his/her own values as the most natural set for human society, by cherry picking the phenomenons from some superficial ethnographical material, or even a common myth about the ancient lives of people to support why things should be as they are in their own set of values.

While it is natural to think, that women have taken care of the very youngest children until they have grown old enough to take care of themselves, it is a silly notion that the women of hunter gatherer socities would have as a result been somehow pressed between the “cave and the fireplace”. It is jumping to a very specific conclusion. While such examples are abundant in ethnographic material from hunter-gatherer societies, one must remember that it is not such a straight forward phenomenon. For example, the Aboriginal societes of the Native Australians were formed around very much around a family group of a matriach and a group of women. The roles of women especially before they married have been much more wide ranging, in a number of cultures. The division to men and women other than in sexual terms, is much more severe in some cultures than in others. While the roles of boys and girls may have often been teaching them to learn the ways of their adulthood, they may just as well have been un gender related. It is typical that even in many farming societies, where the working roles of men and women have been distinguished from each other, the taking care of little children has not been seen as womens work, but as work for the adolescent kids regardles fo their respective gender.

Several hunter gatherer societies around the world have been known to have been active in birth controll, because their lifestyle does not tolerate ever expanding growthrate of population. Wich leads us to the interresting question of morals. Social morals, how we percieve what is right or wrong and what is appropriate, or not, is often seen as a self evident truth within any particular society. Commands from authority such as a deity, or traditional customs a person would not try to challenge. Yet, exeptions are abundant.

For example, if the ancient people used to expose children to the elements and in the process they killed them, do we have a right to judge them? Or is it totally culturally relativistic to try and understand that letting one child die might mean life to others in their economical situations? What about the children they left to die because they were deformed? Should we not abhorr such fascistic and utilitarian attitudes? Wich holy book defines was it right or wrong from them? Is that an arbitrary divine command from authority wich says wether it was right or wrong?

In my opinion, the ethics of the matter are, that their behaviour was naturally ethical, if they decided to expose the newborn to limit their population growth when they had to, but it was not ethical even, if it was moral in their culture, if it was not necessary. Remember they could have had divine arbitrary commands to act the way they did. 

What about the so called mothers instinct? Is it really stronger than a fathers instinct? Is there no such thing as fathers instinct? Is it really a genetic code that a mother would be more inclined to sacrifice herself for the offspring than the father? I doubt it. If that were so, then would it not be foremostly the mothers who go to wars? Are wars not a phenomenon in our culture that are fought to secure the future generations. A situation where an individual sets himself in a great personal risk to benefit the society. From my point of view these are cultural models where our natural inclinations have been culturally diverted into gender roles. Ever since the invention of a bow, women have been quite capable of waging war. Is it their role to take care of the kids that has kept them from the battlefields? Or is it their somehow more gentler attitude towards life as also sometimes alledged? Is it just the need to compete and testosterone that leads men to conflict between social groups? Do women not compete and if they do not is it more because of some genetic code, or because it is a general trait in human societies to encourage competiveness between male children but not between female children? We all know very competetive women and quite uncompetetive men. Right?

Historical claim and archaelogical sources confirm, that the Sarmatian nomad women used to ride as hunters, herders and warriors before they got married and started having children. The point of this is not that women were automatically emancipated, or equal with men in that society. We simply do not know how they percieved such things. Perhaps their societies were even mathriarchal. Wich society is run and lead by the most able bodied young men? Most often the leaders are people who do not take part in the action themselves.

 The point is that, because of our own cultural history and context, we tend to look at things and social roles through gender, while often even in our own society, even in the traditional cultural heritage, people are not seen simply as representatives of their respective genders, but through a completely different set of nominators, among wich the gender is secondary, or not even noticed.

The emancipation of women and feminism in western society is much still suffragetic. That means that the values against wich these ideals have risen are a very specific set of a very specific social group wich happened to run the western society and take the opression into extremes. It is only natural that educated women were the first to rise against opression, but at the same time it was natural that the opression they faced was the kind their own social class was most familiar with. The bourgearistic lifestyle of the industrial revolution was the privilege of a very small portion of population even in the western culture.

The wealthy men who did not engage in work requiring great physical strength started to claim, that men were not only physically but also mentally stronger than women and at the same time they tried to be chivalric enough to support their families economically. They had a cultural heritage from generations of older men, who had set themselves on top of society by games of wealth. Basicly, the role of rich and later middle class women as housewives was a competition between the boys about their own wealth. However, at the same time women have all the time been at least half of all the labour force in the world.

We do take so much as granted. The biggest differences between human individuals are not in their race, gender, or even culture, but between individuals. We are products of these factors, but none of them nominates what we are. We are what we choose to be. At least if we form societies where we define right and wrong according to ethics and not according to some arbitrary rules from authority.