The "Crime" Of Quoting Scripture

Wow! This is hard to believe! "Threatened with prison and/or fines for quoting Scripture." Let me tell you a story about a brave woman.
Ms. Päivi Räsänen
Päivi Räsänen is a medical doctor
  • is married to a pastor, who is also the Principal of the Finnish Lutheran Mission Bible College
  • has been a member of the Parliament in Finland for 27 years
  • has served the country of Finland as the Minister of Interior
  • is the mother of five adult children
  • is the grandmother of 10
  • is an avid cross-country skier
  • AND... (FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS) was recently charged with a crime, taken to court, and threatened with prison and/or a massive fine.

What was her “crime”? She quoted Romans 1:24-27 (which refers to homosexuality) in a post about the compromising and capitulating bishop of her denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls (oops – Disney says I am not to use that phrase anymore!) is the “crime” she committed.

They dragged her through investigations for three painful years. The police determined that there was no “crime,” but the prosecutor had other intentions. The trial took place. A three-judge panel acquitted her and she walked free.

But wait, there’s more! On April 29th, the prosecutor decided that she wanted to harass Päivi some more, and is now appealing the ruling. This means that this case could drag on for years.

Watch my interview with Päivi, which took place on April 27th, BEFORE the prosecutor announced that she was going to drag Päivi back in court. View it here.

In case you would like to see what Päivi sent out in an email AFTER this interview, AFTER she learned of the ongoing harassment, read this April 29th press release:
Press release
RE: Member of Parliament, Dr. Päivi Räsänen:

I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in the higher courts.

Today, April 29, 2022, the prosecutor has announced that she will appeal to the unanimous acquittal verdict of the District Court in the “Bible Trial” to the Court of Appeal on all counts.

The prosecutor’s decision to appeal the acquittal verdict may lead to the case going all the way to the Supreme Court, giving the possibility of securing precedent protecting freedom of speech and religion for all Finnish people. Also I am happy that this decision will lead to the discussion of the teaching in Bible continuing in Finnish society. I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in all necessary courts, and as far as the European court of Human rights.

This legal process against me, with all the investigations and interrogations has lasted almost three years already and now it seems it will last for years to come. For me, the most difficult thing has been hearing the prosecutor’s false accusations about my statements. It would be better if the prosecutor actually stuck to things I said, instead of continuing to put false statements and allegations before the courts.

The District Court judgment stated that many of the allegations made by the prosecutor against me were not in fact correct, and were never said by me in any text, speech, tweet, or other document presented to the court by the prosecution. Unfortunately, in this appeal, the prosecutor continues to make the same false, inaccurate and untrue allegations against me based entirely on her own interpretations of what I said.

In her public statements the prosecutor said that, in her interpretation, it does not matter if my statements were “true or untrue”.

The prosecutor claims in this appeal that I said in the 2004 pamphlet that “all homosexuals are and should be regarded as inferior”, in fact I have never said that and I do not hold that view now or in the past. On the contrary, in the pamphlet, I state that “According to the Christian concept of humanity, everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is equal and of equal value”. And that “Our fundamental rights quite correctly prohibit discrimination against people based, inter alia, on sexual inclination, but this does not require the elevation of anomalous relationships to the status of marriage.”

The District Court also found that the prosecutor had made other untruthful claims concerning my texts, for example she alleged that I said homosexuals have a tendency to sexually abuse children, and that they are genetically degenerated, or that they are nor created by God the same way as heterosexuals – these allegations were unanimously rejected by the Court. I have never said anything like this and I certainly do not think like this.

The prosecutor has deliberately misinterpreted and manipulated my statements about theological concepts. She argues that the biblical concepts ”sin and shame” that were included in my tweet makes people inferior. Speaking about sin does not defame anyone, but speaks about our situation before God. If the teaching of the Bible on sin was made illegal, the core message of Christianity about grace, Jesus’s sacrificial death by which he reconciled our sins, would be made empty.

According to the legal principles and the Constitution, you can only impose a criminal penalty for an act which is defined as crime in law. I still trust that our judiciary basis its rulings on the “truth” unlike the approach of the prosecutor. I am confident of victory and I encourage others to use their foundational rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Now THAT, folks, is what courage looks like.
Dr. Jim Garlow
Well Versed

Rosemary Schindler Garlow
Well Versed

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