A local council in Northern Ireland has dismissed claims, by an ‘equality expert’, that repainting Bible texts on a local sea wall may be in breach of its equality scheme. The council-owned wall bears the words: “‘The sea is His and He made it’ Psalm 95 v 5”, “Eternity?”, “Jesus said: ‘Ye must be born again’ John c3 v7”, and “‘Christ died for us’ Romans c5 v8”.
On the 11. November, the Catholic Charity "Aid to a Church in Need" (ACN) UK noticed that Facebook had censored its ad campaign on tackling sexual violence against religious-minority women and girls. “Hear Her Cries” was the slogan of the campaign, which launched on 24. November. The campaign aimed to raise concern on a widespread problem in many African and Asian countries: the abduction of Christian girls and women for sexual violence by both armed extremists and militant members of other religious communities.
The 47-years-old pastor Chez Dyer was fined over £16,000 for holding a church service for the homeless in a car park during the lockdown in February 2021. Thanks to the support from the Christian Legal Centre her case has been dismissed by a magistrate’s court. She was also told by a magistrate, at a hearing at Nottingham Magistrates Court, that she was cleared from paying the fine and was issued with a defense cost order which means her legal fees will now be paid by the government.
In 2019, The Robertson Trust - Scotland’s largest grant-awarding charity - cancelled the bookings of its conference rooms to two evangelical organisations: Stirling Free Church and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. According to the Trust's policy, they are ideologically neutral and did not want to promote any religious belief. Almost a year after the controversy, the foundation has apologized for breaching equality laws for Christians and offered to pay both institutions £20,000 in reparation.
The Church of the Holy Cross in a cove of Mwnt in Cardigan, was vandalized on the 2nd of November by unknown perpetrators. The intruders ransacked the church, smashing windows and damaging property. The church is visited by thousand every year so the act had a significant impact.
For the second year in a row, only London has experienced more crimes in religious buildings than the county of Sussex. The data, provided by the Sussex Police after the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requested it, revealed that 367 crimes have been committed at churches in Sussex in the 12 months to August. Of the 367 crimes at churches, cemeteries, and crematoriums, 54 were thefts, 106 cases of criminal damage and 44 cases of violence. This showed how these places of worship are considered easy targets for criminals.
According to the Countryside Alliance, an organisation that has been reporting on crimes committed at churches across the UK, during a period of 12 months from 2020 to 2021, there have been over 4,000 crimes committed at churches and religious premises. The figures were gathered from 40 of the country's 45 police forces, which revealed there were 4,169 incidents of theft, vandalism, physical assault or burglary across the UK during one year, despite the eight months of lockdown. During the last 4 years, the organisation has documented 30,169 crimes.
Police are looking for vandals responsible for the damage caused to the memorial plaques and flower pots at a church in Quedgeley, on the night of 16th of November. “Plaques were damaged while flowers and flower pots were thrown around outside of St James Church in School Lane,” said a police spokesperson. Police officers spoke to the vicar and church wardens, who expressed interest in working with the vandals once they have been identified, in order to educate them on how their actions impacted the church community.
On Sunday 14. November, the St John’s Methodist Church in Arbroath was targeted by vandals. Three windows of the church were deliberately smashed. “The act of vandalism was bizarre and upsetting for the congregation gathering on Remembrance Sunday,” said Reverend Baker. Mr. Baker thinks something was used to hit the window repeatedly, rather than an object being thrown at it. The police are investigating.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick have started studying the possibility to allow Catholic priests at crime scenes. This proposal was submitted after Sir David Amess, a Catholic MP, was killed during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea (Essex), on October 15. A Catholic Priest, who was also a personal friend of Sir David's, wanted to give him the Last Sacraments, but the police denied him access. After this event, he realized how important it is, especially for the Catholic community, to ensure that the Last Sacraments is granted.
On the afternoon of November 10, an icon belonging to St. Dunstan's church in Stepney was stolen by a man. The church described it as a "beautiful and much-treasured icon" of St. Dunstan.
The damaged gravestones dating back to the 1800s were found by a working party that maintains the graveyard of the Church. The vandalism is suspected to have taken place sometime between the 2nd and 8th of November. The police started investigating and encouraged anyone who may have information relating to the vandalism to contact them.
On November 2nd, the storage shed holding Christmas decorations for the Bromsgrove church of St. John was vandalized. This is the second hateful incident at the church in only two weeks. The incidents caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage which the church cannot afford. The church warden, Neil Cramb said “Basically, this senseless act is going to cost us dearly."
The Welsh government has admitted that the ban on conversion therapy "could lead to the prosecution of religious leaders". The ban on conversion therapy was announced by the Queen in May this year and was welcomed by the Bench of Bishops in the Church in Wales. The document presented by the government leaves aside questions such as the possibility to attack religious freedom and claims that conversion therapies cause harm, although it gives "no evidence to justify the claim". Since then, Christian groups have raised concern that the ban could apply for private prayer and conversations, undermining religious freedom. The consultation by the Government will be open until 10. December 2021.
Several hymn books from the Holy Trinity Church in Embleton were stolen on the 24th of October and burned in a nearby cricket ground. Despite this event, Reverend Alison Hardy said that the church would stay open and added: "I'd ask people to appreciate churches for what they are and respect them as a community asset."
On October 17, the Carfin Grotto, Scotland's National Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, appeared partially burnt and destroyed as unknown perpetrators deliberately made a pile and set it on fire. As Police reported, "Enquiries are ongoing and at an early stage". Meanwhile, the community has launched a micro-funding campaign to help pay the damages due to the lack of economical means. However they are even more concerned about the rise of attacks against religious places, "we hope it is addressed at a national level", said the spokesman, John Mallon.
On the 17th of October, over 200 hundred academics from different UK universities sent a letter to the Sunday Times expressing their concern about the bullying and suffering those who held the view that sex matters were receiving. The letter cited statistics from the organization "Sex Matters" and said that the majority of the discrimination came from "trans activist bullies". This type of abuse would be most acutely felt by religious persons and especially Christians who typically hold this view based off the Bible.
Christian MP David Amess was attending his regular duties in his local circumscription in a Methodist Church in Essex on 15. October, when a 25 years-old British citizen of Somali origin stabbed him to death. Soon after, the killer Ali Harbi Ali was arrested. An Anti-terrorism unit is investigating the case, given that the perpetrator has been identified as a radicalized Islamist. This murder is a direct attack on the Christian beliefs that David Amess represented. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Methodist Church where the incident happened, accompanied by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer. People have been gathering for candlelit vigils in Leigh-on-Sea and have held church services in his memory.
The historic St. John's Church in Bromsgrove was targeted by unknown vandals on the 14th of October. The door of the crypt was forced open which caused hundreds of pounds of damage but luckily nothing was stolen.
During the yearly Freshers' Fair at the Oxford University, the stand of the Pro-life group "Oxford Students For Life" (OSFL) was removed by other students and activists, who threw their material into a trash bin and completely removed it from the event. The students also refused to let them reinstall their stand and threatened them with tearing it down again. The group had already been criticized on the internet, as they posted some photos of their stand. The "Oxford Feminist Society" made a statement that the presence of a pro-life organization was a "threat to the safety, health, and autonomy of women", which was backed by the Students Union. The University of Oxford condemned the censorship and harassment of the pro-life group by stating that the university had a long history of protecting free speech.
Mrs. Onuoha worked at Croydon University Hospital in London for many years as a nurse and has been wearing a golden cross necklace for 40 years without any problems. During the last two years, she started being pressured to remove her cross. Her necklace was considered "too visible" and posed a ‘risk of injury or infection’, despite the jewelry pieces of other medical staff not being criticized. After her repeated refusal, Mrs. Onuoha faced an investigation, was suspended, and relegated to work as a receptionist, and was told not to mention the reason for her relegation. With help of the Christian Legal Center (CLC), she is confronting the Hospital for harassment and discrimination.
St. Matthew's parish community realized on Sunday 10th that the church bell was stolen after it failed to ring at a Sunday service. Apparently the bell was dropped from 9.1m above damaging the cellar doors. The damage is estimated at 8000€. Rev Martin Faulkner "would appreciate the return of its bell to the church grounds with no questions asked", he added that the bell "has a special place in the hearts of the Withernsea community", having been rung every week during Clap for Carers and to commemorate local people who died with Covid".
The Cooper Report has been recently published by the Ban Conversion Therapy Legal Forum that was founded at the end of June. The Ban Conversion Therapy Legal Forum is a multidisciplinary group of parliamentarians, academics, barristers, legal professionals and survivors, whose aim is to ban any form of what is by them considered as conversion therapy. The Forum also considers any from of prayer as a harmful practice used for conversion therapy. They further state that an individual cannot consent to any form of conversion therapy. This implies that Christians or people in general, who seek help or guidance when they struggle with their gender identity, would not be allowed to get pastoral help that is not confirming their new gender identity, which the persons are maybe not even sure about yet. The Report further states that the human right of religious freedom is to be seen as inferior in this case.
The pro-life student "Life Society" association from the University of Exeter was the target of a hate campaign aimed to dissolve the group and its activity at the university. A petition among students and an open letter addressed to the university's Students Guild was sent to stop the pro-life group. Additionally, the group got harassed on social media. An online hate campaign was coordinated, to send them negative comments and even death threats, which were reported to the police. Fortunately, the University of Exeter defended the Pro-Life Association and supported their right to freedom of speech.
A "substantial" part of St. Laurence's Church roof has been stolen by a group of thieves. Sergeant Simpson, from the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team, has written on Facebook: "When someone steals from a listed or protected site, building or monument, its a crime against all of us. They are stealing our shared history", and he added, "the impact on the community can be devastating too, so please keep an eye on our history and report anything suspicious."
Fr Palmer had been declined as a University chaplain due to posts on his Twitter account expressing personal opinions and views regarding abortion and assisted suicide. After the "Free Speech Union" threatened the University for ignoring the 2010 Equality act, Nottingham University recognized Fr Palmer to become the Catholic priest of the University
The Christian Cornerstone (North East) Adoption and Fostering Agency has lost the case at the Court of Appeal. They were hoping to reverse a ruling that found the agency "discriminatory" for working only with heterosexual couples. Three Court of Appeal judges have found the Foster agency's policy discriminatory, as they find that the basis of the agency's religious beliefs is not enough to justify their policy of only recruiting heterosexual carers.
The Wilberforce Academy (Christian seminar) has been holding its courses in different Oxford colleges for many years. But this year, the Worcester College, where the seminar was taking place, apologized for having hosted this event "that caused significant distress" as it was published in the student newspaper "The Tab".
Mohamed Issa Koroma has been stabbed to death, while he was handling out church leaflets. The attacker will be charge with murder and possession of a bladed weapon in public and will appear at Sheffield Crown Court on 22 September. When the police arrived, Mr. Koroma was seriously injured and still alive but shortly died after the attack. “Our investigation into this incident continues at pace and our officers remain at the scene as they conduct their enquiries" said the Detective Chief Inspector Paul Murphy, 31, of South Yorkshire Police. The motive is still unclear.
The church of St. David and its surroundings continue to be vandalized almost on a daily basis: litter, condoms, sanitary towels, signs of drug use, and human excrement have had to be cleared away by the parishioners, the vast majority of whom are elderly. The latest event affected the church directly where the windows were smashed and graves desecrated. Church members, neighbors, and the police have worked to limit the amount of vandalism. One of the regular church attendants expressed her concern regarding the ongoing vandalism, "The costs and efforts to maintain and continue to preserve these local assets are immense. As a community, we seek to protect our village green and buildings for future generations (...) For almost 900 years it has been cherished and used by thousands of people near and far, as a place of spiritual peace and as a link between generations past and present".
The Scottish government has recently proposed to create censorship zones outside abortion clinics. These plans are being pushed despite a poll showing that only 21% of the UK population supports the introduction of "censorship zones", while many people in and outside the pro-life movement denounce the risk of censorship zones as a threat to free speech. Other planned changes are increasing the number of hospitals and clinics required to provide late-term abortions and removing in-person consultations prior to the medical procedure, which makes it difficult to assess if a person is seeking an abortion due to abuse or coercion.
Nottingham University confirmed on 25 August, that they had declined to install Father David Palmer, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our lady of Walsingham, because of "the manner" he commented on his social media site, a university spokesperson said. Palmer was supposed to become the chaplain of both Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University. While the latter instaled him the former invited Father Palmer to an interview in which he defended his posts about assisted suicide and abortion to go against the Catholic belief. After Bishop Patrick McKinney declined to propose another priest the University accepted to allow Father Palmer to celebrate mass as a "guest Priest".
In 2018 Christian A&E doctor David Mackereth was fired from his position because of his deeply held belief that God created humankind male and female. An employment tribunal consequently ruled that Davids belief is not 'worthy of respect in a democratic society' and that the Christian belief is 'incompatible with human dignity'. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre Dr David Mackereth is now appealing the ruling, which legally states that Christians could be discriminated against, as their belief is not protected by the Equality Act. The first hearing is expected to start this autumn, probably in October.
UK's Minister for the School System, Baroness Berridge, took a clear position regarding collective worship in state-funded schools in England and Wales. Her statement came as a response to the National Secular Society (NSS), who asked the Government in a letter to repeal the law regarding the daily act of collective worship in schools earlier this year. In their statement, they asked to replace collective worship with secular worship, Berridge referred in her statement to the School Standards and Framework Act from 1998, which declares that state-funded schools in England and Wales must conduct acts of collective worship "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character". Nick Gibb, the Minister for School Standards stated in March that "the department would remind schools of their duties if needed".
Scottish feminists groups and lawyers are siding with the Christian Institute who consider the new guidance introduced by the government as highly questionable and being promoting a dangerous ideology. The document states that some children "are exploring their gender identity in primary school settings", and that they can come out as transgender "at any age". It reads: “If a young person in the school says that they now want to live as a boy although their sex assigned at birth was female, or they now want to live as a girl, although their sex assigned at birth was male, it is important to provide support and listen to what they are saying.”Marion Calder, from For Women Scotland described the new guidance as "really, really worrying". Leading Human Rights Lawyer Aidan O'Neill criticised that this move goes against human rights laws and is additionally a threat to parental rights. The Government has now backtracked from their plans as the Christian Institute threatened them with legal action.
“Be careful with what you say in future when reading outside”, this was the response a Christian street preacher received one month after he was questioned by the police for reading the Bible aloud in a calm voice and steady tone outside a railway station in London. During his interview, the police tried to determine whether the man's reading was "abusive" and harassing under the public order act. Organisations aiming to protect freedom of speech are concerned about peoples right to freely express themselves in public as the Public Space Protection Orders can easily censor and therefore criminalise normal people on the streets. Changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill are expected in September.
Father Colin Mason of Sacred Heart Church in Westbury-on-Trym has addressed a complaint letter to the police after the investigation about the attack he suffered was dropped. The incident took place back on 20. August when 60-year old Priest told a group that was renting his church hall for a wedding party that they had gone past the agreed time. Immediately after, he was held by four men, while one man - probably in his late 20's - punched him until he was covered in blood and left him lying on the ground. He said the initial response from the police was very efficient, but he did not hear any news for a month. As he called asking for an update, they told him that the case had been 'filed'.
Street preacher Ryan Williamson from Loughbrickland was arrested for alleged hate speech, while preaching in Larne on 10 August. Subsequently, MP Mr. Wilson expressed on social media that “police probably didn’t handle this very well”, for there is video footage of Williamson preaching and his arrest circulating on social media. Williamson was released 30 minutes later. However, the police are being harshly criticised. Williams stated to have received much support from the local community.
Under the new LGBT inclusivity guidelines, children as young as four will be able to change their names and gender at school, without their parents' consent. A 70-pages document authorized by the Scottish government, dictate teachers to ask pupils for their new names and pronouns instead of questioning their 'decision' to transition to living as the other gender. Campaigners fear for the safeguarding of children and the breach of parental rights to protect their children. Scottish lawyer Aiden O'Neill fears that this move could be very illegal and potentially dangerous.
Christian street preacher Hazel Lewis, 49, won her legal case after being accused of hate crimes and being falsely arrested by the local police. On 12 February 2020, the preacher was arrested for allegedly making homophobic and racist comments and was held in custody for several hours. Although Lewis provided audio evidence proving her innocence, the police went on to charge her for the accusations made against her. In court Judge Julia Newton ruled in favour of Lewis stating there is "no case to answer".
Former police officer, Winston Roderick, took legal action against his colleagues on grounds of religious discrimination. An employment tribunal under Judge Rhian Brace dismissed all of his claims on the grounds of Roderick, who is also a pastor, being too sensitive. According to Judge Brace, the comments were never made. Roderick also filed for two other cases, which were equally dismissed.
In a recent statement published by the megachurch Hillsong, they accuse BBC of defaming and misrepresenting it. They state that Nick Aldridge the show maker of the documentary 'God Goes Viral' misled them from the very start. The show was supposed to cover how Hillsong grew from a family church to a megachurch frequented by celebrities and especially young people all around the globe. On their Website, they published a statement clarifying the misrepresentation and stating their position in relation to the false allegations raised in the documentary.
Less than a week after the Saint Mary Magdalene's Church in Caldecote suffered a thousand pound's worth of damage, it had been vandalised again. The Church, which had recently re-opened after several months of renovation had first been vandalised on 29 July, the second attack followed a couple of days later. Volunteers found several windows were broken and a door seemed to have been forced open. Police are investigating.
Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher and a Christian pastor, was dismissed from his school in Oxford because he allegedly 'misgendered' a student. He is said to have said "well-done girls" to a group that included a student who identifies as a boy. In a legal challenge, Mr Sutcliffe claims the school has "systematically and maliciously" breached his rights which subsequently forced him to leave his job, for it had become impossible to continue the working relationship. The secondary school he worked in has not commented on the case.
After attacking a priest with a glass bottle in the Saint Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Edinburg, the main suspect appeared in court. The male is accused of assaulting a priest who was praying in the Cathedral at the time of the incident. 31-year-old Jason Irvine has been treated as the main suspect in the case. He has been charged with two counts of assault and is held in custody while expecting a court hearing.
Scottish police managed to apprehend a 31-year-old man in Cumbria. It is assumed that Jason Irvine is connected to assaulting a priest on July 26, while the same was praying at the Saint Mary's Catholic Cathedral in York Place. Police charged the man with two assaults, they could connect him to. He is now expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Former Robertson Trust Fund CEO Kenneth Ferguson was fired because he held traditional Christian views on marriage. In a legal challenge, the Employment Tribunal found that Ferguson was a victim of religious discrimination and unfair dismissal. The consequences of the ruling are not yet revealed. A further hearing is expected to take place in order to determine the amount of compensation the Robertson Trust has to pay Mr Ferguson.
10 days after the Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Caldecote reopened it fell victim to vandalism. Windows were smashed, a powder fire extinguisher was emptied inside the church and the decorations were torn off and bleach was thrown over the floor and altar. The incident is said to have happened between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on 29 of July. Police have been informed and are currently investigating the case.
Glasgow's St Simon's church fell victim to a devastating fire. Emergency services were called to the location in the morning hours of 28 July. Saint Simon's Catholic Church was the 'spiritual home' of the cities' polish community. Additionally, residents were evacuated or told to keep windows and doors shut. One person had to be rescued from the flames and was given treatment at the scene. Police were informed and are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Hatun Tash, the converted Chrisitan evangelist who was stabbed with a knife during a debate by a Muslim man, spoke out on the attack. Speaking to local newspapers the former Muslim called on the state to enforce better safeguard measures to prevent future attacks. Her attacker unleashed a series of violent stabs at her throat and upper body leaving her with wounds to her face and hands. She called the attack a result of "police inaction" since the aggresor "was not afraid to do this right in front of them."
Police charged a 24-year-old man with "wilful fire-raising" for setting Saint Simon's Catholic Church on fire. The incident took place on July 28 and damaged the Archdiocese of Glasgow severely. As a result of the fire the churches roof, interior and upper walls were completely destroyed. The church was the 'spiritual home' to the Polish community in Glasgow. Further information was not released by the police.
Police are looking for a man who attacked a priest with a broken glass bottle inside Saint Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. The unnamed clergyman was praying alone inside the church when he was approached by a male individual who asked if he was a priest. Upon his "yes" he was attacked with a glass bottle. The occurrence happened at around 9.30 a.m. on the morning of 27 July. Police are investigating.
39-year-old Christian activist Hatun Tash has been stabbed several times while speaking at the "Speaker's Corner" in London's Hyde Park. The incident happened on the afternoon of 25 July, during a gathering. She suffered light injuries to her head but was taken to the hospital for care. Police are looking for the culprit who left the knife at the scene before escaping.
A court in London ruled in favour of 31-year-old pastor Joshua Sutcliffe. The street preacher was preaching in Camden, North London on Good Friday in April 2020, as he was approached by four police officers, who claimed he is breaching government COVID restrictions and subsequently fined him. "We find the defendant not guilty on all charges. We find that the defendant was outside and that he had a reasonable excuse as he was travelling to his place of work, as a worship leader", ruled the Magistrates Court in London.
A member of a peaceful pro-life display was punched in the face while standing in the streets of Norwich by a woman who did not agree with the content written on one of the posters. The incident, which happened on the 23. July, did not alarm the police officers. When a police officer was asked for his inaction, he responded that the aggression committed was "proportional" to the one displayed by the pro-life group.
Ryan Schiavo was arrested in London for preaching on the streets that "homosexuality is a sin" or that "churches that have rainbow flags on them are not real churches". A woman who heard him called the police and some minutes later he was arrested. The incident was recorded by a friend of the street preacher.
After a court ruling, council owned Blackpool Transport has now agreed to pay £109,000 in damages caused to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for banning adverts for an event organised by the same. The public transportation company banned the advertisements after evangelist Franklin Graham, who was an invited guest speaker at the Festival of Hope event, commented upon Islam and homosexuality. Additionally, the transport company offered a public apology and have now implemented clear policies regarding adverts. Franklin Graham is "grateful to God" for this outcome.
45-year-old Christian, Kristie Higgs, was fired from her job in 2020 for posting concerns about LGBT+ ideology being implemented in her son's school. The anonymous complaint leading to her being fired stated her post was "homophobic and prejudiced". Mrs Higgs posted the post on her private Facebook page only visible to her family and friends. In an Employment Appeal Tribunal, His Honour Judge (HHJ) Taylor ruled in favour of Mrs Higgs stating: “This appeal potentially raises important issues on the approach to be adopted by the Tribunals to manifestation and expression of beliefs”. Higgs has now appealed her case which will be heard starting on the 27th of February.
Twitter allowed politician James Dornan to personally attack his Christian colleague MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. After high profile conservative Mr Rees-Mogg tweeted a video about the upcoming Nationality and Borders Bill, Mr Dornan responded stating: "Hope you remember this the next time you go to confession. You and your cronies are already responsible for the deaths of thousands and you're now happy to see the most desperate people in the world suffer and drown. If your god exists you will undoubtedly rot in hell." Consequently, the post was reported to the Standards Commission for Scotland. The conservative party is now asking for an apology.
Initially, the singing ban in churches throughout England was expected to be lifted in June. Especially because choirs, professional singers and singing in bars and pubs have at that point been allowed to take place. Then on June 15, the English government extended the restrictions for churches only, which are set to come to an end on 19 July. Secretary of health Mr Sajid Javid announced that all restrictions would be eased off stating: "There will be no limits on the number of people who can attend life events like weddings and funerals and there will be no restrictions on communal worship or singing." Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson also stated that the usage of masks would become voluntary.
Following the case of Rev Dr Bernard Randall vs. Trent College, Tory MPs are now seeking to add schools to a programme, which would penalize schools for favouring 'woke over free speech'. In the eye of the 'woke' and 'cancel culture' movements, the government is set to protect free speech and open debate in academia. PM Boris Johnson declared the government's commitment to protect free speech and open debate in academia in May, during the Queen's Speech programme. Similar cases to the one of Rev Dr Randall are supposed to be included in the debate. A vote on the sanctions is expected later this month.
UK's House of Commons discussed the plans to ban conversion therapy in the face of Pride month. In the discussion Dame Angela Eagle urged the government to accept the ban as it is currently written, which includes praying. She stated, "as a minimum, they must introduce a ban on conversion therapy, with no religious exemptions and no loopholes." Other Ministers are concerned about the freedom of religion and consequently the church's role.
School chaplain, Rev Dr Bernard Randall, who was reported to the government's terrorist watchdogs for encouraging children to form their own opinions about their school's new LGBT+ rules while accepting contradicting views had his employment tribunal hearing postponed for over a year. Rev Randall 48, will now have to wait until September 2022 since the Boarding School with an Anglican ethos he was ordained Chaplain of, Trent college, failed to serve their evidence.
In Wales the adoption of a new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is being discussed. While the Welsh government is considering its adoption, some parents, like Izzy Montague, are raising serious concerns about the protection of children. If accepted RSE will start with the next academic year. Parents and education specialists are raising serious concerns about what its adoption would mean for our society as it is known.
Ongoing singing restrictions in churches are causing debate in the UK. While the singing ban has been lifted, new restrictions have been implemented. Members of the House of Lords are now getting increasingly frustrated with the seemingly inconsistencies implemented by the Government regarding indoor singing. Gloucester Bishop, Rt Rev Rachel Treweek has now asked the Government for a timetable to be able to return to normal life.
46-year-old street preacher, Andrew Sathiyavan, got arrested on Easter Sunday 2020 for publicly preaching on the street. Three police officers told him that he was "not allowed" to preach the gospel because he is causing anti-social behaviour and is in breach of current COVID regulations. Mr. Sathiyavan was then arrested and received a fine of £400. Since this is not the first time Mr Sathiyavan has been arrested by the police for street preaching he is now lodging an appeal and will be seeking legal action against the police, who arrested him for preaching, fined him and strip-searched him in Solihull in November of 2020.
Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service is appealing a court decision. After the High Court decided the evangelical Christian fostering agency had to change its policy regarding the placement of children with exclusively heterosexual married couples. QC lawyer Aiden O'Neill is now supporting the adoption agency and stated the ruling to be "incoherent". QC lawyer Sir James Eadie, who is representing Ofsted, cannot find such inconsistencies in the Judge's ruling.
Scottish MP Carol Monaghan and her family had to be shielded in a police car and were brought to a safe house, after she experienced online abuse and a death threat via phone call. In a BBC interview, Monaghan (48) stated she received a series of offensive tweets followed by messages referencing to her murdered colleague MP Jo Cox. Apart from the online abuse Ms Monaghan also had to endure that her constituency office in Patrick was targeted and its windows smashed and office front splattered with ketchup, to appear like blood. Her stalker, 35-year-old Jonathan Bell, confessed in Court to the harassment and is now facing a prison sentence.
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”.
In Northern Ireland (NI) a pastor is facing prosecution over a video he, himself published. In the said video he is questioning some actions of the supporters of the Black Live Matter (BLM) Movement. The pastor is accused of having stated racist statements. A final decision is expected by the end of June.
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.
LGBT+ activists are pushing for a nationwide ban of conversion therapies, which would criminalize prayer, preaching, pastoral support and even parenting which opposes the LGBT+ assumptions. Human rights lawyer Jason Coppel urges that this action "would criminalise the legitimate expression of religious beliefs". The Christian Institute "will not hesitate" to take legal action if Northern Ireland's executives introduce "a badly drafted CT ban" which criminalizes "ordinary everyday practices of the church".
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."