OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:35 PM – Wednesday, August 30, 2023
More than a year after a district judge dropped the first round of allegations against her, the renowned member of Finland’s parliament is scheduled to make a second court appearance in order to defend herself against “hate speech” accusations related to a social media post she shared that referenced Bible verses.
Päivi Räsänen, a 62-year-old medical doctor and grandmother of seven, stated in a press release that she is “ready to defend her freedom of expression in all necessary courts.”
Her second court appearance is scheduled for August 31st at 9 a.m. and September 1st at the Helsinki Court of Appeals.
Initially, the Helsinki District Court unanimously rejected the hate speech accusations against Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola in February 2022 due to their Christian ideological views on marriage.
Despite the unanimous acquittal, Räsänen said in a news statement that the protracted four-year inquiry had entailed false claims, continuous police questioning, district court hearings, and an imminent appeal hearing.
After Räsänen questioned her church’s sponsorship of an LGBTQ+ Pride event in a 2019 tweet, which included a link to an Instagram post that attached an image of Bible text from verses Romans 1:24–27, the ongoing issues and legal disputes arose.
“The content of my writings and my speeches represents the classical Christian view of marriage and sexuality, the same as the Churches have generally taught for two millennia,” Räsänen wrote in a press release. “I do not condone insulting, threatening or slandering anyone, and my statements have not included content of such a nature.”
The 34-page complaint “openly attacks the core teachings of the Christian faith,” the Finnish politician maintained. The prosecutors had also previously equated the Bible to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
According to Finland’s state prosecutor at the time of the initial allegations, they claimed that Räsänen’s remarks were made with the intention of “inciting intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward homosexuals.”
Prosecutors then recited separate Bible verses that were unrelated to Räsänen’s social media post at the first trial as “bad” speech, claiming that the word “sin” could be interpreted as detrimental and offensive.
The trial, according to Räsänen, “deters people from exercising their right to free speech and religion.”
“If writings based on biblical teachings were to be condemned, that would mean a serious restriction of freedom of religion. It is natural that this would raise concerns among Christians both in Finland and internationally,” she said.
According to Räsänen, she is prepared to defend the right to free speech and religion in “all necessary courts, even the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.”
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