The day has finally come when, in certain parts of the world, merely quoting God’s Word on homosexuality can find you the subject of a criminal investigation.
Päivi Räsänen, a Christian MP in Finland is experiencing just that, and according to Christian Today, she finds it “incomprehensible.”
On Thursday, the Finnish Prosecutor General ordered two new criminal investigations into Räsänen over comments she made to journalists regarding the Bible, Jesus, sin, and grace.
The comments were made during a February 2018 program hosted by Maria Veitola on MTV3 and a December 2019 radio interview with journalist Ruben Stiller titled “What Would Jesus Think About Gays.”
In both instances, Räsänen plainly stated her thoughts on sexuality, which are also outlined in a pamphlet she wrote in 2004 called “Male and Female He Created Them.”
According to The Helsinki Times, Räsänen stated in the pamphlet that she disapproves of the “normalization” of homosexuality as evidenced by Finland’s decision at the time to allow homosexual couples to register their partnerships. The Times states that she also referred to homosexuality as an abnormality and a developmental disorder.
Police had initially decided not to open an investigation into the pamphlet. The Prosecutor General, however, ruled that Räsänen may have been guilty of “ethnic agitation,” a sort of hate crime classification which was expanded under Finnish law to include sexual orientation in 2011 following a framework decision by the European Union.
Räsänen is also under investigation for a tweet she wrote last June in which she directly quoted Romans 1:24-27. Finnish authorities have decided to prosecute over the tweet.
“I find the situation incomprehensible and completely absurd,” Räsänen said in a statement in Finnish, Christian Today notes. “These requests for investigation, and the criminal investigations launched on the basis thereof, seek to limit freedom of expression and religion, and to create a climate of self-censorship for Christians.”
“At the same time, there is a risk that the media and journalists will start to cut off some of the discussion,” Räsänen continued. “The cycle of fear and silence should not be accepted.”
The pastor who published Räsänen’s pamphlet, Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, is also under investigation.
Dr. Pohjola, who serves as Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, said Helsinki police interrogated him for five hours last month over his involvement with the pamphlet. He denies inciting “ethnic agitation”.
“In my view, Mrs Räsänen’s text is not defamatory or insulting to homosexuals. In my answers, I showed that the booklet teaches in line with Christian anthropology that every person is precious as [being created in] the image of God, regardless of sexual orientation,” Dr. Pohjola said.
“This does not mean, however, that people are not responsible before God for their way of life or moral choices,” he continued. “The homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God’s order of creation and a transgression against His will. If one is not allowed to teach this publicly, the message of sin and grace will be left without a foundation, and freedom of religion will decline.”
If Christ came to die and save us from our sin to justify us before our holy, righteous God, what becomes of the Great Commission when we cannot tell people what sin even is?! How can anyone repent of their sins if they are repeatedly told from peers, pulpits, and governments that their particular sin is a good thing?
Thankfully, we know that God is faithful to His promises and that His Spirit is powerful to change the hearts of even the most wretched sinners. We must continue to be boldly vocal in our faith, seeking to please God and fulfill His commands rather than those of any earthly authority.
Praise God for people like Räsänen who aren’t afraid to speak with such boldness!
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