NATO Member Country Prosecutors Double Down On Christian ‘Hate Speech’ Case

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Lillian Tweten Contributor
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The Finland Court of Appeals heard final arguments in prosecutors’ second attempt to sue two Christians for their beliefs following the country’s recent admission to the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to a press release from the International Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADFI).

Prosecutors had appealed the Helsinki District Court’s universal decision in April 2022 to acquit Finland Minister of the Interior Paivi Rasanen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola of all criminal charges relating to their Christian views, according to the press release. The country was admitted to NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, becoming the 31st member of the international organization. (RELATED: Republican Congressmen Demand Biden Help Christians Abroad Facing Charges For LGBT Views)

“The point isn’t whether it is true or not but that it is insulting,” the prosecution argued on Friday, according to ADFI. “You can cite the Bible, but it is Räsänen’s interpretation and opinion about the Bible verses that are criminal.”

The prosecution brought charges against Rasanen and Pohjola for publishing a pamphlet in 2004 on the Biblical definition of marriage. They also brough charges against Rasanen for a Twitter post with a screenshot of a Bible verse and comments she had made in a 2019 radio station debate about Christianity .

The prosecution accused Rasanen and Pohjola of hate speech and alleged that their interpretation of the Bible was illegal, Christian Network for Europe News reported. The prosecution also alleged that Rasanen had incited discrimination by posting a Bible verse on Twitter.

“Everyone may believe anything he or she likes. But uttering discriminating speech is not protected by law,” Anu Mantila, the prosecutor in the case, said, according to CNE.

“Dragging an individual through a grueling criminal trial simply for expressing their religious beliefs is not a marker of democracy and ‘progress’,” Paul Coleman, the executive director of ADFI, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The vagueness of hate speech laws are not an error. . . These laws are vague on purpose so they can be deployed at will by those in power.”

NATO law prohibits all members from “discriminating” based on sexual orientation and encourages “allyship,” according to the NATO website.  The DOS announced in August 2023 that the U.S. would use foreign aid to enforce NATO’s stance on how other nations respond to “discrimination” against LGBTQ individuals, according to a press release from the White House.

“Agencies involved with foreign aid. . . shall expand their ongoing efforts to. . . to promote respect for the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons and combat discrimination,” Biden wrote in the press release. “Agencies. . . should consider the impact of programs funded by the Federal Government on human rights, including the rights of LGBTQI+ persons, when making funding decisions.”

The State Department approved a defense contract with Finland in August 2023 that will allow the country to purchase $395 million in U.S. weapons, according to Express News.

The State Department and Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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