More than 14,000 people have signed a pledge, vowing to pray for a Finnish politician who has been prosecuted for citing Scripture in defending her view of sexuality.
As CBN News previously reported, Päivi Räsänen, an MP in Finland, is facing “hate speech” charges for her work in creating a pamphlet promoting a biblical view of marriage and sexuality and against homosexuality.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held hostage in Turkey and has since gone on to become an outspoken advocate for religious freedom, delivered a letter in support of Räsänen. The petition, crafted by the Family Research Council, has been signed by 14,341 people.
It was delivered Monday, amid closing arguments for the MP’s “hate speech” trial.
What are the details?
Räsänen, a medical doctor, has been under investigation since 2019, when she posted a tweet critical of the Finnish Lutheran Church for its support of LGBTQ Pride Month. Subsequently, she has also been prosecuted for helping develop the pamphlet on biblical sexuality.
The Finnish prosecutor general brought three charges against Räsänen in April 2021.
The indictment against the MP and Bishop Juhana Pohjala of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland accuses them of “incitement of hatred against a group which falls under the sections of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Brunson’s letter expressed support for Räsänen and the bishop.
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“I, the undersigned, want you to be encouraged that I am praying for you and Bishop Juhana Pohjala as you are being persecuted and attacked for sharing the truth of Scripture regarding God’s design for marriage and sexuality,” he wrote. “Your bold stand to live out Acts 5:29 by obeying God rather than man is inspiring to Christians in Finland, the United States, and around the world.”
He went on to write he is praying “the Lord Jesus will give you favor in the courtroom where you are on trial for your faith.”
“May God open the eyes of those deceived by the culture to the truth of His Word,” Brunson added. “No matter the outcome of your case, may the Lord’s peace surround you as you stand upon His promise in Romans 8:28, ‘that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
If convicted, Räsänen could face up to two years in prison as well as a fine.
Paul Coleman, international executive director for ADF, which is representing Räsänen, said a conviction would have a chilling effect on religious freedom through the Western world.
“Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy,” he said in a statement. “The Finnish prosecutor general’s decision to bring these charges against Dr. Räsänen creates a culture of fear and censorship. If committed civil servants like Päivi Räsänen are criminally charged for voicing their deeply held beliefs, it creates a chilling effect for everyone’s right to speak freely.”
You can read more about Räsänen‘s case here.
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