Sweden allowed another Koran burning on Wednesday. Swedish Christians have mixed feelings about this. However, the protest may also have geopolitical implications.
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is a military alliance of Western countries. Read the articles on the topic on this page.
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If an occupier came to her hometown, Lotta Sjöström Becker would rather hide in a shelter than kill him. In her opinion, violence can never solve violence. Instead, she would resort to non-violent means, such as civil disobedience. "Violence and war are never justified", she says. Therefore, she sees joining military alliances, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), as the wrong way to go.
The leader of the Lutheran Church in Finland, bishop Seppo Häkkinen,has no opinion on whether or not Finland should join NATO. Also, the Church of Sweden does not want to interfere in the debate.
Never before Finland was part of a military alliance. The country never desired to be so either. But soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, the Finnish appetite changed. The Christian Democrats support that shift. “Joining NATO is the natural next step for us”, Peter Östman says.
Some years ago, I got hold of the letters my grandfather sent to my grandmother from the Winter War in 1939-1940. My grandfather was killed in action in the early stages of the Continuation War on 31 July 1941. The letters gave me some idea of my grandfather’s kind of person. The most significant discovery was his belief in God.
There is one red line in the war between Russia and Ukraine. And that line seems to be holy for everyone. It is NATO. The military alliance is not to be pulled into the war.
Should Sweden join NATO? This question is on the table again since Russia invaded Ukraine. Christians in the country are divided over the subject.
Päivi Räsänen, leader of the Christian Democratic group (KD) in the Finnish parliament, has expressed support of NATO membership “as soon as possible”. Russia’s neighbour country has always been neutral between East and West.
Last week, a Ukrainian preacher from Charkov wrote: “The world cries, Ukraine suffers, but the King is alive.” That gave him something he could hold onto, even though bombings could be heard in his town continually. And the Christian in the West who is (still) free?