In the evening of the 3rd of July, the firemen of the town of Schramberg, Germany, were called out to the church of Saint Maria - Heilig Geist where a stranger had set a table on fire in the back of the church. Dean Rüdiger Kocholl is deeply shocked and worries that the attack may have been planned. On top of setting the table on fire, new signs had been placed on the donation boxes, stating a new purpose for the donated money: for example, for drugs, alcohol and satanism.
A canvas painting that served as an altarpiece in the Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche in Ansbach was torn by a knife on Monday morning, the 3rd of July, 2023. The picture was made by the Ansbacher artist Georg Friedrich Bischoff (1819-1873). The restoration of the image is estimated to cost 2000-2500 euros.
In the night of July 1st to 2nd the St. Jakobus church in Rheinfeld am Rhein was severely vandalised. The intruders left without stealing anything but caused damages to the amount of 38 500€. Among other things, the intruders damaged an historical window and the church's organ. Police were notified and have started an investigation.
Multiple religious items were stolen on the night of the 30th of June to the 1st of July, 2023, at the Heilig Kreuz church in Mönchengladbach, Germany. The thieves came in by forcing the door to the church and from the main room there they came into the sacristy by breaking the window. Two individual patens were stolen and one chalice with paten was stolen. The police have started an investigation.
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.
Thieves caused damage to St. Mary's church on the night of June 20 while trying to steal lead. Unknown individuals went onto the roof and stole lead. It was not specified how much the damage will cost in repairs. Similar incidents have been occurring in Richmondshire over the past weeks. It has not been reported if an investigation was launched, but the people of the church are urged to be cautious.
Christian Councillor King Lawal, who has been a councillor at North Northamptonshire Unitary Council for two years, was cancelled by seven organizations and suspended by the Conservative party pending an investigation over his tweets. His tweets commented on an LGBT pride parade that included naked men illegally parading through the streets in front of children. On June 19, he tweeted: "When did Pride become a thing to celebrate? Because of Pride Satan fell as an archangel. Pride is not a virtue but a sin." On the same day he posted the tweet, he was contacted by the leader of North Northamptonshire Unitary Council who told him that he was suspended for 21 days pending an investigation. On July 3, a local authority that held a substantial council contract with Cllr Lawal's family business ordered an urgent meeting. The family business was told that unless Cllr Lawal was removed immediately as director, their contract would be withdrawn. Under potentially illegal pressure, Cllr Lawal resigned from his own company. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Cllr Lawal has instructed lawyers to prepare legal action alleging multiple violations of his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
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.
Vandals took the head off a statute of Mary which stood outside St. Brannock Catholic Church in Braunton. They threw the torso into the consecrated shallow well and wedged her head into a nearby wall. Mrs. Smith-Bingham, who lives close the the church, stated: "I heard some noise on Sunday (June 11), and when my husband went to look, he noticed this had happened (...).The community should be made aware that a religious hate crime has been reported to the police. There has been petty vandalism in the area for the last 18 months or so, but this is on a different scale." Damage was also caused to the church door, and police are investigating the criminal damage.
A number of distinctive items have been stolen from St. Stephen's Church in Bournemouth, with police releasing a CCTV image of a suspect. The man was seen on the camera footage on June 9 at 9:30 AM. It was reported that he stole a silver sanctuary lamp, a decorative gold palm leaf and a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. A private area of the church was also broken into and a number of items were damaged. The police have not arrested the man and are continuing their search.
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 3, 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.
The mayor of Barrado, a town in the province of Caceres, tore down the cross dedicated to the 'fallen' of the Spanish Civil War on May 31, after having lost the municipal elections two days before. The politician, a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), justifies his decision on the 'Democratic Memory Law' but the foundation Abogados Cristianos considers it an attack on Christians and is considering legal action.
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 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".
Vandals targeted the Auld Kirk of Ayr in Blackfriars Walk on the evening of May 25. Grave stones were painted, rude imagery was drawn over stained glass windows and profanity was written on an iron gate. Historic stonework, as well as a welcome sign featuring a picture of King Charles III was vandalized with red spray paint. The incident is being investigated by Ayr Police.
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 May 19, 2023 he admitted to planning the murder back on September 23, 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.
Organ pipes were stolen and the organ of the St John The Divine Church in Patching, England, was damaged on the night of the May 12 to 13, 2023. The theft is expected to cost thousands of pounds to repair or replace.
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 9th of 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 May 5, 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.
On May 2, 2023 between 14:00-18:00, a cloth on a stand of Saint Leodegar Church in Steinfeld, Germany, was set on fire, burning the cloth to crisp and damaging the Bible on the stand in the church.
Glawdys Leger, 43, taught modern foreign languages at Bishop Justus Church of England School until May, 2022 when she was fired for refusing to teach her 7 and 8-year-old pupils about gender and sexual identities. The teacher was reported by a student and subsequently fired for "gross misconduct" after an investigation and disciplinary hearing. Shortly after, she received a letter from the Teaching Regulation Agency that allegedly her teaching conduct had been "contrary to fundamental British values in that it lacked tolerance to those with different beliefs." Leger, on the other hand, says that she "cannot, in good conscience, teach or say things I believe are contrary to my faith." Leger's hearing is due to commence in Coventry on October 9, 2023.
An open-air chapel and cross situated on an eight-hectare plot of land in Vero, Corsica, was found completely knocked down and ransacked on April 29 by Father Louis El Rahi. The site was bequeathed to the church by a local resident a few years ago and was relaunched as a scouting site by Father Louis, who celebrated Palm Sunday mass there a few weeks before the incident. This is one of the four acts of anti-Christian vandalism that have occurred in Corsica in recent months. Earlier in April, a statuette of the Virgin Mary in Petit Capo was vandalised and a cross on the Saint Jean pass was decapitated. In May, another statue of the Virgin Mary was found decapitated in Ajaccio.
On April 28 between 12:00 and 5:30 PM, the "Maria Himmelfahrt" parish church in Schwaz was vandalized. An inverted pentagram and the number "666" was sprayed in blue paint on the stone floor and on a confessional. The graffiti on the 500-year-old floor was in front of the altar. The perpetrators have been caught by the police.
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 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.