RFI President Interviewed on Religious Freedom Attacks in Finland and Nicaragua

January 18, 2024

RFI President Eric Patterson joined the Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio this week to discuss religious persecution in Finland, Nicaragua, and elsewhere.

Patterson first addressed the case of Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen, who has been prosecuted on “hate speech” charges for quoting the Bible. Räsänen has already been prosecuted and cleared twice, and now the prosecutor is appealing her case to Finland’s Supreme Court. Patterson argued the goal of this prosecution is to silence traditional religious people and remove them from the public square:

The strategy in this type of case is public bullying – publicly saying that Christian ideas about life, marriage, family, male and female… are beyond the pale of society. And so in a sense it’s a publicity campaign to badger these people, to beat them up, to use terrible language about them as haters and bigots, and to be reinforcing that over and over again for instance in the Finnish press. And this strategy of bullying – whether in school systems, by local government officials, by so-called human rights commissions that are not part of an elected order – all of these are designed to do public shaming, public bullying, and attacks on people of faith to push them out of the public square.

He also addressed the religious persecution against Catholics happening in Nicaragua under the Daniel Ortega regime for “standing up against the human rights abuses and corruption of the regime.” Patterson said the randomized violence – in other words, “not knowing when the knock is going to come on the door in the middle of the night” – is particularly frightening.

While acknowledging the unrelenting attacks against religious people around the world currently, including in the United States, Patterson believes there is still reason for hope:

This violence directed at people of faith and their institutions is truly chilling. [But] I have not given up hope because there are many people winsomely and professionally fighting back in the litigation space, in the education space, in the parental rights space. But we really are at a moment where every citizen who believes in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, to limited government that protects people rather than attacks them – now is the time for citizens to be very active and vocal on those freedoms.

Listen to the full interview here.