Finnish authorities are investigating a Christian MP and former interior minister over her Facebook post that included verses from the Bible, which police say may amount to an “attack” on the LGBT community.
Päivi Räsänen is an MP for the Christian Democrats, and was Interior Minister between 2011 and 2015. Back in June, she criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ECLF) over its participation in Helsinki’s LGBT Pride events.
“How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride?” Räsänen posted, alongside a photo of the Bible open to Romans 1:24-27 from the New Testament, which describes homosexuality as “sinful,” “shameful” and “unnatural.”
Now it has emerged that the police have opened an investigation against her for alleged “incitement against sexual and gender minorities,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Helsinki Times.
Speaking to the online portal Faithwire on Thursday, Räsänen said she was not afraid for herself, but was concerned that the investigation has had a “chilling effect” on Christians in Finland.
“It seems that many Christians in my country are now hiding and going to the closet now that the LGBT-community has come out to the public,” she said.
Räsänen also said that her point was not to insult sexual minorities, but criticize the leadership of the church, adding that she will continue to share Bible verses and Christian teachings despite the investigation.
We must obey God rather than man.
ECLF bishop Taipo Luoma has responded to Räsänen’s criticism by saying that “same-sex couples are welcome at all church activities” and that it is “only a matter of time” before the church started performing same-sex marriages.
The “scope and depth of the negative feedback was a surprise,” he admitted.
Räsänen is one of three Finnish MPs currently being investigated for alleged hate speech. Juha Mäenpää of the True Finns (SP) is accused of likening asylum seekers to an “invasive species,” while the Iraqi-born Hussein al-Taee of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is being probed for Facebook posts from 2011 and 2012 derogatory to“homosexuals, Jews, Sunnis, Somalis and other groups.”