Many legal experts are urging the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to ask the U.S. State Department to sanction Finland’s prosecutor general after Finland prosecuted a Christian politician who shared her biblical beliefs.
According to The Christian Post, Professors from Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University were among those who wrote a letter last week in defense of Christian and Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen. A bishop, Juhana Pohjola, also faces criminal charges in Finland for supporting her.
Räsänen has been under investigation since June 2019. She previously served as the chairwoman of the Christian Democrats and is a former interior minister who served in Parliament.
She could face up to six years in prison stemming from charges of ethnic agitation related to statements she made about human sexuality and marriage.
The charges come after she wrote about her biblical beliefs on sexual ethics in a 2004 booklet on sexual ethics. In it, she described marriage as a union between on man and one woman. In a 2019 radio show, she also talked about her beliefs.
“In the booklet, Dr. Räsänen argues that homosexual activity should be recognized by the church as sinful based on the teachings of the Hebrew Bible and Christian scripture,” the letter from the professors said.
Prosecutors say her statements disparage and discriminate, but she has said that her opinions are “legal and should not be censored.”
“The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bishop-Elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, Pohjola, is charged with one count of ethnic agitation for publishing the booklet.
“The Prosecutor General’s pursuit of these charges against a prominent legislator and bishop sends an unmistakable message to Finns of every rank and station: no one who holds to the traditional teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and several other religions on questions of marriage and sexual morality will be safe from state harassment should they, like Bishop Pohjola and Dr. Räsänen, express their moral and religious convictions.”
Räsänen is married to a pastor and Bible college principal. She has five children.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kutay Tanir
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.