Thursday’s morning summary: Prosecutor attacks Räsänen sharper than before


Northern Europe

Evert van Vlastuin, CNE.news

Räsänen speaks to the media, in the margin of the court session. Photo CNE, Danielle Miettinen

Insulting, derogatory and humiliating. These are the characterisations of the Finnish prosecutor on Thursday morning in the appeal case against Päivi Räsänen.

Prosecutors appealed after Päivi Räsänen was acquitted on all charges last year. The Christian MP has been charged with insulting homosexuals. Co-indicted is Lutheran bishop Juhana Pohjola, who in 2004 published a brochure by Räsänen on marriage and sexuality from a Biblical perspective.

The criminal charge against Räsänen was prompted by a post on Twitter and Facebook in 2019, in which she criticised the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for supporting Pride. She also published a photo of Romans 1 verses 24-27, in which homosexual acts are called “shameful.”


The 2022 trial led to an acquittal on all counts. In the opening session in the Court of Appeal on Thursday morning, prosecutor Anu Mantila launched the attack sharper than before. It is the duty of the state, she said, to protect the “human dignity” of everyone. It is precisely vulnerable groups, such as sexual minorities, who are entitled to protection.

Mantila contradicted Räsänen’s and her supporters’ accusation that she took statements out of context. “If you put all the statements together, it is clear that they are derogatory towards homosexuals. Condemning homosexual acts condemns homosexuals as human beings.”

She is referring, in particular, to the statement in the brochure calling the practice of homosexuality sinful. “That means that you should not be proud of it but that you should be ashamed of it.” Precisely because the “authority of God” stands in the background of religious language, the humiliation of such a statement is extra deep. The claim that homosexuals should be treated “with love and respect” is thus rendered ineffective.

She blames Räsänen for asking the Finnish church to designate the heterosexual way of life as Biblical. “This means that she puts the Bible above Finnish law.” According to the prosecutor, only national law and no religious book apply in Finland.


It is a misunderstanding, says the prosecutor, that believers can say anything as long as they refer to the Bible. “Citing the Bible is not forbidden. But insulting vulnerable groups is.”

Räsänen’s lawyer, Matti Sankamo, was disturbed by the misrepresentation of the statements by the prosecutor. “Räsänen never said that homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals. This is going in the direction of lying. She said none of this.”

He said that the brochure is outdated regarding content and science. The MP would now be more careful about saying that homosexuality is a developmental distortion.

Räsänen was received at the court in Helsinki on Thursday morning by demonstrators. The case is also getting a lot of attention from the media. The session in the Court of Appeal continues until Friday.



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