18 maalis Puhe kristillisten sosialidemokraattien 76-vuotisjuhlassa / Speech at the 76th Anniversary of the Christian Social Democrats
Puhe esitetty kristillisten sosialidemokraattien 76-vuotisjuhlassa 18.3.2022
We have gathered here to celebrate 76th anniversary of the union of Christian Social Democrats. In recognition of the union’s long history and devoted work in our societies, I am honored to be with you today and to welcome our international guests in Finland. We are delighted to have you.
Social Democrats and Christians are united by the fundamental principle: the love of neighbor. The ethics of neighbor love is declared in the Sermon of the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew, chapters five to seven. One of its core parts is the Golden rule: to treat others as you would like to be treated. It is a timeless principle to be followed everywhere regardless of your religion or origin. The message belongs to us all and demands our minds and actions.
At the beginning of the Sermon, the Nazarene declares blessed are the sorrowful, the persecuted, the patient, the peacemaker – that is, the common people. The Nazarene calls for everyone to build justice and peace:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
These days cry out for justice of this kind. Three weeks ago, we witnessed horrifying attacks in European soil. It seemed as if history was brutally back over one night. Russia’s full scale invasion in Ukraine has had devasting consequences which are yet to be fully seen. We have seen killing and destruction unthinkable on our continent. The war is against international law and it is against every sense of decency and justice.
The times of great danger require boldness and solidarity. Ukrainians are defending their country’s sovereignty and making their ultimate sacrifices every day on every front. Constant work is done to bring peace through negotiations. Until then, Ukrainians are fighting for their democratic freedoms, for their lives, and futures.
In the face of the crisis, Western countries have united in unprecedented manner to support Ukraine. Our democracies have reacted strong and fast to deliver defense material and humanitarian aid to battle fields. We have condemned the violence of the aggressor in the strongest manner. Yet, constant solidarity is needed as people are forced to leave behind their homes and loved ones.
The role of the churches is vital in these crises. Throughout the centuries, churches have helped people in suffer and brought hope for a better future. While churches often operate on the background, their work of mercy supports everything. This was shown during the refugee crisis in 2015, it is now shown in Ukraine.
In Finland, the City of Vantaa and local churches are together preparing for the expected arrival of Ukrainian refugees Churches offer emergency accommodation in the crucial moment. Humanitarian relief organisations, such as Finnish Red Cross and Finn Church Aid, have received more than ten million euros to support the people of Ukraine since the invasion. Not only is the amount of donated money exceptional, so is the quick pace at which it has flowed into aid agencies’ coffers.
Churches also work together internationally. For example, Finn Church Aid, in cooperation with Hungarian Interchurch Aid, establish operations in the city of Lviv and other regions of Ukraine to help those struck by the war and violence. Churches go there where people, our neighbours, need helping hand. This work of love and compassion builds up our societies.
The love of neighbor and international solidarity are key values of the Union of Christian Social Democrats. For all its history, the union has worked on behalf of peace and solidary society. Born from the torments of the Second World War in 1946, the union has been building bridges between the church and the party.
Throughout the years, the mission has been to carry on social democratic educational work, bring Christians and social democrats together, and increase knowledge of Christian values in the party. The Union has developed important ties with the church, making sure that communication between the party and the church is open at all times.
Today, it is more vital than ever to understand each other’s religions and customs. The Union of Christian Social Democrats is now opening its doors to other denominations as well. Cultivating this diversity inspires us all.
The remarkable work the Union of Christian social democrats has done deserves to be cherished and carried on. It has brought people together, increased mutual understanding, and fostered peace in the society. These values are needed in stormy times, and they should embrace our everyday lives. In line with words of Sermon: blessed are the sorrowful, the persecuted, the patient, the peacemaker – that is, the common people.
On behalf of Social democratic Parliamentary group, we look forward to work together in the future. With these words, I would like to congratulate you on your anniversary. Thank you!