Chip Roy represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article appeared in Newmax on August 31, 2023.
Finland seems eager to send the West spiraling back into a new and real Dark Age of anti-Christian discrimination after putting Paivi Rasanen back on trial for simply articulating a Christian perspective on marriage and sexuality. The Helsinki District Court previously dismissed the charges against Rasanen and Bishop Pohjola on March 30, 2022, but the state prosecutor filed an appeal, reopening the charges. This aptly nicknamed “Bible Trial” highlights the precipitous and damning decline of free speech and religious liberty across what was once known as the “free world.”
Paivi Rasanen is a member of the Finnish Parliament and has served honorably since 1995. She is also a high-profile and active member in the Finnish Lutheran Church. In 2019, Rasanen stood up to her own church leadership by publicly criticizing them on Twitter for officially sponsoring Helsinki’s LGBT Pride event. This tweet set off an invasive investigation and thrust Rasanen’s entire life under a magnifying glass, during which she had to endure thirteen hours of police questioning and was offered numerous plea deals to simply recant her words. The government’s agenda-driven investigation found two other instances for the rogue prosecutor to charge Rasanen, including a two-minute segment on a 2019 radio show and a pamphlet she authored, and her church published, in 2004 called, “Man and Woman He Created Them.”
Finland’s Prosecutor General eventually charged Rasanen with three counts of “agitation against a minority,” which is considered a form of “hate speech” under Finland’s crimes against humanity statute. The bizarre prosecution even captured within its net R?"s?"nen’s own church leader, Bishop Pohjola, who was also charged with the same crime for publishing R?"s?"nen’s pamphlet in 2004. If found guilty, both R?"s?"nen and Bishop Pohjola could face up to two years in prison.
The Helsinki District Court unanimously dismissed the charges, saying it was not the court’s place to “interpret biblical concepts.” For a short time, Rasanen and Bishop Pohjola were in the clear. However, the Prosecutor General appealed the court’s decision, bringing the case to the Finnish Court of Appeal, which will meet for trial on August 31st.
As Christians, we know evil has attacked and harassed Christianity since it stoned Stephen in the shadow of the cross. Finland’s disgraceful treatment of Paivi Rasanen should be a stirring call to prayer for Christians throughout the Western world and even in the United States as we see the tide of hostility and persecution rising again.
Just last year, the Austin Fire Department (likely unconstitutionally) fired its longtime volunteer lead chaplain, Dr. Andrew Fox, for posting articles on his own theology website opposing boys participating in girls’ sports and criticizing the gender ideology cult from a biblical perspective. Fortunately, Dr. Fox has the First Amendment and its hundreds of years of jurisprudence on his side, and has secured excellent legal counsel from Alliance Defending Freedom.
Earlier this month, two young Christian men in Wisconsin were arrested while publicly sharing the Gospel at a drag show in Wisconsin. The brave boys cited their faith as their reason for being present at the event. Ignoring that Wisconsin state law prohibits exposing minors to sexually explicit conduct, police proceeded to arrest and detain the Christians for “unlawful use of sound amplification”, “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest” without warning. Whether or not you agree with the boys’ tactics, every American ought to be deeply concerned when law-abiding Americans can no longer debate ideas and destructive ways of life in the literal public square, no matter how uncomfortable those debates may feel to some. Unfortunately, those in power here in America seem increasingly willing to shamelessly and publicly slander Christian beliefs, and to use government power against those holding them, violating the principles of freedom America has long held dear.
Make no mistake: Anti-Christ spiritual forces, at work through “progressive” civilizational anarchists, have set out to banish the truth of Scripture (right now on marriage, family, and sexuality) from our society’s public spaces and public places of conversation. What succeeds now in Finland will inevitably arrive on our own shores.
If the Bible is indeed labeled as hate speech, or even banned, the freedoms we hold so dearly in this country will be severely tested. First Amendment freedoms are the natural inalienable rights of all men and must be vigilantly protected in the United States and abroad. Any “hate speech” classification that criminalizes the private thoughts in one’s own brain can quickly become an arbitrary and capricious process, as we see in Finland. Descartes’ famous dictum, “I think, therefore I am” quickly turns into “I think, therefore I am a criminal.”
In the face of injustice, it is sometimes easy to stand idly by, but R?"s?"nen urges Americans to use our freedoms and speak out against the wrongs of suppressing speech: “I think that now it is time to be open about your views and use these freedoms of speech.”
Americans of good faith must start with prayer and then stand up and speak. If we do not stand up now, our rights will continue to disappear as we have seen in Finland.
Rasanen is right, and we prayerfully stand with her.