Joy Pullman of the Federalist has been covering the case and the trial. She reports that the hearing on Monday took a strange twist. Instead of focusing on the two defendants, who could be sentenced to a fine of 10,000 euros and two years in prison, the prosecutors, in effect, put on trial the Bible itself. From her article, Finnish Government Puts Christianity On Trial, Calls The Bible “Hate Speech”.
On Monday the trial began in Finland for Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola and Member of Parliament Dr. Päivi Räsänen, charged with hate crimes for teaching what the Bible says about homosexuality.
I have blogged about these two Christians and the charges against them (here, here, here, and here). Way back in 2004, long before Finland legalized same sex marriage in 2017, Dr. Räsänen, a medical doctor and former Minister of the Interior, wrote a 24-page booklet on the Bible’s teachings about sexuality, including a section on homosexuality. Bishop Pohjola’s church, now in fellowship with the LCMS, published it. Dr. Räsänen was also charged for tweeting a Bible verse in response to the liberal state church being a sponsor of an LGBTQ parade and for participating in a 2019 debate on the subject. Three years ago, over a decade and a half after the publication of the booklet, the two were charged for inciting hatred against homosexuals. Finally, their case has been brought to trial.