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Finnish Christian MP under hate crime investigation for quoting scripture

Democratic MP Päivi Räsänen criticised the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events on social media in June.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is a national Protestant denomination with nearly 3.8 million members.

Räsänen shared a photo of Romans 1:24-27 from the New Testament on Facebook, that describes same sex relationships as 'shameful'.

In her post she challenged the decision by the Lutheran Church to support the LGBT event saying: "How can the church's doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?"

An investigation has now been launched against Räsänen by Finnish Police on suspected incitement against sexual and gender minorities.

The politician's conservative views on abortion, euthanasia and marriage have sparked controversy in the past when she expressed her traditional views in a TV debate on marriage in 2010.

Tens of thousands of Christians are thought to have left the ELCF, of which Räsänen is a member, as a result of her participation in the on-screen debate.

Two other MP's, Social Democrat Hussein Al-Taee and Finns Party politician Juha Mäenpää are also standing under pre-trial investigation for suspected incitement due to comments deemed racist.

On 13th August, Räsänen tweeted, "I am not concerned on my part, as I trust this will not move on to the prosecutor. However, I am concerned if quoting the Bible is considered even 'slightly' illegal. I hope this won't lead to self-censorship among Christians. Rom. 1:24-27".

Räsänen's minority party, the Christian Democrats, currently hold 5 seats in the 200-seat Finnish Parliament.

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