On April 30th, the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family was honored to host Dr. Paivi Rasanen for a presentation on her fight for the freedom of speech.

Dr. Päivi Räsänen is a medical doctor and has been a Member of the Finnish Parliament for 29 years. From 2004 to 2015, she was the chairwoman of the Finnish Christian Democrats. From June 2011 to May 2015, she was the Minister of the Interior of Finland. She lives in Riihimäki with her husband. They have 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Dr. Räsänen is also a member of Riihimäki City Council, County Council and a member of Church council. She has written several books from a Christian perspective, for example on marriage, abortion and euthanasia. During this term, Dr. Räsänen is a member of the Social Affairs and Health Committee and a deputy member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Three criminal charges have been filed against her because of her Christian beliefs and she has been in court twice. The Helsinki District Court issued a unanimous, clear acquittal, but the prosecutors appealed that decision to the Appellate Court, which also acquitted unanimously Dr. Räsänen from all charges. However, the Prosecutor General announced that he will ask the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the unanimous acquittal of the Court of Appeal. Now the Supreme Court has granted the prosecutor the leave to appeal. Dr. Räsänen is ready to defend free speech and freedom of religion also before the European Court of Human Rights.

In her speech, Dr. Räsänen shared:

  • The background of her criminal case
  • The rulings of the District court and Court of Appeal
  • The foundational rights of free speech and freedom of religion
  • The dangerous problem of cancel culture and censorship
  • The main statements of the prosecutor concerning the charges
  • What kind of impact will the ruling of the Supreme Court have on legislation in Europe
  • The shift from a society that appreciates praying and embraces Christianity to a more liberal and secular one
  • Finland’s criminal justice system and laws about incitement compared to most other countries in Europe
  • Understanding how the international law provides a robust framework for freedom of speech
  • Why Christians must have the possibility and right to agree with the Bible and to confess their faith publicly