A member of the Finnish Parliament has called police interrogations a “privilege” as she stands trial for tweeting a Bible verse on homosexuality, later this month.
Päivi Räsänen, a former Finnish Minister of the Interior, posted a tweet in 2019 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.
Consequently, Räsänen, who is being represented by Alliance Defence Freedom (ADF), was accused of “hate speech” and it is now facing criminal charges that could see her sentenced to six years in prison.
The sentence would also include criminal charges for publishing a booklet she wrote 17 years ago on human sexuality for a Christian foundation.
During an interview with ADF, Räsänen shared how she had found some of the police interrogations to be “very absurd” as she was asked about her beliefs and interpretations of the Romans verse on sexuality but thought of it as a “privilege” as it gave her the opportunity to share her faith.
“I had many times during these hours the possibility to tell the police the message of the Gospel, what the Bible teaches about the value of human beings, that all people are created in the image of God, and that is why they all are valuable," Räsänen told ADF.
The 62-year-old also shared her surprise at the way she was interrogated about her beliefs as it was reminiscent of "Soviet times" and never imagine that that could happen in Finland.
"I could never have imagined when I worked as the Minister of the Interior and was in charge of the police that I would be interrogated and asked that kind of questions in a police station," she said.
Räsänen was asked to “renounce” her writings and delete them from social media but she refused to do so.
“I answered that I will stand on what I believe and I will speak about these things and write about these things also in the future because they are a matter of conviction, not only an opinion," she said.
When talking about the trial she said has a “calmed mind” and prays that she will have “wisdom to answer”.
The Christian MP is standing trial with the Bishop-Elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, Bishop Pohjola for publishing the booklet in 2004.
ADF has launched an appeal to raise €15,000 (£12,590) to cover the cost of the trial.