Bible Verses are not hate speech: Finnish MP acquitted of all charges
Recently acquitted Finland Member of Parliament, Päivi Räsänen was on trial for tweeting Bible verses. The court ruling that Bible verses are not hate speech. The Alliance Defending Freedom International, which represented Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola, announced, “a Finnish court unanimously concluded that ‘it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.'”
According to the BBC, If Rasanen had been found guilty at her inquisition heresy trial, she could have been fined and imprisoned for two years.
Matthew 10:33 “But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Bible Verses as Free Speech was on Trial
The chilling effect of preventing anyone from speaking in public or even writing about their biblical beliefs would be disastrous and criminal if the Finland court ruled against the member of Parliament. Räsänen emphasized,
“I am so grateful the court recognized the threat to free speech and ruled in our favor. I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after being acquitted. Although I am grateful for having had this chance to stand up for freedom of speech, I hope that this ruling will help prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal,” reported ADF.
The escalation of the assault on freedom of speech is significant in 2022. Christian voices have been marginalized across the world with deadly consequences. The walls of free speech are closing in on tens of thousands worldwide, where being canceled by denying Christian freedom of speech is just the beginning.
Why Freedom of Biblical Speech Matters to Persecuted Christians
According to Christianity Today,
“Overall, 360 million Christians live in nations with high levels of persecution or discrimination. That’s 1 in 7 Christians worldwide, including 1 in 5 believers in Africa, 2 in 5 in Asia, and 1 in 15 in Latin America.”
According to Open Doors, an organization that prepares an annual report on attacks on a Christianity, attacks on Christians are getting worse.
David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, emphasized,
“This year’s findings indicate seismic changes in the persecution landscape. A thousand more Christians were detained. Six hundred more churches were attacked or closed.”
Afghanistan is the new No. 1, according to the 2022 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and challenging to be a Christian.”
“The category of Christians detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned set a new high in 2021, with a total of 6,175, about 1,000 more cases than the previous reporting period. Open Doors reported 4,765 detained believers represented an increase of 69 percent. India led with 1,310 cases, and along with an unnamed nation, Pakistan, and China, made up 90 percent of the total.”
Finland’s Acquittal of Bible Verse as hate Speech sends a clarion call for others to Stand up
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you. But respond with gentleness and respect,”
“We welcome the Helsinki District Court’s ruling. This is an important decision which upholds the fundamental right to freedom of speech in Finland. In a free society, everyone should be allowed to share their beliefs without fear of censorship,” says Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International.
Coleman adds, “This is the foundation of every free and democratic society. Criminalizing speech through so-called ‘hate-speech’ laws shuts down important public debates and poses a grave threat to our democracies.”
Christian Broadcasting Network reported,
“Räsänen was met with interdenominational support from fellow Christians and leaders across the globe, including a prayer pledge with more than 14,000 signatures in support of the Finnish MP. In fact, a number of U.S. Senators sent a letter to Rashad Hussain, US Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, penned by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The letter supported Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola and labeled the prosecution alarming.”
The letter reads in part,
“We are greatly concerned that the use of Finnish hate speech law is tantamount to secular blasphemy law. It could open the door for the prosecution of other devout Christians, Muslims, Jews, and adherents of other faiths for publicly stating their religious beliefs that may conflict with secular trends. We believe that, regardless of whether Finnish prosecutors agree with the religious beliefs that MP Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola have expressed, all people have a fundamental right to the freedoms of religion and speech, which should be upheld without fear of government interference,” (ADF International.)
Worldwide Christian Leaders are Refusing to Betray the Persecuted by Remaining Silent:
The criminal prosecution of Räsänen for publicly reading the Bible became a line in the sand for Christian leaders. ADF appears to agree. In a statement it stressed,
“Räsänen has also received letters of support from many denominations, including the International Lutheran Council with Bishops and presidents of Synods from all over the world, the European Evangelical Alliance, Catholic and Pentecostal churches in Lithuania, representatives of the Evangelical, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Reformed and Unitarian churches in Romania, as well as the Evangelical Church of Macedonia, Christian NGOs in Latvia and other individuals.”
The battle for Christian freedom of speech is certainly not over though a significant battle has been won. The Pentecostal clarion call for the Christin faithful to not fold is being answered. A Finland court let the nation and the world know, that Bible Verses are not hate speech.
The NAACP2021: No More Canceled People firmly supports the court’s ruling that Bible verses are not hate speech. In fact, Räsänen’s decision was a Biblical call to action to not remain silent and have her faith canceled. Only those who are Biblically challenged hollowed-out shells, do not understand her true compulsion by the Holy Spirit to speak God’s word. It is a Biblical commandment to not remain silent. Päivi Räsänen could therefore not remain silent and deny the Word of God and of Jesus Christ. The Word of God is undeniably bound to her spiritual DNA and could not be canceled by threats of imprisionment. She stressed in court that God’s word is one of grace and certainty not ambiguity and hate. It is why the Finnish former Interior Minister, refused to give up or give in.
After the historic decision, she calmly explained her satisfaction at winning the court battle to declare that the Bible is not hate speech. According to ADF, she commented,
“I am so grateful the court recognized the threat to free speech and ruled in our favor. I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after being acquitted. Although I am grateful for having had this chance to stand up for freedom of speech, I hope that this ruling will help prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal.”
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About the author:
Kevin Fobbs began writing professionally in 1975. e has been published in the “New York Times” and has written for the “Detroit News,” “Michigan Chronicle,” “GOPUSA,” “Soul Source,” and “Writers Digest” magazines. n addition to the Ann Arbor and Cleveland “Examiner,” “Free Patriot,” “Conservatives4 Palin,” and “Positively Republican.” The former daily host of The Kevin Fobbs Show on conservative News Talk WDTK – 1400 AM in Detroit is also a published author. In addition, his Christian children’s book, “Is There a Lion in My Kitchen,” hit bookstores in 2014.
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