Police Investigating Finnish Politician for Sharing Bible Verses on Facebook
Can you imagine living in a country where you are not allowed to share a Bible verse on social media? You can’t? Don’t move to Finland. Päivi Räsänen, a Christian member of Parliament, is under investigation for sharing Romans 1:24-27 on Facebook. By the police. She wrote the post in June. She’s part of the Christian Democrat Party and a former Interior Minister.
Here’s the passage: “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another,” Paul says.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Her post criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for participating in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. “Our Church Act states that ‘All doctrine must be examined and evaluated according to God’s Holy Word.’ Pride events celebrate acts and relations that the Bible calls sinful and shameful, she wrote.
She asked, “How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride? #LGBT #HelsinkiPride2019.” Räsänen is a member of the ELCF and her husband is a pastor in the denomination. About 69% of the Finnish population are members of the ELCF. Räsänen is known for her Christian views on abortion and marriage.
‘Incitement Against Sexual and Gender Minorities’
The Finnish Police began a pretrial investigation. They suspected Räsänen of “incitement against sexual and gender minorities.” What American liberals call “hate speech.”
Räsänen tweeted in August, “I am not concerned on my part, as I trust this will not move on to the prosecutor. However, I am concerned if quoting the Bible is considered even ‘slightly’ illegal. I hope this won’t lead to self-censorship among Christians. Rom. 1:24–27.”
Critics accused her of homophobia. She tweeted in response, “It is not right to label Christian conviction as phobia.”
She expressed the irony to Faithwire. “It seems that many Christians in my country are now hiding,” she said. Christian are “going to the closet now that the LGBT-community has come out to the public.”
She almost resigned from the church, but prayed about it and decided against it. “As I prayed, I was convinced that now is the time to try to wake up the sleeping ones, not to jump out of a sinking boat,” she explained. “My purpose was in no way to insult sexual minorities. My criticism was aimed at the leadership of the church.”
She’s Not Cowering
Räsänen refuses to stop sharing Scripture and expressing the Biblical position on issues. “I do not want to be defiant, but I am going to use my freedom of religion and also to talk accordingly, whatever the outcome of this process and police investigation may be. I encourage all people to use their freedom of religion also in the current debatable themes.”
She noted, “This right has been guaranteed to us also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Constitution of Finland.” The Finnish Constitution says that “Everyone has the freedom of religion and conscience. Freedom of religion and conscience entails the right to profess and practice a religion, the right to express one’s convictions and the right to be a member of or decline to be a member of a religious community.” It also declares that “Everyone has the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression entails the right to express, disseminate and receive information, opinions and other communications without prior prevention by anyone.”
The head of the Lutherans in Finland disagreed. ECLF archbishop Taipo Luoma responded to Räsänen’s criticism. “Same-sex couples are welcome at all church activities,” he said. The church’s performing of same-sex marriages is “only a matter of time.” Luoma reportedly opposes same-sex weddings but will support anything his church decides.
There is already a significant problem with Facebook and the other social media giants censoring conservatives and Christians. This just adds another layer. It is more disturbing since it can result in criminal penalties. And since the U.S. often follows in the direction European countries are going, there is a real concern that this could happen here. Criticism of LGBT people may soon be considered a hate crime here. Even if all you did was quote the Bible.