On the 29th of June, the Irish Government approved legislation to introduce 100-metre buffer zones around abortion clinics similar to those already in place in Northern Ireland and with the PSPO's and the Public Order bill in England and Wales. In the same way as in the UK, the legislation does not distinguish between harassment and peaceful activism such as silent prayer or mere physical presence inside the buffer zone.
Between the 29th of June and the 6th of July the organ in the Herz Jesu church in Völklingen was damaged: tea lights were thrown against the pipes causing dents. The estimated damage is around 4000 euros. The police have started an investigation.
The evangelical church Philadelphia in Marseille was found ransacked on Wednesday, June 28th. The prayer room was destroyed with doors and windows fractured as well. On top of material damage, the tags speak of the anti-Christian nature of the attack: "Jesus is not God" and "Mohammed was the last prophet" were found written on the walls. The pastor has filed a complaint. It is unclear whether the attack is connected to the recent civil unrest in France.
On the 28th of June, 2023, the UK government voted to introduce a new mandatory curriculum on sex and abortion in Northern Ireland, which includes education on the prevention of early pregnancy and how to access an abortion. This legislation has met with worry about the freedom of conscience and religion in Northern Ireland. Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: "This legislation will likely put teachers and parents who oppose abortion in a very difficult situation.”
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.