Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen, reacting to the destruction of a nativity scene on January 11, 2020.
David Scoffield QC, attorney for Ashers Baking Company.
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell defending Ashers Baking Company's refusal to bake a cake with a message they morally opposed.
"How strange would it be if patients simply expected their doctor to ignore their deepest moral reservations and proceed regardless? Would it not concern patients to learn that the healthcare professionals caring for them were forced to participate in activity which they fundamentally disagreed with? All too often, the ability of healthcare professionals to conscientiously object is entirely dependent on the sympathy of their line managers or colleagues."
Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned concerns about the situation of Christians in Western Europe at a high-level event on issues of protecting Christians, Geneva, March 2, 2015 at the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that it has become politically incorrect to identify oneself as a Christian.
The committee of the carnival parade in Cologne had presented a caricature of the Paris incident of the Islamic attack in the "Charlie Hebdo" editorial office as a leading theme for this year's carnival. The cartoon did not directly refer to Islam, however after discussions it was withdrawn. At the same time, the carnival is expected to contain excessive mocking of Christians. A journalist of "Die Welt" points out these double standards.
Paul Moynan, Director of CARE for Europe, comments on the appeal by the Greater Glasgow Health Board against two midwives who objected to taking part in the process of abortion, based on their religious conviction of the value of life from conception onwards. They lost their case because it was ruled that the supervision of staff, patient care and administration were not deemed to be covered by the conscientious objection clause, but only the actual abortion procedure itself.
Together with several NGOs, the Observatory hosted a manifestation against persecution of Christians worldwide in the evening of December 10th, 2014, the international day of human rights. While the outrageous persecution of Christians in some countries of the world was the key issue, the growing discrimination and intolerance against Christians in the West was also mentioned.
According to Senator Guido de Padt, the Minister of the Interior Joëlle Milquet reports that two to three churches or chapels are robbed every day in Belgium and vandalism occurs, on average, more than once a day.
David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, writes in the Irish Catholic: "Around the time of the Savita Halappanavar controversy [whether to legalise abortion in Ireland] I received an expletive-ridden phone call condemning the Catholic Church and telling me I should be hanged on O’Connell Street. Around that same time I was in the Henry Street area of Dublin city centre and I was stopped and attacked as a ‘Catholic toe-rag’ by a very angry looking man."
Quote from the article: “There is a general suspicion of anything religious, a view that faith should be kept out of the public sphere,” said Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, a Vienna-based research and lobbying group. “There is a very strong current of radical secularism,” she said, adding that this affects all religions but is particularly strong against Christianity because of a view that “Christianity dominated unfairly for centuries” and needs to be put in its place.
The Holy See Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva calls attention to the marginalisation of Christians in Western Europe at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Several of these acts have been perpetrated in parts of the middle East, Africa and Asia, the fruit of bigotry, intolerance, terrorism and some exclusionary laws. In addition, in some Western countries where historically the Christian presence has been an integral part of society, a trend emerges that tends to marginalize Christianity in public life, to ignore historic and social contributions and even to restrict the ability of faith communities to carry out social charitable services."
“Examples of intolerance and discrimination against Christians have not diminished, but rather increased in various parts of the OSCE region despite a number of meetings and conferences on the subject,” said Bishop Mario Toso, SDB, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who represented the Holy See at at an OSCE High Level conference devoted to tolerance in Albania, in May 2013.
A group of at least 14,900 French mayors has said it will not perform “gay marriages,” even if the government moves ahead with plans to legalize the practice. The administration of French President Francois Hollande has put forth a measure that would legalize “gay marriage,” allow gay couples to receive medical treatment for artificial procreation and to adopt children.
Pope Francis in a homily: "Christians are persecuted for their faith. In some countries they are punished by the mere fact of carrying a cross. Today, in the twenty-first century, our Church is a Church of martyrs, those who say like Peter and John: 'We can not silence what we saw and heard.'" And that - he continued - "gives us strength, give us the strength to bear witness to the life and faith that we receive is the gift that the Lord gives to all people."
German Author and media analyst Norbert Bolz explains to the German Catholic Press Agency (KNA) why the media often has an anti-clerical attitude and how he suggests to react to this.
Archbishop Müller, prefect for the Congregation of the doctrine of the faith, says in an interview: "Specific campaigns to discredit the Catholic church in North America and also here in Europe have caused some public provocation and insults of clerics in certain fields. The atmosphere that arises due to that is visible in many blogs. Also there are attacks launched on television that have their origins in the battle that totalitarian ideologies led against christianity."
In a contribution to the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Roger Trigg writes: "Certainly, as is recognised in the case of conscientious objection in a time of war, it is the mark of civilised society to respect a conscientious stand, even if it is thought misguided. Whether freedom of religion can be simply replaced by an appeal to individual conscience is much more doubtful. Religion seems to be itself of deep importance in human life, and should be cherished. It has a social dimension, with institutional, as well as individual, aspects. What is quite clear is that once freedom of religion is not thought to be of absolutely fundamental importance in a society, but can give way to current social priorities, freedom of conscience also is challenged. Religious freedom, itself, is very hard to prise apart from the most basic freedoms that make any life worth living. It is regrettable that current European jurisprudence does not appear to take this point seriously."
On January 16, Archbishop Mamberti commented on Radio Vatican on the four freedom of religion cases ruled on by the European Court of Human Rights: "There is a real risk that moral relativism, which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion. ... the rationality of the human conscience in general and of the moral action of Christians in particular requires explanation. Regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, freedom of consciences must be respected. Rather than being an obstacle to the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism, respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for it."
"The liberties of French Christians have long been in a perilous state, however now the recently elected Socialist Government is set to impose a new form of secularist surveillance upon the Church and lay organisations, seeking to discover and 'dissolve' any potential cases of what it deems 'religious pathology.'"
The Catholic Church has called for a public acknowledgement of the extent of anti-Catholicism in Scotland as new Crown Office statistics show an increase in Religiously Aggravated hate crimes directed at Catholics.
Cardinal Peter Erdö speaks of wrong presentations of and a "a spreading of ignorance about the Christian faith", being "accompanied by repeated juridical, as well as physical, attacks against the visible presence of the manifestations of faith". This is also due to the fact that human rights "no longer have a clear connection with the human and Christian view".
How can Christians oppose such tendencies? What does the power of Christianity lie in? It is determined by the faith of Christians, their ability to live up the Gospel’s law, to bring the light of Divine Truth to people. Having lost the ability to be the salt of the earth, Christians become unable to oppose various ideologies asserting their own rules of common human life.”
School children as young as 12 who disagree with same-sex marriage have been branded as “Nazis” and “bigots”, a senior Roman Catholic official has said. John Deighan said there is an increasing level of ill will against “very young people” because of their views about such issues.
The “Human Rights agenda” is in danger of becoming a new form of totalitarianism, according to a bishop in comments ahead of four religious liberty court cases.
In a submission to the European Court of Human Rights, hearing four freedom of religion cases in the fall of 2012, Lord Carey said: "The secular human rights agenda has gone too far and the Convention is losing legitimacy in many Contracting states. Many noble words such as ‘human rights’ are seen as little more than a political agenda."
The Daily Telegraph reported, that „in a powerful submission to the judges, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, warns of a distorted ‚human rights agenda’ which he likens to the atheist communist regimes in Eastern Europe which also suppressed Christianity by preventing public manifestations of faith.“
The well-known US intellectual Robert George raised concerns about the verdict handed down in Germany on June 26, identifying circumcision as punishable offense: "it is also about laws that undermine the ability of Jews, Muslims, and persons of any other faith to fulfill their religious duties; and it is about the rights of people of every religion to manifest their faith in public life as well as in their temples, churches, mosques or homes."
During the 40th Meeting of the General Secretaries of the Bishop Conferences in Europe, that took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, between 29 June and 2 July 2012, it was concluded that in many European countries, God is seen as a private matter both in the field of politics, as well as in culture, law and the public sphere. Oftentimes, the religious freedom of churches is restricted in deceitful ways or directly through an intervention of governmental authority. In these times of economic crisis and deep longing after God, this repression of God in daily life seems to have a negative impact on all societies.
In an interview with the Online News Service Kath.net Bernd Posselt, EU Parliamentarian and Member of the executive board of the German Christian-Democratic party CSU said: “Europe must be a continent in which the Christian faith is being cultivated - not persecuted!”
In a speech entitled "Religious Liberty: God's Gift to all Nations is our Responsibility to Defend," US Archbishop Lori spoke about the importance of ensuring that religious freedom is rightly understood and protected. Individuals and groups, the archbishop maintains, have the right "not only to worship freely, but indeed to put their faith into practice, both publicly and privately," he said at the opening of an Italian Observatory on Religious Liberty on June 28th, in Rome.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury warns that people who support traditional marriage are being hit with intolerance by those calling for more tolerance. His comment follows the statement of Nick Herbert, the Policing Minister, who accused Christian leaders of sounding “highly judgmental or intolerant”.
Dennis Sewell, who worked for more than 20 years at BBC News, produced a report which accuses the BBC of being over-considerate towards Islam — in marked contrast to its treatment of Christianity. Writing for The Telegraph, he says there are “certain people and things that the BBC institutionally doesn’t much care for”, including “evangelical Christians”. However, Sewell says the Corporation views “religious faith” as “a hangover from a bygone age”.
The UK’s most senior Roman Catholic said in May 2012 that “tolerance is being abolished” as secularists seek to wipe out the Christian faith in Britain. Addressing Leicester's Anglican Cathedral, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor warned of a rising and “dangerous” intolerance from atheists, telling the congregation that: "In the name of tolerance it seems to me tolerance is being abolished."
Brendan O’Neill, writing in the Telegraph, said: “The attempt to drain religious schools of religion is a highly illiberal, intolerant exercise. Catholic schools have a certain amount of leeway to teach the Catholic view on life, sex and relationships. If they didn't, then they wouldn't be "Catholic schools" – they'd just be "schools".
In a strong statement submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey has said that Christians in Britain are being “vilified” by the courts and “driven underground” with the same kind of persecution once directed at homosexuals. In particular Carey pointed the finger at the British judiciary’s use of equality law to marginalize Christianity.
“So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored; so often those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and marginalized...”
In a speech given at the European Commission on March 30th, 2012, Professor Giorgio Feliciani, Director of the Center of Studies on Ecclesiastical Bodies (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano) brings to light the importance of reasserting religious liberty in Europe.
"Whatever the strict legal situation, we believe that individuals should have the right to make statements of faith, and this extends to the wearing of appropriate jewellery."
Vladimir Legoïda, president of the Department of Relation with Civil Society, said: "Why is the public demonstration of one’s belonging to the gay community considered as normal when the wearing of a small cross isn’t?... Just try to fire someone who openly claims his sexual orientation; he will cry to scandal and will probably obtain to be resettled. How are the Christians symbols dangerous? Who do they offend?"
The right of denominational schools to have a clear identity and ethos was strongly defended at a conference on denominational education organised by The Iona Institute.
"In the most subtle way, we in Britain are again seeing religious freedom - a liberty that underpins all the others - under threat. And again it is Christians who are being unjustly targeted, not members of other religions."
The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has admitted that the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus. He justified the astonishing admission of religious bias by suggesting that mocking Mohammed might have the “emotional force” of “grotesque child pornography”. But Jesus is fair game because, he said, Christianity has broad shoulders and fewer ties to ethnicity.
“If you are a badge-wearing Christian, you are more likely to be marginalised more than any other religion.” Peter Kerridge, Chief Executive of Christian Media Premier
“Christians are often portrayed negatively by some parts of the mainstream media compared to other groups... The media needs to be more responsible and fair in its representation of Christianity. Christian characters are often ridiculed in fictional TV programming, whereas other religious groups, such as Muslims, are treated sensitively and homosexuals portrayed positively.”
“Sadly the media is prone to promoting a particular secular agenda and then sensationalising certain aspects of Christian beliefs and values without placing them within the right context of the debate.”
Prime Minister Cameron: "...those who advocate secular neutrality in order to avoid passing judgement on the behaviour of others fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code."
“As we look at the state of our Nation, we see very fundamental signs of warning, we have measured our words when we say we believe there is a struggle taking place with the soul of our Nation... The Judeo-Christian foundations of our country need to be strengthened. (They) are fundamental to our way of life, to our freedom... It isn’t just the Christians suffering... It’s the quality of our life, its the ability to speak freely, it’s the ability to express one’s convictions.”
“The right of freedom of expression for Christians is being limited because other groups, rights are deemed to be encroached upon when Christians express their rights.” Peter Kerridge of Media Premium Group