Republican lawmakers slammed the prosecution of a Finnish politician who is facing punishment for expressing her Christian views on marriage and sexuality, saying that the prosecution was indicative of an “open war on Christianity.”
The representatives sent a letter to Douglas Hickey, America’s ambassador to Finland, and Rashad Hussain, the ambassador for the U.S. Office of Religious Freedom, in defense of Parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen. Räsänen is facing a trial before a Finish appeals court after she was previously acquitted by a lower court of charges including “agitation against a minority group” related to her faith-based views on marriage and sexuality, including a 2019 tweet that called homosexuality a “sin.”
“Finnish Christians once again stand trial for simply being Christians. For more than four years, a rogue Finnish prosecutor has unjustly targeted Member of Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola for tweeting a Bible verse critical of her own church and publishing a twenty-year old booklet on marriage,” a letter from 16 House Republicans read.
Signers included Reps. Chip Roy (Texas), Michael Cloud (Texas), Mike Johnson (Louisiana), Andrew Clyde (Georgia), Jim Banks (Indiana), Jeff Duncan (South Carolina), Mary Miller (Illinois), Doug Lamborn (Colorado), Debbie Lesko (Arizona), Michael Guest (Mississippi), Andy Ogles (Tennessee), Ralph Norman (South Carolina), Anna Paulina Luna (Florida), Randy Weber (Texas), Keith Self (Texas) and Alex X. Mooney (West Virginia).
“This case will have worldwide ramifications. For years, we and many others have raised the alarm that the West was experiencing a hostile takeover by radical secularists — guided by open hostility and rancid antagonism toward Christianity — and that one-day people of faith would face trial for merely living out their beliefs,” the letter continued.
Räsänen’s legal defense is being supported by the Global Religious Freedom at Alliance Defending Freedom International. Her second trial will be before the Finnish Court of Appeal after she was unanimously acquitted by the District Court of Helsinki in March 2022.
“The state is attempting to criminalize the peaceful expression of my Christian faith. By continuing its campaign to censor these beliefs, the prosecution is setting a dangerous precedent of intolerance. I hope for another acquittal at the Court of Appeal. The state of free speech in Finland hangs in the balance,” Räsänen said in a statement.
Multiple Republican senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have previously expressed their support for Räsänen’s right to express her faith.