Finland’s prosecutor general has opened a criminal investigation into a Christian member of the country’s parliament for posting a Bible passage last year on Twitter that condemns homosexuality.
Päivi Räsänen told CBN News she tweeted the Scripture passage from Romans in response to the Lutheran Church of Finland’s promotion of homosexual practice.
“In my tweet, I directly cited Romans, first chapter and verses 24 to 27 and posted the picture of the passages from the Bible,” she said.
Räsänen is also under criminal investigation for writing a pamphlet 15 years ago about the Biblical definition of marriage titled, “Man and woman, He created them.” A Lutheran pastor who published the pamphlet is also being investigated criminally. If convicted, both could face fines or imprisonment.
Risto Soramies, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, which is not affiliated with the state-sponsored Lutheran church, said Räsänen and the pastor are being investigated for allegations of “agitation against a section of the society,” an allegation now associated in Finland with “war crimes or crimes against humanity.”
“That a good parliamentarian, physician, mother and a Christian, Päivi Räsänen, has to bear such an accusation, is of course bitter and a shame,” Soramies said. “The attorney general of Finland has the whole arsenal of the state at her disposal against an individual citizen. Mrs. Räsänen is of steel and will be able to take it.
“The attorney general is bringing a greater harm yet to the free speech and the free atmosphere of Finland,” Soramies added. “Political correctness will reign sovereign and kill free discussion. Our language is already going through an Orwellian alteration. Words that used to have a certain meaning, are taken to mean quite something else.”
Räsänen said she tweeted the Romans passage without fear of reprisal because Finland’s constitution upholds the national Lutheran church’s right to “proclaim a Bible-based Christian faith.”
Nearly 70 percent of Finns claim membership in the national Lutheran church, however, less than one-third of the country’s population say they believe in God.
“I’m worried that this case, the criminal investigation, might frighten some Christians to hide and keep silent,” Räsänen said.
Pasi Turunen, a Finnish Christian broadcaster, theologian and author, told CBN News he is also concerned that the attorney general’s investigation will have a chilling effect on Christians’ willingness to defend their religious liberties and freedom of speech.
“It raises the threshold of saying anything in the public square and in one way, I see that that’s the purpose of this kind of attack: to put a high price tag on speaking your Christian mind out loud in the society,” Turunen said.
But Räsänen remains hopeful in prayer. “I am waiting to see what God is doing because when He raises up prayers, then we can know that He is doing something,” she said.
Above: Päivi Räsänen of the Christian Democrats attends the parliamentary elections media reception at the Finnish Parliament Annex in Helsinki April 19, 2015.