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Finnish Supreme Court Considers Twitter Bible Verse Case in Fight for Religious Freedom

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The Finnish Supreme Court will be making a landmark decision relating to free speech and freedom of religious expression. This unprecedented legal battle has its roots in the sharing of Bible verses on Twitter and will be the third time a Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen will have her day in court.

Opponents of government censorship are closely observing the developments, seeing significant implications for the freedom of speech globally. They view this as an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reaffirm democratic values and uphold citizens’ rights to share and engage with religious texts freely in the country.

Räsänen is facing trial for the third time over a tweet that contained a Bible verse. This is despite being acquitted twice of “hate speech” charges. The Finnish Supreme Court will be hearing the case following an appeal by the State prosecutor.

These charges originated from a 2019 tweet in which Räsänen shared her views on marriage and sexual ethics, referencing the Bible, as well as a 2004 church pamphlet she authored. The Supreme Court’s acceptance of the case indicates that her legal battle is not yet over.

“This was not just about my opinions, but about everyone’s freedom of expression. I hope that with the ruling of the Supreme Court, others would not have to undergo the same ordeal,” Räsänen said in a statement.

“I have considered it a privilege and an honor to defend freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right in a democratic state.”

The prosecution is seeking significant fines and demands that Räsänen’s publications be censored, raising broader concerns about state censorship and the suppression of religious expression. Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, which is assisting with Räsänen’s defense, remarked that the case represents a disturbing trend in Europe toward increasing censorship.

“The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution after almost five long years, despite such clear and unanimous rulings from the lower courts is alarming.

“The process is the punishment in such instances, resulting in a chill on free speech for all citizens observing.

“ADF International will continue to stand alongside Räsänen and Pohjola every step of the way as they face their next day in court. Their right to speak freely is everyone’s right to speak freely.”

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