Police interrogations were a 'privilege', says Finnish MP facing trial for sexuality comments

Päivi Räsänen with Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, which is supporting her in the case.(Photo: ADF International)

A Christian MP in Finland who will stand trial later this month for publicly expressing her beliefs on marriage and sexuality has called it a "privilege" to be interrogated by the police.

Päivi Räsänen, who is being supported by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), will stand trial on 24 January over a marriage pamphlet published in 2004 as well as comments she made on a radio show in 2019 and a tweet of a Bible passage.

The committed Christian, who is a former Minister of the Interior, said in an interview with ADF that she was asked during "very absurd" police interrogations about her interpretation of the Apostle Paul's writings on homosexuality.

Räsänen said she thought it was "quite a privilege" to be interrogated about her views on marriage and sexuality "because I had many times during these hours the possibility to tell to the police the message of the Gospel, what the Bible teaches about the value of human beings, that all people are created in the image of God, and that is why they all are valuable". 

She said that she was shocked to have been interrogated about her beliefs in a way that was reminiscent of "Soviet times".

"I could never have imagined when I worked as the Minister of the Interior and was in charge of the police that I would be interrogated and asked that kind of questions in a police station," she said.

She was also asked to "renounce" her social media posts and writings on the biblical view of marriage and sexuality, which she refused to do.

"But I answered that I will stand on what I believe and I will speak about these things and write about these things also in the future, because they are a matter of conviction, not only an opinion," she said.

Asked how she felt ahead of the trial, she said she was "a little bit nervous" but had a "calmed mind". 

"I pray that I will have wisdom to answer," she said. 

Bishop Juhana Pohjola, of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, is standing trial alongside Räsänen for publishing the 2004 pamphlet.

He told Christian Today in an interview last month that he was asked to remove the pamphlet from the Church's website during a police interrogation, but he refused. 

He said he was "ready to pay whatever the price is" for publicly expressing the biblical view of marriage and sexuality, but he also expressed his fear that the case had already damaged free speech. 

"The judgment is important due to the precedent that it sets for future free speech cases," he said. 

"However, I´m more worried about the signal sent already than about the outcome of our case. Many are afraid to speak publicly against the culturally dominant LGBTQ narrative. Self-censorship is already evident. This is detrimental to freedom of speech and religion in the long run." 

ADF International has launched an appeal to raise €15,000 to finance their legal defence.