Helsinki, November 17, 2021
Last week, the Christian Interfaith Advisory Committee, including the Russian Orthodox Church and various other Christian denominations, issued a statement in defense of Päivi Räsänen, a Finnish mother, Member of Parliament, and wife of a Finnish Lutheran pastor who is facing persecution for her deeply-held religious beliefs.
The censorship case against the politician is set to begin on January 24. Police investigations against Räsänen began in June 2019, when she questioned her church’s official sponsorship of the Pride 2019 LGBT event via a tweet with a quote from the book of Romans about the Christian teaching on homosexuality, reports ADF International.
“Bible-believing Christians view homosexuality as a sin. At the same time, they are called upon not to condemn persons with homosexual inclinations, but, on the contrary, to take care of every such person and help him find a way to repentance and healing,” the Interfaith Advisory Committee stated.
The parliamentarian, medical doctor, mother of five, and grandmother of seven is accused of having engaged in “hate speech” for expressing her faith in the tweet, and in comments from a radio show in 2019, and in a pamphlet produced in 2004 in which she referred to homosexuality as a “sexual anomaly.”
“I await the court proceedings with a calm mind, confident that Finland will respect the freedom of expression and religion enshrined in fundamental rights and international conventions. I will not back down from my conviction based on the Bible and I am ready to defend freedom of expression and religion in all necessary courts. I cannot accept that voicing religious beliefs could mean imprisonment. I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to freedom of religion and speech,” said Räsänen, who has served as a Member of Parliament since 1995, was chair of the Christian Democrats from 2004-2015, and from 2011-2015 was the Minister of the Interior, with responsibility for church affairs in Finland.
Räsänen faces up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine.
Learn more about the cause in ADF International’s video: