On April 24th, 2013, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution on the Protection of Religious Communities Against Violence (Resolution 1928 (2013)) in its 14th sitting. Reporteur was Italian Mr. Luca Volonte. Read below the highlights of the text.
Member of Parliament Marc Lefur (UMP, Côtes d’Armor) asked Minister of Interior Manuel Vals in a written inquiry on the numbers of acts of vandalism against Christian sites in France. In April of 2013, the minister replied saying that 667 attacks were recorded in 2012, of which 543 were directed against Christian sites.
An analysis of data from Pew Research studies finds that government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion are more than two times lower in countries in which Catholics are the majority population than in countries where Catholics are a minority.
The Italian Observatory “No Cristianofobia” has highlighted Radio Vatican’s report that 2012 has been the worst year for religious freedom in Spain with at least sixteen incidents of attacks against religious symbols or clergy though the article focuses on three. Of these the trial against the Bishop of Alcala de Henares Reig Pla who was accused, and absolved, of making homophobic statements, is exemplary of the increasing intolerance of freedom of conscience and thought to be found in Spain.
Upon the request of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians submitted 67 individually documented hate crimes and hate incidents on March 1st.
Read here the Observatory's analyses of the four cases on freedom of religion as they were decided by the European Court of Human Rights on January 15th, 2013: What happened, what was decided, what is good about the rulings, what is a disappointment, and what do Church leaders say about it.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ms. Lilian Ladele had not been discriminated against when loosing her job for not being willing to officiate at a same-sex wedding. Two judges disagree and explain in a minority opinion that in her case wrongly "gay rights" trumped over fundamental human rights.
The data contained in the report “Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2011-2012” shows an increase of 26% in religious hate crimes. 876 charges with a religious aggravation in 2011-12 were analysed by the Justice Analytical Services. As per previous years attacks on Catholics constitute the largest identified group, with 509 such incidents accounting for 58.1% of all such offences. Anti-Catholic attacks are more prevalent than attacks on all other religious groups combined.
Christians events, prayer meetings or Church services as well as Christian manifestations which are sometimes interupted or attacked. The Observatory recorded such hate incidents in several European countries, for example in Austria, Germany and Spain.
The US Catholic bishops' conference has launched the initiative "First American Freedom" to protect freedom of religion. "Today, religious freedom is under threat throughout the United States—at all levels of government, federal, state, and local—and abroad," they say, and announce to work towards a protection of religious freedom through "prayer, education, and public action."