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.
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.
During the night of October 12th, the Port Erin Methodist Church in the Isle of Man was damaged by unknown vandals. The rear window was broken. The police is investigating and asking the residents for further information.
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.