Dean of Diocese Interrogated by Police


Rev Dr Juhana Pohjola, Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, was summoned to be interrogated at the Helsinki Police Department on 11 February 2020, suspected of ‘ethnic agitation.’[1]

The police interrogation lasted for five hours. The interrogation focused on the facts surrounding the publication and distribution of the booklet written by Päivi Räsänen, Member of the Finnish Parliament and former Minister of the Interior, entitled Male and female He created them – Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity. Furthermore, the interrogation carefully went over those sections of the booklet that the Finnish Prosecutor General had taken to be defamatory and insulting to homosexuals.

“At the tactful and thorough interrogation, I said that I am, as the editor-in-chief, responsible for the publication and distribution of the booklet. I denied, however, being guilty of the crime of ethnic agitation. In my view, Mrs Räsänen’s text is not defamatory or insulting to homosexuals. In my answers, I showed that the booklet teaches in line with Christian anthropology that every person is precious as [being created in] the image of God, regardless of sexual orientation. This does not mean, however, that people are not responsible before God for their way of life or moral choices. The homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God’s order of creation and a transgression against His will. If one is not allowed to teach this publicly, the message of sin and grace will be left without a foundation, and freedom of religion will decline,” Pohjola says.

The preliminary investigation will now go on and the interrogation protocol will be passed on to the Prosecutor. Dean Pohjola will still have the opportunity to give a final statement before the Prosecutor decides whether to prosecute and bring the charge to the District Court, or not to prosecute.

This matter has been in Mission Diocese news earlier:

Dean of Diocese to Preliminary Investigation by Police

Booklet: Male and female He created them – Homosexual relationships challenge the Christian concept of humanity  (The booklet may be read in English via this link – as well as the news item of the announcement of this investigation by the Prosecutor General of Finland. It is also available in Swedish here.)

In English in other media:

Finnish Lutherans under investigation for upholding biblical teachings on sexuality (International Lutheran Council, 05/12/2019)

Finnish police investigate Lutheran cleric for publishing book calling homosexuality a ‘disorder’ (LifeSiteNews, 05/02/2020)

Criminalizing Christian Teachings about Sex (blog by Gene Veith, Patheos, 11/02/2020)

Leader of evangelical Lutheran churches investigated for distribution of booklet on homosexuality (Evangelical Focus, 12/02/2020)

Christians Face LGBT Persecution in Finland (Fulcrum7, 13/02/2020)

Lutheran Leader Interrogated by Finnish Police Over Role in Distribution of ‘Male and Female He Created Them’ Booklet (Christian News, 13/02/2020)

ILC concerned over investigation of Finnish Lutherans, urges prayer (International Lutheran Council, 14/02/2020)

Finnish Evangelical pastor, MP under investigation over anti-LGBTQ booklet (Jerusalem Post, 19/02/2020)

[1] The Criminal Code of Finland (1889/39 and 2011/511), Chapter 11, Section 10 defines ethnic agitation as follows: “A person who makes available to the public or otherwise spreads among the public or keeps available for the public information, an expression of opinion or another message where a certain group is threatened, defamed or insulted on the basis of its race, skin colour, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability or a comparable basis, shall be sentenced for ethnic agitation to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.” (, translation from Wikipedia)