Finnish Christian Under Fire

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by James Fedewa  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 20, 2022   

Criminal trial for quoting Bible

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Religious freedom and freedom of speech are under fire in Europe. Church Militant's James Fedewa unpacks how a Finnish politician is enduring persecution for referencing biblical teaching about sexual morality.

Finish politician Päivi Räsänen is battling criminal charges and possible jail time for citing Scripture. In 2019, the Lutheran politician saw her church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, join the weeklong "pride" celebration in Helsinki, Finland's capital.

On Twitter, Räsänen questioned the move, saying, "How does the doctrine of the church, the Bible, fit in with the idea that shame and sin are raised to the point of pride?" She linked to an Instagram post depicting a passage from St. Paul's letter to the Romans condemning homosexuality.

Her criminal trial begins Jan. 24.

Päivi Räsänen, former interior minister, Finland: "But even if I do not win, I think this whole chain of events is part of my calling as a Christian."

She is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom International.

In May, Päivi told Church Militant she's being charged with "criminal agitation against a minority group, which carries the sentence of a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of two years."

The prosecutor general claimed Päivi's actions were "likely to cause intolerance, contempt and hatred towards homosexuals." In Finland, only 9% of the population are Christians who go to church, while 68% are nonpracticing Christians.

The outcome of Päivi's trial could be a sign of what's to come for pious Christians in secular Europe.

Päivi is also on trial for two more charges — one for supposed anti-LGBT comments on a radio station, and for a booklet she wrote in 2004 titled Male and Female He Created Them.

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