In 2019, Räsänen wrote a tweet questioning the leadership of her church for sponsoring the LGBT event “Pride 2019,” it was accompanied by an image of a Bible verse. As a result, she was accused of hate speech and interrogated by the police.
A Christian member of the Finnish Parliament is facing six years imprisonment for allegedly committing three crimes, including “hate speech,” for sharing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality on social media, on television and in a pamphlet.
The country’s chief prosecutor has brought three criminal charges against Finnish Member of Parliament and former Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen, according to the Austria-based Christian legal group ADF International.
The politician, who is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and former chair of the Christian Democrats, has been under police investigation since June 2019 for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet, for comments made on a 2018 TV show, and a tweet directed at her church leadership.
A medical doctor, mother of five and grandmother of six, Räsänen now faces two years in prison for each alleged crime, the group said.
“I cannot accept that voicing my religious beliefs could mean imprisonment,” said Räsänen in a statement issued by ADF International, which is representing her. “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.”
A Member of Parliament since 1995, Räsänen said she 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.”
She said she holds on to “the view that my expressions are legal and they should not be censored.”
“I will not back down from my views. I will not be intimidated into hiding my faith. The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets,” she said.
ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman added, “Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy.”