Church and State in Finland

There is a reason we have the First Amendment, which prohibits an established church–freedom. It’s what Finland does not have, as this story illustrates. A pastor was convicted of “criminal discrimination” for refusing to celebrate communion with a female pastor. He was fined 20 days salary. Two members were found guilty for not stopping him.

Johan Candelin, director of World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission and Finland resident, said it is unclear whether the pastor will attempt to bring the case to a higher court. Candelin said the fine is equivalent to the fine a burglar receives, and the three church members will have a criminal record. …

“It’s a very sad day for the Finnish church when people are taken to court for following their conscience,” Candelin told CT today. “In the future, the court will surely follow this line that they now started.” The case could set a precedent for similar cases concerning discrimination against homosexuals.

4 thoughts on “Church and State in Finland

  1. I don’t quite grasp your point. The law does not make any church accept women as priests. But as soon as there is ordination of women, the law demands that there will be no discrimination against them. I really cannot see how or why it should be otherwise. Are we to think that Criminal Code does not apply to religious establishments? Are human sacrifices allowed if they are prescribed by a religion?

  2. Good expression of the Finnish attitude, which is totally at odds with religious liberty. Here’s a pastor doing what he believes is the Bible’s demand, which is in accord with historic Lutheranism, and a point still controverted within the Church of Finland, since its pastors have not all accepted the imposition of women clergy or homosexuality, and the state seeks to impose its secular laws on a pastor for choosing not to celebrate communion with someone he believes in his conscience to be invalidly ordained.

  3. Bill, the pastor did not “choose not to celebrate with a woman” but caused the woman priest be removed from the Mass. How would you say it agrees with her religious freedom?

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