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Learn more about Päivi Räsänen
Are people holding public office allowed to express their deeply held beliefs?
The former Finnish Minister of the Interior is facing three criminal charges for voicing her beliefs publicly
In Finland, the Former Minister of the Interior and Member of the Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen is facing three criminal charges. Her alleged crime: She publicly voiced her deeply held beliefs.
The Finnish Prosecutor General brought three criminal charges against Päivi Räsänen at the end of April 2021. The former Minister of the Interior now faces two years of imprisonment for each alleged crime. The medical doctor, mother of five, and grandmother of six is accused of having engaged in “hate speech” for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet, for comments made on a 2019 radio show and, most recently, a tweet directed at her church leadership.
Police investigations against Räsänen started in June 2019. As an active member of the Finnish Lutheran church, she addressed the leadership of her church and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event 'Pride 2019', accompanied by an image of a bible text. A lengthy police interview in November 2019 followed.
On 2 March 2020, Räsänen, was summoned a second time. She wrote a pamphlet over 16 years ago on human sexuality for a Christian foundation. For this publication, the police interrogated her again for several hours. On 5 March 2020, she was informed that she would face two additional investigations, an interview on a television program in 2018 regarding her personal beliefs on marriage and sexuality, and a conversation on a TV show in 2019, where she was asked about “What would Jesus think about homosexuals?”
Päivi Räsänen has served as a member of the Finnish Parliament since 1995, was chair of the Christian Democrat Party from 2004-2015, and was Minister of the Interior from 2011-2015. She is a medical doctor, mother of five children, and has six grandchildren.
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How A Bible-Based Tweet Led To A Criminal Investigation
Are people holding public office allowed to express their deeply held beliefs? As a Christian and a democratically elected member of the Finnish Parliament, I never thought I would face a criminal investigation for sharing what I believe.