Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola have been acquitted of hate speech charges for the second time. The court of appeals in Helsinki found them not guilty in a case that involved Räsänen quoting a Bible verse against homosexuality and sharing a pamphlet that challenged the Christian concept of homosexuality.
Räsänen expressed her relief at the court’s decision, stating that it upholds everyone’s right to free speech. She emphasized that expressing one’s beliefs, including sharing Bible verses or engaging in public discourse from a Christian perspective, should not be considered a crime. The result of this case is expected to set an important precedent in protecting the human right to free speech.
State prosecutor Anu Mantila had argued that while one can quote the Bible, it is Räsänen’s interpretation and opinion about the Bible verses that were considered criminal. The prosecution claimed that Räsänen’s actions were intended to incite intolerance, contempt, and hatred towards homosexuals.
This case has attracted attention not only in Finland but internationally as well. U.S. Representative Chip Roy has been involved in efforts to defend Räsänen and Pohjola. He celebrated the court’s decision as a triumph for the shared value of free expression, stating that a guilty verdict would have had serious implications for Christianity, religious freedom, and the foundations of Western Civilization.
Räsänen highlighted the deterrent effect of the trial on freedom of expression and religion, stating that condemning writings based on biblical teachings would restrict freedom of religion. She expressed concerns among Christians both in Finland and internationally about such restrictions.
While this ruling is a significant victory for Räsänen and Pohjola, there is still a possibility that prosecutors may attempt to take the case to the Supreme Court of Finland for a final decision.
- What were the charges against Päivi Räsänen and Juhana Pohjola?
- What was the court’s decision?
- Why was this case significant?
- What is the potential impact of this case?
- Can prosecutors still pursue the case further?
They were charged with hate speech for Räsänen’s quoting of a Bible verse against homosexuality and sharing a pamphlet that challenged the Christian concept of homosexuality.
The court of appeals in Helsinki found Räsänen and Pohjola not guilty of hate speech.
The case was significant because it involved the right to free speech and the balance between religious beliefs and tolerance.
The outcome of this case could set an important precedent in protecting the human right to free speech and religious expression.
There is a possibility that prosecutors may attempt to take the case to the Supreme Court of Finland for a final decision.