Christian MP prosecuted over sexuality tweets fears for religious freedom

Päivi Räsänen with a member of her legal team at the Alliance Defending Freedom.(Photo: ADF International)

A Christian MP in Finland who is being prosecuted for expressing a traditional view of marriage and sexuality says she must continue to speak out in spite of the case against her.

Päivi Räsänen faces up to six years in prison over her comments, made in a 2004 church pamphlet, a TV interview and on social media.

She told Jeff King in the 'Into the Deep' podcast that her case raises questions about religious freedom in the country.

She cited a police report into her comments which concluded that "if, for example, any of the viewpoints content in the Bible would be considered sufficient as such to fulfill the criteria for the crime of ethnic aggravation, then the distribution of the Bible, or rendering it available would in principle be considered a crime of ethnic aggravation and thus punishable."

Räsänen told King, "This is also a question, are we allowed to agree with the Bible? Are we allowed to keep Bibles in public and teach what the Bible tells us? I think this is a very, very deep question of freedom of faith and religion."

When it was suggested that the Finnish Prosecutor General might be trying to make an example of her because of her high profile status - Räsänen is the former minister of the interior - she agreed, saying she was "not the only one who has been speaking about these things".

Despite being prosecuted, she said there was a need "to speak up" and "try to wake up the people to what the Bible really says about this subject [of homosexuality]".

She added that she had received "thousands of messages" of support both from within Finland and internationally.

"Of course this has raised up a lot of concern among Christians, but I think that I am happy and I'm grateful that... I believe that when God wakes up people to pray and to speak about [the] Bible, God has something good in His mind," she said.

"And I believe that everything is in God's hands in this case, and I just hope that I could, in public, that I could give encouragement to Christians. That I will stand for these teachings of [the] Bible and I hope that other Christians also will do the same."