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STUDY: MORE THAN HALF OF UK CHRISTIANS EXPERIENCE HOSTILITY

June 13, 2024, United Kingdom

A new study carried out by Voice for Justice UK, surveying more than 1,500 Christians, reveals that more than half of respondents experienced hostility and ridicule when sharing their Christian beliefs. These alarming numbers match the observations of OIDAC Europe on growing pressure against Christians.

UPDATE: UK withdraws prosecution for "withholding money for transitioning"

June 10, 2024, United Kingdom

After "feedback from stakeholder" the Crown Prosecution Service has updated its domestic abuse guidance for prosecutors. In the updated version the section on “Transgender and non-binary identifying victims” no longer states that withholding “money for transitioning” may be considered abuse. Furthermore, refusing to use one's children's preferred name or pronoun can only be considered as part of a wider offence of coercive behaviour if there is intent to cause humiliation or distress. For an offence the children must be at least 16 years or older.

Scotland: Most extreme buffer zone law passes first stage

May 30, 2024, United Kingdom

The Scottish draft legislation on abortion "buffer zones", which was passed at first stage on April 30, has sparked a debate on the criminalisation of silent prayer in these zones. This bill proposes the creation of a zone extending to 200 meters around abortion clinics in which "influencing" someone in regard to abortion would be illegal. In a parliament debate MSP Jeremy Balfour asked if he would be criminalised for praying at a bus stop inside the zone. He tabled an amendment seeking to exclude silent prayer from the criminal actions within the zone. MSP Gillian Mackay who introduced the Bill responded to Mr Balfour by saying: "If nobody knows someone is praying, and nothing in their conduct is capable of having the effects on women or staff that this Bill seeks to prevent, then it is unlikely that any offence could be committed. If someone stands silently praying for a long time, deliberately looking at women accessing an abortion clinic, or for example with a sign, then they may be committing an offence."

Police accused of pressuring Tory party to unseat Councillor Stevens

May 18, 2024, United Kingdom

Media revealed that a police detective allegedly put pressure on the Wellingborough local Tory party to unseat councillor Anthony Stevens after Mr. Stevens had defended the freedom of speech of a Christian street preacher and a Christian councillor. According to reports, the police detective explained that “in her opinion” Mr Steven was “not a fit person to be a councillor” because of his free speech beliefs and used internal information ton put pressure on the local chair of the committee. The incident happened just before the police searched and detained Cllr Stevens for supporting the freedom of speech case of Christian councillor King Lawal on his personal Twitter account in August 2023. The incident has prompted accusations of political interference by police.

"Are you here to pray for the lives of unborn children?"

May 16, 2024, United Kingdom

Sebastian Vaughan-Spruce was fined on May 16th in Birmingham while standing in a buffer zone near an abortion clinic. Among other things, the police asked him "Are you here to pray for the lives of unborn children?", in order to establish whether he was committing a crime. Sebastian replied that he was not praying silently in his head and further clarified: "I did not approach anyone, I did not speak to anyone, I did not breach anyone's privacy. I simply stood silently." He carried no sign either. The police could not tell him which crime he was committing, but nevertheless asked him to move away and leave the zone. When he inquired why, he was fined for not moving.

Attempted petrol bomb arson attack on Glasgow Baptist Church

May 15, 2024, United Kingdom

On Wednesday, May 15, an unknown perpetrator tried to set fire to Dennistoun Baptist Church in Glasgow with a petrol bomb which exploded in front of the entrance door of the church. Images show the charred pavement in front of the church. Police received reports of attempts to damage Dennistoun Baptist Church on Finlay Drive at around 10:50 a.m., and an investigation has been launched.

LibDems reported to EHRC for deselecting Christian candidate

May 12, 2024, United Kingdom

More than 400 party members filed a complaint with the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission which accuses the Liberal Democrats of deselecting a candidate based on his Christian faith in breach of equality law and having tolerated a “hostile environment” for people of faith. David Campanale, an Anglican believer and award-winning former BBC journalist has been targeted by an activist group within the party who has been lobbying against him because of his Christian believes since his selection as a candidate in 2021. The campaign alleged that he had not sufficiently disclosed his faith during the selection process, which he denies, and complained that a decade earlier he had been a member of the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA).

Arson on St Theresa Church Grounds

April 29, 2024, United Kingdom

On 29 April a fire was discovered inside the garages on the grounds of St Theresa’s of the Child of Jesus Church in St Helens. A window of the church was also found to have been smashed. The Detective Police Inspector, Jimmy Rotheram, commented: "It’s truly shocking that a church, which is such a valued resource and focal point for the community, has been targeted in this way."

Repeated vandalism of chapel in Torfaen

April 23, 2024, United Kingdom

The chapel of Bethlehem Church in Blaenavon, in the south of Wales, has become a target of vandalism three times within three weeks. According to media reports, parts of the out buildings at Bethlehem Church have been vandalised and a wall and step were damaged. Furthermore, urine was discovered in the church doorway.

England's High court backs prayer ritual ban at schools

April 16, 2024, United Kingdom

In its judgment on Tuesday, April 16, the High Court of England and Wales dismissed a Muslim pupil's challenge to a ban of 'prayer rituals' at Michaela Community School in Brent, north-west London. The High Court judged that publicly funded schools in England can impose such bans of communal prayer rituals among students. It is not yet clear in how far Christian prayer will be affected by the ban.