Finland’s top prosecutor announced Friday she will appeal a unanimous court decision rejecting her allegations of “hate speech” against a Christian politician for quoting the Bible on Twitter. This means Member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen, who has already spent three years being investigated, interrogated, and prosecuted by her government, must now keep fighting in court so that Christianity stays legal in Finland, and possibly all of Europe.
“The prosecutor’s decision to appeal the acquittal verdict may lead to the case going all the way to the Supreme Court, giving the possibility of securing precedent protecting freedom of speech and religion for all Finnish people. Also I am happy that this decision will lead to the discussion of the teaching in Bible continuing in Finnish society. I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in all necessary courts, and as far as the European Court of Human rights,” Rasanen wrote in a Friday statement in English, a second language.
Before the Finnish court that ultimately ruled in her favor on March 30, Rasanen’s lawyers argued that applying Finland’s identity privilege laws as the prosecutor general wished would effectively outlaw Christianity in Finland. The prosecutor argued Rasanen broke Finland’s hate speech law on three counts: by tweeting a picture of Bible verses during a public debate about whether Finland’s state church should support a homosexual event; by expressing Christian theology during a radio debate; and by writing a booklet called “Male and Female He Created Them” about Christianity’s teachings that God makes men and women different and those biological differences matter.
The Lutheran bishop who published Rasanen’s booklet is also being prosecuted.
Finland’s prosecutor general argues that Rasanen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola’s public explanation of Christianity’s views about the sexes amounts to treating homosexuals as inferior. Rasanen says this and similar claims by the prosecutor are false and defamatory, as Christianity teaches that every person is both a sinner and loved infinitely by God.
“The prosecutor claims in this appeal that I said in the 2004 pamphlet that ‘all homosexuals are and should be regarded as inferior’; in fact, I have never said that and I do not hold that view now or in the past,” Rasanen wrote in her April 29 statement. “On the contrary, in the pamphlet, I state that ‘According to the Christian concept of humanity, everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is equal and of equal value.’”
Most European nations have “hate speech” laws similar to Finland’s, Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Paul Coleman told The Federalist in previous interviews about this case. This means if courts accept the prosecutor’s arguments, this interpretation of identity privilege laws could lead to banning Christianity in Europe. It would also effectively outlaw free speech on a continent that historically originated and strongly protected that ideal as a natural human right.
Many U.S. states and cities have similar identity privilege laws that can be used to curtail Americans’ First Amendment-protected rights to free speech and religious exercise. The U.S. Democrat Party wants to nationalize such speech restrictions by passing a bill they call the Equality Act.
Reporting from The Federalist.