Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook
Police are investigating a Christian politician in Finland for an alleged "hate crime" because she shared a Bible verse on Facebook to criticize a national church that participated in LGBT Pride festivities. Her post made Räsänen the subject of a pretrial investigation by the Finnish Police for a suspected incitement against sexual and gender minorities.
In the post, Finnish Christian Democratic member of parliament and former Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen, criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for participating in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June.
“The pre-trial investigations have not yet been completed. Police will provide more details once the investigations have been completed or presented to a prosecutor for consideration of charges,” the Helsinki Police Department officer in charge of the investigation told the Helsinki Times.
Räsänen, who is a member of and is married to a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF), came under fire for her June Facebook post: “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.”
The vast majority, 69 percent, of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which has had a steady decline over the last few years, according to Evangelical Focus.
In mid-August, the Finnish politician tweeted: “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.”
She is one of three politicians in the nation under pretrial investigation right now, joining Social Democrat Hussein Al-Taee and Finns Party Juha Mäenpää, who are suspected of incitement due to racist comments.
Räsänen’s minority party holds five seats in the 200-seat Finnish Parliament. She is known for her defense of traditional Christian views on abortion and marriage, but after being called “homophobic,” the politician tweeted: “It is not right to label Christian conviction as phobia.”
Her criticism was alongside a picture of Romans 1:24-27 that describes same-sex relationships as “shameful.”:
Romans 1:24-27 New International Version (NIV)
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 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.