Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) led his colleagues in a letter of support to the Honorable Päivi Räsänen, M.D. and the Reverend Dr. Juhana Pohjola of Finland. The two are currently standing trial for alleged “hate speech” as a direct result of publicly professing widely shared beliefs of their Christian faith.

“In the spirit of Christian solidarity, we write to offer you our support, encouragement, and our prayers during this trying time. Ms. Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola, we have kept you in our prayers over the past months as we watched your cases from the United States — knowing that this challenge you face is not merely legal, but spiritual,” the letter reads.

In April 2021, Rev. Dr. Pohjola and Dr. Räsänen were both charged with “ethnic agitation” for expressing their traditional religious beliefs on what the Bible teaches about marriage. Dr. Räsänen faces additional prosecution for exercising freedom of speech in criticizing the state-backed Lutheran Church on theology and politics. The trial began on January 24th and final arguments are scheduled for February 14th. A decision is expected sometime in early March.

As you prepare for final arguments, please know that we stand with you and will keep you in continuous prayer,” the letter continues. “If there is anything we can do to be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Until then, we hope that you will keep in your hearts the words of the Psalmist: “I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.”

This letter was cosigned by Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ-4), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), Matt Rosendale (MT-AL), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), and Jody Hice (GA-10).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

February 11, 2022

To the Honorable Päivi Räsänen, M.D. and the Reverend Dr. Juhana Pohjola,

In the spirit of Christian solidarity, we write to offer you our support, encouragement, and our prayers during this trying time. Ms. Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola, we have kept you in our prayers over the past months as we watched your cases from the United States — knowing that this challenge you face is not merely legal, but spiritual.

Over the last three years, you have faced targeted legal harassment simply for confessing Christ and expressing your belief in the teachings of the Bible. Sadly, your public confession of the Gospel has culminated in criminal charges and a day in court. While many would have backed down under the pressure, you have carried yourselves with grace and love for your neighbors while directing people toward Christ. For that, you can always hold your heads high.

We understand that the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion must be vigilantly guarded, lest we lose them. We appreciate your decision to stand up for your fundamental human rights so that no one else would be deprived of those same rights.

As you prepare for final arguments, please know that we stand with you and will keep you in continuous prayer. If there is anything we can do to be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Until then, we hope that you will keep in your hearts the words of the Psalmist: “I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.”

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