Dr. Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician who was victorious in court this week after facing a years-long legal battle for sharing her biblical views on sexuality, said she is “grateful and relieved.”
But while the Helsinki Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the three criminal charges against Räsänen, there’s still a chance the prosecutor could appeal.
“[The] acquittal was very clear and the result of the court was very clear,” Räsänen told CBN Digital. “The prosecutor, she’s able to appeal to the Supreme Court. … And she said that she’s considering it.”
The appeal would need to be filed by Jan. 15, 2024, according to ADF International, the legal organization backing Räsänen.
Watch her explain the victory and potential appeal:
Regardless, Räsänen, a distinguished member of the Finnish parliament and former interior secretary, said she is hoping her latest victory encourages Christians to defend their religious freedom and free speech rights.
“This almost five-year process, it has been some kind of warning sign to people,” she said. “It has also tended to create some kind of self-censorship among people.”
As CBN Digital reported, Räsänen’s plight began June 17, 2019, when she tweeted the text of Romans 1:24-27, which condemns homosexuality as sinful. She was alarmed at the time over a decision by her denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to support an LGBTQ Pride event, so she responded by sharing Scripture on her X account, sparking a criminal complaint.
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Then, a pamphlet detailing biblical views on sexuality she wrote nearly 20 years ago and a radio interview also landed her in legal hot water, culminating in a trial last year. She was acquitted in the first legal battle before the prosecutor appealed and ended up in court again in the most recent legal debacle.
In the latest trial, Räsänen said the prosecutor argued she’s allowed to “believe in her mind whatever about the Bible, but it is illegal to express it outwardly.”
Räsänen could have faced a maximum punishment of two years in jail if convicted, though the prosecutor was reportedly pushing for a “heavy fine.”
Beyond that, though, Räsänen was most concerned the case essentially put the Bible on trial in Finland, despite the fact the nation has freedom of faith and speech enshrined in its constitution.
She worried about the potential impact of losing her case.
“It would start the time of persecution of Christians in Finland, if I would be convicted,” Räsänen previously said. “Many lawyers agree with me, and then it would have … ramifications to other European countries.”
Fortunately, that result won’t become a reality — at least for now.
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