Hundreds Leave Church of Finland After Bishop's Urge to Vaxx

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Church, Finland - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.10.2021
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In the aftermath of Helsinki Bishop Teemu Laajasalo's open letter urging the flock to vaccinate, disaffected worshippers explained their desire to leave the church with the bishop's “un-Christian and unscientific stance” and “accusing comments about the unvaccinated”.
Eroa Kirkosta, the “unsubscribe” service that allows disaffected worshippers to leave the Church of Finland, has seen an influx of users following a letter by a senior church official urging people to get vaccinated.
“The choice of not vaccinating oneself is not just a matter of individual freedom, but part of the community's responsibility,” Helsinki Bishop Teemu Laajasalo contended, maintaining that vaccine resistance due to fear or misinformation should be met with wisdom.
However, the very same day the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published his call, about 200 Finns availed themselves of the Eroakirkosta service. Among others, the explanations featured “Laajasalo's un-Christian and unscientific stance” and “accusing comments about the unvaccinated”, the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reported.
According to online statistics, those who left the church because of Laajasalo's pro-vaccine stance were older than the average churchgoer, and more often women.

Subsequently, the service founder, Jori Mäntysalo, issued a message, urging its users to “take the vaccine”.

“Shortly before Laajasalo's letter, we had made a video together with Tampere Bishop Matti Repo, in which we urge to trust doctors and authorities. In this matter, the bishops and the free thinkers are of the same opinion,” Mäntysalo contended, signalling a rare partnership between the Church and the secularists.
 Finnish Houses - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
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