On June 17, 2019, she asked in a Twitter post how the sponsorship was compatible with the Bible, linking to a photograph of a biblical passage, Romans 1:24-27, on Instagram. She also posted the text and image on Facebook.
Discussing the tweet in court on Monday, she underlined that the post was directed at Church leaders and concerned an important topic facing the Church.
Police began investigating Räsänen in 2019. She faced several police interviews and had to wait more than a year for the Prosecutor General’s decision.
The International Lutheran Council has described the decision to prosecute Räsänen and Pohjola as “egregious.”
It said: “The vast majority of Christians in all nations, including Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, share these convictions. Would the Finnish Prosecutor General condemn us all? Moreover, shall the Finnish state risk governmental sanctions from other states based on the abuse of foundational human rights?”
Addressing the pamphlet, which described homosexuality as “a disorder of psycho-sexual development,” Räsänen told the court that she was asked to write a text outlining Lutheran teaching on sexuality for members of her church, from her viewpoint as a politician, doctor, and Christian.
She said that the pamphlet was outdated given changes in research and legislation since 2004. But she argued that it should still exist as a document testifying to the discussions taking place at that time.
Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, noted that a guilty verdict would not set an instant legal precedent for other European countries. But he suggested that it would “set a new European low bar for free speech standards.”
He added that similar cases “really could happen anywhere else” because of hate speech laws across the continent.
Closing arguments will take place on Feb. 14.