Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen went on trial Monday for tweeting a bible verse in 2019 and challenging the Finnish Lutheran Church’s involvement in gay pride events.
Räsänen faces charges of “ethnic agitation” under the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity section of the country’s criminal code, the Daily Wire reported. Finland’s hate speech laws criminalize the expression of opinions that “threaten, defame, or insult” others, with offenders facing up to two years in jail.
Charges against the politician are rooted in voicing opinions about marriage and sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet and a 2019 radio show in addition to tweeting a photo of an open bible with the caption, “#kirkko [the church] has stated that he is the official partner of #seta #Pride2019 . How does the doctrinal foundation of the Church, #raamattu [the bible] fit in with shame and sin being raised as a matter of pride?”
A medical doctor, mother of five and grandmother of six, Räsänen has been a Member of Parliament since 1995 and was Minister of the Interior from 2011 to 2015, during which time she handled church affairs for Finland, according to ADF International. Police investigations into her began in 2019, and Räsänen has undergone multiple police interviews.
“I will not be intimidated into hiding my faith,” Räsänen said, according to ADF. “The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets. “
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