Monday Miscellany, 11/20/23

Monday Miscellany, 11/20/23 November 20, 2023

Finnish Lutherans acquitted–again; the two most vocal Christians pull out of the presidential race; and the American Medical Association says “no” to euthanasia.

Finnish Lutherans Acquitted–Again

Finnish legislator Dr. Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola were acquitted for a second time of charges of “hate speech” for citing the Bible’s disapproval of homosexuality.

Prosecutors charged Dr. Räsänen under Finland’s criminal code for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” for tweeting a Bible verse in response to the state church’s sponsorship of a gay pride march, for appearing on a radio debate over the morality of homosexual behavior, and writing a pamphlet on the Biblical teaching about sexuality.  Bishop Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, with which the LCMS is in fellowship, was prosecuted for publishing that pamphlet.

For more, see our other posts on the subject.  A district court ruled unanimously that the two were innocent, but because Finnish citizens have no protection against double jeopardy, the prosecutor appealed that verdict.  Now the Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously that the previous acquittal should stand.

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the pair,

Throughout the cross-examination, Räsänen was asked multiple times by the prosecutor if she would update or remove what she had said about marriage and sexuality in her 2004 church pamphlet, titled “Male & Female He Created Them”.

“At the heart of the prosecutor’s examination of Räsänen was this: would she recant her beliefs? The answer was no – she would not deny the teachings of her faith. The cross-examination bore all the resemblance of a “heresy” trial of the middle ages; it was implied that Räsänen had “blasphemed” against the dominant orthodoxies of the day,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, serving on Räsänen’s legal team.

She would not recant.  Sound familiar?

The Federalist‘s Joy Pullman quotes Bishop Pohjola on their five-year ordeal:

“This is not only a cultural or legal battle but also a spiritual battle,” Pohjola said, noting their prosecution raises the “question of [whether] pastor and church can teach publicly what we understand to be the word of God and the created order and the natural law. There have been difficult moments, but I understand this is my calling as a Christian and a pastor to guard the faith and teach it publicly and carry the cross.”

That cross, he said, is not a physical cross like the one he wears around his neck, “It’s to pay the price in this age to be a witness for Christ.”

But the ordeal may not be over yet.  Pullman reported that the prosecutor plans to appeal the ruling again, taking it to Finland’s  Supreme Court, putting the accused in triple jeopardy!

The Two Most Vocal Christians Pull Out of Presidential Race

The two presidential candidates who were the most open and vocal about their Christian faith have dropped out of the race.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) said, in announcing that he was suspending his campaign, said, “I think the voters, who have been the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear. They’re telling me ‘not now, Tim.'”

Last month, former Vice-President Mike Pence made a similar announcement, saying, “It’s become clear to me: This is not my time. . . .So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.”

This isn’t to say the other candidates aren’t religious too, but Scott and Pence were very up front about their evangelical faith and how they were motivated by it in their governmental service and in their policies.

There was a time when a candidate’s open profession of faith might have helped their appeal.  It didn’t seem to do much this time, and it may have hurt them, even among conservative Republicans who might have been sympathetic.

Does this mark the end of Christian political clout?

American Medical Association Says “No” to Euthanasia

The American Medical Association has pretty much caved to the abortionists and the transgender advocates.  But it has taken a strong stand on another life issue, reaffirming its opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Wesley J. Smith for National Review reports that the AMA had been asked once again to change its policy against doctors killing their patients and has voted for the fourth time to continue its opposition.  He quotes the policy that has been reaffirmed:

Euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.

Euthanasia could readily be extended to incompetent patients and other vulnerable populations.

The involvement of physicians in euthanasia heightens the significance of its ethical prohibition. The physician who performs euthanasia assumes unique responsibility for the act of ending the patient’s life.

Instead of engaging in euthanasia, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the
end of life. Physicians:

(a) Should not abandon a patient once it is determined that a cure is impossible.
(b) Must respect patient autonomy.
(c) Must provide good communication and emotional support.
(d) Must provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control


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