News from Europe

Christian MP calls prosecution for tweeting Bible verse a “privilege”

A Christian politician in Finland whose trial is scheduled to begin next week for sharing her deeply held biblical beliefs on sexuality and marriage says it’s “quite a privilege” to be interrogated for her religious beliefs.


Parliament Member Päivi Räsänen, who was interrogated by police for over 13 hours and questioned on how she interprets the Apostle Paul’s letters in the Bible, is facing six years in prison for voicing her opinion on marriage in a 2004 booklet on sexual ethics describing marriage as between one man and one woman.

She also expressed her views on a 2019 radio show and tweeted church leadership on the matter.

“I thought it was quite a privilege to have these kinds of discussions with the police,” Räsänen said in an interview with Alliance Defending Freedom International, a legal nonprofit that specializes in religious freedom cases and is supporting the 62-year-old former interior minister.

Räsänen, who worked as a doctor before going into politics and is married to a pastor, said it was absurd and shocking to be interrogated and claims it feels like “Soviet times.”

“I could never have imagined when I worked as the minister of the interior and was in charge of the police that I would be interrogated and asked that kind of questions in a police station,” the lawmaker who led the Christian Democrats party from 2004 to 2015 said.

She said police also asked her if she was ready to “renounce” her writings. “But I answered that I will stand on what I believe and I will speak about these things and write about these things also in the future because they are a matter of conviction, not only an opinion,” she said. 

Räsänen has been charged with three counts of ethnic agitation over statements expressing her beliefs about human sexuality and marriage. Evangelical Lutheran Mission Bishop Juhana Pohjola has been charged with one count of ethnic agitation for publishing Räsänen’s booklet.


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