Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a member of Finland’s parliament, has been acquitted of “hate crime” charges for expressing her biblical beliefs on sexuality.
According to Faithwire, the Helsinki Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the three criminal charges against Räsänen on Tuesday.
“I am deeply relieved,” Räsänen said in a statement shared with CBN Digital. “The court has fully endorsed and upheld the decision of the District Court, which recognized everyone’s right to free speech.”
“It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective,” she continued.
In 2019, Räsänen came under fire when she shared a tweet in Romans 1:24-27, which condemns homosexuality as sinful. At the time, she was surprised that her denomination, Evangelical Lutheran Church, expressed support for an LGBTQ pride event.
Per The Christian Post, the Finnish MP also faced charges for a pamphlet she wrote in 2004 titled "Male and Female He Created Them: Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity."
Meanwhile, Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland also faced charges for having published the pamphlet at that time.
Last year, she was acquitted by the three-judge District Court of Helsinki, which ruled that it is not the government’s place to interpret “biblical concepts.”
However, Räsänen returned to the court in August following an appeal by state prosecutors on the lower court’s ruling. One prosecutor disapproved of Räsänen's description of homosexuality as a "sin" and contended that while she is at liberty to reference the Bible, "it is Räsänen’s interpretation and opinion about the Bible verses that are criminal."
The charges against Räsänen and Pohjola were placed under the category of the "war crimes and crimes against humanity" section in Finnish law.
Paul Coleman, who is executive director of ADF International and served on Räsänen’s legal team, compared her trial to something from medieval times.
“At the heart of the prosecutor’s examination of Räsänen was this: would she recant her beliefs?" Coleman said. "The answer was no — she would not deny the teachings of her faith. The cross-examination bore all the resemblance of a 'heresy' trial of the Middle Ages; it was implied that Räsänen had 'blasphemed' against the dominant orthodoxies of the day.”
Photo Courtesy: @Getty Images/Kutay Tanir
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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