Christians around the world rejoiced when a Finnish court dismissed all hate speech charges against lawmaker and former interior minister Päivi Räsänen – but it looks like her legal battle is reigniting.
Finnish prosecutors would intend to appeal the March 30 decision of the Helsinki District Court to dismiss the charges, which means Räsänen’s battle for religious freedom is far from over.
Listen to the latest episode of the Faithwire podcast:
His ADF International lawyers would have been informed of the call last wednesday after Attorney General Raija Toiviainen’s office told a local lawyer the case would be appealed.
The politician, reacting to reports of a call, said she was “appalled”, according to Christian Today.
“This case has weighed on me and my family for almost three years,” she said. mentioned. “After my complete exoneration in court, I am appalled that the prosecutor is not dropping this campaign against me.”
Räsänen continued, “Once again, I stand ready to defend freedom of speech and religion not just for myself, but for everyone. I am grateful to everyone who supported me during this ordeal and ask for their continued support.
As Faithwire previously reported, Räsänen, whose criminal trial began January 24 and ended February 14, was accused of violating the dignity and equality of the LGBTQ population by engaging in so-called hate speech.
But what is the story behind the troubling free speech case? Räsänen told Faithwire in February that her spell began on June 17, 2019, when she tweeted the text of Romans 1:24-27, which condemns homosexuality as a sin.
At the time, Räsänen was alarmed by her denomination’s decision, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to support an LGBTQ Pride event, so she responded by sharing the scriptures on her Twitter account.
“It was quite shocking to me, and I was like, ‘What do I do now?’ she said of the church’s support for the event. “I was actually praying, ‘Is it now time to resign from the church like some of my friends have done?'”
But Räsänen said she had a “very clear vision” that it was not time to leave the denomination and that she was called to “try to speak loudly and try to wake those who sleep”.
So Räsänen shared his biblical quote and critique – and the debate immediately followed. Soon, LGBTQ advocates spoke out, and soon after, she said police began investigating her comments.
Other statements she made about biblical marriage soon came to the forefront of discontent, including a 2004 pamphlet she wrote, “Male and Female He Made Them: Same-Sex Relationships Challenge the Concept Christian of humanity”.
Finland’s Attorney General’s Office argued that Räsänen’s comments and statements were not merely distasteful, but were likely to stir up hatred and intolerance.
The prosecutor argued that these statements “transcend freedom of expression and religion”, as they sought “the equality and dignity of homosexuals”.
Räsänen was charged with criminal offenses and stood trial. The politician faced fines and up to two years in prison if found guilty, and her pamphlet could have been banned – which she said would have a chilling effect on biblical writings, statements and sermons.
Although she won her case, it’s unclear what an appeal will mean in regards to these potential penalties.
Despite the unknown, one thing seems certain: Räsänen will not go back on his convictions. In fact, she told CBN News ahead of the March 30 verdict that she had no plans to back down from defending her biblical views.
“I will fight as much as I can, and I will not deny what I have said, I will not renounce my beliefs and my faith,” Räsänen said. “And I will encourage all Christians to be open about their faith and the Bible.”
***As the number of voices facing big tech censorship continues to grow, please subscribe to Faithwire Daily Newsletter and download the CBN News app to stay up to date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***