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."
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.