Prosecutors still are demanding punishment for a Christian politician after she was acquitted of their charges.
The case involves Paivi Rasanen, of Finland, who recently was cleared of all charges that her faith-base statements created “ethnic agitation.”
She was named in three counts of that offense, but in March the district court in Helsinki dismissed all claims against her, stating, “There must be an overriding social reason for interfering with and restricting freedom of expression.”
That court also ordered prosecutors to pay more than 60,000 euros of her legal costs.
Not for her prosecutors.
A report in Decision magazine has confirmed that the Helsinki Court of Appeals now has decided to reopen the case, because of 26 pages of demands from prosecutors.
The charges came out of her 2019 social media statement that she posted to question the decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church to support the Helsinki LGBT Pride events.
She also gave a radio interview in 2018 where she discussed what the Bible says about homosexuality (it’s an abomination).
Her 2004 pamphlet was titled, “Male and Female He Created Them—Homosexual Relationships Challenge the Christian Concept of Humanity.”
Prosecutors, outraged by their court loss, insisted that the appeals court reopen the case and impose on her tens of thousands of euros in fines.
They continue to insist that the court censor her writings and statements.
“After my full exoneration in court, I am dismayed that the prosecutor will not let this campaign against me drop,” she said in the report. “And yet, the prosecutor’s decision to appeal may lead to the case going all the way to the Supreme Court, offering the possibility of securing a positive precedent for freedom of speech and religion for all Finnish people.
“Also, I am happy that this decision will lead to the discussion of the Bible’s teachings in society. I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in all necessary courts. As far as the European Court of Human rights, if necessary.”
WND reported when the district court shut down the prosecutors, and cleared not only Rasanen but also Bishop Juhana Pohjola, who was caught up in the claims of an “offense.”
Government officials had leveled the extremist complaint that it is “hate” to follow the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.
At the time, ADF International said the court “upheld the right to free speech by dismissing all charges” against the two.
“In a unanimous ruling, the Helsinki District Court concluded that ‘it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts,’” the international organization reported.
Räsänen, a former Minister of the Interior, was accused of “hate speech” for sharing a Bible verse and her Christian values on marriage and sexual ethics in a social-media statement in 2019, a radio interview that year, and in a 2004 pamphlet.
#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
Pohjola was accused of using that pamphlet for his congregation more than 17 years ago.
Police started “investigating” Räsänen in 2019 after she addressed the leadership of her church, the Finnish Lutheran church, on social media, questioning its sponsoring of an LGBT “Pride” event.
Last year, Finland’s prosecutor general had brought three criminal charges against Räsänen.
WND reported just earlier this year when the Family Research Council, based in America, had its special adviser for Religious Freedom, Pastor Andrew Brunson, deliver to Räsänen a total of 14,341 prayer pledges.
They were promises from individuals across the nation to continue praying for her as she is “being persecuted and attacked for sharing the truth of Scripture regarding God’s design for marriage and sexuality.”
The FRC said Brunson, who himself was wrongly imprisoned for being Christian in a Turkish prison for two years, was dispatched to Finland to meet with Räsänen.
Brunson said, “I so admire Paivi Rasanen’s courage and faith. There is a way to escape the pressure–she could compromise, apologize for her beliefs. But she is standing firm. I think that many in the West are going to face similar choices as the culture becomes increasingly hostile to faithful followers of Jesus. Paivi is giving a powerful example of uncompromising allegiance to God’s Word for us to follow. I honor her for this.”
A column at the Federalist said the case is huge.
“While intended to suppress Christianity and criminalize the Bible, with ramifications for the entire West, the prosecution has also created opportunities to proclaim Christian theology all over the world, Räsänen told the Federalist in an exclusive interview last week,” the report said.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told the Federalist, “Over the past three years, M.P. Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola have handled their persecution with bravery, grace, and mercy. All Christians ought to stand together in defense of biblical truth and against the attacks of this fallen world, because if the leftists succeed at this in Finland, it won’t be long until they try it elsewhere — including here.”
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