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Päivi Räsänen faces second hearing: “Trial targets core of Christian faith”

The Finnish Member of Parliament charged with incitement to hatred against homosexuals faces the court again on 14 February. She defends herself against what she considers “false claims” of the prosecution.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus HELSINKI 11 DE FEBRERO DE 2022 12:25 h
Päivi Räsänen, in front of the Helsinki courthouse just before the hearing of 24 January 2022. / Photo Matti Korhonen, [link]Uusi Tie[/link].

Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician accused of inciting hate against homosexuals in three different cases, will face the court for a second day on 14 February.

The medical doctor and Bible-believing Christian, is expected to defend herself from accusation of the prosecutor and defend her right to believe and publicly express the traditional Christian doctrines on human sexuality and marriage.

“The prosecutor presented in writing many false claims about my speech and writing, which were all easily refuted”, the experienced parliamentarian and former Interior Minister said three days before the second hearing.

“The prosecutor claims that, according to me, the tendency to sexually abuse children is an inescapable characteristic of homosexuality”, she said. “I have not said this and do not think so. Furthermore, the prosecutor claims I regard homosexuals as inferior human beings. I regard homosexuals as fully equal humans and, in addition, equally worthy human beings created in the image of God”.

The member of the Christian Democratic Party of Finland also says it is untrue that in a radio show (one of the three cases for which she has been brought to court) she called homosexuality a genetic degeneration or a disease-causing genetic inheritance. “On the contrary, I rejected the idea of homosexuality as a genetic trait, a claim that was suggested by the host of the discussion program, saying that the most recent studies have shown the possible genetic inheritance in homosexuality to be small”.


Are certain Biblical doctrines insulting?

In the first hearing, the prosecutor rejected the argument that the trial would become a kind of inquisition (see summaries of the discussion in court on 25 January here and here). Räsänen responds: “Although the prosecutor at first assured that the trial would not be an inquisition, she surprisingly targeted the core doctrine of Christianity. Very fast and extensively she moved to read the Bible trying to prove it contains insulting paragraphs. She claimed that my views are known as ‘fundamentalist’ doctrine, which she summarized as ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’”.

According to Räsänen, “this doctrine the prosecutor regarded as insulting and defaming, because according to her, you cannot make a distinction between the person’s identity and his or her action” is an “egregious statement”, because “the prosecutor tries to deny the core message of the Bible: the teaching of law and gospel”.

Such an understanding of the gospel, is “widely appreciated” among Christians, and therefore presenting it as radical and offensive is “startling”, says the politician and medical doctor, who has been in parliament since 1995.


The theology of sin and dignity

In her statement on 11 February, she also goes on to explain the theological concept of sin (“God so loved all the people, that He gave His only Son to die on the cross to suffer the punishment that belonged to us because of our sins. Jesus condemned the sin but loved the sinners”) and emphasises again one of her main messages in the last months: “I regard homosexuals as fully equal humans and, in addition, equally worthy human beings created in the image of God”.

Evangelical Focus will report about the second hearing of the trial on 14 February and the decision of the court, which is expected around after the final hearing.

Read more about the cases around Päivi Räsänen here.




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