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.