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Filtered by: Freedom of Expression

Belgian Minister of Culture calls for Ban on Religious Broadcasting after Bible Reading

August 26, 2018, Belgium

Verses from Paul's letter to the Ephesians were broadcast on radio and Flemish TV station VRT from a Catholic Mass in the town of Grimbergen. A lay reader quoted Ephesians 5 22-33: "Women, be submissive to your husband as the husband to the Lord. For the man is the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the church." This sparked a row over whether religious broadcasting should be stopped and caused the Belgian Minister of Culture, Sven Gatz to tweet "No outdated, woman-unfriendly statements ... please. What if, for example, an imam would have said this?" He told the newspaper Het Nieuwsbald " The fact that they come from an old book is not an argument for letting them go to our people. This is not of this time, and that it is broadcast on the VRT for the whole of Flanders is already completely crazy."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

University Fired Priest after Rosary of Reparation for Glasglow Pride Parade

July 19, 2018, United Kingdom

A Catholic priest in Glasgow has been removed as a university chaplain after hosting a rosary of reparation for the city’s gay pride parade. The July 16 Rosary service was held in response to a gay pride event in the city on July 14. After complaints from LGBT groups, University principal Pamela Gillies announced that “Following due consultation, Father Mark Morris will not return to his chaplaincy role at the university in September,” the BBC reported.

Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Government Fired Doctor for View that Gender is Determined by Biology

July 8, 2018, United Kingdom

Dr David Mackereth was deemed "unfit" to work as an assessor at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over his refusal to use transgender patient's preferred pronouns because of his view that gender is defined by biology and that God made humans male and female. The Equality Act identifies those undergo or who propose to undergo gender reassignment as part of a protected class. Failure to use preferred pronouns is interpreted as unlawful discrimination.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Demand for Apology after President of National Assembly Mentions God

July 3, 2018, Slovenia

A left-wing member of the National Assembly, Franc Trček, demanded an apology from Matej Tonin, the President of the National Assembly, for concluding a speech with the words "Bog živi Slovenijo," which can roughly be translated to "God bless Slovenia." Trček argued that the words violated the constitution of Slovenia which requires a separation of church and state. Tonin responded that he had no intention of apologizing and that the constitution also protects freedom of speech.

Freedom of Expression

High Court Upholds "Buffer Zones" around Abortion Clinic; Appeal Filed

July 2, 2018, United Kingdom

The High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. High Court Judge Mark Turner said that Ealing Council in London was justified in creating a 328-foot exclusion zone to prevent any pro-life gathering or speech, including prayer, within 100 meters of the clinic. Two women plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Coalition Withdraws CDU Candidate for Constitutional Court Due to Criticism of Sex Ed

June 29, 2018, Germany

Just days before the parliamentary vote on the election of a judge to the state constitutional court, the CDU, Greens, FDP and SSW withdrew their nomination of Hamburg lawyer and law professor Christian Winterhoff due to his conservative views on the sexual education of children.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Polish Supreme Court Rules against Printer; Tribunal Reversed in 2019

June 14, 2018, Poland

Poland's Supreme Court ruled against a printer who refused to create a roll-up banner for an LGBT business group because he did not want to "promote" the gay rights movement, citing his Catholic religious beliefs. The Court held that although there may be legally justifiable reasons to refuse services based on religious objections, in this case they did not apply. UPDATE: In June 2019, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the law the printer was convicted under was unconstitutional, because punishment for refusing to provide services on the grounds of beliefs interfered with the service providers’ rights to act according to their conscience.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Spain Fined UK Christian Television Broadcaster

June 14, 2018, Spain

The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) fined Revelation TV, which is based in the UK but broadcasts in Spain, €6,000 after an individual complained to the state agency about comments made by an evangelical pastor during a morning program in September 2017. The CNMC deemed the pastor's comments "homophobic" when he expressed his opinion about transgender issues and whether Christians should move their children from schools when another student identifies as transgender.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

British MPs Demand "Buffer Zones" Outside Abortion Facilities

June 1, 2018, United Kingdom

One hundred sixty-one members of the British Parliament are demanding that Home Secretary Sajid Javid act on a proposal to introduce exclusion or "buffer zones” around abortion facilities, which would ban pro-life prayer, protest, and counseling of women conflicted about abortion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Bulgarian Catholics and Protestants Unite to Oppose Proposed Religious Law: Updated

May 13, 2018, Bulgaria

Catholic and Protestant communities in Bulgaria have unified their efforts to prevent the adoption of two legislative proposals put before the parliamentary assembly in May 2018. The first, sponsored by the conservative GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, would permit state subsidies only for major religious denominations. The second, tabled by the United Patriots, would require greater oversight of religious activities and financing.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Google Halts Advertising on Irish Abortion Referendum

May 9, 2018, Ireland

On May 9th, Google announced that it would "pause" all advertising related to the upcoming Irish abortion referendum. The ban applies to all sites associated with the Google brand, including YouTube, and follows Facebook’s decision to ban any ads from advertisers outside of Ireland relating to the referendum. Opponents of the referendum, Pro-Life Campaign, Save the 8th, and the Iona Institute issued a joint statement condemning the tech giant’s decision as “shutting down a free and fair debate” and that it was "scandalous, and is an attempt to rig the referendum.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

More Abortion Clinic "Buffer Zones" Considered by Councils

April 23, 2018, United Kingdom

After the Ealing local council voted to ban prayer vigils and protests outside an abortion clinic by issuing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) earlier in April, at least eight councils in the United Kingdom considered implementing abortion clinic "buffer zones."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

UK Council Bans Pro-Life Vigils outside Abortion Clinic

April 10, 2018, United Kingdom

A London local council voted unanimously on April 10th to ban pro-life vigils outside a local abortion center that have been taking place without incident for 23 years. The Ealing council voted to use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to stop pro-life advocates from praying outside the Ealing Marie Stopes abortion clinic and offering help to women as they enter or exit the building. Pro-lifers must now stay 100 meters away from the abortion center. It will be the first "buffer zone" in the United Kingdom.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Canada Summer Jobs Funding Program Becomes Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights Controversy

March 20, 2018, Canada

The Canada Summer Jobs program funding application for 2018 requires that applicants sign a statement supporting, among other things, abortion and transgender rights in order to be eligible for funding. Hundreds of applicants, including Christian charities, pro-life groups, and churches have refused to sign the attestation because of the government's positions on moral issues.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Catholic Historian's Facebook Account Suspended Due to Post about Islam

March 19, 2018, Germany

Facebook suspended the account of Catholic historian Michael Hesemann for 30 days after he published a post commenting on the negative influence of Islam in the history of Europe and, specifically, in Germany.

Freedom of Expression

Council Votes in Favor of Buffer Zone around Abortion Clinic

February 7, 2018, United Kingdom

In a vote that would create the second so-called "buffer zone" around an abortion clinic in the UK, the Richmond Council voted in favor of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around a clinic run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. If it receives final approval at the next council meeting, the PSPO would make it a crime to hold prayer vigils near the clinic. The broadly-worded PSPO would also prohibit any form of interaction with staff or visitors to the clinic.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Teacher Fired for Sharing Biblical Views; Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

February 2, 2018, United Kingdom

Following a one-day trial, an Employment Tribunal dismissed a discrimination claim by a Christian teacher who was fired for answering students’ questions about her Christian beliefs.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Manchester Votes to Ban Pro-Life Protests outside Clinics

January 24, 2018, United Kingdom

Manchester became the second local authority in England to vote to ban pro-life protests and prayer vigils outside clinics. Councillors in the city agreed on January 24th to "take all necessary actions within its powers" to stop what it said was the harassment by protesters against women using the clinics. After this vote, protests would not be banned, but the city will investigate whether a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is warranted.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

London Assembly Passed Motion to Clarify Police Power in "Buffer Zones"

December 21, 2017, United Kingdom

On December 21, 2017 the London Assembly passed a motion calling on the mayor to “clarify the powers available to [police] to arrest and prosecute” pro-life campaigners who pray near abortion clinics, accusing them of “obstruction, intimidation and harassment” and “threatening behavior.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Christian Peer Fears Proclaiming Christianity could be a Hate Crime

December 12, 2017, United Kingdom

Lord Pearson of Rannoch posed the question to the British government: "Will they confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus the only son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offense?" The government's representative in the House of Lords refused to comment on the question.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion