A Christian politician in Finland who faces a second trial for alleged “hate speech” after sharing the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality has likened her experience to a “modern-day inquisition”.
Last year, Helsinki District Court dismissed all charges against former Government minister Dr Päivi Räsänen, stating that it could find no justification to censor her exercise of free speech. But following an appeal, she has been summoned to attend a new trial next month.
Dr Räsänen was charged with three so-called hate crimes for expressing her biblically based views on sexual ethics: in a 2019 tweet, during a 2019 radio debate, and via a 2004 pamphlet.
The politician stated: “I have been subjected to a legal process that has already lasted for more than four years for the alleged ‘crime’ of sharing my Christian beliefs in public.”
Sexual relations outside marriage are against God’s will, as are same-sex relationships. I will not back off from this viewpoint.
She branded it “a modern-day inquisition and a theological examination of my beliefs”, which churches have taught “for two thousand years”.
“Sexual relations outside marriage are against God’s will, as are same-sex relationships. I will not back off from this viewpoint. At the same time, I have emphasised that every one of us is sinful in front of God. The solution to sin is not denying its reality but accepting God’s grace through Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice.”
Dr Räsänen warned that, if required, she will take her case to the Supreme Court of Finland and the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2019, the politician shared a picture of her Bible open at Romans 1:24-27 in response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland’s decision to sponsor a local LGBT pride event.
She wrote: “How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?”
Dr Räsänen was placed under investigation for the comments the same year, but a formal prosecution was not made until April 2021.
In a statement, Finland’s Prosecutor General claimed her actions were derogatory and discriminatory, and suggested her comments violated the dignity of gay people.