A Finnish politician is under investigation for a hate crime — because she shared a Bible verse on her Facebook page.
What are the details?
Police are investigating former Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, after she shared the Bible verse.
The verse, Romans 1:24-27, accompanied a criticism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland over its participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events that took place in June.
The New International Version translation of Romans 1:24-27 reads:
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Räsänen, whose husband is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, captioned her post, "How can the church's doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride? #LGBT #HelsinkiPride2019."
The Finnish police are now investigating Räsänen as part of an investigation on incitement against sexual and gender minorities.
A spokesperson for the Helsinki Police Department told the Helsinki Times that further details on the investigation are forthcoming.
"The pre-trial investigations have not yet been completed. Police will provide more details once the investigations have been completed or presented to a prosecutor for consideration of charges," the spokesperson said.
In August, Räsänen tweeted, "I am not concerned on my part, as I trust this will not move on to the prosecutor. However, I am concerned if quoting the Bible is considered even 'slightly' illegal. I hope this won't lead to self-censorship among Christians."
In an interview with Faithwire, Räsänen insisted that her faith is in God and nothing and no one else.
"I was shocked that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which I am a member of, announced its official affiliation to Helsinki LGBT Pride 2019," she told the outlet.
"Our Church Act states that 'All doctrine must be examined and evaluated according to God's Holy Word.' Pride events celebrate acts and relations that the Bible calls sinful and shameful. Based on these Scriptures, I asked: 'How can the church's doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?'" she continued.
Räsänen insisted that she was not attempting to insult sexual minorities.
"As I prayed, I was convinced that now is the time to try to wake up the sleeping ones, not to jump out of a sinking boat," she explained. "My purpose was in no way to insult sexual minorities. My criticism was aimed at the leadership of the church."
"Only people who recognize their sins need Jesus, the forgiveness of our sins," she added. "This is why we also must have the courage to call homosexual relations sinful."
Räsänen said that she is concerned with potential impacts on Christians being able to freely express their beliefs.
"I am worried that the police investigation has had a chilling effect among Christians," she admitted. "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 concluded, "We must obey God rather than man. Trusting that the Bible is God's Word is a solid foundation for the Gospel to bring forth new life and win hearts."