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Newest NATO Member Escalates Prosecution Of Christians To Supreme Court

paivi rasanen stands outside a building
Image CreditADF International / released

Two prominent Christians prosecuted for quoting the Bible will be defending themselves to Finland’s Supreme Court after an appeal Friday from a Helsinki prosecutor.

“This court case is historic for freedom of expression and religion,” said Finnish Member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen, one of the two Christians prosecuted for publicly speaking what the Bible teaches about sex. “For the first time in a criminal case, the court has weighed in on whether teachings linked to the Bible can be brought forth and publicly agreed with.”

The case could reach the European Court of Human Rights, where its outcome would affect the world. This appears to be the first post-Soviet case in Europe of a government prosecuting Christians for their beliefs, legal analysts have told The Federalist.

Rasanen was hauled into court nearly five years ago, in 2019, for tweeting a picture of a Bible verse during a homosexual parade endorsed by Finland’s state church. When the government investigated Rasanen for her tweet, state prosecutors uncovered a booklet Rasanen, a medical doctor, had written explaining Christian views of sex. The booklet was published as part of a theological teaching series by Juhana Pohjola, a pastor who is now the bishop of a non-government-sponsored Lutheran church body in Finland.

So state prosecutors charged Pohjola with violating “hate speech” laws for publishing the booklet, and Rasanen with “hate speech” for writing it. Rasanen faces two additional criminal counts for stating Christian sexual theology on a radio show and her tweet. The prosecution wants the two Christians fined tens of thousands of Euros and their offending speech and writings erased from the internet.

The initial court and appeals court to hear the prosecution both unanimously voted to clear both Christians of all charges. In Finland, however, prosecutors can appeal non-convictions. Finland’s top prosecutor in Helsinki is using this case to pursue a precedent that would allow the government to criminalize quoting the Bible, reading it out loud, or publishing it in Finland, a historically Christian nation.

International organizations have backed the two Christians, including multiple U.S. members of Congress. Forty-five Lutheran church bodies have issued letters of support for the two Christians, and orthodox Lutheran bishops elected Pohjola chairman of the International Lutheran Council in 2022, partly in honor of his persecution. The Federalist interviewed Pohjola in 2021 and Rasanen in 2022 in the United States.

“The Helsinki Court of Appeal dismissed all the charges in its ruling in November 2023 and stated that the intent of my writings and communication was not to defame or slander anyone, nor did they contain anything illegal,” Rasanen noted in a Jan. 12 statement. “Also, on 30th March 2022, the Helsinki District Court rejected all the charges against me and stated that my texts did not even contain the untruthful claims the prosecutor had put in my mouth.”

The prosecutor claims Rasanen believes homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals, which Rasanen has publicly repudiated multiple times, including under oath in court and in 13 hours of police interrogations. This prosecution has given Rasanen and Pohjola an international platform for preaching orthodox Christianity’s teachings that all people are equally guilty before God and equally beloved and able to be redeemed by His Son, Jesus Christ, no matter what they have ever done.

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