Dismissed case against Finnish MP and bishop on freedom of speech, religious liberty lawsuit

Advertisement


NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The hate speech case against a Christian politician and Lutheran bishop in Finland was dropped on Wednesday after months of litigation.

Bishop Juhana Pohjola and parliamentarian Paivi Räsänen had been charged with three counts of criminal behavior after Räsänen, a doctor and mother of five, questioned the Finnish Lutheran Church’s participation in an LGBT Pride event in 2019. Räsänen was questioned by police several times after her message. to church leadership, and Attorney General Raija Toiviainen charged Räsänen with hate speech in April 2021, with Pohjala on the same charges.

The court dropped all charges on Wednesday, ruling that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.”

FINLAND HAS MOVED TO ‘CENTURY RELIGION’, ‘POSTMODERNISM’, SAYS FINNISH BISHOP ON TRIALS FOR INTOLERANCE

Christian Democrat MP Paivi Rasanen arrives to attend a court hearing in Helsinki, Finland, January 24, 2022.
Advertisement

Christian Democrat MP Paivi Rasanen arrives to attend a court hearing in Helsinki, Finland, January 24, 2022.
(Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

Räsänen has served in the Finnish Parliament since 1995 and served as interior minister from 2011 to 2015.

The couple’s defense argued that prosecutors failed to provide reasonable grounds for the charges, instead falling into discussions of theology and faith.

“The defense denied the charges and criticized the prosecution for not presenting the grounds for its charges on the first day of the hearing, but instead focusing on more general argument and biblical and theological deliberation,” wrote the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland on its website. “Since prosecutors had not pointed to the evidence of the charges, this left the defendants with little opportunity to defend themselves against these charges.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Nadine Maenza, previously issued a statement in support of Pohjola and Räsänen.

“Religious freedom and freedom of expression protect the right to peacefully express one’s beliefs in public, even if others may disagree with those beliefs. Finland should not prosecute Päivi Räsänen and Juhana Pujola,” wrote Maenza.

Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy also sent a letter of support to Pujola and Räsänen during the trial, praising them for not capitulating under pressure from the Finnish government.

“In the spirit of Christian solidarity, we write to offer you our support, encouragement and prayers during this difficult time,” Roy wrote in the open letter. “Ms. Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola, we have kept you in our prayers over the past few months as we monitor your cases from the United States – knowing that this challenge you face is not just legal, but spiritual.”

You Can Read Also

World News

Advertisement

Malek

মন্তব্য করুন

আপনার ই-মেইল এ্যাড্রেস প্রকাশিত হবে না। * চিহ্নিত বিষয়গুলো আবশ্যক।