At the presentation of the US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2010, Hilary Clinton gives a useful description of religious freedom.
Mgr Marc Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne: “In 2009, the official ‘Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Fight against sects’ numbered 226 acts of desecration against Christians, 6 against Muslims and 4 against Jews. In other words, over 95% of the desecration recorded in our country are targeted against Catholic places of worship and Catholic cemeteries, and their number is unfortunately increasing from one year to the other."
“When their institutions are forced to adopt secular standards in everything from rules of employment to selection of intake, the community should speak up for a fair society in which secularist values do not automatically trump Christian values.”
"Religion is regarded as a legally permissible private eccentricity; allowable behind closed doors once a week, but not in any way to be given expression in public or working life."
"Every Englishman could understand what he was talking about: The expression “Merry Christmas” is disdained; people use petty phrases to make seasonal wishes instead. An Anglican Bishop voiced doubts over homosexual-marriage and was therefore sentenced to a remarkable fine. Even with these rather controversial statements, the Pope met the audience’s approval. According to the liberal newspaper The Independent, he caught the spirit of the times. Benedict’s condemnation of aggressive secularism would vocalise the discomfort many British people feel towards their own country."
Sep 24, 2010 (CNA).- Bernard-Henri Lévy, a well-known atheist associated with what is considered to be the European left, said in an interview that Catholicism is by far the most attacked religion in Europe. The prominent intellectual also noted it was unfortunate that so many injustices are committed against Benedict XVI.
Bernard Henri-Lévy, French philosopher and writer: "In France, one talks a lot of violations of Jewish cemeteries and Muslims, but no one knows that the graves of Catholics are frequently desecrated. There is a kind of anti-clericalism in France that is absolutely not right. We have the right to criticize religions, but the religion the more assaulted today is the Catholic religion (...) much more than Islam. Intellectuals take the defense of Muslims. The defense of Catholics, much less.”
„Everyone can agree that today’s Britain – which we’re always being told has become so much more liberal – is the very model of a forward-looking, tolerant society in which freedom of expression is paramount. Correct? If only. In fact, the intellectual trend in Britain is a remorseless slide towards a dark age of intolerance, reverting to a reason-suppressing, heresy-hunting culture in which certain opinions are being turned into thought crimes. Astoundingly, people are being arrested by the police – even if the case against them eventually falls – because of what they have said. They are not inciting violence or any criminal activity. They are merely expressing a point of view. Yet for that they may find the police feeling their collars. ...“ Melanie Philipps, The Spectator, 18 September 2010 (UK)
Read here a striking excerpt of his speech during his UK visit on Sept 17th speaking to Politicians at Westminster Hall
In a poll conducted by ComRes regarding the Papal Visit (Nov – Dec 2010), 93% of Christians agreed with the Pope’s comments that religion, and Christianity in particular, is being marginalised in British society, on his most recent trip to the UK. Only 5% disagreed.
Louis Guédon, French member of parliament, speaking to the Assembly in September 2010: "One can only regret the silence of the media and the institutions when it comes to the very numerous desecration of Christian sites."
“For years, faith communities have been quietly making a huge difference day-in and dayout, to every single neighbourhood in the country - something that has not been sufficiently recognised by central Government… “Some see religion as a problem that needs to be solved. The new Government sees it as part of the solution. I want to send an important signal that we value the role of religion and faith in public life.”
Barnabas Fund Publication: "Many popular dramas caricature committed Christians and their leaders andless and malevolent, while recent storylines in a number of TV soaps have sent the clear message that Christians are ridiculous. Such disinformation and ridicule create mistrust and ill will and pave the way for outright discrimination."
Commentator Melanie Philips: "Indeed, such a ruling comes very close indeed to criminalising Christianity. For if putting Christian belief into practice is outlawed, it won't be long before Christian believers find themselves outlawed".