An atheist couple who launched a High Court challenge because they feel their children are being religiously "indoctrinated" during assemblies have won their judicial review claim. The Burford primary school in the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire is one of 33 schools of the Church of England's Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). Although parents were already entitled to withdraw their children from assemblies, even in church-run schools, The Harrises have argued that the school must provide an "inclusive assembly as a meaningful alternative for pupils withdrawn from Christian worship," rather than simply supervision of the children.
In October 2018, an elderly nun applied for a place in a retirement home in Vesoul, run by the city's Centre Communal d'Action Sociale (CCAS) in her home prefecture of Haute-Saone. After nine months on the waiting list, on July 2019, her request for housing was accepted, but with one condition: "With due respect for secularism, any ostentatious sign of belonging to a religious community cannot be accepted in order to ensure the serenity of all. Indeed, religion is a private affair and must remain so." The nun was told she could only wear a discreet cross. Having worn her religious habit all of her adult life, she refused to comply and was thus denied a place.
On the afternoon of November 16th, an unidentified man entered the Trasfigurazione del Signor church in Scorrano while it was empty and stole money from the donation box and a golden necklace from around the neck of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Before leaving the church, he urinated on the altar underneath the crucifix. The incident was captured on video and police are investigating the identity of the individual.
A visitor to the St. Katharina Kirche in Buschhoven discovered that a fire had been set in the church during the early afternoon of November 16th. Local media reports that books and booklets were placed on top of the lit candlesticks in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, revered by Christians and pilgrims as the "Rosa Mystica." The books caught fire and the church was enveloped in a huge mass of smoke and soot before the fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze. Earlier in the week, a fire had been set in the same church using the candles but was extinguished before major damage occurred.
The Protestant Versöhnungskirche in Buschhoven was the target of vandalism twice in the same week, with its hymnals and booklets scattered, seat cushions thrown on the floor, candles pushed off the altar, and a small fire lit on a doormat. These incidents coincided with fires having been set at the nearby St. Katharina Kirche.
On morning of November 14th, the hermitage of the Holy Sepulcher in Tauste (Zaragoza) was discovered vandalized and the life-sized statue of the Nazarene Christ burnt. The custodian of the hermitage, Juan Francés, found the remains of a fire when he opened the hermitage and found "everything lying on the ground and on fire.” The city council of Tauste condemned the attack on the hermitage “It was an attack on a religious and cultural symbol of our people. It is not a simple act of vandalism.”
Intruders broke into the Star of the Sea Carmelite Nuns monastery in Malahide in the early afternoon of November 11th and verbally abused the elderly resident sisters, sprayed and smeared the walls of convent's chapel with graffiti.
Just before an evening Mass on November 9th, unidentified vandals entered the Tonnay-Charente church and tore open the tabernacle of the altar of the Virgin Mary, breaking the doors. The consecrated hosts in the ciborium were thrown to the ground and the glass container holding a host consecrated for adoration was stolen. In addition, crosses were reversed and chairs and statues were broken, including one depicting St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus, which was decapitated by the perpetrators. The Bishop said, this was "desecration, not burglary."
A car fitted with a battering ram was driven into the door of the Cathedral Sainte-Marie d'Oloron in southwestern France on November 4th. Once inside the cathedral, thieves entered the chapel and sawed the iron bars protecting sacred and liturgical items. They stole chalices, ciboria, a centuries old nativity scene, and vestments used by the priest for the Mass. Authorities characterized the theft as organized and well-planned.
Just before All Saints' Day, about 100 graves were damaged or destroyed in the Breuil cemetery of Cognac. Christian symbols including crucifixes, crosses, and statues of the Virgin Mary and angels were targeted. An 18-year-old self-described Satanist who "hates all religions, especially Catholicism," was arrested by the police. The timing of the incident, given its close proximity to the feast of All Saints and All Souls, shocked local residents.
More than 40 graves were vandalized in the cemetery of the Our Lady Mother of the Church (Maryi Panny Matki Kościoła) parish of Zabrzu-Helence during the night between October 26 and 27, just days before Catholics observe All Saints' and All Souls' Days. Granite tombstones were torn down and broken, and wooden crosses were destroyed by unknown vandals.
The parish priest of the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples has condemned the fire set in the church's musician's chapel, known as the Ecce Homo. The fire had spread to the altar when firefighters were able to extinguish it.
Radical feminists claimed responsibility for breaking into the Pro Femina crisis pregnancy center in Berlin during the night of October 5-6. They smashed the windows on the third floor, smeared a hallway with paint and butyric acid (a foul smelling chemical) and the slogan "Pro Choice!", and glued closed the locks.
Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.
Before dawn on October 5th, one or more intruders entered the 18th century Chapel of La Rosa in the Córdoba provincial town of Montilla through a side door. Once inside, they found the keys to the tabernacle, opened the pyx inside and scattered several hosts on the altar, according to the Rev. José Félix García, pastor of the parish of Santiago, to which the chapel belongs. Police opened an investigation.
An Iranian Christian woman living in the state of Hesse in Germany fears for her life if she is forced to return to Iran, due to strict anti-conversion laws. The woman known as "Mahsa" fled Iran and traveled to Germany in 2015, after an attempted arrest by the religious police for her conversion to Christianity. A recent decision by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denying her asylum limits Mahsa's options going forward.
A Christian doctor has lost an employment tribunal case, where he alleged that the Department of Work and Pensions breached his freedom of thought, conscience and religion pursuant to the Equality Act. Disability assessor, Dr. David Mackereth claimed discrimination on part of the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to accommodate his refusal to use pronouns which did not correspond with the biological sex of clients. In its decision, the panel stated that Dr. Mackereth's belief that "the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female" was "incompatible with human dignity."
In March 2019, a 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.
Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.
The crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in the Croix-Rouge district of Marseille, was found vandalized with red paint on September 26th. It was the fifth time since the middle of May 2019 that the Christ figure had been defaced with red or blue paint. Public employees removed the paint and Marseille public officials denounced the vandalism.
In a written statement, the Catholic Youth Association condemned Adam Nergal Darski, the frontman of Polish extreme metal band 'Behemoth,' for his September 25th post on Facebook depicting him trampling on a devotional image of the Virgin Mary.
The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) rejected the request of the Assyrian Cultural Association Saarlouis allow about 400 Syrian Christians from the conflict-torn region of Northern Syria on the Khabur River to enter Saarland. Despite offers of respite and assistance from the existing Assyrian community in the German federal state, the government said it would only admit five refugees.
The trial of a 26-year-old Afghan who was charged with committing serious bodily injury against a Christian convert at the Rottacher Traglufthalle asylum accommodation in 2016 began on September 24th.
After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.
Over the last few months, a church in Abertridwr, Wales endured repeated acts of vandalism, resulting in fears that it will have to close to public visits during the week. Damage included a stolen collection box, a damaged and defaced historic visitors book, in use since the 1940s, a flagstone outside the church was removed, and fire extinguishers were sprayed inside the church, causing both damage and financial burden.
Police in Olecko investigated acts of vandalism against the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland (kościele Najświętszej Maryi Panny Królowej Polski) where anti-religious phrases such as "Catholicism Decieves" and "Lead us not" (referring to part of the Lord's Prayer) were painted in black on the wall.
The approved rally "March for Life" in Zurich on the afternoon of September 14th was disrupted by an unauthorized counter-demonstration. More than a thousand peaceful participants in the March for Life gathered on the Turbinenplatz to begin the march on an approved route in the city. At the same time, several hundred people -- called by some press reports a Red-Green alliance -- some with prams containing objects to be thrown (including stones and bottles), convened on the Josefswiese to start an unauthorized counter-demonstration parade. As they attempted to stop the counter-demo and prevent a clash with the March for Life, police were attacked with objects, including bottles and stones. Dumpsters were set on fire, a police vehicle was demolished, and firefighters were hindered by the protesters. In response, the police used a water cannon, rubber bullets, and tear gas to deter the protesters. Due to the violence, the police stopped the March for Life temporarily and ultimately shortened the route to prevent an encounter with the counter-demonstrators, some of whom were masked.
For the fourth time since May 2019, the crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in hte Croix-Rouge district of Marseille was vandalized on September 9th. As in previous incidents, the Christ figure was defaced with paint. In this instance the vandals used red paint to cover parts of the head and body.
A Marseille resident reported to l'Observatoire de la Christianophobie that religious statues in various districts of the city had been damaged over several months. Incidents included: the hands severed from a statue of the Virgin Mary, the crown broken from another statue of the Virgin Mary, and the arms broken off a statue of the infant Jesus.
The Helsinki Police Department announced it had opened pre-trial investigations into Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, for her criticism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. She posted a photograph of Romans 1:24-26 from the New Testament on Facebook and wrote "How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride?"
Police announced on August 21st that an 18-year-old man would be charged with defecating in a shrine to the Virgin Mary and then smearing his feces on a statue of Christ and on the walls of the church, Spanish news agencies report. The incident, caught on CCTV, took place on July 26 at the Santuario de la Virgen de la Fuensanta in the Jaén provincial town of Villanueva del Arzobispo.
The church of Saint-Éloi (parish of the Bienheureuses-Carmélites-de-Compiègne), diocese of Compiegne, Oise) was robbed, vandalized, and desecrated between the 3rd and 9th of August. Sound equipment, a ciborium, an aspergillum (a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water), holy water font, and other liturgical objects were stolen. The burglars forced open the tabernacle to steal the ciborium and stole consecrated hosts, as well. "The most essential thing for us is that the tabernacle was forced, and that the Blessed Sacrament, the presence of Christ was touched, stolen. Which is for us a desecration. The real presence of Christ has been stolen. It's something strong," said the communications director of the Oise diocese.
Six windows were smashed and mysterious graffiti reading "BEAST" was written on the wall of St. Oswald's Roman Catholic Presbytery in Old Swan (Liverpool). Police began an investigation.
Irish police Gardaí investigated an attempted burglary at the Catholic St. Michael's Church in Shroid, Longford Co. after a passerby reported broken windows to the parish house. Unknown perpetrators smashed a few plain glass windows and a stained glass window depicting the Sacred Heart which was over the altar of the church between July 28th and August 2nd.
Protestant pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, who ministers to over 1,600 people in his church, most of them converts and asylum seekers from Iran and Afghanistan, has said that whether someone is granted asylum or not is almost like a "pure gamble." The problem Martens sees in the administrative courts is how judges "verify" the earnestness of an asylum seeker's conversion to Christianity. Some trust a pastor's statement whether written or oral in court, while some ignore it and only focus on the short time they spend with the refugee in court. This fully depends on what kind of judge one gets appointed to, according to Martens, and there is no way to prepare well enough for a court date if there is no general regulation that a minister's statement be taken into account.
During the early morning hours of August 1st, unknown perpetrators vandalized the church of Sant'Antonio in Crebbio, Abbadia Lariana. They smeared excrement on the front door, staircase, lawn, and the cobblestones outside the church. Volunteers immediately began cleaning the heavily soiled area and found a yellow bowl with some dung residue. The parish priest of Abbadia and the community expressed deep shock and outrage. Police opened an investigation.
An unidentified person pried open the offertory box for candles on July 30th in the St. Pancratius Catholic Church in Körbecke, Möhnesee.
A Christian patient’s request to have Sunday worship services at a medium secure mental health unit in East London have finally been granted after a year-long legal battle with the NHS on the grounds of religious discrimination. As a result of his weekly requests falling on deaf ears, Freddie O'Neil turned to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) for support. A pre-action letter was then sent to the East London Foundation Trust in October 2018 stating that, as a Christian, Freddie needed to attend Sunday Christian services each week as well as receiving Holy Communion. After a year, and further threats of legal action, the Centre finally began offering weekly Sunday Christian services on Sunday 7 July 2019.
Several swastikas were spray-painted on the oratory and a cross in the Comeragh mountains overlooking Clonmel by unknown vandals sometime before July 30th. A team of volunteers of the Holy Year Cross Committee in Clonmel had come up to the site to prepare it for the annual August bank holiday Monday mass when they discovered the graffiti. Gardaí investigated the incident.
Construction workers noticed the smell of burning wood and smoke when they arrived at the Nikolaus-Kirchlein ("little church") in Buchenberg, Königsfeld in the Black Forest in the morning of the 30th of July. They alerted firefighters who were able to extinguish the fire before too much damage was done. The more than 800-year-old church remained mostly unscathed, as only one pew was damaged by the fire. Police are estimating a property damage of 5,000 euros and speculate that the fire began in the area of the altar, but an investigation was opened.
An unknown arsonist set fire to a cloth in the St. Magnus church of the Schussenried Abbey in Bad Schussenried on July 29th. The fire then extended to pictures and a wooden cross nearby. A witness noticed the fire and was able to extinguish it. Police are investigating.
Unknown perpetrators set a row of hymnals on a shelf on fire in the St. Mauritius Catholic Church in Kippenheim in the early evening of July 27th. Witnesses noticed the fire and notified the police who were able to extinguish the fire and are now investigating.
Four of the 14 chapels of the Valinhos Way of the Cross or the Shepherd's Way in Fatima were vandalized with yellow spray paint during the night between July 25th and 26th. The unknown perpetrators sprayed the heads and intimate areas of the figures, along with obscene words. The Shrine of Fatima covered the chapels and will carry out the extensive cleaning work required to remove the paint.
The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers has sought a court order to shut down an artist’s installation entitled "Pederoclastia" that contains "ornaments used in Catholic worship" and "figures of children in explicitly sexual postures." The Association also said on July 19 that it would file a criminal complaint against artist Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela (who is also the coordinator for Toledo Laica) for offending religious sentiments and inciting hatred, and may take steps against the Círculo de Arte de Toledo for "attacking the feelings of Catholics." On July 25, Toledo’s Court of First Instance No 2 opened a preliminary investigation into the possibility that the case constituted corruption of minors but had not ordered the exhibition to be shut down.
At 4:30 pm on July 22th, a parishioner noticed the smell of smoke emanating from the Notre-Dame church in Autun. When she entered the church, she discovered that two people were already there extinguishing the fire with their feet. The police reportedly found that there were two distinct fires set: one near the altar and the other near prayer chairs. An investigation is under way.
Unknown vandals vandalized large areas of St. Paulus Protestant Church's exterior in Heiden between July 21st and 22nd. They targeted a park bench, the church wall, six windows, and the surrounding bricks.
A 46-year-old man was charged with spray-painting the number ‘666’ on 87 tombstones in a church cemetery in North Jutland, Denmark. Staff from the Hadsund Church noticed the damage on Sunday morning, July 21st. After an investigation, the man was arrested on July 24th after witnesses came forward. The man, who had been convicted of similar vandalism of a cemetery in 2016, denied responsibility for this incident.
In the early hours of July 19th, a passer-by notified the fire department that the warehouse of the Old Church in Hyvinkää was in flames and the church building itself was also on fire. Due to the results of the preliminary investigation, the chief inspector suspected the fire was set intentionally and opened an arson investigation. The wooden church itself remained mostly intact, however, the storage facility housing gardening tools was completely destroyed by the fire.
During Sunday Mass on the 14 of July, parishioners learned of vandalism in both the church and chapel of the Saint-Mathieu parish in Pays d'Iroise (diocese of Quimper, Finistère). In the church of Saint-Budoc à Porspoder damage included a vandalized offertory box, cigarettes left in front of the altar of the Blessed Virgin, the door of the sacristy obstructed by the insertion of gravel in the lock, and vomit in the holy water stoups. In the Chapelle Saint-Samson à Landunvez, the most photographed chapel in France, an offertory box was vandalized and a cross thrown in the trash.
On July 12th, firefighters were called to a fire at St. Margaret's Ruined Church in Hopton after a motorbike was set on fire underneath the 13th century building. While the incident was ruled an arson by officials, the investigation was closed in October due to lack of evidence.