The so-called SOGI report from the UN, made public on the 15th of June, proposes to limit freedom of conscience and religious freedom, to avoid discrimination against the LGBT community. The National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) expressed worry about the implications of this report in a statement, which has also been supported by the World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance.
On the 20th of June, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that blanket bans against peaceful prayer gatherings near abortion organisations were impermissible. With this ruling, the legal issues end for a local prayer group in Pforzheim, which are challenging the bans since 2019. Germany’s highest administrative court has protected freedom of assembly, but Federal minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus is planning to introduce censorship zones around abortion organisations.
The glass of a candlestick was broken as were numerous candles, the contents of a first-aid kit were scattered on the floor, a holy water font was emptied and self-painted pictures of the first communion soaked with water in a large-scale act of vandalism in the St-Cyriak-Kirche in Dielheim, discovered on the 22nd of June. The damage is estimated to be around 3000 euros. This current case of vandalisation has moved the parish council to go to the police and limit the opening hours of the church. The church has seen smaller acts of vandalism before, including broken windows or candles, but something of this scale hasn't occurred since 2017.
On June 12th 2023, a "group of young people" attacked Joseph Eid, the rector of the Notre-Dame-du-Liban parish. Shortly after 8 pm a dozen young people allegedly entered the presbytery to retrieve a soccer ball, and were scolded by the priest. The situation seems to have escalated and the priest was violently thrown to the ground, then grabbed by the back of the neck before being helped by witnesses. The assailants then fled, hurling anti-Christian insults.
In line with other European countries, Iceland has approved a ban on conversion therapies for 'sexual orientation,' 'gender expression' and 'gender identity.' The problem arises from the redaction of the new law, that restricts freedom of religion and parental choice. The law does not specify what is considered "conversion therapy", which could lead to the criminalization of harmless spiritual counseling by parents or fellow believers.
Matthew Grech, a maltese 33-year-old Christian, had his first Court trial on Friday 9th of June. He is being prosecuted on the grounds of "breaching the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act" and promoting "conversion therapy". He could face a prison sentence of up to five months and fines from 1,000 to 5,000 Euro. In the program, aired in April 2022, Grech shared his experience as a homosexual and how he found Christianity, which changed his life forever. Grech did not invite or encourage listeners to undergo any form of "conversion therapy".
On June 8, during the Corpus Christi procession in Ursynów, an Audi driver refused to wait for the faithful to pass and rammed his car through the crowd, hitting and injuring people. The police are investigating the event.
On June 3rd, the sacristan of the Chuch of Mailhac discovered that the place of worship had been vandalized. Many candles lay broken on the floor, and there are clear signs that someone had tried to open the trunk. The sacristan had already filed a complaint for the destruction of candles in the past. As a consequence of this act, the church has been closed for an indefinite time. The Ginestas gendarmerie was informed on the same day, and a complaint had been filed.
On June 2, Vladimir Burshtyn was arrested and taken to trial after having been preaching in the street in Drahichyn the day before. The law enforcers told his wife that the reason for the arrest was the "organisation of mass events". He was fined 555 Belarusian rubles, over a month's average pension in the country.
On June 1st, the provincial prosecutor's office of La Coruña opened a case over the burning of a cross in La Toleira of Neda, following a complaint by the organisation of Christian Lawyers. The lawyers' organization indicates that BNG (Galician nationalist party) members were responsible for the incident. They are being charged with possible hate crimes, offending religious feelings, offending historical heritage and illegal demonstrations. The Prosecutor's Office is asking the police to identify those involved in the reported act and the person(s) responsible for the fire.
A statue of Our Lady of Lavasina installed on the seafront of Ajaccio in Corsica was found decapitated on May 29th. The statue was used in processions in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Ajaccio. This is the fourth act of anti-Christian vandalism on Corsica in recent months. In April, a statuette of the Virgin Mary by Petit Capo beach was found vandalised, as well as a make-shift altar at a scout camp in Vero. A cross in Sisco was also decapitated that month.
On Sunday May 28, individuals broke into the church and carried out various acts of vandalism and damage to the place of worship. They tried to set fire to the church, also all the candles were knocked over, a crucifix was damaged and paintings were broken. The mayor, Albert Sanchez, strongly condemned this act of violence. In this context, local representatives called for a peaceful gathering in front of Cugnaux town hall (near the church), on May 31 at 6:30 pm to condemn all acts of violence against places of worship.
On April 27, the Moscow City Court ruled the liquidation of the Sova Information and Analytical Center, the leading organization monitoring religious liberty violations in the country. This represents a significant blow to the protection of freedom of religion in Russia.
On April 26, the lower house of the Irish Parliament passed what could be the most extreme hate speech law in Europe, with critics saying that it is in fact a 'thought crime' bill. The text of the bill makes the possession of material considered 'hateful' against certain groups a crime punishable with jail, and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, who is expected to prove they didn't intend to use the material to "spread hate".
On May 23rd, a ruling by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in the UK banned Christian Joshua Sutcliffe from teaching altogether, after he failed to treat his pupils "with dignity and respect" by misgendering a transgender boy. This case is the first of its kind in the UK and has become international news. It goes back to 2017, when the former maths teacher at the Cherwell School in Oxford, said "well done girls" to a group of girls, where one was a transgender boy - and he later apologized. Sutcliffe was later also accused of inappropriately sharing his Christian beliefs.
In Malnia, near Gogolin on May 23rd, unknown perpetrators blocked the door to the rectory to prevent the parish priest from intervening and committed the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary, a statue of St. Anthony, and the devastation of the church interior. The losses made by the perpetrators were estimated at several thousand zlotys.
A 21-year-old British man, Edward Little, has pleaded guilty to preparing to commit acts of terrorism in an attack against the evangelist Hatun Tash in 2022. Little was found carrying £5,000, with which he planned to buy a firearm to kill Hatun Tash at the Speaker's Corner, a place for public debates where she frequently debates and preaches. He refused the allegations at first, but on the 19. May 2023 he admitted to planning the murder back on 23. September 2022.
On May 19, between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., unknown perpetrators entered the church Notre-Dame des Grâces in Revel without being detected. Once inside, they poured red paint on the walls. A depiction of Christ on the cross, a pyrographed painting of the Virgin and Child, candles and the altar were also vandalized with paint. On a wall, the word "proteste" (unclear form in French) was also written in red. The mayor considers closing the church outside worship hours due to this incident. The same happening had already taken place on May 1st, with the same acts and the word "protest" written on a wall with red paint. Back in 2018, the church in Revel had been attacked with arson.
On May 17, a citizen who was silently praying in front of the Dator abortion clinic in Madrid was arrested by the Spanish national police. The arrest comes as a result of the entry into force of the reform of the Spanish Criminal Code last year, which punishes praying in front of abortion clinics as it considers it 'harassment to women.'
On Tuesday the 16th of April, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity in Mariupol. According to a US NGO, it is "part of a wider systematic religious persecution campaign in occupied Ukraine." More generally: many Ukrainian pastors said they had been arrested and tortured by Russian soldiers, with one saying that the troops were directed to "kill all the Christian pastors who are not part of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Churches in Bavaria are targeted by vandals with increased frequency. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) registered 294 cases of damage to property in churches, chapels, or monasteries last year - 23 more than in 2021 (271). According to the information, the trend has been increasing in recent years. In 2019, the LKA still counted 219 cases, and the following year it was 242. According to a spokesman of the Catholic diocese of Regensburg there are: "For example, figures of saints were destroyed or damaged, people smoked and urinated in church rooms, church walls were smeared or fires were set inside the church."
A teacher in Wales, Ben Dybowski, was encouraged to express his Christian beliefs at a seminar and was subsequently fired for "hate speech." The teacher was prompted to share his opinions during a mandatory training session organised by the charity Diverse Cymru to instruct teachers on "workforce diversity practice, unconscious bias and gender awareness." He later commented that: "We were told it was a safe space and encouraged to speak freely."
A Christian primary school teacher who questioned Stonewall and Mermaids' recommendations to support a "gender transition" of an 8-year-old student without providing any supporting medical data has lost her job and is the subject of numerous regulatory body inquiries. She is being supported by the organisation Christian Concern to contest against her dismissal due to discrimination based on her religion.
On May 11th, the Ukrainian newspaper Korrespondent.net reported: "The invaders are removing the property of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, but such actions are not explained in any way and no one was warned about the "raid". Russian occupants are looting and destroying the cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PCU) in temporarily occupied Simferopol. The invaders broke down the doors of the temple, destroy and steal the property of the Ukrainian church." One of the leaders of this "raid" is Novikov Evgeny Nikolaevich - "the Moscow bailiff who manages the seizure of the PCU temple in Crimea". The Russian individuals did not explain their actions and no one warned the representatives of the religious community and church officials about the "raid".”
Some people have tried to cause a fire in the church of Santa María de los Ángeles. This criminal act occurred on Tuesday, May 9 around 4:00 pm in Vitoria, while the church was closed. Perpetrators sprayed gasoline at the main entrance of the church. The fire burned a billboard and the church entrance, which they left darkened and dirty. The criminals fled, but thanks to the images from the church's security cameras, the police were able to identify them.
On the 9. May, the Police of Salzburg have arrested a man who hurled a bottle of red wine he had brought with full force against the high altar on Monday morning in the parish church of Schwarzach im Pongau. Thus, two altar lights were knocked over and the offering table and brickwork were contaminated by the wine. The man had entered the church loudly ranting and gesticulating aggressively and spat at a statue of Christ. The man - a Czech citizen who is banned from staying in Austria - was filmed in the church by two video cameras.
On 5 May 2013, graffiti was found on the Church of Lieusaint, in a suburb of Paris. The graffiti, which said: 'Vive l'Islam et la paix" (Long live Islam and Peace) was written in French and a Star of David was drawn. According to a local Muslim association, the scripture, full of mistakes, is unlikely to come from a Muslim. The Mayor strongly condemns this "proof of human stupidity". Last year, statues inside the church had been destroyed.
In the context of the current blockade by Azerbaijan on the Republic of Artsakh, the ethnic Armenian breakaway state in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian Christians are suffering increasing threats and fear for their future. In one of the latest threats against the Christians living in the region, Azerbaijan has demanded the expulsion of the Armenian clergy from the Dadivank monastery, built in the 9th century and one of the symbols of medieval Armenia.
An exhibition in the European Parliament showing Jesus surrounded by men dressed in leather as sadomasochistic slaves, apparently homosexuals, has provoked complaints from several MEPs and Christians in Europe. The author, lesbian Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson, argues the photographs depict Christ supporting homosexual rights.
A German man who was doing a bicycle tour around the Tollensee Sea in Germany, near Neubrandenburg, came across a wall displaying several hateful or disrespectful messages and insults almost entirely against Christians or Catholic Christians. He posted a picture of the display on his facebook page and informed the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians. Some of the posters on the wall say "F**k off Vatican", "Good that theologians are disappearing on their own", "Catholics are sh*t", among other things.
A cross on the Saint Jean pass in Sisco, Corsica, was found vandalized at the end of April. The nearly two-metre-high cross was placed on the pass more than twenty years ago by the inhabitants of Sisco. This is one of the four acts of anti-Christian vandalism which have occurred in Corsica in recent months. A statuette of the Virgin Mary in Petit Capo had just been vandalised a few days before the cross was decapitated, and a makeshift altar at a scout camp in Varo was vandalised shortly after this. In May, another statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated in Ajaccio.
On the 22. April. unknown people destroyed two statues and one vase in the Saint-Rémi Church, in the village of Profondeville. The day after, a small chapel nearby was burnt. A few days before, a Statue of the Virgin had been destroyed too. The police assume, that the same persons committed the three acts.
Between April 17. and 22., the St Michael's Church in Beccles was vandalised. Perpetrators caused damage to the masonry, to the stonework, including to the patio terrace slabs, and safety fences were moved. The Suffolk police was informed and are looking for the perpetrators.
On April 15, seven young men were fined for talking about Easter in a public street in the city centre of Minsk. The individuals, who were all Protestant, were approached by police and told that they were violating the law by "conducting missionary activities without a permit." The police fined each one about 2 months' average wages, reports Forum 18.
On April 14, in the Russian city of Bryansk, the Volodarskiy Magistrates' District Court penalized the pastor of the "First Church of Evangelical Christians Baptists of Bryansk" for engaging in "illegal" missionary work. He was charged with "introducing 'modern' ways of communicating in line with 'Western standards'."
On 14. April, in Menden, near Dortmund, unknown persons have tampered with the missionary cross on the church square of the Holy Cross Church. They broke off the Jesus figure and stole it. The police is looking for witnesses.
On the 12. April 2023, the rector of the Sainte-Madeleine Church in Angers found his church devastated: seven statues had been beheaded or amputated, the altar was vandalized, and many crosses were too. Mr. Verchère, Mayor of the city, and Mr. Darmanin, Minister of the Interior condemned the degradation. On the 18. April, a 40-year-old with criminal records named Brahim was arrested by the police, he was also taken to a hospital for psychiatric examination.
Over three nights on April 12, 13, and 14, in Croydon, thirty gravestones have been destroyed with a sledgehammer - some graves were dating back 500 years, at a Grade I listed church. «The church is appealing for witnesses along with police who are trying to find out who took a sledgehammer to the graves. »
A statuette of the Virgin Mary, set up eight years ago by the residents of Sevani or Petit Capo beach in Ajaccio was found vandalised on April 12th, 2023. The flowers, the pots which contained them and the candles surrounding the Virgin were stolen and the statue was tipped aside. This is the first incident in a row of recent anti-Christian vandalisation on Corsica. Later in April the chapel and a cross of a scout camp in Vero were vandalized and a cross in Sisco was decapitated. In May, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated.
On 9th of April, at night, unknown people wrote with white paint "Pa Pedophil" (paedophile pastor) on the evangelical Church of Jemelle. Pastor Grégory Zieleniec received a hateful letter in his mailbox "pedophil en liberté. Il s'agit du pasteur grégory zieleniec" (Free paedophile. This is Pastor Gregory Zieleniec). The Pastor has filed a complaint for insult, vandalism and defamation.
Marisa Francescangeli, a primary school teacher in San Vero Milis (Oristano, Sardinia), has been suspended for 20 days with a pay reduction (from 25 March to 15 April) for having made her students construct a rosary for Christmas and praying an Ave Maria and Our Father with them. The Oristano school office's decision of suspension was taken after two mothers protested. While other parents defend her, she said she will appeal the decision.
Two men were arrested on the 05. April after having urinated inside of the St. Georg's church of Nördlingen. One of the perpetrators is 39 and the other is 41 years old. The day before, faeces had been found in the same church. In addition, the two men attempted to break the offertory box. As the police searched the suspects' apartments, stolen goods from the previous day were found and seized.
Mikhail Simonov, a 63-year-old Russian Orthodox Christian, has become the first person to be imprisoned for expressing opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine on religious grounds. Simonov has been accused of disseminating false information about the Russian armed forces "based on political hatred" due to two social media posts in which he criticized Russian attacks on Kiev and Mariupol. One of the posts read "We, Russia, have become godless. Forgive us, Lord!"
In the Norwegian city of Klepp, nine council members are conducting investigations into a suspected case of religious discrimination over the funding of Christian organisations. It is suspected that organisations that adhere to the traditional view of marriage appear to be left out of the community grants.
On the 04. April, intruders broke into the church Santa Caterina da Siena in Coverciano (a suburb of Florence). Sacred objects, including four chalices, and two pyxins (host holders) were stolen. Also, loudspeakers and microphones have been stolen. A parish priest's helper raised the alarm when he noticed that the window of the entrance door had been smashed on Monday morning. Also, a copper gutter was partly torn off the wall. The value of the damage is yet to be estimated. The police are investigating.
On the 02. April, a Statue of Pope John-Paul II was vandalized: the hands were painted red, the face yellow. The sentence "Maxima Culpa" has been written on the pedestal, which is most probably an allusion to Ekke Overbeek's book accusing the late Pope of having closed the eyes on children-abuse cases.
On the 1. April, two German men were arrested after a random police control for having stolen 14 skulls in a Church Ossuary in Mölbling, Austria. The men said they had taken the skulls because they were interested in mourning and funeral cultures. The 43-year-old driver and his 35-year-old passenger from the Regensburg area said they had never stolen skulls before. The police seized the objects and stated that the two death cult fans would be charged with disturbing the peace of the dead after the investigation was completed.
On the 31. March 2023, pupils and teachers from the Catholic School "Saint-Pierre", in the southern city of Montrond-les-Bains, received a threatening message in the school's intern e-mail box. An unknown person, probably an outsider, threatened pupils of with death with the words "I'm going to cut your throat". An investigation has been opened by the police.
The Swiss TV sender SRF has prohibited the moderator Wasiliki Goutziomitros to wear a cross necklace during the program. Ms. Goutziomitros is a presenter on the news program "10 vor 10", and was seen wearing a small cross pendant. Now, the SRF has decided that it violates journalistic guidelines. This has caused a great discussion in Switzerland regarding religious freedom. These news were reported around the 24. March.
On the 21. March, the City Council of Aléria (Corsica), stated that a painting representing Jesus Christ and exposed in the Village Church had been stolen. The town hall of Aleria posted on its Facebook page about the theft. The municipality of Plaine orientale wrote: "It is a shock in the parish of Aleria, (...) a sacred object has been stolen." A complaint has been filled.