“Älä alistu,” or “don’t acquiesce,” advised a campaign from the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland, which encouraged teens questioning their heterosexuality not to give in to their demons. Instead, it encouraged droves of Lutherans to formally resign from the church.
The campaign — which was kicked off in part by the magazine Nuotta, whose editor Mika Falk expected there to be controversy (but not split the Church) — features the story of “Maria,” a young bisexual lass who was able to find her way to straightness through religion. If murderers can be rehabilitated, she opined, then why not gays?
Having wrapped up its one-week run, the campaign has drawn criticism from Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, though it’s drawn praise from some groups that receive financial contributions from the Church. The Christian Democrats of Finland, meanwhile, have insisted the party had nothing to do with the campaign, though leader Päivi Räsänen argued the campaign was a spiritual, not political one.
You can understand why the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church wants to distance itself from the campaign: Hundreds of people signed an online statement declaring they’ve cut ties with the church over the message of “Älä alistu.”