On August 8, Wellingborough Town Councillor Anthony Stevens, 50, was searched in his house in front of his wife and children, taken to the Kettering police station, and heavily questioned, for posting tweets from his personal account supporting the case of Christian Councillor King Lawal. King Lawal faced suspension as a Councillor, investigations and other forms of cancelling and discriminatory treatment for tweeting that "Pride" is a sin in June 2023. Mr Lawal launched a petition, which has been signed by over 26,000 people, calling on the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Greg Hands, to intervene in his behalf. Cllr Stevens shared the petition and tweeted in support of Cllr Lawal saying: ‘If you value free speech please sign and share’. Officers showed Cllr Stevens his tweets and asked him why he supported the petition. Cllr Stevens stated that he is a free speech absolutist and that even if he does not agree with someone, he believes in their right to express their beliefs. Cllr Stevens was released on bail, his mobile phone was seized to be searched for further evidence. He is required to surrender himself at Kettering police station on November 1. He has made a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct regarding his treatment.
A Christian governor and mother who was dismissed for raising concerns with the trans-affirming sex-education policy at her children's primary school has been reinstated by the High Court. The mother, who was granted anonymity by the Court in order to protect her children, reached a legal settlement with the school after being kicked off its Governing Body for pointing to legal errors in its Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy. She first raised her concerns with fellow governors in March 2021. She pointed out that the Gateshead School's RSE policy could be unlawful, and shortly later, she was accused by the school managers of opposing their "collective decision." She was removed as governor in June 2022. The High Court recognized that the decision to remove her was unlawful and she was reinstated in August 2023.
Felix Ngole, a Christian social worker, had a job offer by Touchstone Support withdrawn after the company found out that he won a free speech case over his Christian views. He says: “The reasons they gave for withdrawing the job offer were an attack on me and my faith." Ngole is now taking Touchstone to an employment tribunal.
Paving slabs, including a distinctive large blue piece of slate, have been stolen from St. Mary's Church in Llanfair-ar-y-Brun. The church warden discovered the theft on July 13. The vicar, Paul Pritchard, said that replacing the slabs would be difficult, given they already did not have sufficient funds to repair a collapsed wall at the church.
The New Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England and Wales has published a new Trans Equality Statement that defines forms of abuse towards trans victims, including "withholding money for transitioning", "refusing to use their preferred name or pronoun" or "Body shaming or criticising the victim for not being 'a real man/woman' if they have not undergone reassignment surgery." It also states that these actions can be considered as domestic abuse by family members and partners. Therefore, the CPS guidance makes parents vulnerable to prosecution, if they do not agree with transgender children.
In a recent study by four universities focusing on religious experiences among university students showed that, although the majority of students perceived a diverse and open atmosphere to different religions, there was still a small percentage (10%) of students that felt pressured to withhold their beliefs. Christian students emerged prominently as one of the most affected religious groups, facing challenges and unique perceptions within secular academic environments.
On the 28th of June, 2023, the UK government voted to introduce a new mandatory curriculum on sex and abortion in Northern Ireland, which includes education on the prevention of early pregnancy and how to access an abortion. This legislation has met with worry about the freedom of conscience and religion in Northern Ireland. Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: "This legislation will likely put teachers and parents who oppose abortion in a very difficult situation.”
Thieves caused damage to St. Mary's church on the night of June 20 while trying to steal lead. Unknown individuals went onto the roof and stole lead. It was not specified how much the damage will cost in repairs. Similar incidents have been occurring in Richmondshire over the past weeks. It has not been reported if an investigation was launched, but the people of the church are urged to be cautious.
Christian Councillor King Lawal, who has been a councillor at North Northamptonshire Unitary Council for two years, was cancelled by seven organizations and suspended by the Conservative party pending an investigation over his tweets. His tweets commented on an LGBT pride parade that included naked men illegally parading through the streets in front of children. On June 19, he tweeted: "When did Pride become a thing to celebrate? Because of Pride Satan fell as an archangel. Pride is not a virtue but a sin." On the same day he posted the tweet, he was contacted by the leader of North Northamptonshire Unitary Council who told him that he was suspended for 21 days pending an investigation. On July 3, a local authority that held a substantial council contract with Cllr Lawal's family business ordered an urgent meeting. The family business was told that unless Cllr Lawal was removed immediately as director, their contract would be withdrawn. Under potentially illegal pressure, Cllr Lawal resigned from his own company. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Cllr Lawal instructed his lawyers to prepare legal action alleging multiple violations of his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. On October 26, at a full council meeting, Cllr Lawal was reinstated. After being suspended for 3 months, Cllr Lawal said he was "relieved" but called on other organizations who removed him from positions to apologize and reinstate him.
Vandals took the head off a statute of Mary which stood outside St. Brannock Catholic Church in Braunton. They threw the torso into the consecrated shallow well and wedged her head into a nearby wall. Mrs. Smith-Bingham, who lives close the the church, stated: "I heard some noise on Sunday (June 11), and when my husband went to look, he noticed this had happened (...).The community should be made aware that a religious hate crime has been reported to the police. There has been petty vandalism in the area for the last 18 months or so, but this is on a different scale." Damage was also caused to the church door, and police are investigating the criminal damage.