Renowned Parliamentarian Reaffirms Christian Faith Amid Trial

 A renowned Christian and longstanding parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen who stood trial on charges of “hate speech” on account of three expressions of her Christian faith – in a tweet, in a 2004 church pamphlet, and in a 2019 radio interview reaffirms her Christian faith amid a second trial.

The medical doctor and grandmother was scheduled for a second court hearing on August 31  and September 1 at the Helsinki Court of  Appeal in the Northern European country’s capital.
The Finnish trial of the Bible concluded before the Court, where Räsänen was charged with “agitation against a minority group”, a provision that falls under the section of the Finnish Criminal Code titled “War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.”
Throughout her cross-examination on September 1, Räsänen was asked multiple times by the prosecutor if she would update or remove what she had said about marriage and sexuality in her 2004 church pamphlet, titled “Male & Female He Created Them.”

“The gist of the State prosecutor’s examination of Päivi was this: would she recant her beliefs? The answer was no – she will not deny the teachings of her faith. Dragging an individual through a grueling criminal trial simply for expressing their religious beliefs is not a marker of democracy and “progress.”

“We will continue to stand with Päivi and await the decision of the court as to whether expressing Biblical teaching is really a crime in Finland,” Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International who is backing Päivi Räsänen’s legal defense remarked.

The court is anticipated to deliver a verdict by November 30th.

“I’m hopeful that all these charges will be acquitted. It’s a very important verdict for freedom of speech and of religion and Finland and also has consequences across Europe, but I’m hopeful for a good result,” Räsänen said while leaving the court.

Räsänen’s tweet, which began a protracted police investigation that brought forth three charges, challenged her Church leadership as to their justification for sponsoring a Pride event. She attached a picture of a Bible verse from Romans.

Räsänen’s defense team, co-ordinated by ADF International, highlighted the strong protection that freedom of speech enjoys in international law, as well as being an integral part of Finnish democracy. They argued before the court that her use of the word “sin” in her tweet – which the prosecutor had highlighted as “insulting” and hence illegal-was quoted directly from the Bible, and any judgment condemning its usage would directly condemn the Bible itself.

Also standing trial was Bishop Juhana Pohjola, who was accused of  “hate speech” for publishing the 2004 pamphlet that Räsänen had written.

Taking the stand, the Bishop emphasized that the pamphlet indicated that every individual is worthy of respect and dignity regardless of their sexuality.

Speaking to the Court, he said: Condemning sinful deeds does not mean questioning a person’s worth and dignity. These are completely different things. The prosecutor is propagating an understanding that is fully against the Christian understanding. Condemning sin does not question a person’s dignity.”

Elaborating on the significance of free speech within a democracy, the Bishop further commented, “The very idea of religious freedom is that you are free to teach the Christian message, even if someone finds it offensive, but then you can exercise your right not to listen.” He also further noted that he would not seek the censorship of teachings that offended him. 



Image and Content Copyright - CLICK HERE

Leave a comment