In a positive decision for free speech and religious freedom, the Helsinki District Court ruled that Christian condemnations of LGBT are NOT hate speech. The Court’s verdict was unanimous.
This was the outcome of a case involving a Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen who tweeted Romans 1:24-27, and Bishop Juhana Pohjola who published a pamphlet. The judges found that the purpose of Räsänen’s writing was not to insult or harm LGBT people but to defend what she believed to be the biblical concepts of family and marriage.
We believe this to be an important and ‘common sense’ ruling, that protects both freedom of speech and religious freedom. Quoting bible verses might make some segments of society feel uncomfortable or even insulted, but that does not mean it is hate speech. Hopefully other countries, especially New Zealand, take note of this excellent decision… but we doubt our Government will change its policy direction re: hate speech and religious freedom.
“I greatly appreciate that the court recognized in its ruling the importance of free speech. I hope that this ruling will help prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal,” she said. “This has been my honor.” said Räsänen
Sadly the Court’s ruling is unlikely to be the end of the matter, despite the unanimous verdict. The lead Prosecutor in this case said it’s highly probable that the case will be submitted to the Court of Appeals.
Romans 1:24-27 says:
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.
Read full story in Christianity Today:
We’ve previously discussed this case and the associated issues of free speech and religious freedom: