Bible on Trial
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Although Päivi Räsänen is the person on trial, realistically it is the Bible that is on trial. She is a long-serving member of the Finnish parliament, a medical doctor, pastor’s wife, and a grandmother. She continues to face persecution for her religious beliefs.

Five years ago, her church decided to sponsor a “pride parade.” She responded by posting some Bible verses and asked how that decision aligned with Scripture. Instead of a civil debate and a reasonable response, she was slapped with criminal prosecution.

In the process of discovery, the government officials found a church pamphlet she wrote on marriage and sexuality. The government charged her and the other author of the pamphlet (a Lutheran bishop) with “agitation against a minority group” based on a war-crimes statute in Finnish law.

The two were put on trial two years ago with most of the focus on biblical passages and the way in which the defendants interpreted them. The good news is that they were eventually acquitted of all counts. The bad news is the government filed an appeal to Finland’s Supreme Court.

Her case reminded me of the Swedish pastor Åke Green who preached a sermon based on Romans 1 arguing that “sexual perversions” are harmful to society. His case was prosecuted and convicted in the local courts. Eventually his case went all the way to the Swedish Supreme Court. The justices ruled that he violated Swedish law but that his freedom of religion was protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

I believe this “Bible trial” in Finland will determine whether free speech and religious liberty will be allowed in this country and in other European countries.viewpoints new web version

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