MP on Trial for Biblical Views

Pastor Andrew Brunson and Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen

“Pastor Andrew Brunson [who has faced prison for his faith in Turkey] delivered a letter of support to Päivi Räsänen, a Finnish Member of Parliament facing prosecution for her role in creating a pamphlet promoting the biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality. Brunson delivered the letter, crafted by the Family Research Council and signed by 14,341 people, to Räsänen Monday, as closing arguments took place in her trial for allegedly violating hate speech laws. The prosecutor general is making the case that Räsänen engaged in hate speech by creating a pamphlet [quoting the Bible], sending out a tweet criticizing the leadership of the Finnish Lutheran Church for supporting LGBT Pride Month, and sharing her beliefs about homosexuality in a 2019 appearance on a radio show. Specifically, the indictment accused them of ‘incitement of hatred against a group which falls under the section of war crimes and crimes against humanity.’ Alliance Defending Freedom International sent out a series of tweets summarizing the closing arguments in the trial, which took place Monday. The prosecution insisted that ‘the Bible cannot overrule Finnish law,’ slammed her comments about homosexuality as ‘degrading,’ and maintained that describing homosexuality as a ‘sin’ can have a ‘harmful’ effect. Arguing for the defense, Lorcan Price of ADF International told the court that ‘this prosecution for hate speech has turned into a theological trial of what Christian beliefs can and cannot be expressed in Finland.’ Price added, ‘It is incredible this trial is happening in a modern European Country and not in a religious theocracy.’ If convicted, Räsänen could face up to two years in prison and a fine. ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman warned, ‘Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy. The Finnish Prosecutor General’s decision to bring these charges against Dr. Räsänen creates a culture of fear and censorship. If committed civil servants like Paivi Räsänen are criminally charged for voicing their deeply held beliefs, it creates a chilling effect for everyone’s right to speak freely.’”

“14K sign prayer pledge,” The Christian Post, Feb. 16, 2022