Christian MP condemns 'completely absurd' criminal investigations into LGBT beliefs

Päivi Räsänen

A Christian MP in Finland has called the criminal investigations into her views on homosexuality "incomprehensible". 

The Finnish Prosecutor General on Thursday ordered two new criminal investigations into Päivi Räsänen over comments she made to journalists. 

The investigations relate to the Christian Democrat MP's discussion around the Bible, Jesus, sin and grace on a programme hosted by Maria Veitola on MTV3 in Feburary 2018, and a radio discussion with journalist Ruben Stiller called "What Would Jesus Think About Gays", which aired in December 2019. 

During both programmes, she reiterated her views on sexuality, which are contained in a 2004 pamphlet she wrote called "Male and Female He Created Them".

Räsänen is already being investigated over the contents of the pamphlet, as well as a tweet she posted last June in which she directly quoted Romans 1:24-27. The authorities have already decided to prosecute over the tweet.

In a statement in Finnish, Räsänen said she has now twice been interviewed by the police in Pasila, Helsinki, over her talk show appearances and that she is awaiting two further interrogations. 

She said that the police concluded no crime had been committed and that it was the Prosecutor General who has ordered the pre-trial investigations. 

"I find the situation incomprehensible and completely absurd," she said. 

Rev Dr Juhana Pohjola, who published Räsänen's pamphlet "Male and Female He Created Them", is also being investigated

"These requests for investigation, and the criminal investigations launched on the basis thereof, seek to limit freedom of expression and religion, and to create a climate of self-censorship for Christians.

"At the same time, there is a risk that the media and journalists will start to cut off some of the discussion. The cycle of fear and silence should not be accepted." 

The criminal investigation extends to the pastor who published Räsänen's pamphlet, Rev Dr Juhana Pohjola. 

Dr Pohjola, who is Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, is accused of "ethnic agitation". 

He says Helsinki police interrogated him for five hours on February 11 over his involvement with the pamphlet.  He denies inciting "ethnic agitation". 

"In my view, Mrs Räsänen's text is not defamatory or insulting to homosexuals. In my answers, I showed that the booklet teaches in line with Christian anthropology that every person is precious as [being created in] the image of God, regardless of sexual orientation," he said.

"This does not mean, however, that people are not responsible before God for their way of life or moral choices. The homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God's order of creation and a transgression against His will. If one is not allowed to teach this publicly, the message of sin and grace will be left without a foundation, and freedom of religion will decline."