Lawmakers blast Finland’s treatment of Christians

(The Center Square) – A group of U.S. lawmakers is calling out Finland for its treatment of high-profile Christians in the country, saying the nation’s leadership has started an “open war on Christianity.”

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, led the effort to raise concerns about how Finland is treating a Lutheran Bishop and member of parliament who posted in favor of traditional marriage online.

A group of 16 lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain and U.S. Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey calling for religious freedom.

“This prosecutor is dead set on weaponizing the power of Finland’s legal system to silence not just a member of parliament and Lutheran bishop but millions of Finnish Christians who dare to exercise their natural rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion in the public square,” the letter said. “History will remember this case for either stopping the madness or as the beginning of the end as the West declares open war on Christianity.”

Bishop Juhana Pohjola and Päivi Räsänen, a member of the nation’s parliament who formerly served as Finland’s minister of the interior, posted online comments against the progressive LGBT stance. Their legal troubles for alleged hate speech began in 2019, and they were acquitted, but now the prosecution has appealed.

“This case will have worldwide ramifications,” the letter said. “For years, we and many others have raised the alarm that the West was experiencing a hostile takeover by radical secularists – guided by open hostility and rancid antagonism toward Christianity – and that one day people of faith would face trial for merely living out their beliefs. In Finland, that day has come, and a guilty verdict will only expedite this disorders arrival in our courtrooms.”

Sean Nelson, legal counsel for global religious freedom at ADF International, which is supporting Räsänen’s legal defense, welcomed the lawmakers’ involvement.

“Freedom of religion or belief – and the freedom to express that belief – is a fundamental human right,” Nelson said. “Nobody should fear criminal charges for expressing a peaceful opinion on social media.”

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