Päivi Räsänen is fighting on behalf of Christians not only in Finland but across the West  – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — On November 14, 2023, it appeared that the years-long persecution of Finnish parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen was finally over. The Helsinki Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to dismiss criminal “hate speech” charges brought against her. It was her second victory in court, and Räsänen, a mother, grandmother, physician, and former cabinet minister, was acquitted of all charges for defending biblical truths about marriage and sexuality in public and could finally look forward to moving on with her life.  

She fought the good fight, and she fought it with a grace and dignity that was a credit to her faith and a faithful witness to all who followed her ordeal. 

But despite these two definitive victories, the office of the public prosecutor has announced that it will be appealing Räsänen’s case to the highest court in Finland, the Supreme Court, arguing that the court must determine “how to weigh up the different fundamental rights in a case such as this” and that the case “is a question of the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression and the prohibition of discrimination, and of when expressions should be considered as punishable hate speech above the threshold of criminality.”  

The speech the prosecutor believes to be criminal is a 2019 tweet of Romans 1:24-27, comments in a radio debate on sexuality, and a 2004 booklet Räsänen authored titled “Male and Female He Created Them: Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity.” The prosecutor has previously made her own position—and the position of the prosecution—crystal clear, stating trenchantly concerning the booklet that: “The point isn’t whether it is true or not, but that it is insulting.” In short, at question is the legal right to state Christian truths that LGBT-identifying people and their allies feel are offensive to them. 

RELATED: Pro-LGBT prosecutor appeals free speech acquittal of Christians to Finnish Supreme Court

I’ve been covering this story for years and have interviewed Räsänen several times, and for a summary of the persecution of Päivi Räsänen, you can read one of my previous reports here. Time and again, Räsänen has accepted her ordeal as an opportunity to defend fundamental freedoms not only on behalf of Christians in Finland, but across the West. A ruling against her would have created the extraordinarily dangerous precedent of making it essentially illegal to quote the Bible publicly, a precedent which two court rulings have thus far firmly rejected. But her persecutors—fueled by support from the radical LGBT movement—is refusing to give up. 

“It has been over four years and during that time I have endured hours of police interrogation in addition to two criminal trials,” Räsänen told me in September. “It has been exhausting and of course the state has unlimited public resources to prosecute me. I have also had my words twisted and taken out of context and been accused of saying things I didn’t say and believing things I don’t believe. It seems that I am being made an example of – because as they seek to censor a politician with a public platform, there are no doubt many who see this taking place and choose to stay silent about their beliefs. That’s why it’s so important that we win – not only for me, but for everybody watching, to have confidence in the protection of free speech in the West.” 

The Finnish state prosecutor must surely be aware that her case against Räsänen is unlikely to succeed—indeed, the Supreme Court may yet decline to hear the case at all—so why is she still pursing it? The answer is simple: The process is the punishment. By continuing to hound Räsänen, the prosecutor is sending a message to Christians in Finland: You may have the right to speak about your beliefs in public, but we have the power to make you suffer for doing so. Even if Räsänen wins, she will still have endured a grueling, years-long, and very expensive ordeal that has seen her constantly smeared in public by LGBT activists, the press, and the prosecution.  

Many Christians may be watching what is happening to her and deciding that perhaps it is simply better to remain silent—and this is precisely the chilling effect the prosecutor and her allies intend.  

READ: Nearly one-quarter of young people in de-Christianized Britain would ban the Bible

Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

Previous ArticleNext Article