Finnish court upholds citizens’ right to express biblical beliefs

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HELSINKI, Finland – A Finnish court has dismissed all charges against a female MP accused of “hate speech” for expressing her views on marriage and human sexuality.

The Helsinki District Court’s unanimous March 30 decision upheld the freedom of speech of Dr Paivi Rasanen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola, legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom International reported.

The charges against Rasanen — a Lutheran, doctor and former interior minister — stem from information about marriage and human sexuality she included in a pamphlet she wrote in 2004 for a Christian foundation, comments she made on radio in 2019 and on TV in 2018, and a tweet in which she criticized her church’s decision to sponsor the “Pride 2019” LGBT event.

Pohjola was accused of publishing one of Rasanen’s pamphlets for his congregation 17 years ago.

In the ruling, the court said, “It is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts,” ADF International reported. In addition, the court ordered the prosecution to pay court costs of 60,000 euros (more than 66,900 US dollars).

Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, called the dismissal of the charges “an important decision, which confirms the fundamental right to freedom of expression in Finland. In a free society, everyone should be allowed to share their beliefs without fear of censorship.

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