European Lawmaker and Lutheran Bishop Hit with Criminal Charges
A court in Finland heard final arguments this week in the prosecution of a member of Parliament and a Lutheran bishop for expressing opposition to same-sex marriage. Charged under Finland’s “ethnic agitation law” are Päivi Räsänen, a member of Parliament who also is a medical doctor and former interior minister, and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola. Each faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who was imprisoned in Turkey for about two years, traveled to Finland on behalf of the Family Research Council, an educational institute focused on traditional values, for closing arguments that wrapped up Feb. 15.
Brunson brought 14,000 pledged prayer requests for the two defendants, FRC President Tony Perkins told The Daily Signal, adding that the Finnish court likely would issue a decision in early March.
Räsänen, 62, published a pamphlet in 2004 about the Bible’s teaching on marriage. In 2019, she was on a radio program and tweeted a picture of a Bible passage. She is charged with three counts of violating Finland’s ethnic agitation law. Authorities charged Pohjola with one count of violating the law in connection with hosting Räsänen’s pamphlet on his church’s website.
This type of prosecution could come to other Western democracies, including the United States, Rep. Chip Roy (R/Texas) said: “The idea of Christians being persecuted in America just for living out our faith is not far away,” Roy told The Daily Signal in a written statement, adding: “In fact, we have already seen it happen here to Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop out in Colorado, and a football coach in Washington state (Joseph Kennedy) being fired for praying after high school football games. Think about all the surveillance going on, about the persistent intrusions on our liberties.”
… Perkins said the Finnish prosecution could be a “harbinger” of similar laws in Western democracies. “This could be a warning for what is coming even in liberal democracies if they have lost their way on religious freedom and Christianity,” Perkins told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
The Family Research Council chief said the Equality Act, which passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, poses threats to Americans’ religious speech and religious freedom. That bill stalled in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans each control 50 seats. If passed, the bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity as characteristics protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (lifenews.com)
Pro-Life Nurse Wins Court Victory
A pro-life Illinois nurse who was fired after refusing to refer mothers for abortions won her case in court and has been awarded $374,000 in damages and attorney fees. A local court in Illinois ruled that Sandra Mendoza Rojas, of Rockford, should not have been fired from the Winnebago County Health Clinic for living out her pro-life beliefs.
Rojas worked as a pediatric nurse for 18 years before she was fired in 2015, according to the report. She said she refused to comply with a new requirement that nurses be trained to help women obtain abortion drugs and refer women to abortion facilities. The Illinois nurse is a devout Catholic who believes unborn babies deserve a right to life. (lifenews.com)
Human-Animal Hybrids: Pigs Bred for Human Heart Transplants
As soon as 2025, humans who need new hearts could receive donor organs from genetically modified pigs. Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany are working on cloning and breeding pigs for the purpose of growing hearts for human transplants, or xenotransplants. University scientist Eckhard Wolf said they hope to have the animals ready for human transplant trials by 2025. They plan to conduct their first trials with baboons this year.
Similar experiments are happening in the United States. In January, a University of Maryland Medicine team conducted what is believed to be the first successful human heart transplant from a pig. Other news outlets also have reported about organ transplant research with human-animal hybrids in recent years. (lifenews.com)