A lawmaker from Finland who was heavily criticized for her biblical views on marriage and sexuality decried the "heavy hatred for Christian values" in Western society.
Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen, who had been prosecuted for declaring her Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality, believes that there is now a "heavy hatred for Christian values" in Western society. This condemnation against biblical teachings is causing many Christians to censor themselves so that they would be accepted in society.
According to the Christian Post, Räsänen was one of several global political figures who spoke at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C., this week. The former interior minister who has served in Finnish Parliament for almost 30 years was famously persecuted for using "hate speech" when she declared her biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality.
Räsänen attended the religious freedom conference, which goal is to improve "the public awareness and political strength for the international religious freedom movement." The summit was led by former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who spearheaded similar events at the State Department under the Trump administration.
Finnish MP Accused of 'Hate Speech'
In January, Räsänen went on trail for "hate speech" after she vocally opposed members of the LGBT community, calling homosexuality a developmental disorder and a sin, Reuters reported at the time. According to the prosecutor, at issue was Räsänen's online opinion letter that was published in 2004, in which she called homosexuality a "developmental disorder."
In 2019, the Finland MP took to Twitter to call it a "sin." that same year, Räsänen described homosexuality as a form of "genetic degeneration," charging the lawmaker with three counts of agitation against gay people. The Finnish lawmaker denied all allegations and said that the prosecutor's claims were unfounded.
"I feel great responsibility because I am aware that this case is historic for freedom of speech and freedom of religion," Räsänen told the media giant. "Obviously, Christians sticking to the Bible's teachings have the right to participate in public debate."
Finnish MP Cleared of 'Hate Speech' Charges
In March, the Helsinki District Court ruled that Räsänen had acted within the limits of law and was cleared of all her "hate speech" charges. According to Evangelical Focus, the Finnish MP did not exceed the limits of freedom of expression nor did she insult members of the LGBT community. The district court also found that the Christian lawmaker "did not intend to degrade or insult."
The Helsinki District Court then ordered the Finnish State to pay Räsänen and Juhana Pohjola, who published the lawmaker's pamphlet for legal costs. The Finnish lawmaker said that she was "relieved, happy and grateful to God" for the result of the trial and for the court's recognition of "the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of religion."
The court's decision was released on March 30, during which it said that "it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts." Following her prosecution, Räsänen's case earned international interest and she admitted she felt grateful that it offered opportunities for her to "present the teachings of the Bible and the Gospel." She added that religious freedom does not only pertain to Christians, but people of all faiths.
During the trial, Räsänen faced a possibility of up to six years in prison. The 62 year old told CP that her prosecution was attributed to Finland becoming a "post-Christian world" wherein "Christian values are, in fact, a minority." The Finnish MP lamented, "The change has been so fast that it is difficult to understand what is happening."
Räsänen reiterated that she has no ill will towards members of the LGBT community and suggested that the people who accuse her of "hate speech" are actually the ones who are perpetuating hate. She explained that all people are "sinners" who "need Jesus."
However, society's "heavy hatred" against Christianity and Christian values is sparking hatred all over the world, Räsänen commented. The Finnish MP explained that speaking out on gender issues "arouses hatred against you in our society" especially if a person upholds biblical beliefs in marriage and sexuality. The Finnish MP admitted that she never thought that she would be prosecuted for expressing her belief in "classical Christian doctrines about marriage and sexuality."
Räsänen is sounding the alarm on the fast-changing world, saying that such cultural shifts are "very alarming." She urged Christians to open their eyes to what is going on because as time goes by, it becomes harder for Christians to express their faith in a public setting.
Räsänen lamented that this leads to self-censorship, in which Christians must refrain from publicly expressing their faith or biblical views lest they be criticized by others. In the U.S., the same is happening, with many Christians filing lawsuits against institutions for violating their religious freedom rights.