Monday, October 25, 2010

Finnish Lutheran Sex Discrimination Case

This interesting article popped up in my feed reader this morning:

from HELSINGIN SANOMAT: Woman pastor wins sex discrimination case

Pohjanraitio had been scheduled to serve at the altar, handing out communion. However, before the service, she was told by the visiting pastor that his apostolic beliefs prevented him from working with a woman pastor at the altar.

Does the phrase "apostolic beliefs" mean that the visiting pastor was Laestadian? Does anyone know if the pastor in question was definitely Laestadian?

This article raises lots of interesting questions for me regarding the relationship between religion and the state. Because the Lutheran church is government supported in Finland, does that give the state the authority to enforce civil rights?

If this had happened in the United States I think the courts would never had gotten involved, due to the separation of church and state. In the United States Laestadians are not part of a state church --they control who gets ordained and women are not allowed to be ordained in any Laestadian denomination, so that's another reason this never could have happened in the U.S.

On the one hand, I very strongly support freedom for religions to practice and ordain as they see fit without government interference. But on the other hand if any tax dollars are supporting an institution I very strongly believe that then the public has a valid interest in regulating what goes on in said institution.

Finally, I think that churches that choose not to ordain women are really missing out. My current priest is a woman, and she is the most talented and capable clergyperson I have ever had, bar none.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Minnesota Laestadian Sex Abuse Case

Apparently sex abuse is still happening in Laestadian circles in the United States as well, as attested to in this article regarding a case that hit the news last July involving a volunteer at the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church on Rowland Road in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Minnetonka church volunteer gets a year in jail for having sex with teen

As the parents grew increasingly suspicious, they contacted authorities. Foley told a sheriff's deputy that he was acting as a "counselor" to the girl and other members of the church, Old Apostolic Lutheran Church on Rowland Road.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Downside of Leaving

Anonymous posted this comment today, which I thought merited a page of its own:

I read through this blog when I was in the process of making my decision to leave. Now that I am gone I feel there is a side to the story of leaving that is slightly overlooked or at least not directly adressed.
I am just hoping to open the doors to discussion on this and hopefully this will also help enlighten those still in the midst of the religion as to how drastically leaving affects us as well.
In my jouney to freedom I have been extremely depressed and have developed anxiety to the point that my entire life is begining to suffer.
I am curious how many others suffered from depression and any other effects of depression; self-harm, suicidal thoughts, anxiety,ect.


Thoughts?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Laestadian Sex Abuse Scandal Update

The following short article appeared the Helsinki Times a few days ago:

Leading Laestadian figure arrested on suspicion of abuse

Apparently an unnamed person holding a "position of trust" within the SRK has been detained on suspicions of sexually abusing a child.

There isn't much in English on this news story as of late, but if I find anything else I'll post it here.

Hat tip to the Laestadian-ism blog for this story. See their site for additional links in Finnish.

See also: Laestadian Sex Abuse Scandal

Happy Birthday Lars Levi Laestadius

1800 – Lars Levi Laestadius, Swedish-born botanist and founder of Laestadianism (d. 1861)

210 years old today.