An amendment aiming to criminalize Pro-Life organisations for offering prayer, assistance and counselling to women outside of abortion clinics across England and Wales has been dropped by a Labour MP. The amendment brought in by Dr Rupa Huq sought to introduce censorship zones around abortion clinics nationwide and to penalize pro-Lifers with a prison sentence of up to two years if they continued their service. Huq's Bill failed at the committee stage since the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill have withdrawn from the amendment. UK's Right to Life Group fears the amendment will be tabled again.
David McConnell was wrongfully arrested for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now won in court, he will receive a compensation of £4,500. McConnell claimed for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of human rights. According to the Christian Institute (CI), Mr McConnell was held for about six hours until a desk sergeant who listened to a recording of McConnell's speech released him without charge. The incident happened in December of 2019, in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, where David McConnell was publicly preaching on the street to a crowd of 50 before the police arrived and arrested him for an alleged “hate-related public order offence” and “for preaching on gay rights and abortion”.
Former LGBT Government advisor Jayne Ozanne called for "gentle non-coercive prayer" to be included in the planned conversion therapy ban. Ozanne forwarded the inclusion after Right Rev David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, mentioned that prayer "where there is a level of power imbalance, and a level of force" should be included in the ban. A Human Rights lawyer affirmed that banning "gentle non-coercive prayer" would violate Convention rights. The bill will be discussed in September, following possible legislation next year.
As for Covid restrictions, the UK government announced a four-week extension to England's lockdown regulations. Although the new extension allows churches to stay open, it restricts worship and singing until 19 July. Right Reverend Dame Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London, is now pressing the Parliament to reconsider the decision. Retired Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, confronting the House of Lords sees inconsistencies being prolonged instead of actual Covid measures, since singing inside of Pubs is allowed.
Maya Forstater, a tax consultant, tweeted that biology determines whether one is male or female. As result, she lost her job. An employment tribunal ruled the former tax consultant had not been treated unlawfully as 'gender critical' beliefs were not protected by law. Lawyer Mr Justice Chodhury took the case to court pointing at the Equality Act 2010. In a second Tribunal hearing, the judge ruled that Forstater's view is indeed protected by law.
The city of Edinburgh Council has apologized after violating church rights and paid £25,000 in damages caused by their action. They cancelled a Christian three-day conference after a complaint regarding the religious beliefs held guest speaker Larry Stockstill. A court ruled, that they violated the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. The council acknowledged that it "failed to meet its equalities duties to Destiny Ministries in terms of the Equality Act 2010 and therefore acted unlawfully."
56-year-old Christian volunteer Jan Niedojadlo was fined £60 by Police officers in April 2020 for preaching the gospel and helping homeless people to get food during the Covid 19 lockdown. Despite proving that he was allowed to perform the volunteer service, a police officer gave 'him a ticket' on the ground of him 'being away from home without a valid reason under Covid regulations'. Mr Niedojadlo's case came to court after a group of MPs on the Joint Committee on Human Rights called for all covid fines issued during the pandemic - a total of 85,000 - to be reviewed. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now ruled in favour of Mr Niedojadlo.
Experienced medical consultant Dr Dermot Kearney has now been blocked from providing medical assistance in an abortion reversal treatment while an investigation takes place. Dr Kearney offered his emergency abortion rescue service to numerous woman during the pandemic, who regretted taking the first of the Mifepristone pills. By prescribing the natural hormone progesterone which inhabits the effects of Mifepristone, he helped several women to carry healthy babies. The former President of the Catholic Medical Association in the UK is forced to stop offering the treatment for up to 18 months. Dr Kearney, who is a cardiologist and emergency physician has been told to stop offering the treatment by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). They urged him to stop after the General Medical Council received a complaint about the treatment, which is not approved by health officials. The investigation against him is ongoing.
The All Saints Church in Kenton, Devon, could have its chimes silenced. The reason is a complaint from a member of the public. Build in the 14th century the Church's clock currently chimes every quarter of an hour. One new resident in the area has now complained to silence the same. All Saints Church vicar Rev John Williams admitted to 'The Telegraph' that he is aware that the noise measured by Environmental Health is higher than the current permitted. He added: "While some residents don't mind hearing the clock at night and find it comforting, we are nonetheless required to oblige with the law". The church council is now looking for sponsors to buy a £2,000 mechanism to silence the clock chimes at night. Kenton parish council is now worried that by the time they managed to raise the money the local council could have already silenced the clock.
Churches in Scotland are going to profit from a fund that aims to protect places of worship, which are particularly at risk of religiously motivated attacks. The Scottish Government provides a total sum of £500,000 in their Hate Crime Security Fund for security measures. Places of particular risk are eligible for 100 per cent funding. The fund opened in May and is thought to run for two months. Providing support by the end of September. Places of worship can receive up to £20,000 in funding to install security measures. Scotlands parliamentary officer at the Chrisitan public policy charity CARE, Michael Veitch commented: "In recent years, there have been alarming attacks on places of worship in Scotland including churches, synagogues, and mosques. This money will enable congregations to install security measures to act both as a deterrent to criminals and a reassurance to worshippers. Whilst the maximum grant available to individual places of worship is less than in England, the fact that 100 per cent grants are to be provided to the most at-risk settings is especially welcome. We hope that this assistance for places of worship will become a regular feature in Scottish Government budgets.We also call on Ministers to send a strong message that religiously-motivated hatred has no place in modern Scotland including hatred against Christians, which often receives less media coverage."
Hatun Tash a Christian and a regular speaker at the Speakers' Corner, has been arrested after questioning the Islamic faith. Police officers who were asked to come in to protect the speaker, decided to arrest Hatun after a mob of Muslims started threatening her. A video released on YouTube shows Mohammad Hijab, the leader of the antagonistic group who threatened Hatun, spreading hate speech against world politicians and Israel, threatening police officers and threatening to kill Jews and Christians. It is unclear why the Police arrested Hatun instead of Hijab.
Campaigners of the 'Back Off Scotland' movement are now demanding 'buffer zones' around abortion clinics, after the numbers of terminations carried out in Scotland in 2020 became the second-highest on record. With a total of 13,815 terminations carried out, the pro-abortion lobby is requesting 'harassment' free access. Campaigners are stating that many women feel intimidated by Pro-Life supporters who gather in front of abortion clinics. The Scottish government is currently considering implementing the buffer zones.
A Proposed conversion therapy ban could cause "an unlawful interference" with several human rights laws protecting the freedom of religious belief and expression, says human rights lawyer P Havers. Everyday Christian activity could also be criminalized says, Havers. The ban would criminalise biblical teaching on human sexuality and gender. The UK government is considering the proposed ban. A decision is expected in Autumn says a MP.
Lesley Pilkington is a former Christian counsellor that was tricked by an undercover journalist to provide counselling for his "unwanted same-sex attraction". Approached by Strudwick during a Christian conference, the Chrisitan counsellor with over 20 years of experience agreed to help the man. After a few sessions, the man filled a complaint against Lesley to the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) to get her 'struck off'. However, the Appeal Panel lessened the original sanctions against her and reversed much of the original decision.
Football Hooligans vandalized the city of Glasgow after a game on the 18th of May. They smashed the windows ft the St Maria Goretti church in Cranial and draped a banner with anti-Catholic slogans was across railings in time for evening mass of another church, which wants to remain unidentified. There were further reports of abusive heckling within church grounds. Two incidents were reported to Police of Scotland.
A life-size crucifix has been stolen sometime overnight between 12 May and 13 May 2021. The six-foot-high crucifix has been stolen from the All Saints' Church in Gosforth, Newcastle. The crucifix, which has been on display since 1965 "was situated in a consecrated area where many ashes are buried." said Rev Canon Andrew Shipton, from the All Saints' Church. He added, " It was a great shock to find that it had gone and a cause of considerable sadness". The police are asking the public for any information about the crucifix' disappearance and its possible whereabouts. The police are asking the perpetrators to return the crucifix, as it is also of immense sentimental worth.
The CEO of Scotland's largest grant-making trust, Kenneth Ferguson, has been fired for allowing the Stirling Free Church to rent Trust premises. Robertson Trusts Chairwoman Shonaig Macpherson is accused of having shammed and humiliated the organisation's CEO, over his link to the Stirling Free Church and their biblical views on marriage. A ruling in the case is expected soon.
Trent Colleges' school chaplain Reverend Dr Bernard Randall held a sermon at the schools chapel in June 2018, in which he encouraged students to respect and debate upon 'identity beliefs' and 'identity ideology'. Rev Dr Randall was afterwards reported to the governments' anti-terrorist unit 'Prevent' and forced out of his job. The school claimed that the sermon was "harmful to LGBT+" Students, and Rev Dr Randalls views were extremist. The former chaplain is now taking Trent College to court for unfair dismissal, discrimination, harassment and victimization. A hearing is awaited for June 14, 2021.
Pastor John Sherwood, the pastor of a church in North London, preached a sermon on a public street on 23 April, in which he advocated for the biblical image of the family consisting of a father, mother and children and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. After a while, some police officers appeared on the scene, approached Pastor Sherwood and stated that three complaints had been received about the sermon. After a lengthy conversation between the pastor and the police officers, the police officers asked him to come down from the steps where he was standing and said that he was now under arrest. The police accusation was that Pastor Sherwood had made homophobic remarks. An officer then took the Bible from the pastor's hand, pulled him off the steps and handcuffed him behind his back. The pastor was arrested for causing alarm and distress under section 5 of the Public Order Act, according to police. The preacher was detained by the police for about 21 hours, and he is still under investigation after his release.
On charges of violating COVID-19 rules, police in the UK have interrupted up a Good Friday service celebrated at the Roman Catholic Christ the King Church in London. Police also threatened to fine each person sitting in the pews $280. According to the British Independent newspaper, churches are allowed to hold services during the lockdown in England with no limit on the number of parishioners as long as the congregation adheres to social distancing and wears masks. The church rejected the police claims, saying in a statement, "We believe, however, that the police brutally exceeded their powers by issuing their warrant for no good reason, as all government requirements were met."
After a fire broke out at a church in Wokingham on 26 March, the police arrested a 28-year-old man suspected of arson. The police was called at around 3pm after the fire was reported.
On March 11th, the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood resolved the new Hate Crime Bill with the consent of 82 to 32 votes. The bill intends to "make provision about an offense of racially aggravated harassment, to make provision about offenses relating to stir up hatred against a group of persons, to abolish the common law offense of blasphemy and for connected purposes." Critics now fear that due to the new legislation many who do not intend hate speech could be reported to the police because of it. Moreover, it contradicts the freedom of expression which fundamentally belongs to a free democracy.
On 10 March, unknown perpetrators vandalised the cemetery of a church in Barnet, knocking over gravestones and breaking them apart. Now additional surveillance cameras are to be installed to deter future perpetrators. The police is investigating.
MPs in Westminster Hall debated a petition calling for the criminalisation of "conversion therapy" in England and Wales on March 8th. The government has indicated that it considers "conversion therapy" to be extremism. Christians in the UK fear that the criminalisation could restrict religious freedom, which is why the Evangelical Alliance now wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, saying that the ban could "place church leaders at risk of prosecution" but also limit the freedom of people seeking pastoral advise in this matter. It is possible that the LGBT activists deliberately chose a small format in Westminster Hall to avoid opposition in parliament.
Recent figures show that Catholics are the most common victims of religious prejudice and hate crime in Scotland. 42% of religiously motivated hate crimes are perpetrated against Catholics, compared to 26% against Muslims and 10% against Protestants. In contrast, Scottish Government figures show that racially-motivated hate crimes have fallen by 20% between 2014-15 and 2019-20. At the same time, the hate crime rate against transgender persons doubled in number. Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie expressed that hate crime is an "under-reported offence", which means that victims "can be targeted on numerous occasions before they report to our officers".
Richard Page, NHS director and judge, has lost his appeal after being dismissed and now wants to take his case to the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal had ruled last Friday that his dismissals were lawful after Page said in a television interview in 2016 that children grow up best with a mother and a father. At the time, Page, who is now 74 and from Kent, was presiding over an adoption case and said he was discriminated against because of his Christian beliefs on parenthood. Since then, he has been fighting decisions to remove him from his positions and is supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC).
"Buffer zones" around abortion clinics are to be introduced in Edinburgh to prohibit pro-life activists from standing and praying around the clinics. The buffer zones are initiated by a campaign of university students called "Back off Scotland", who got supported by the city council's policy committee. The campaign group repeatedly called for 150-meter "no protest zones" outside the entrance to Chalmers Street Sexual Health Centre after a survey showed that pro-life protests outside the clinic made the majority of women feel uncomfortable. The pro-life activists say their aim is to support women to make a different choice and the wrong allegations towards them are neither supported by Police Scotland, NHS Lothian nor the council itself.
In March 2019, Christian West End actress, Seyi Omooba, was removed from a leading role in a musical and dropped from her agency for a Facebook post about homosexuality citing the Bible over four years earlier. With representation by the Christian Legal Centre, she launched a legal challenge on September 30th against Leicester Curve Theatre and her agency, Global Artists, for breach of contract and anti-Christian discrimination.On November 25th, the judge rejected arguments from Seyi Omoobas lawyers that the theatre critic, Lloyd Evans should be allowed to give evidence in her claim. The trail of Omooba's religious discrimination and breach of contract claim is scheduled to run for 11 days next February. After the last ruling of the court she was offered a compensation which she reclined arguing that it was disproportional. In its latest decision the court ruled against the actress.
In February, Facebook permanently deleted the page of Core Issues Trust (CIT) on the grounds that the charity is in breach of its community standards. Since June 2020, LGBT activists have viciously attacked the site and refused to recognise people who previously identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. During this time, Facebook did not respond to the attacks against CIT and its employees, even though their personal safety was at risk. Now Dr. Mike Davidson, CEO of CIT, wrote a statement on the case in which he makes clear to continue to platform "the voices of those who with free conscience express the transformation they experience and the Christian convictions that are important to them and protected by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights".
For being pro-life, almost one of four students have been "threatened, abused, alarmed or distressed" at their university. According to a survey by the national student pro-life group, the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS), nearly three quarters of pro-life students have been confronted with situations in seminars where they experienced a restriction in freedom of expression. APS Executive Director Madeline Page said: “These statistics are alarming, yet confirm what we already know – pro-life students are being marginalised and silenced at universities. Institutional policies which refuse to allow certain topics to be discussed don’t just damage free speech – they destroy a culture of tolerance and respect on campus, ruining the chance for all students to engage with people of diverse opinions and understandings."
Between 6-7 February, unknown perpetrators broke into St Peter's Church in Wentworth, St Michael and All Angels Church in Chettisham, St Mary's Church in Ely and St Andrew's Church in Witchford, smashing stained glass windows and breaking vases. Michael Ritcher, churchwarden of Chettisham Parish, said, "They broke two windows to get in - one in the vestry and another in the main church. They've done quite a bit of damage." The police is investigating.
On February 6th, vandals demolished the car of a priest of St James the Great Church in Crookston, Glasgow. In addition to a completely smashed windscreen the car's wing mirrors were also severely damaged. According to a post in the church's Facebook group 2-3 youths have been seen vandalising the car. The police is investigating.
On January 31st, a break-in at the St Thomas's Church in Dudley in the Black Country has left the church unable to play music at funerals. There were no historical items taken from the church, but a computer tablet was stolen that implied that the church would no be able to amplify voices or play recorded music at funerals. The police is investigating.
January 31st , a church in the Derry County was vandalised and the police started an investigation. Sectarian slogans and initials of loyalist paramilitary organisations were written on the walls of St Mary's Church in Limavady. According to details provided by the police they were looking for a man during the week of February 7th, when they finally arrested him on that date.
On January 31st, the St Mary's Church in Limavady was target of a hate crime. Vandals sprayed the acronyms "UVP" and "UFF" onto the church walls on Irish Green Street and moreover damaged a statue. The Ulster Freedom Fighter (UFF) is known to be a cover name for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), an umbrella group of various loyalist groups. The UFF is suspected to have killed more than 250 people.
On November 6th, a middle aged man identified as RS fell into a coma after a heart attack left him with a severe and permanent brain damage. The man's wife and children supported the decision to turn off his life support system so he could die while receiving palliative care. The University Hospital Plymouth in the UK successfully applied for a permission to do so at the court. The patient's mother and sister argued that as a practicing Catholic, the man would refuse to be taken off life support because of his faith. They also claimed in an appeal to an English court, that the man's condition had improved and presented video footage take with a cell phone, showing the patient blinking and crying while they were in the room. The appeal was rejected by the English court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Julia Rynkiewicz, a final year midwifery student, was victim to a 4-month long suspension and "fitness to practice" investigation due to her support and involvement with the “Nottingham Students for Life” society, where she served as president. After four months, on the 13. January, the investigation was dismissed by the Committee. As Julia realized she was unfairly targeted for her beliefs, she lodged a complaint with the support of ADF International UK. After the case was settled, Julia received an apology from the university.
Christian prison chaplain Paul Song was suspended from work after he has made the incident when a group of Islamic extremists stormed a chapel gathering and hijacked his bible meeting public. After his Sunday Mail interview about the incident he was banned indefinitely from working in London jails. After being punished for whistleblowing and exposing the influence of Muslim gangs at HM Prison Brixton, he is taking legal actions. At the High Court hearing on January 12th the Lawyers will seek a judicial review of the decision.
A man robbed St Wulfram's Church in Grantham on Christmas morning, 25 December, after smashing a historic stained glass window. Lee Gray, who is now under arrest, destroyed items inside the church and then stole cash and the safe which contained valuable books and confidential documents. Among the stolen items was an original manuscript of a book about St Wulfram, the church's patron saint. The broken stained glass window caused £6,500 worth of damage and the church had to spend a further £5,000 replacing the locks. The total cost of the damage and stolen items was £15,229.
A nativity scene in Raglan, Monmouthshire was destroyed with a petrol bomb on Christmas Eve. The perpetrators are unknown and a reward of £2,500 has been offered to anyone who can trace the culprit. The nativity scene had been installed in a bus shelter to bring joy to families over Christmas. The petrol bomb set the statues of a shepherd, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus on fire, all were completely destroyed.
An employment tribunal told on December 16th, that a CEO was exposed to bullying, hostility and harassment because of his christian view on same-sex marriage. Kenneth Ferguson files his former employer, the Robertson Trust for unlawful termination, discrimination and religious harassment. He claims that the Trust's chair, Shonaig Macpherson, became "incandescent with anger" after she found out that the Stirling Free church was hiring a Trust property. Mr Ferguson is an elder and treasurer of the Stirling Free church, which is opposing same-sex marriage and abortion.
The section of Family & Education on the BBC News website perpetuated misinformation about `conversion therapy‘ for same sex-attraction. The BBC News LGBT Correspondent, Ben Hunte, says, “While some violent practices which may be classed as conversion therapy, such as ‘corrective rape’, are already covered by existing criminal offences, many religious practices, such as ‘group prayer”, are not.”
In its plan to alter the existing statement on freedom of speech, the University of Cambridge said people must be "respectful" of "differing opinions" and "diverse identities". However, more than 100 scholars and senior staff quickly objected, saying the “authoritarian” proposals could threaten academic freedom. Their amendment to change the phrase ‘respectful` to ‘tolerate’ was voted on by members of the University’s governing body and won “by a landslide”.
On the 10th of December at night, the door of St. Michael Church in Mere has been vandalized by a graffiti. White spray paint was used. The police are calling for witness and clues.
On December 7th, the UK shadow minister for faiths, Janet Daby, has resigned from her position. This was due to her statement, regarding the right of registrars to refuse same-sex marriages without being terminated. Janet Daby said that registrars who had a religious objection to same-sex marriage should not be forced to conduct them, as well as someone who has objections to abortions is not forced to carry them out. She sincerely apologized for her misjudged comments, and decided to resign as Shadow Faith Minister.
On December 7th, four christian preachers, known as 'the Bristol Four', are accusing the Avon and Somerset Police for their brutal arrest (assault, false imprisonment and infringement of their Human Rights). Mike Overd, Don Karns, Mike Stockwell and AJ Clarke have made considerable claims against the police. The case raises important concerns about the right to freedom of speech, and the freedom of Christian preachers in the UK to express their religious beliefs and have the right to gather in public.
On December 12th the ancient church in a village in Derbyshire was on fire. The Fire and Rescue Service of Derbyshire stated that by the time they reached the church, the fire had already caused significant structural damage. A 16-year-old Teenager has been arrested on suspicion of arson. Police are investigating.
On December 1st, Scotland's Justice Secretary has affirmed that regarding to SNP's hate crime bill, one could be prosecuted for stating that men cannot be woman. The Hate Crime and Public Order Bill (Scotland) was intended to criminalize expressions and attitudes perceived as "abusive" and aimed at "inciting hatred" against particular groups. However, in return it restricts freedom of speech and lacks it's sufficient protection.
On November 11th, a stone was thrown through the millennium stained glass window of St Nicolas' Church in Shoreham, while a dozen people were working inside the building. No one was injured, but the rock also damaged a pew. Reverent James Grant, Rector at St Nicolas' Church stated that the event had been distressing for members of the church community. “One fails to understand what draw you can have to destroying something like that without a consideration to the pain that causes to other people.” The police is investigating.
According to a new survey more than a quarter of students in the UK, 'self-censor' their opinions. They are afraid that their views will collide with the values promoted by the university. 40 percent do not express their opinion because they fear it could ruin their careers. Another sign of a free speech crisis is that 27 percent of students have stated they actively 'hidden' their opinions and further 40 percent restrained their views on ethical or religious affairs. The survey - conducted by Survation on behalf of ADF International, a faith-based legal advocacy organization - discovered that 36 percent, which is more than a third of students have legal opinions which would be considered as unacceptable by their student union. Free speech campaigners linked the dynamics on some campuses to 'Moist re-education campus', which are dominated by 'woke 'orthodoxy' and only the most liberal and Left-wing views are tolerated.
Between September 1st and September 20th the primary incident happened at the St Giles' Church in Alderton. Followed by an incident on October 28th at Holy Cross in Sherston. The St Mary's Church in Luckington was twice victim of an assault. First between October 29th and November 6th, and secondly between November 18th and 21st. The leaded windows have been severely damaged and caused a financial damage of several thousand Pounds. .
On November 14th, a hand-made Christmas Wreath at St. Catherine's Church Bearwood was stolen. The Wreath was placed at the grave of a couple, in commemoration of the upcoming Christmas time. It is a very heavy and large object, so it must have been stolen by more than one person. The police was notified by the relatives, who were heartbroken.
Mary Douglas, a Christian councillor at Wiltshire, was forced to step down from her role in November 2019, as she expressed her disapproval of the use of public funds to promote the "gay pride" event, as she did not agree with this "ideology and worldview". Accused of homophobia, she had to leave her role, but after an investigation the Wiltshire Council reversed the decision. The council admitted that her removal was an infringement of her "right to freedom of expression".
In the UK, a new lockdown was declared, which closes bars, restaurants and non-essential retail businesses. Churches are also ordered to cease gatherings and worship services. Leaders from different churches signed a pre-action letter to the government to take back the ban on worship services. As the government didn't respond, they now have launched a legal challenge led by Pastor Ade Omooba MBE and with support of the Christian Legal Center.
According to figures published by Countryside Alliance, a total of 212 crimes were reported against churches in Devon and Cornwall over the last year, reported by Cornwall Live on October 30th. The request of the Freedom of Information Act was made to the Police, which revealed the target of churches for lead thefts, but also vandalism, violence, assault and burglary. The government made a commitment to protect places of worship with a crime action plan 2016-2020, which should provide security measures at places of worship vulnerable to hate crimes.
The Countryside Alliance has examined the number of crimes committed against churches or religious buildings, and released the numbers for the last 12 years. In the UK nationwide, 6,000 crime cases have been reported. In Cumbria, which is the fourth lowest country in terms of such crimes, 47 cases have been reported in one year. Last year the Countryside Alliance's also reported 20,000 crimes against churches and religious buildings in the UK in the lapse of 2 years.
On the grounds of a church in Derry, during the night of October 26th, a pile of rubbish was set on fire by unknown vandals causing damage to several windows of the church. The police is investigating.
The First Minister of Walse, Mark Drakeford announced a new lockdown from the 23rd of October to the 9th of November, which includes the closing of churches. Christian leaders have raised their voice against the regulations made by the Welsh Government. The Christian leaders argue that the regulations are severely interfering with the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and worship, which are protected under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act.
As reported by Christian Concern on the 22nd of October, the BBC News Broadcast showed a biased TV Program on the issue of "Gay Conversion Therapy". On September 29th, BBC Northern Ireland featured only LGBT campaigners and gay-affirming psychologist and psychiatrists. The organization Core Issues Trust argued, that the program did not represent the real range of scientific opinions on the controversial topic. There were no interviews with people who had benefited from counseling interventions and left the LGBT lifestyle and also false reports were used without further investigations.
The Union of Clare Students (UCS) of the Cambridge Clare University are trying to remove the city councilor Kevin Price, for refusing to vote on a motion that contained a statement affirming that trans-women are women, trans-men are men and non-binary individuals are also non-binary. Price resigned his role to vote as a matter of conscience on the 22nd of October. The UCS considers Price "Unfit" and demand not only a safe environment for trans-people, but also that they feel "celebrated".
A new Bill is being passed rapidly in the United Kingdom, which would require extensive discussion on its moral standards. The Covert Human Intelligence Bill was presented on September 2020, and has already passed the first reading in the House of Lords (19.10.2020). It's regulations for the authorization of criminal activity for public bodies, like the police, to "prevent disorder" presents a threat to freedoms of speech and religion. The line is already very thin between "hate crimes" and "hate incidents" and the new Bill could give space to a targeted surveillance and use of executive power against Christians.
On October 18th, the Daily Mail wrote an article about the new "crime wave" against churches and cemeteries in England. The crimes include robbery, vandalism, personal attacks and rape. According to the Metropolitan Police around 1,106 crimes happened in religious locations, including 250 cases of violence against individuals, 273 burglaries, 188 arsons and criminal damage and 371 thefts.
On October 18th at night, a man was captured on video trying to rip off the Cross on the roof of the Chadwell Health Baptist Church in east London. The video footage then circulated on social media. He was also arrested by the police for suspicion of criminal damage. The cross was recovered, being now in police custody, it will be reinstalled soon. A witness told the Metro News, that the man looked angry and was muttering things about religion.
During the night of October 15th, a fire was set at the exterior wall and the windows of St. Paul's church in Quarndorn. The fire damaged the wall and windows but did not spread further. The police is asking for help. A 17-year-old teenager has been arrested as suspect.
In the early morning of October 15th, a rescue team was called because the St. Matthew's Church in Derby was burning. The facade and the shed of the church suffered most of the damage. There have been another three attacks with arson in Derby in October: On the church in Quarndorn and two schools, the police has not yet found any evidence that would link these cases. The police is investigating.
In the Year 2020 until now, 90 places of worship have been added to the "Historic England’s Heritage at Risk" register, while only 69 are being taken off. The organisation says this is a New trend they hope will not become the rule. Almost half of the churches are being added because of crimes and thefts of church roofs, which have increased in recent years.
On October 8th two young men forcefully broke into St Gregory's Church in Kevindale by smashing a window of the side chapel. They were caught by the parish priest while they tried to set fire inside the church. The two also caused some other vandalism inside the church. The priest chased the two perpetrators down the road but did not catch them. The vandals broke in during ongoing preparations for a funeral. The community of the church was shocked and demands reparations. The police is investigating.
On October 7th, a 'buffer zone' was introduced outside the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic in Manchester. According to the BBC, the people visiting the clinic felt harassed by the pro-life campaigners. On the other side, the campaigners assured the clinic to be peaceful and stand outside with banners. After the case in Fallowfield, Pro-Choice groups seek to get the same PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) for other abortion clinics.
On the week between 4th and 8th October at St Mary's Church in Preston, a significant amount of lead was stolen from the roof of the Church. This caused an external and internal damage to the building, as the rainwater could enter. The police are asking for witnesses and told the citizens to be vigilant. The sergeant, Brian Calver, said that they see an increase in this type of crime to churches in this time of year.
On October 5th, the St. Kevin's Church in Bargeddie was severely vandalized by unknown perpetrators. A Jesus statue was found with both arms broken off. The police is investigating.
On the early morning of the 3rd of October, a fire broke out in the St. Mary's Catholic Voluntary Academy. The firefighters spent most of the day tackling the fire. The Derby City Council was told that there was an alarm at 5am for a break-in, which confirms the case as an arson attack. The fire has devastated the school and the pupils will have to be sent to other schools while reconstruction begins.
The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Children (SPUC) and the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS) published a report called Free2Speak on September 28, which analyzed campus censorship in Scotland. Each university was scored according to their policies towards pro-life students, societies and outside speakers and the students' experiences. Both Edinburgh and Stirling university were marked as "fails" in the survey because their students' unions refused to affiliate pro-life societies.
On January 7th 2019, the Farmor's School in Fairford dismissed Mrs Kristie Higgs for committing gross misconduct. The school directive received a complaint about the teacher's posts on her private Facebook disagreeing with LGBT+ agenda (On the 26th October 2018). Mrs. Higgs appealed against the dismissal on January 14th 2019 for discrimination against her religious beliefs. The court concluded on September 25th, that her dismissal was not a discriminating act against her beliefs, but about "gross misconduct" understood by the school directive. During the whole process, Kristie Higgs received commentaries like "Keep your religion out of it" and was called a ‘Pro-Nazi right-wing extremist’. The court ruled against her, even though the government has restricted the Relationships and sex education (RSE) guidelines, to protect religious freedom and although the court acknowledged that Mrs. Higgs behavior was not homophobic or transphobic. Higgs is appealing the court decision.
In the last three years, there have been more than 400 attacks recorded against churches. In the last five years it sums up to 600 attacks in Northern Ireland. Most of the attacks happened in Belfast. Most of the incidents are attacks with paint bombs and graffitis, but also various forms of vandalism, arson attacks and general damage to church property are recorded.
On September 15th, the war memorial depicting Christ at St Saviour’s Church, was vandalized. It was the second time this year that the memorial was targeted, this time the lead was stolen. The directors of two rootfing companies offered to repair the damage for free.
Since the 8th of August, Pastor Josh Williamson and his wife experienced several threats and verbal abuse by the LGBT community, because of posting his belief about homosexuality on Facebook. Among them are the threats to burn his church, to perform sexual acts and protests in front of his church and physical assault. His image was also used on pornographic content and shared online, among other misleading information about him. In his conversation with the Police, Williamson was told to be careful not to break the law by insulting the LGBT community and being charged for hate speech. The threats towards him and his church were not investigated, neither the acts of defamation.
During an attack in August, one member of staff at a church in Cheshire was bitten and forcefully and inappropriately touched in his private area by an unknown perpetrator. According to a report by the Countryside Alliance the assault was one of 66 crimes to take place in churches in Cheshire. After several complaints, that too little has been done to raise awareness about crimes at churches, an investigation started.
Between the night of 7th to 8th August, the windows of the Methodist Church in Staveley were attacked. Small holes were found in the windows. The size indicates that a sort of weapon was used, and witnesses reported sounds of gunfire. Similar holes were also found in the stained-glass windows at St. John the Baptist Church.The Police are investigating.
Two Christian organizations that help people “who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression,” have been notified by Barclays Bank that their accounts would be closed. The move by the bank followed a social media campaign demanding that the bank end its professional relationship with Core Issues Trust (CIT) and The International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), accusing both groups of promoting “conversion therapy.” In recent weeks, the UK government has pledged to ban "conversion therapy." The charities' head, Mike Davidson, disputes the use of the term: “The term ‘conversion therapy’ is being used as a catch-all phrase designed to discredit any help that people may provide to those with mixed sexual attractions who prefer their heterosexual side. This could include a listening ear, formal counselling or spiritual support.”
The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship. The Parliament has accepted to re-draft the Bill, to protect Freedom of Speech. The new amendment should be known in December 2020.
The Parliament of Northern Ireland passed a new marriage law for same-sex couples, which has two implications for the church and Christian business owners. The law prohibits private business to deny service to same-sex couples arguing for freedom of conscience. Additionally, the new legislation allows same-sex couples of faith to have religious wedding ceremonies in church or other religious settings if all parties agree.
On July 3rd, Muslim convert Safiyya Amira Shaikh was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 14 years in jail for plotting a bomb attack on St. Paul's Cathedral London and a suicide bomb attack on the nearby underground station. Shaikh admitted the crime and showed no remorse; she wanted to kill as many "kufars" (unbelievers) as possible.
Church leaders launched legal action against the UK government for unnecessary and bizarre Covid-19 Regulations against Churches. Bans with threat of criminal sanctions were imposed on churches while businesses and restaurants were trusted to take their own decisions. Christian leaders find a total lack of understanding on the part of the Government for matters related to religion and Christianity.
In June, a British MP received a death threat and other online abuse after voting in accordance with her pro-life convictions. Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, was sent the threat just days after voting against a pro-abortion bill, which limits support/protest near abortion clinics.
Despite the opposition by the Stormont Assembly, Parliament of Northern Ireland, the House of Lords in the UK backed the abortion regulations for Northern Ireland, which were made on the time when the Assembly had collapsed. The regulations permit abortions up to birth in cases of severe non-fatal disability, such as the Down-syndrome. Lord Shinkwin, a Peer in the House of Lords, who also has a disability asked how they could deny life to a human being diagnosed with a non-fatal disability.
On 22nd May, lightning technicians had to visit the Trinity Church in Yarm Road, Stockton, because the lights were not working. Vandals had smashed the church lights, raided it, and put fire to the room, where the tools were stored.
After repeated vandalism at St. Mary Magdalene Church in New Milton, the Church will install CCTV Cameras along with the reparation of their windows. In the past, a thanksgiving memorial service was interrupted by teenagers banging on the windows and a stone was thrown through a car's rear window when the teenagers were confronted.
Residents of Crediton (Devon) have expressed their disgust after the statue of St. Boniface was targeted by vandals. The graffiti, scrawled across the base of the statue, reads: "God is dead. Pagan justice."
On the night of Friday 15th to Saturday, St. Mary Catholic Church in Ahoghill was attacked with paint thrown in front of the church and across the door. The police is treating the incident as a hate crime.
The High Court in Leeds held a judicial review of the watchdog Ofsted’s actions against Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service in North East England on the 6th and 7th of May. The Christian fostering agency took the government regulator to court for downgrading Cornerstone’s fostering service from “Good” to “Requires Improvement.”
On 7th May in Glasgow, a 53-year-old man smashed the window of a church. The police captured and arrested the man for vandalism attack labelled as "motivated by prejudice".
On 6th May, a judge ruled that the display of abortion images was a visual equivalent of "shouting into a person's face", and was, therefore, right to ban it. The pro-life organizer Mr. Hacking was given a community protection notice forbidding him the display of large photos of a fetus. The reasons were that people felt distressed and emotionally, mentally or even physically harmed through the images of the aborted fetus. Mr. Hacking said, that the real victim isn't the viewer who is negatively impacted by the visualization, but rather the unborn child.
On Saturday 25th April, unknown perpetrators set fire to the historic Leicester city center All Saints Church, which was hosting a virtual Van Gogh exhibition. The motives remain unclear whether this was an act of vandalism or an attempt to steal a painting of the artist. The fire alarm raised in the morning. A large wooden door at a side entrance was badly damaged.
On the night of Friday 24th April, thieves broke into St. Andrew's Church in Congresbury and stole two characters from its Christmas nativity display, Jesus and Mary and damaged wooden crosses. In addition, they snatched one of the three Kings, an ox, and the manager of baby Jesus. They also stole donations and several smaller figures from another nativity set. The thieves were captured on a neighbour's camera, and the incident was reported to the police.
Arson attack took place in the St. James’ Church in Southhampton. The fire is believed to have started in a toilet area inside the church between 9pm and 8am between the 15th and the 16th of April. After smoke was seen out of a window at around 10.37 o’clock, the firefighters came and put the fire down. The foyer was also full of smoke.
Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, wrote to all Church of England clergy and volunteer hospital chaplains warning them not to minister to any sick or dying hospital patients showing symptoms of the Corona virus. The intention of this effective ban is to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. However, according to Christian Today reporting on 9 April 2020: “The guidance applies only to temporary volunteer chaplains. Full-time NHS chaplains are permitted to continue ministering face to face”.
The Church of St. Edward was found vandalized with graffiti on the 7th April. The Priest of the Church, Father Callum Brown, expressed his concern.
In October 2019, the American restaurant Chick-fil-A signed a six-month lease and opened a franchise in The Oracle shopping center in Reading. LGBT protesters promptly began a "Get the Chick Out" boycott campaign, due to the company's previous support of a Christian charity which opposed same-sex marriage. The company indicated that the closure was part of its strategy of opening "pilot license locations“ with limited menus in partnership with local organizations to test the waters while expanding.
A nurse in Glasgow, was met with the words "f****** Catholic," from the woman she was trying to help. The incident happened at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and was heard of in the Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Between 4:00 pm on Wednesday and 8.20 am on Thursday, an unknown perpetrator broke into the popular All Saints Church and damaged the interior. Crockery was broken, a leaflet table was turned over, and bandages from a first-aid box were laying all over the floor.