'Evil never stands still': Christian on trial for faith gets U.S. support

 May 22, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Twice already Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen has been on trial for her Christian faith.

Already, two different lower courts have cleared her of "war crimes" charges for her public statements challenging the Finnish Lutheran church for sponsoring an LGBT pride event.

But the prosecutor refuses to admit his failure and has taken her to the nation's Supreme Court.

Now, according to a report in the Washington Stand, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, has written to encourage her in her fight for religious freedom and her faith.

"Thank you for your unrelenting commitment to challenging the accusations levied against you, which has earned you the admiration of Christians throughout the world who are encountering increasing hostility. From thousands of miles away in the United States of America, I continue to stand with you. You have unwavering support as you continue to defend free speech and religious expression in Finland. … As you prepare for this newest appeal, please know that millions of Americans stand in solidarity with you," he said.

Roy cited Matthew 5:10, which promises, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"While we remain optimistic about your case establishing a stronger legal precedent, it certainly does not excuse or reverse the grievous and unfounded nature of your initial prosecution. Over the past few years, you have faced endless legal harassment and spiritual attacks for merely upholding the Gospel’s teachings. These prosecutions are not only unjust but are direct assaults on sacred fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and even freedom of thought," Roy wrote.

Roy told the Stand the attacks should be of great concern to Americans, "as this type of religious discrimination has begun to threaten our own people.'

The Stand report noted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose organization launched the Stand, has added to Roy's encouragement.

"The Finnish prosecution of Päivi once again shows that evil never stands still, nor is its hostility to truth ever satisfied. Its only deterrent is courageous Christians like Päivi," he said.

Räsänen this week submitted her defense to the Finnish court.

The attacks on her were triggered by her questioning in 2019 of the church's promotion of the LGBT event, where she cited the Bible's standard for marriage being one man and one woman.

She also was cited for a pamphlet she wrote explaining the biblical concept of marriage, and for tweeting out a related Bible verse.

Juhana Pohjola, a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, also worked on that, and also is facing charges.

Prosecutors have claimed the two violated a "war crimes" law, but both a district court and court of appeals have cleared them.

The lower courts found that they have no jurisdiction to "interpret" the Bible.

The report noted Paul Coleman of the ADF, which is working on the case, called it a "watershed case in the story of Europe’s creeping censorship."

He pointed to the five years the case already has consumed and said, "The process is the punishment in such instances, resulting in a chill on free speech for all citizens…"

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