The Christian Democrat leader, who has faced calls to stand down as Interior Minister following the speech, says she did not expect such a strong reaction.
“The fuss was a surprise,” Räsänen said on Yle’s A Studio current affairs show. She suggested that the story may have been bigger than it should because of the summer lull in political news.
She said that she has received thousands of emails, and that the majority were positive and supportive.
“They were concerned that devoted Christians who feel that there is not total freedom to practice religion and be open about your views in this society,” said the minister.
Räsänen also said that her home had been vandalised since the scandal erupted. Despite the reactions, she says she stands by her words and wants to retain ministerial responsibility for church affairs.
Several politicians had demanded that such matters be stripped from her portfolio after her comments.