All cases

Wales: Parents Lose Right to Withdraw Children from Sex Ed

January 21, 2020, United Kingdom

Following plans first proposed in a government consultation last year, parents of children attending Welsh schools will no longer have a legal right to withdraw their children from compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE), as well as and religious education (RE) classes.

Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

"Parental Pin" Policy Prompts Legal Action and Debate in Spain

January 20, 2020, Spain

A new policy aimed at affirming parental authority in Spanish schools in Murcia has made national headlines in the country. The so-called 'Parental Pin' would oblige schools in the autonomous region of Murcia to seek the permission of parents for student participation in extra-curricular activities, including lessons and workshops on LGBT issues given by external speakers.

Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

Antifascist Grafitti on Le Mans Church

January 19, 2020, France

Civic group Protège ton église documented graffiti reading "FACHOS NOT WELCOME" sprayed on the church Saint Benoît au Mans during the weekend of January 19th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Eight Churches and Two Schools Hit By Vandalism in Bordeaux over Weekend

January 19, 2020, France

Eight churches and two Catholic educational establishments were vandalized with graffiti in Bordeaux and Talence during the night between January 18th to 19th. The churches affected were: Notre-Dame, Saint-Eloi, Sainte-Croix, Sainte Eulalie, Saint-Seurin, Sacré-Coeur, and Saint-Paul in Bordeaux, the church of Notre-Dame de Talence and on the Catholic educational establishments of Albert le Grand and Saint-Genès in Bordeaux. The offensive tags, referring to pedophilia in the Church and to the bioethics bill, all had the same signature.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Bus Filled with Catholic Pilgrims Attacked by Masked Protesters

January 19, 2020, France

A bus filled with Catholics bound for Pontmain was prevented from leaving the diocesan house in Caen by approximately twenty masked people in black holding a banner and shooting paintball pellets at the windshield. A spokesman for the diocese explained that the protestors likely confused the pilgrimage bus for one bound for Paris for a Manif pour Tous demonstration. This was the second time in a few months that a pilgrimage bus was attacked after being mistaken for a Manif pour Tous bus.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Insult or Incitement

Statue of Virgin Mary and Roadside Crucifix Destroyed in Southern Poland

January 17, 2020, Poland

Between January 16th and 18th, unidentified perpetrators destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary in a church in Ściegny and then in Wojanów, a roadside crucifix and figures of angels standing around the cross were destroyed beyond repair.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

French Satirist and Radio Station Apologized to LGBT Community, Not Christians

January 15, 2020, France

After a strong backlash against the France Inter radio station for airing of a song "Jésus est pédé" (an offensive pejorative for male homosexual), performed and written by Frédéric Fromet, both the singer and the station apologized to the LGBT community, despite the majority of complaints coming from Christian listeners.

Insult or Incitement

Defense Lawyer Wants "Devout" Catholics Excluded from Euthanasia Trial

January 14, 2020, Belgium

Defense counsel for one of the three doctors on trial for unlawfully poisoning an autistic woman via euthanasia has admitted to searching the social media profiles of potential jurors to exclude "devout" Catholics. Walter Van Steenbrugge said he would be a "bad lawyer" if he did not exclude people who were "extremely Catholic," for example if they expressed a Marian devotion or had previously expressed the opinion that euthanasia is murder.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas)

Man Arrested for Vandalism of Launaguet Church

January 14, 2020, France

A 25-year-old man was arrested on January 14th for his participation in the vandalism of a Catholic church in Launaguet. According to reports, the Saint-Barthélemy church (Toulouse diocese) had been vandalized with Quaranic inscriptions in previous months.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Unknown Individuals Repeatedly Urinate in Church Holy Water

January 14, 2020, Switzerland

Just before Christmas, the Catholic Church Guthirt in Aarburg was forced to withdraw access to holy water in its basins following repeated acts of urination into the water. The deacon, Markus Stohldreier, expressed shock and disappointment at repeated attacks against the parish community."In my 36 years as a theologian, I have never experienced anything comparable." He added, "The perpetrators must have urinated in holy water in broad daylight," because the church is closed at night to prevent vandalism.

Freedom of Religion Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

12-Year-Old Boy Attacked at Paris School for Wearing Cross

January 14, 2020, France

On January 14th, at the collège Marx-Dormoy, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a 12-year-old boy of Serbian origin was brutally attacked for not removing a chain necklace on which a cross hung under his clothes. The website Svi Sribi u Parizu (All Serbs in Paris) reported that the alleged attackers were five other 11-year-old pupils. When he refused to remove it, the alleged attackers surrounded him. One of the boys pushed him to the ground, and all of them started kicking him. The boy was beaten all over his body, resulting in serious injuries to his face and genitals. The attack ended when other pupils screamed for help.

Hate Crime

Catholic Speaker Cancelled at Irish Schools

January 12, 2020, Ireland

Four talks by US Catholic speaker Jason Evert were cancelled due to pressure by campus LGBT groups and media reports referring to the well-known chastity speaker as "homophobic and anti-contraceptive." Presentations at two Dublin colleges, a Catholic conference called ‘Ignite 2020,’ and a talk at hotel were cancelled. According to reports, the University College Dublin LGBT Society called on the university authorities to stop Mr Evert from speaking, saying in a statement that his proposed visit to the university was “putting the safety of UCD’s LGBTQ+ community at risk” and his words could have “lasting and damaging effects on the mental wellbeing of LGHBTQ+ students.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Man Disrupted Three Church Services; Shouted Threats and "Allahu Akbar"

January 12, 2020, Germany

On the morning of January 12, a 33-year-old man from Rhauderfehn with Ivorian nationality disrupted services in three churches in Rhauderfehn and Ostrhauderfehn by shouting and threatening the worshippers.

Insult or Incitement

Man Arrested for Setting Fire at Bayonne Church

January 11, 2020, France

A man suspected of committing the January 11th arson attack on the Saint-Esprit church in Bayonne was arrested the following day. Investigators were able to quickly determine that the fire had been deliberately set and video surveillance images made it possible to identify the suspect who was seen in the images leaving the church a few minutes before the first smoke was visible. The fire, which left no one injured, was brought under control by the firefighters but the suffered extreme smoke damage. 

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Crèche Vandalized Near Rouen

January 11, 2020, France

The religious crèche of the Saint-André church in Mont-Saint-Aignan, near Rouen, was vandalized on January 11, with the decorations overturned and the figures broken. The statue of the baby Jesus was decapitated. After expressing his sadness to the parish and to the parish priest, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen, deplored the incident as an "offense against the Christian faith."

Baby Jesus Stolen from Crèche in Lüneburg

January 11, 2020, Germany

The Lüneburg police opened an investigation into the theft of the Jesus figure from the church on Friedenstrasse between January 10th and 11th.

Theft

Vandalism and Theft in Borgolavezzaro Church

January 10, 2020, Italy

Just before 4 pm on January 10th, at least three men entered the church of Santi Bartolomeo e Gaudenzio and broke through the thick glass case of the shrine carved out of a side altar containing the containing the urn of Santa Giuliana, patron saint of the town. Using a crowbar, the thieves also broke the glass of the urn and stole a rosary crown, a gold crucifix, rings, and other valuables worn by the patron saint's mannequin. The figure's left hand was the most damaged, with two destroyed wax fingers.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paint Attack on Catholic Church in Berlin

January 9, 2020, Germany

During the night between the 8th and 9th of January 2020 unknown perpetrators vandalized the historic building of St. Elisabeth-Kirche in Berlin-Schöneberg with black and white paint, sprayed the words “Pro Choice” on its entrance doors together with other unidentifiable symbols and glued the parish hall doors closed. A purported confession letter was later posted on the extreme left platform de.indymedia.org, naming a Berlin feminist/left-wing radical alliance as responsible for the vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Nine Statues of the Virgin Mary Attacked in Less than Four Hours in Pyrenees

January 9, 2020, France

On the morning of January 9th, in the space of 45 minutes, five statues of the Virgin Mary, located in three different churches of Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Saint-Martin, Saint-Jacques and Notre-Dame, were destroyed. Similar vandalism continued in the churches of the Béarn communes of Lons, Artix, Denguin, and Mourenx, where, each time, a statue of the Virgin was destroyed. A 35-year-old man, described as homeless, was arrested in Mourenx at the end of the day and sent for psychiatric evaluation.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christ Figures Stolen Twice in Two Weeks in Fabriano

January 7, 2020, Italy

The Christ child figure was stolen on Christmas Eve from the nativity in the church of San Giovanni Battista in Fabriano (Ancona). Volunteers purchased a new figure to replace it. The new figure was then stolen from the San Filippo church around Epiphany, but returned a few days later.

Theft