Europe

Pastor Charged with Criminal Discrimination

Finland's courts step in after visiting pastor refuses to lead service with a woman.

A Finnish district court prosecutor recently charged a member of the Finland state church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF), with criminal discrimination for refusing to work with a female pastor. Two other church leaders have also been charged for not interfering to prevent the alleged violation.

"The government has nothing to do with religion and wants to stay out of the discussion," said Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, who was president at IsoKirja College in Finland. "This case has nothing to do with religion; it has everything to do with a perceived lack of equality."

The case could set a precedent for similar cases concerning discrimination against homosexuals. The ELCF is still discussing whether homosexual pastors can serve in the church and whether pastors may bless homosexual couples.

Finland's laws prohibit any discrimination either in the workplace or in public based on race, language, age, family ties, health, religion, political orientation, work, sexual orientation, ...

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