Finnish Court Dismisses Charges Against Politician Accused of ‘Hate Speech’ for Posting Bible Verse

A Finnish court ruled in favor of parliament member Päivi Räsänen, who was accused of hate speech after tweeting a Bible verse.

The charges against Räsänen came from a 2019 tweet where she shared a Bible verse and discussed her church’s support of a Pride parade.

She also published a pamphlet titled, “Male & Female He Created Them.”

The publisher of the pamphlet, Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola, was also involved in the trial alongside Räsänen.

Executive Director of [Alliance Defending Freedom] International Paul Coleman said in a statement, “At the heart of the prosecutor’s examination of Räsänen was this: would she recant her beliefs? The answer was no – she would not deny the teachings of her faith. The cross-examination bore all the resemblance of a ‘heresy’ trial of the middle ages; it was implied that Räsänen had ‘blasphemed’ against the dominant orthodoxies of the day.”

CEO of ADF Kristen Waggoner tweeted that the decision is a “monumental victory for free speech and one that should resonate globally as censorship has become a significant threat to individuals of faith around the world.”

“Free speech isn’t just an American political liberty. It’s a human right. What happened to Päivi should not happen in any free society. We are grateful for this victory.”

Räsänen responded to the decision in a statement, saying, “I am deeply relieved. The court has fully endorsed and upheld the decision of the district court, which recognized everyone’s right to free speech.”

“It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective,” she continued. “The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech. I sincerely hope other innocent people will be spared the same ordeal for simply voicing their convictions.”