A member of Finland’s parliament is facing a second prosecution for “hate speech” after she posted Bible verses on social media.
Former Leader of Finland’s Christian Democrats and current member of parliament, Päivi Räsänen, a 62-year-old medical doctor and grandmother of seven, said that she is “ready to defend her freedom of expression in all necessary courts.”
In 2022, Räsänen, along with a Lutheran bishop, were prosecuted for the same offense. This is the background from my post titled Finnish Member of Parliament and Lutheran Bishop Face Prison Time for Speaking out for Christian Beliefs.
Ms. Räsänen apparently came to the attention of federal prosecutors when she started tweeting out Bible verses that challenged her denomination’s collaboration with the various Orwellian-named “Pride” events celebrating homosexuality and other outré lifestyle choices. As a result, the state prosecutor opened a more in-depth investigation of Räsänen and discovered a 2019 radio debate on marriage. In addition, they found her objecting to homosexuality on social media.
On June 17, 2019, she asked in a Twitter post how the sponsorship was compatible with the Bible, linking to a photograph of a biblical passage, Romans 1:24-27, on Instagram. She also posted the text and image on Facebook.
If you aren’t familiar with the quote from Romans 1, it is below.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And they found the booklet “Male and Female He Created Them” that Bishop Pohjola had published.
In the hands of an overzealous anti-Christian prosecutor, these opinions were tied to the rack and stretched unit they became violations of a Finnish law prohibiting “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Her arrest and interrogation are the stuff of really bad, overwrought melodrama.
She says she told the police she would not recant her Christianity and that it is not a crime in Finland, which is officially a Christian nation with a state church, to be a Christian.
“The police also asked three times in each interrogation if I agreed to leave these teachings, in writing,” Rasanen said. No, she replied: “I stand behind the Bible, whatever the consequences are. For Christians, the Bible is the word of God, and we must have the possibility of agreeing with it.”
Three times? Really? Were the cops making a joke of the matter or just pig ignorant?
This is how the prosecution framed the case during the trial. (emphasis added)
Prosecutor Anu Mantila said it is quite clear that Räsänen has a freedom of religion, but that does not exclude responsibility in using Bible verses.
“If so, the views of the Bible have supplanted the Finnish Constitution”, Mantila said.
The prosecutor made a distinction between the internal and external side of religious freedom: people are allowed to think what they want, but the expression of faith can be restricted. “I emphasise that freedom of thought and conscience is unrestricted. This court does not address the religious views of the Bible and homosexuality. It is addressing the expression of these views.”
The prosecutor reiterated her earlier position that human deeds and identity are indistinguishable. “When one judges deeds, the whole person is judged. Actions cannot be separated from identity because actions are part of identity. Understanding deeds as sin is derogatory”.
According to the prosecutor, the insulting nature of Räsänen’s expressions is obvious. Offensive is emphasised by the focus on sexual identity, the “core of humanity”.
During the trial, the Bible was compared to Mein Kampf.
Prosecutors had asked for Räsänen to be hit with a fine amounting to 120 days’ pay and her co-defendant with a penalty of 60 days’ pay (for information on the utterly insane Finnish day-fine system, read this). She was acquitted on all counts by the District Court.
The prosecutor didn’t like the outcome, and because Finland doesn’t have a Fifth Amendment, the prosecutor can appeal an acquittal.
Prosecutor Anu Mantila contrastively was surprised by the verdict, adding that the prosecution was hoping that the court would weigh up the principles of equality and non-discrimination more carefully against freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
“They interpreted the statements differently than the prosecution and that’s why they viewed that the limits of freedom of speech weren’t breached,” she analysed. “It’s my impression that this is because the elements that infringed on equality and the prohibition of discrimination weren’t taken into consideration accordingly.”
She added that there is “a high probability” that the prosecution files for a leave to appeal against what she viewed was an incorrect and unjust verdict.
The new trial will determine if Räsänen’s acquittal stands.
Christianity is under pressure in Europe in a huge way, with the forces of modernism and atheism holding the whip hand. Räsänen’s fate will be an indicator of the final outcome will be.
It is pretty easy to be smug about Finnish prosecutors comparing Christianity unfavorably to Nazism, but we shouldn’t be.
We’ve seen blatant attacks on free speech in the last few years. We’ve seen “hate crimes” become an accepted part of the judicial system. Schools have established speech codes that can result in expulsion if not followed. Just across our Northern Border, in the Great White North, clinical psychologist, and social media figure Jordan Peterson has been fined and ordered to under what can only be called a struggle session because of opinions he expressed; see Jordan Peterson Ordered to Undergo Re-Education, Pay $25K Fine by Canadian Court.
What happens in Europe today tends to be visited upon America tomorrow.