Thousands leave Finnish Lutheran church over anti-gay campaign

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Thousands of people have reportedly left the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland after a campaign against homosexuality.

The week-long campaign, which was drawn up by several Christian groups and ended this weekend, was met with anger.

Called “älä alistu” (“don’t acquiesce”), it claimed that gay people can become straight and urged youths not to give in to thoughts of homosexuality.

In one promotional video, a young woman called Anni describes how she stopped being bisexual. She also compares her situation to that of a reformed murderer.

Although the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland did not lead the campaign, it gives money to the organisations which did.

Members of the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland, which is Finland’s national church, pay money to support the church and those it subsidises.

By Thursday, 3,000 people had signed an online petition declaring that they were leaving the church, YLE reports.

Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, criticised the campaign and said it should be stopped.

He emphasised that gay people were not sick and had been created by God the way they were.

Mainstream medical opinion holds that sexual orientation cannot be changed. Gay rights campaigners say so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy is useless at best and at worst, can cause serious mental harm.