Defence Forces ‘bishop’ apologises for online lifestyles rant

In a long blog post, the military's most senior clergyman blamed Finland's declining birth rate on a breakdown of traditional families, gender roles and sex outside of marriage.

File picture of Field Bishop Pekka Särkiö / Credit: Finnish Defence Forces

The most senior chaplain in the Finnish army has had to apologise after publishing an online rant that took aim at sex outside marriage, transgender people and non-traditional lifestyles.

Pekka Särkiö who holds the title of ‘Field Bishop’ – Kenttäpiispa in Finnish – wrote a blog on the Kotimaa24 website which said a “cultural elite” in Finland was “quietly doing its job of breaking down structures.”

“For them, structure are the root of all evil and the cause of recession – such as marriage, the gender division of a man and a woman, as well as the nuclear family formed by father and mother, and home schooling of children” Särkiö wrote in the now-deleted blog post.

“Marxism says these structures perpetuate prejudices and prevent liberation and the spread of new ideas” he added.

He also criticised “sexual relations across gender and marriage boundaries” and said a declining birth rate in Finland’s metropolitan areas was due to a breakdown of traditional families, gender roles and sex outside of marriage.

Särkiö, who has been the army’s ‘Field Bishop’ since 2012 and has a PhD in theology, has now written a short apology for the blog.

“The Defense Forces are committed to the absolute equality and indivisible dignity of all people, including different minorities. This is also my position. I therefore apologise for the tone of my previous blog post. I do not mean to demean anyone, and that’s why I removed the text” he now writes.

Finland’s Defence Forces have also distanced themselves from Särkiö’s comments, saying on Tuesday that they received a lot of feedback about the chaplain’s blog post and that the text was “contrary to the values and practices of the Defence Forces.”