Six U.S. Congress members are criticizing the country of Finland for prosecuting a Christian politician for sharing her beliefs about sexuality and marriage. She is facing six years in prison.
According to The Christian Post, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and five other congressional members sent a letter last week to Nadine Maenz, the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
In the letter, the group says that there were “infringements on religious freedom” in the cases of Parliament Member Päivi Räsänen and evangelical Lutheran Mission Bishop Juhana Pohjola.
Räsänen has been charged with three counts of ethnic agitation over statements expressing her beliefs about human sexuality and marriage. The bishop, meanwhile, is being charged with one count of ethnic agitation for publishing Räsänen’s booklet.
“The Finnish government is currently prosecuting well-known Christians for publicly supporting long-standing Christian doctrine,” the letter reads.
Räsänen had written a booklet in 2004 where she described marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2019, she again reiterated these beliefs on a radio show. She had also previously tweeted about her beliefs.
Prosecution in Finland found that her statements disparage and discriminate against LGBT individuals.
But in a previously released statement, Räsänen said she did not break any laws and asserted that she should not be censored for her beliefs.
“I cannot accept that voicing my religious beliefs could mean imprisonment,” she said. “I do not consider myself guilty of threatening, slandering or insulting anyone. My statements were all based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.”
In support of the letter, Rep. Roy was joined by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Michael Cloud, R-Texas, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
“These actions by the Finnish government will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on free speech in Finland and the West,” the letter said. “At the center of religious liberty is the freedom for individuals to live in accordance to their conscience and beliefs.”
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.