House Republicans Blast Finland’s Efforts To Prosecute Christian MP For Her Biblical Beliefs

House Republicans reportedly blasted Finland for condemning a Christian Member of the Parliament to six years of imprisonment for her biblical beliefs.

The Christian Post said six members of the United States Congress led by Texas Representative Chip Roy have sent a letter on Wednesday to U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Nadine Maenza condemning the persecution on Parliament Member Päivi Räsänen. The letter raised that sending Räsänen, as well as, Evangelical Lutheran Mission Bishop Juhana Pohjola to prison are “infringements on religious freedom.”

Roy is joined by Colorado Representative Doug Lamborn, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, Georgia Representative Jody Hice, Texas Representative Michael Cloud, and Florida Representative Byron Donalds in the letter.

In May, Christianity Daily reported that Räsänen faced six years of imprisonment for publicly expressing her biblical views on sexuality and marriage. She was charged with three offenses that included “hate speech,” with each offense subject to two years imprisonment.

Räsänen was put under police investigation in June 2019 for a 2004 pamphlet that showed her opinion on marriage and sexuality besides the comments she made in a TV show about it and in a “tweet directed at her church leadership” in 2018. Her alleged crimes included “hate speech” for speaking against the 2019 Pride celebration of the LGBT community in Finland.

In a press release date Nov. 10, the Republican Representatives focused on the Finnish government’s failure to protect religious liberty and that such an act merits a country to be added to the USCIRF Special Watch List.

“The Finnish government is currently prosecuting well-known Christians for publicly supporting long-standing Christian doctrine. The prosecutions of the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF), the Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, and Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a Member of Parliament, are specific examples of the Finnish government’s violation of freedom of religion,” the Republicans said.

They also criticized Finland for the “ethnic agitation” they charged Räsänen and Pohjola with for it is but an expression of their religious beliefs on marriage as taught in the Bible. They called out on the government’s persecution of Christians and that citizens should never be caught in such a situation.

“Citizens should never be forced to choose between a fundamental freedom–their faith–and legal persecution. We strongly condemn the actions of the Finnish government to persecute Christians for speaking their beliefs and urge USCIRF to take these actions into consideration when recommending which countries should be added to State Department’s Special Watch List, established under the International Freedom Act of 1998,” the representatives underscored.

The congressmen said that such actions raise the credibility of Finland in fulfilling its commitment for being a part of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe that strives to protect religious freedom. It only shows an “abuse” of power on the part of the government and will have a negative consequence not only in Finland but to other Western countries.

In addition, they pointed out that there are other people concerned about these events such as various human rights advocates and members of the academe who similarly wrote the USCIRF in the hope that the United States Secretary of Treasury will “issue sanctions against Finland’s top prosecutor for filing charges against” Räsänen and Pohjola. This excludes the open letter of the International Lutheran Council on the matter.

Before closing their letter, the representatives stressed that true religious liberty is freedom to express convictions despite its unpopularity in the world’s “prevailing cultural winds.”

“At the center of religious liberty is the freedom for individuals to live in accordance to their conscience and beliefs,” they highlighted.

“True religious liberty both protects an individual’s right both to hold beliefs that are unpopular with the prevailing cultural winds of the world, but also their right to live out authentically and profess the truths they hold dear without fear of government interference. Those rights are fundamental and unalienable to the whole human race, and it is critical to the flourishing of both the human soul and civil society,” they added.