A Christian Finnish MP, who is facing up to six years in jail after tweeting a Bible verse has said, she hopes her case will encourage other Christians to stand up for Bible teachings publicly.
"I believe that everything is in God's hands in this case. And I just hope that I could give encouragement to Christians in public. I will stand for these Bible teachings, and I hope that other Christians will also do the same," Päivi Räsänen told International Christian Concern's director, Jeff King, in an interview for the "Into the Deep" podcast.
In 2019, Pavi Räsänen posted a tweet criticising the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland for participating in a local gay pride event together with a picture of Romans 1: 24-27, a verse that describes homosexuality as shameful.
Earlier this year she was officially charged with a hate speech crime accused of inciting hatred towards the LGBT community.
Speaking to King, Räsänen said she feared for the state of religious freedom in Finland.
"If, for example, any of the viewpoints contained in the Bible would be considered sufficient as such to fulfil the criteria for the crime of ethnic aggravation, then the distribution of the Bible, or rendering it available would in principle be considered a crime of ethnic aggravation and thus punishable."
"This is also a question, are we allowed to agree with the Bible? Are we allowed to keep Bibles in public and teach what the Bible tells us? I think this is a very, very deep question of freedom of faith and religion," Räsänen continued.
She went on to explain how she felt the current prosecutor was using her case to make an example of prosecuting hate speech in the country.
"She said that her priority is to fight against hate speech and hate crimes. And perhaps she wants now to make this case a precedent to intervene in society, I suppose."
Referring to the support she has received since the case against her started, she said she was really grateful for all the encouragement from across the world, especially from America.
"I am happy and I'm grateful... I believe that when God wakes up people to pray and to speak about [the] Bible, God has something good in His mind."
Pavi Räsänen has been a member of the Finish parliament since 1995 and served as minister of the interior from 2011 to 2015.