A Christian politician in Finland is under police investigation for sharing a Bible verse to Facebook that classifies homosexuality as a sin.
In June, Päivi Räsäsnen, a member of The Christian Democrats party and former Minister of the Interior, shared a picture of Romans 1:24-27 in response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki Pride events.
She has been charged with “agitation against an ethnic group,” otherwise known as a hate crime, for allegedly inciting discrimination against “sexual and gender minorities.”
A member of the denomination herself and married to an ELCF pastor, Räsäsnen was “shocked” when the ELCF announced its affiliation with the Helsinki LGBT Pride 2019.
“Our Church Act states that ‘All doctrine must be examined and evaluated according to God’s Holy Word,’” she said. “Pride events celebrate acts and relations that the Bible calls sinful and shameful. Based on Scripture, I asked: ‘How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?’”
The ELCF’s position led Räsäsnen to contemplate leaving the denomination, but she eventually decided against it, telling Faithwire, “As I prayed, I was convinced that now is the time to try to wake up the sleeping ones, not to jump out of a sinking boat. My purpose was in no way to insult sexual minorities. My criticism was aimed at the leadership of the church.”
She says she is not concerned about the charges brought against her, but she is worried about the state of religious liberty in her country: “Already the fact that a police investigation has been started and there is a suspect of a crime has a significant effect [on] freedom of speech and religion in practice.
“I am worried that the police investigation has had a chilling effect among Christians. It seems that many Christians in my country are now hiding and going to the closet now that the LGBT-community has come out to the public.”
According to Finnish Criminal Code, “agitation against an ethnic group” is defined as sharing information or opinion publicly that “threatens or defames a group based on race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability.”
If convicted, Räsäsnen could be forced to pay a fine or face up to two years in prison.
Even so, Räsäsnen refuses to cease sharing her Biblical-informed view of sexuality, as well as her traditional Christian views on marriage, euthanasia and abortion.
“We must obey God rather than man, trusting that the Bible is God’s Word is a solid foundation for the Gospel to bring forth new life and win hearts.”