‘Hate speech’ charges dismissed for Finnish lawmaker who defended traditional marriage

The charges against a Finnish Lutheran bishop named Juhana Pohjola were also dismissed by the court of appeal on Nov. 14. Pohjola had also been tried for hate speech for publishing a pamphlet written by Räsänen in 2004 that advocated for the biblical understanding of sexuality and marriage.

“I am deeply relieved,” Räsänen said Nov. 14 via a statement from her legal representatives, the Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF). “The court has fully endorsed and upheld the decision of the district court, which recognized everyone’s right to free speech.”

“It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse, or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective,” the mother of five and grandmother of 11 added. “The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech. I sincerely hope other innocent people will be spared the same ordeal for simply voicing their convictions.”

In the 2019 tweet that landed Räsänen in legal troubles, she criticized her denomination for embracing LGBTQ+ ideology, asking how these views could be reconciled with Scripture. In the tweet, she referenced Romans 1:24-27, which clearly states that homosexual activity is against God’s will.

Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International and a member of Räsänen’s legal team said: “While we celebrate this monumental victory, we also remember that it comes after four years of police investigations, criminal indictments, prosecutions, and court hearings.”

“So-called ‘hate-speech’ laws,” are a “grave threat to our democracies,” he argued.

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