Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Member of the Finnish Parliament since 1995 and a medical doctor, is facing potential jail time of six years for expressing her opinion supporting Biblical marriage and sexuality. She reportedly did this on three separate occasions and each incident is subject to a potential two-year jail sentence.
According to Christian Headlines, Räsänen is facing prison over a tweet she made in 2019 questioning the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran church on these two issues and as well statements in a 2004 pamphlet and on a TV show in 2018.
Christian Headlines reports:
“I cannot accept that voicing my religious beliefs could mean imprisonment. I do not consider myself guilty of threatening, slandering or insulting anyone. My statements were all based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality,” Räsänen said in a statement.
Paul Coleman, the Executive Director of ADF International, explained that “Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy.”
“The Finnish Prosecutor General’s decision to bring these charges against Dr. Räsänen creates a culture of fear and censorship,” he added. “It is sobering that such cases are becoming all too common throughout Europe. If committed civil servants like Päivi Räsänen are criminally charged for voicing their deeply held beliefs, it creates a chilling effect for everyone’s right to speak freely.”