HELSINKI, Finland - A Christian politician from Finland has been formally charged with three counts of hate speech against homosexuals and faces two years in prison if convicted.
Päivi Räsänen, a member of the Finnish Parliament, has been under investigation since 2019 for social media posts questioning the Evangelical Lutheran Church's official affiliation with the Helsinki LGBT Pride event.
In her posts, Räsänen showed a photo of the Bible passage Romans 1:24-27, which condemns homosexuality as a sin.
#kirkko on ilmoittanut olevansa #seta n #Pride2019 virallinen partneri. Miten kirkon oppiperusta, #raamattu sopii yhteen sen kanssa, että häpeä ja synti nostetaan ylpeyden aiheeksi? pic.twitter.com/cnjAQCrOc2
— Päivi Räsänen (@PaiviRasanen) June 17, 2019
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She is also charged for a pamphlet she wrote in 2004 entitled "Male and female He created them - Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity," in which she said that God designed marriage for one man and one woman. And she's accused of hate speech for comments she made about homosexuality on a Christian TV program in Finland.
A charge has also been filed against Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, the Dean of Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, which published the pamphlet on marriage.
Räsänen said she does not apologize for her writings or for the writings of the Apostle Paul.
"The decision of the Prosecutor General is surprising, even shocking," Räsänen said. "The question is about the Bible's teaching about marriage and sexuality. Ultimately, the three charges brought against me have to do with whether it is allowed in Finland to express your conviction that is based on the traditional teaching of the Bible and Christian churches. The Bible's teaching is, however, (that) marriage is a union between man and wife and that practicing homosexuality is against God's will."
She said she will go to trial, "...with a peaceful and brave mind, trusting that Finland is a constitutional state where the freedoms of speech and religion...are respected.
Finland's constitution still instructs the state Lutheran church to “proclaim a Bible-based Christian faith.”
Räsänen added, "If the teachings of God's word about sin are rejected, also the whole core of Christian faith is made empty: the precious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sake of everyone's sins and the way He opened into eternity."