Päivi Räsänen to Appear Before Finnish Supreme Court

Päivi Räsänen to Appear Before Finnish Supreme Court

After two acquittals, longtime Finnish Parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen will be dragged before court for the third time for publicly stating Biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality—this time, at the Finnish Supreme Court.

Räsänen, a medical doctor and professing Christian, has already stood trial and been cleared of hate speech charges twice. In January, Helsinki’s public prosecutor appealed to Finland’s Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the case. The date has yet to be set.

“I thank God for Dr. Räsänen and her willingness to take a stand for truth and righteousness,” Franklin Graham posted on Facebook back in 2021. “We need more people around the world who aren’t going to back down from their biblical beliefs.”

The grandmother of 11 and former interior minister for Finland was acquitted unanimously by both the Helsinki District Court and the Court of Appeal. Räsänen had three charges against her—a post on X calling out her church’s denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, for supporting LGBTQ Pride in 2019; a pamphlet on Biblical sexuality she published in 2004 (Bishop Juhana Pohjola of her denomination was also charged for helping to publish and make the pamphlet available); and her comments in a radio interview in 2019.

The prosecutor did not appeal the third charge, the radio show, making the Court of Appeal acquittal on that charge final.

“I can only understand this all from the point of view that this case is a precedent,” Räsänen said. “This court case is historic for freedom of expression and religion. At the core of the trial is the question of whether it is allowed to share the teaching of the Bible and publicly agree with them.”

She expressed that she has a peaceful mind and a readiness to continue defending free speech and freedom of religion before the court. “The acquittal from the Supreme Court would establish a stronger legal precedent on freedom of expression and religion compared to the rulings of the lower instance courts. This would then serve as a legal guide regarding any similar charges in the future. It would also more strongly secure the freedom of Christians to speak about the Bible’s teachings. The ruling of the Supreme Court would have an impact on legislation in Europe and it would affect the rulings of other courts in Europe.”

Räsänen told Decision last November, “The law and Gospel and concept of sin have been in the center of this judicial process.”

She was brought to police for interrogation in 2019, but she said that “enormous joy” came over her once the questioning began as the questions gave her an opportunity to share her faith.

“I had the Bible on the table,” she recounted, “and the police were asking me theological questions like ‘What do you mean by the word sin?’ ‘What is the main message of the Book of Romans?’ ‘What about its first chapter?’ ‘What about these verses from Genesis?’ and so on. And so it was about the Bible.”

Paul Coleman, executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom International, supports Räsänen’s legal defense. “The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution after almost five long years, despite such clear and unanimous rulings from the lower courts, is alarming,” he said. “The process is the punishment in such instances, resulting in a chill on free speech for all citizens observing. ADF International will continue to stand alongside Räsänen and Pohjola every step of the way as they face their next day in court. Their right to speak freely is everyone’s right to speak freely.”

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom International

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