Comment Päivi Räsänen’s trial was occasionally reminiscent of the Bible Festival

None of the lawsuits in Helsinki in recent years has caused a similar public outcry as Päivi Räsänen’s district councils on three incitements against the ethnic group, writes Mikko Gustafsson, HS’s criminal and justice journalist.

Finland former Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen (kd) In the trial that began on Monday, it was not possible to go beyond the yard of the old distillery, after Räsänen had already dug a Bible bag.

However, the distillery, which has closed down, has only a role to play behind the scenes in the story – today the building is home to the Helsinki Courthouse.

On Monday, Päivi Räsä was met with a demonstration in support of her. There was also enough audience at the Helsinki Courthouse.

After his Bible, of course, Räsänen presented at the request of the media. It tells another essential piece of information about the trial – it was also a major media spectacle.

Of course, spectacles have often been seen in the past, but there was still something completely exceptional about the atmosphere of the trial.

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Outside the big media houses, freedom of speech and hate speech trials have produced their own content on the spot in the past, but the rest of the public has often been left to follow the situation electronically.

In Räsänen’s trial, the audience was so large that the atmosphere from time to time was reminiscent of some kind of Bible festival. Outside the courthouse, he was supported by a demonstration, but not everyone willing to accommodate the public trial, despite separate arrangements in the district court.

Read more: Prosecutor demands Päivi Räsänen’s 120 daily fines for incitement offenses – HS followed the trial moment by moment

Räsänen the charges concern his gay speeches and writings on both traditional and social media. Suddenly, the core question sounds simple: Has Räsänen insulted or slandered gays with his speeches or writings?

Räsänen sat at the Bible table in the courtroom. The chairman reminded various parties from time to time that the court did not deal with the correct interpretation of the Bible, but with incitement against a group of people as defined by Finnish law.

However, the view of the accused is that the prosecutor has built his accusations on theological terms such as sin and shame without understanding their context. As a result, the Bible ended up dealing with quite a lot of the Bible.

Of course, litigation is about more than understanding the concepts of sin and shame. The discussion was, for example, why Dr. Räsänen has referred to homosexuality as a developmental disorder in his pamphlet, contrary to the consensus of the scientific community.

Räsänen argued that his 1981 textbook wrote about it and that the pamphlet was originally published in 2004.

Räsänen The trial was also followed by the Christian media, and Räsänen gave interviews at almost every possible interval.

During the recesses, there were concerns in the audience between the lines and perhaps even about the lines, which could result from Räsänen’s loss in court on the basis of previous publications alone. Christians also have their own traumas from persecution, which may easily turn to experience.

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English was also included during the breaks in the trial. Apparently ADF International, among others, was present. It is an international and starkly conservative organization that opposes the right to abortion and bases its conception of marriage and sexual ethics on the Bible.

Päivi Räsänen appeared in court alongside Niilo’s husband.

There are now a number of fundamental rights in the scales of justice: freedom of expression and religion, and non-discrimination and equality. It would be best for everyone to have the case finally settled by the European Court of Human Rights.

Closer to heaven, a citizen who is concerned about his or her fundamental rights will not be able to access a secular Europe today.

Read more: HS analysis: Päivi Räsänen’s accusations predict that a wider front against human rights may emerge in Finland

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