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.