Christian politician laments 'witch-hunts' against people with traditional views on marriage and sexuality

Päivi Räsänen with Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, which has supported her throughout her case.(Photo: ADF International)

A Christian politician prosecuted for her religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality has warned of the danger to free speech as she continues to fight her case in court.

Päivi Räsänen, Finland's former Minister of the Interior, was acquitted of all "hate speech" charges last year with a unanimous judgment that said "it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts".

She was prosecuted after sharing her views in a 2019 tweet, a 2019 radio debate, and a 2004 pamphlet. 

Despite being acquitted, the Finnish prosecution is appealing the "not guilty" verdict, forcing Räsänen back to court to defend her beliefs.

Writing about her ongoing legal battle in The Critic, Räsänen expressed concern about the way in which "hate speech" laws across Western nations have led to "witch-hunts" against people who hold "different views to the approved state orthodoxy".

She warned that if high profile politicians like herself can be taken "through the ringer" for their beliefs, then the free speech of ordinary citizens is even more "endangered". 

She expressed the view that if she does not win her latest court battle, others who share her beliefs and express them publicly, including pastors, can expect similar consequences.

"We'll soon find out if the expression of my Christian, Biblically-based beliefs are criminal acts in modern day Finland," she wrote.

"If so, we might have a problem with anyone quoting or preaching from the Bible in my country.

"Even those who merely dare to challenge the established teaching of the most dominant ideological 'church' of our day are in for trouble.

"Western society is not, as it seems, finished with 'heretics' yet."

Räsänen said that if the Finnish prosecution win their appeal, free speech will be at even greater risk. 

"If they can put politicians with public profiles through the ringer for holding firm to what they believe, then how much more endangered is the free speech of everyday citizens without the platform to fight back?" she said.

"You might not agree with my Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality. If free speech is not for everybody, though, then it's for nobody.

"It might be those who hold my beliefs under fire today, but if I can be put in prison for a simple question, there is no telling which questions may be banned tomorrow."