Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a Christian senator from Finland, has been charged with three counts of “incitement” against homosexuals and faces two years in jail if found guilty, a press release from the National Prosecution Authority said on Thursday, April 29, reported ChurchMilitant.
Räsänen, a physician, served as president of the Christian Democratic Party from 2004 to 2015 and was the Finnish Interior Minister from 2011 to 2015.
Since 2019, Räsänen has been under investigation for social media posts that questioned the official association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church with the Helsinki LGBT Pride case.
In April 2021, the General Prosecutor of Finland announced three separate charges of inciting against a minority had been filed against Räsänen.
According to Prosecutor-General Toiviainen, her comments are “derogatory and discriminatory against homosexuals,” and are “likely to fuel intolerance, disdain, and hate.”
Räsänen used a screenshot of the Bible verse Romans 1:24-27 in her posts, condemning homosexuality as a sin.
She was also accused of writing a pamphlet in 2004 called “Male and female He created them—Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity.” She said that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman.
Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, the Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, who published the pamphlet on marriage, has also been charged.
Räsänen said that she made no apologies for her writings or those of the Apostle Paul.
She has even been charged with hate speech for remarks she made about homosexuality on a Christian TV show in Finland. The show was titled What Would Jesus Think About Homosexuals?
She spoke about Jesus, life, sin, punishment, and redemption as they were taught in the Bible.
“The decision of the Prosecutor General is surprising, even shocking,” Räsänen said. “The question is about the Bible’s teaching about marriage and sexuality. Ultimately, the three charges brought against me have to do with whether it is allowed in Finland to express your conviction that is based on the traditional teaching of the Bible and Christian churches. The Bible’s teaching is, however, (that) marriage is a union between man and wife and that practicing homosexuality is against God’s will.”
She said that she would go to trial with a calm and courageous spirit and believed that Finland was a sovereign state that protected freedom of expression and faith.
Räsänen added, “If the teachings of God’s word about sin are rejected, also the whole core of Christian faith is made empty: the precious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sake of everyone’s sins and the way He opened into eternity.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom International said it would continue to support Räsänen’s defense.