This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Sixteen members of Congress have released a letter calling on U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain and U.S. Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey to oppose the "egregious and harassing" by Finnish authorities of a Christian member of their parliament.
WND reported only weeks ago that the Finnish legal system again is attacking Paivi Rasanen, who last year was acquitted of charges that her faith-based statements, on social media, created "ethnic agitation."
The second prosecution was not a surprise, since WND reported on her acquittal, prosecutors continued to demand that she be punished.
Part of that initial court case, also, was an order that prosecutors pay more than 60,000 euros of her legal costs.
The case started in 2019 when she went on social media to express concern that her church was holding a "Pride" event. There, she posted a photo of a Bible verse in Finnish.
And prosecutors charged her with "hate speech."
WND reported earlier she also gave a radio interview where she discussed what the Bible says about homosexuality, and she published a pamphlet pointing out that homosexuality doesn't comply with the Christian concept of humanity.
"Freedom of religion or belief—and the freedom to express that belief—is a fundamental human right," said Sean Nelson, of ADF International, which is supporting Räsänen’s legal defense. "We welcome this letter of support from members of the House and invite individuals worldwide to speak out as well. Nobody should fear criminal charges for expressing a peaceful opinion on social media."
The 16 House members said in the letter that Räsänen’s case “is dead set on weaponizing the power of Finland’s legal system to silence not just a member of parliament…but millions of Finnish Christians who dare to exercise their natural rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion in the public square."
It continued, "It is abundantly clear—the process is the punishment."
Choosing high-profile targets "is designed to systematically chill others’ speech under the threat of legal harassment and social stigmatism…. No American, no Finn, and no human should face legal harassment for simply living out their religious beliefs."
The letter also asks Hussain to voice support for Bishop Juhana Pohjola, who faced trial alongside Räsänen for publishing the church pamphlet Räsänen wrote nearly 20 years ago.
A new trial is scheduled to get underway on August 22.