All cases

Filtered by: Freedom of Expression

French Nun Denied a Place in Retirement Home Due to Religious Habit

November 19, 2019, France

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Religious Symbols

Safety Fears for Iranian Convert to Christianity Facing Threat of Deportation

October 4, 2019, Germany

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Tribunal Rules Biblical View of Sexes "Incompatible with Human Dignity"

October 2, 2019, United Kingdom

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."

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

Christian Actress Sues after being Fired for Biblical Facebook Post

September 30, 2019, United Kingdom

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.

Contractual Freedom Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Finnish Politician Investigated for Hate Crime for Sharing Bible Verse

August 27, 2019, Finland

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?"

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

Richmond Council "Buffer Zone" Challenged in Court

May 23, 2019, United Kingdom

Legal proceedings were launched in the High Court against Richmond Council to challenge a controversial Public Space Protection Order (“PSPO”) around an abortion clinic on Rosslyn Road that makes it a criminal offense to, among other things, pray or have conversations about abortion. The legal challenge has been brought by Justyna Pasek, who has personally supported women visiting the abortion clinic in Richmond for over five years, offering them alternatives to abortion.

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

UK School Employee Challeges Dismissal for Raising Concerns about Sex Education

April 16, 2019, United Kingdom

Kristie Higgs, a Christian school worker will challenge a Gloucestershire school academy’s decision to dismiss her for gross misconduct. She was dismissed after she shared two posts on her Facebook page in October 2018 that raised concerns about Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at another school in the same village - her child’s Church of England primary school. Higgs was told following an investigation and a six hour hearing that she would be dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression Rights of Parents

Twitter Blocked Mother Theresa Quote

April 10, 2019, International

Susan B. Anthony List, a U.S. pro-life organization tweeted a photograph of Mother Theresa and her words: "Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.” This tweet was blocked by Twitter for violating the company's “health and pharmaceutical products and services policy.” The tweet was later restored, but Twitter's action prompted U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to question the company's executives about its policies.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Catholic Journalist Questioned by Police for Tweet

March 19, 2019, United Kingdom

Caroline Farrow, a Catholic journalist, was investigated under the "malicious communications act" after the founder of a transgender charity accused her of misgendering her daughter in a tweet. Farrow said it is her religious belief that a person cannot change sex.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Counsel for University of Sheffield: Christian Views Should Not be Expressed in Public Forum

March 13, 2019, United Kingdom

During the Court of Appeal hearing in the case of Felix Ngole, the University of Sheffield graduate student in social work who was dismissed from the program after he expressed his Christian views about marriage on Facebook, counsel for the university said no social worker should be allowed to express such views.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Violent Attacks against Pro-Life Prayer Vigils in Manchester and Nottingham

March 12, 2019, United Kingdom

Police began a public order offense investigation on March 12th in Manchester after an angry individual screamed obscenities at elderly members of the 40 Days for Life group and sent chairs and leaflets flying outside an abortion clinic. A day earlier, in Nottingham, three people praying outside a medical centre were accosted by a man who swore at them and threw a jug of lumpy yellow liquid at them. Police began an investigation for assault as well as a hate crime motivated by the victims' religious beliefs.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Crime

Street Preacher Arrested to "Prevent Breach of the Peace"

February 23, 2019, United Kingdom

An elderly man preaching at the Southgate Underground Station was arrested by London police after he refused to leave the area, telling him he was "disturbing people's days" and needed to go away. The police seized the man's Bible despite his pleas not to take it.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Exclusion Zone Legislation Passed in Ireland

February 18, 2019, Ireland

At a meeting of Louth County Council on February 18, 2019, a motion to prohibit any pro-life vigils within 500 meters of a hospital or clinic that provides abortion services was passed by a majority vote. Health Minister Simon Harris has called for such exclusion zones throughout Ireland.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

UK Court agrees to hear Challenge to Ban on Pro-Life Prayer Outside Abortion Center

January 11, 2019, United Kingdom

A British court has ruled that a pro-life activist may challenge a legal decision banning prayer and support for women in crisis pregnancies outside a Marie Stopes clinic.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Anti-Discrimination Law Expanded in Switzerland

November 28, 2018, Switzerland

The Swiss Ständerat (Council of States) passed a law on November 28th adding discrimination based on sexual orientation to the existing criminal law prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or religion. A broader version of the legislation, which included "gender identity" was passed by the Nationalrat (National Council) in October. Critics of the law noted that it could restrict freedom of expression and conscience, particularly for those who hold a traditional view of sexuality and marriage. Those who violate the law could face a prison sentence of up to three years.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Pro-Lifers Banned as University Group

November 22, 2018, United Kingdom

The group "Glasgow Students for Life" were banned from becoming an official group by the Student' Representative Council (SRC) at Glasgow University. As a result, the student group would not have access to funding, meeting rooms, or a stall at the freshers fair. The president of the SRC said the decision had been made because the aims of the society did not align with the values of the council. "Given the SRC’s campaigning on a number of related social issues over the years, including support for the recent Repeal the 8th campaign in Ireland, it would be contrary to our ethos to endorse a society which calls for limited rights for women."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Christian Group Ordered to Pay for Extra Security at Oxford Event

October 29, 2018, United Kingdom

Oxford students voted to ban Christian Concern from hosting its Wilberforce Academy residential conference at Lady Margaret Hall, calling the group a “real threat to the physical and mental safety of students.” The college, however, said it would permit the group to use its facilities provided that it paid for extra security. A college spokesperson said that Christian Concern's "opposition to abortion, Islam and LGBTQ+" rights would lead to protests so it needed to pay "additional security costs."

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

Scottish Campaign calls Believers 'Bigots'

October 22, 2018, United Kingdom

An anti-hate crime campaign One Scotland, launched in September 2018 by the Scottish police and government, includes a poster directed toward religious believers which reads (in part), “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.” Other posters in the campaign were directed toward 'transphobes' and 'homophobes.' Critics of the campaign have noted that it singles out religious believers and calls them bigots without any qualification, and it is based on a political ideology which discriminates against those who hold traditional views.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Finnish Foreign Minister Faced No-Confidence Vote over Pro-Life Views

September 21, 2018, Finland

Members of the Finnish Parliament voted 100–60 against a motion of no confidence brought against Catholic Foreign Minister Timo Soini on September 21st. Four opposition parties, the Green League, Left Alliance, Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party, brought a motion of no confidence over Soini's attendance at pro-life vigil while on an official trip to Canada in May.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Neuroscience Professor Investigated for Telling Students Men and Women are Biologically Different

September 17, 2018, Sweden

Germund Hesslow, a neurophysiology professor at Lund University, is under investigation for "anti-feminism" and "transphobia" for telling his students there are biological differences between men and women.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Pro-Life Charity Banned from Three UK Universities

September 14, 2018, United Kingdom

Student Unions in Manchester, Warwick, and Liverpool rejected the Life charity's application to appear at their Freshers' Fairs. The Warwick Students' Union rejected Life because its members "voted to adopt a pro-choice stance." Manchester said the Fair was an inappropriate platform, while Liverpool said the charity would not offer "impartial advice" to students. Life said its displays inform students that help is available if they get pregnant. The charity filed a complaint to the Office for Students (OfS) citing discrimination and restrictions on freedom of speech. It noted that the Chair of OfS had earlier promoted the protection of freedom of speech.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) 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

Court Rules Student can be Expelled for Quoting Bible on Facebook

October 27, 2017, United Kingdom

On October 27, Felix Ngole, a Christian student who was expelled from university after posting on Facebook his support of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexual ethics, lost his case in a judicial review of the university’s decision.

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

Some UK Schools Have Removed B.C. and A.D. Dating from Religious Education Classes

October 1, 2017, United Kingdom

B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, meaning "in the year of the Lord"), have been replaced with B.C.E., which stands for Before Common Era, and C.E., meaning Common Era. The changes were justified "to show sensitivity to those who are not Christians."

Freedom of Expression

YouTube Removed Channel of Islam-Critical Priest

September 27, 2017, France

After a third "warning" that his posted videos were "inappropriate" and violated "community rules," YouTube removed priest Guy Pagès's "Islam et Vérité" channel from its content-sharing platform on September 27, 2017 .

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Prison Worker Loses Employment Tribunal Appeal over Sermon

August 4, 2017, United Kingdom

A Christian prison worker has lost his latest appeal in the courts over his discipline by HMP Littlehey. Rev Barry Trayorn who worked as a gardener, but volunteered in the chapel, fell into trouble after delivering a talk to prisoners about homosexuality and sin. Following a complaint, he was disciplined then later resigned. In 2016, an employment tribunal ruled that his employers acted within the law. A judge confirmed in August 2017 that ruling was fair, claiming his words could "legitimise mistreatment of homosexual prisoners." Trayhorn will take his case to the Court of Appeal.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Saying Grace in Christian Kindergarten Prohibited

June 26, 2017, Sweden

An independent religious kindergarten in Umeå, Sweden, was forced to stop saying grace before meals by the county government. The Education Act says that religious elements may be included in education at independent schools, but they must be voluntary in order for the children to participate. The law does not say that the children themselves must agree, but rather that their parents consent on their behalf. The county argued that the children have not made the choice to participate in saying grace and have thus prohibited it. Preschool Director Britt Marie Mårtensson said they replaced grace with "Thank you for the sun and the rain and the food on our table."

Freedom of Expression Rights of Parents

Attack Against a Catholic Bishop

May 29, 2017, Spain

A Catholic bishop had to be escorted by the police after several dozens of people holding LGTB banners assaulted him at the entrance of the church after a service.

Freedom of Expression Hate Incident

Reparation Prayers for Abortion Banned by Hospital Management

May 27, 2017, Switzerland

Prayers in reparation for the victims of abortion have been held in the chapel of the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne on the 13th of every month for the past 10 years, organized by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Pierre-Francois Leyvraz, the CEO of the hospital claimed not to have known about the events when the media contacted him. He informed the SSPX that they would no longer have access to the chapel and that the chapel will be closed on the 13th of each month to prevent the prayer meetings. He noted that abortion is legal and they will not permit people opposed to abortion to meet in the hospital chapel.

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

Medical Director's Dismissal Reversed

May 20, 2017, Germany

On May 19, 2017 the Lüneburg labor court ruled that the termination of Medical Clinic Director Markus Fröhling was unjustified. In February 2017, Fröhling was dismissed after publicly voicing his support for the former gynecology chief physician Thomas Börner, who declined to do abortions in his department. This support caused criticism by both the media and politicians.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Christian Prison Preacher to Appeal Tribunal Ruling

April 27, 2017, United Kingdom

A Christian prison worker who felt he had no option but to resign after being disciplined for quoting from the Bible during a prison chapel service, will challenge an Employment Tribunal's ruling that the prison was right to discipline him. In March 2016, the Employment Tribunal ruled that Barry Trayhorn spoke of God's forgiveness in an "insensitive" way which "failed to have regard for the special nature of the congregation in the prison".

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Expelled Christian Student Wins Right to Face High Court

April 26, 2017, United Kingdom

Felix Ngole was expelled from the University of Sheffield in 2016 for writing a post on his private Facebook page in which he quoted Leviticus stating that homosexuality was sinful. Deputy High Court Judge James Lewis has allowed Ngole to take his case to the High Court in London and a ruling is expected after a trial this fall.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Easter Procession Ended in Turmoil in Sevilla

April 14, 2017, Spain

“La Madrugá”, the Easter procession during the night from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday was interrupted and ended in turmoil with 17 people being taken to the hospital and one person was admitted to the ICU for head trauma. Eight people were arrested for the vandalism and the police investigated the connections and potential coordination of the attack on the Easter procession.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Crime Hate Incident Intolerance towards Religious Symbols Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Swedish Labour Court Rules Against Pro-Life Midwife

April 12, 2017, Sweden

The Swedish Labour Court upheld the judgments of the Discrimination Ombudsman and Tribunal Court in the case of Christian midwife, Ellinor Grimmark, who has been denied jobs at several clinics due to her refusal to carry out abortions and her outspoken stance on the matter.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Pro-Life Philosophy Professor Investigated then Fired from Catholic University

April 11, 2017, Belgium

Philosophy professor Stéphane Mercier was fired by the Catholic University of Leuven after a student filed a complaint about an essay Mercier wrote in which he argued that abortion is the murder of an innocent life.

Freedom of Expression

Politicians of Ponferrada Demand Removal of Holy Week Exhibition in School

March 23, 2017, Spain

The Ponferrada en Común (PeC), el Partido Comunista (PCE) e Izquierda Unida (IU) demanded immediate closure of a Holy Week exhibition in a public school by the Confraternity of Jesus of Nazareth (la Real Hermandad Jesús Nazareno). The political groups argued that such an exhibition “should not take place in a public school in a state that is defined as non-denominational.” They also claimed that the display "endangered safety at the school" as it is in a corridor that could be needed in an emergency.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

University Students Want Pro-Life Posters Removed

March 16, 2017, United Kingdom

Aberdeen University students petitioned to have a pro-life poster removed from campus, claiming it was “actively harmful” to women. The Catholic chaplaincy on the campus displayed posters for a 40 Days of Life event, featuring people holding signs and prayer vigils outside the city’s maternity hospital during Lent.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Court: Employers May Prohibit Employees from Wearing Religious Symbols

March 14, 2017, European Institutions (EU, ECHR, et.al.)

On March 14, 2017, the European Court of Justice put employers' interest in "neutrality" above employees' exercise of religious freedom in a landmark judgment. The Court ruled that employers can prohibit the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign in the workplace.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Regional Government of Andalucía Cancels School Procession for Holy Week

March 8, 2017, Spain

School children in Dos Hermanas, Seville, were prohibited from celebrating their usual children's Holy Week procession by the regional government. The government claimed it cancelled the event because of time constraints, but parents of the affected children insist it was cancelled due to a complaint by a secular association.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Anti-Gender Ideology Campaign Censored

March 3, 2017, Spain

HazteOir.org painted a bus to circulate around Madrid with the words "Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. Don't be fooled. If you’re born a man, you’re a man. If you’re a woman, you’ll always be a woman" and publicized a pamphlet it created for parents: "Do you know what they want to teach your child at school? The laws of sexual indoctrination." The Madrid City Council authorized the seizure of the bus without a court order on March 2, 2017.

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

Primary School Teacher Suspended after Reading Bible Verses to Pupils

March 3, 2017, France

After a group of parents sent a letter of complaint, the school's headmaster suspended the Malicornay teacher. The teacher will remain under suspension pending an investigation into whether he was proselytizing in violation of secularism laws or simply studying the texts with the students. The city's mayor has denounced the suspension as extreme.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Two Street Preachers Convicted of Public Order Offenses

February 28, 2017, United Kingdom

Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were convicted on February 28, 2017 after a public prosecutor claimed that quoting parts of the King James Bible in the context of modern British society "must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter". After a four-day trial, the men were found guilty under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using "threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offence was religiously aggravated."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Oxford Lecturer Refused to take Christian Convert's Questions about Islam

February 27, 2017, United Kingdom

A trainee Church of England priest at Oxford University, an Iranian-born convert from Islam, claimed he wasn’t allowed to ask critical questions about Islam during a seminar and has accused the university of discrimination and bias and made a formal complaint.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Granada Bishop Accused of Hate Speech

February 20, 2017, Spain

The Spanish Observatory against LGBTfobia filed a hate speech complaint on February 20, 2017 against Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez for a homily delivered on February 12, 2017 in which he criticized gender ideology in the education of children. The complaint accused the bishop of promoting "hate speech against LGBT persons."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Parliamentary Group Called for a Ban on Broadcasts of Mass on Public Television

February 20, 2017, Spain

A parliamentary group in the Congress of Deputies presented a proposal calling for broadcasts of Mass on public television be prohibited, which they ask to be considered/debated by a commission that oversees RTVE, Spain’s public television station, and its affiliates.

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

France Passed Law Banning Pro-Life Websites

February 16, 2017, France

The National Assembly passed a law which bans pro-life websites which attempt to discourage women from having abortions if the sites do not openly state “who they are, what they do and what they want.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

LGBT Lobby Attempts to Block Lecture by Gay Author; Demanded Apology

February 7, 2017, Spain

Two LGBT groups in Barcelona demanded that the Archdiocese prohibit a February 11, 2017 lecture by Philippe Ariño in the parish of Santa Ana on the grounds that the content would be "seriously homophobic" in violation of Catalonia anti-discrimination law. The lecture by a young French Catholic man who is homosexual and advocates celibacy as a means to resist homosexual urges was organized by the Youth Delegation of the Archdiocese. The LGBT groups have also demanded an apology from the Archbishop.

Freedom of Expression

NHS does not Record Religious Discrimination

February 2, 2017, United Kingdom

The National Health Service has confirmed, in response to a question from a Member of Parliament, that it does not collect information on instances of discrimination against NHS staff on the basis of their faith.

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

Magistrate Disciplined for Refusing to Hear Same Sex Parenting Case

January 30, 2017, United Kingdom

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office ordered Susan Preston to stand down from hearing future family cases, after she declined to sit on a case involving same-sex parenting due to her personal views.

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

Policing and Crime Bill Proposes to Raise Penalty for "Religiously Aggravated Offense"

January 18, 2017, United Kingdom

During the debate in the House of Lords, the Government was asked what would qualify for a "religiously motivated offense" and whether it could include a Christian preaching the "supreme divinity of Christ." The Government responded that this would be up to prosecutors and courts.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Goverment Still Supports Plan to Register & Inspect Sunday Schools

January 11, 2017, United Kingdom

Education minister confirmed that the program to regulate "out of school" settings, which could include Sunday school and youth group meetings, remains a government priority. Opponents say that this would leave churches open to complaints if they teach religious principles relating to traditional marriage.

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

Woman Attacked for Reading from Bible

December 28, 2016, Austria

A 22-year-old man from Afghanistan stabbed a Christian woman when he heard her reading from the Bible at a refugee accommodation in Vöcklamarkt (Upper Austria).

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Crime

UK Considering Secularist Oath of Allegiance to British Values

December 21, 2016, United Kingdom

The UK government has proposed that all office holders and employees of the State swear an Oath of Allegiance to British Values that conflicts with traditional Christian teaching about sexuality.

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

Hindu UKIP Member Racially Harassed for Calling Britain a "Christian Country"

December 7, 2016, United Kingdom

Anish Patel, a UKIP member and practising Hindu took to Twitter with a message defending Britain’s Christian identity. In response, Twitter users responded with racist epithets.

Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Student Union Bans Pro-Life Group

December 5, 2016, United Kingdom

Pro-life supporters have been banned from setting up an official campus group by the University of Strathclyde Student Union on the grounds that such a group would violate "safe space."

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

Court Gives Town Three Months to Remove Statue of Virgin Mary

December 3, 2016, France

A court has ordered the town of Publier to remove its statue of the Virgin Mary to comply with France's ban on religious symbols in public spaces. Failure to remove it within three months will result in a fine of 100 euros per day.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Officials Ban Television Commercial to Commemorate World Down Syndrome Day

November 22, 2016, France

Television officials rejected as "inappropriate" an award-winning video featuring several people with Down syndrome responding to a letter from a frightened woman whose unborn baby had been diagnosed with the disorder.

Freedom of Expression

Christian Couple Blocked from Adopting Foster Children

November 9, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian couple has been blocked from adopting their foster children, after expressing views based on their belief that children should have a mother and a father wherever possible.

Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

State Council Allows "Decorative" Christmas Scenes at Town Halls

November 9, 2016, France

After a bitter two-year battle over whether decorating town hall entrances with nativity scenes violated rules on secularism, the country’s highest administrative court ruled that as long as the intent behind the installation was "cultural, artistic, or festive" - and not religious proselytism - it was permitted.

Freedom of Expression Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

French Politician Fined for Using Word from Bible to Describe Homosexuality

November 4, 2016, France

French politician and former housing minister Christine Boutin was convicted of hate speech on Wednesday by the Court of Appeals of Paris for having called homosexuality an “abomination” in an interview with the political magazine Charles in March 2014.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Media Campaign Targets Priest for Upholding Church Doctrine

November 3, 2016, Spain

The Spanish media network SER launched a media campaign against a Catholic priest for posting a list of sins that preclude parishioners from receiving Communion until they have been confessed, calling the list a throw-back to old times.

Freedom of Expression

Christian Bakers Lose Appeal

October 24, 2016, United Kingdom

The owners of Ashers Baking in Belfast lost their appeal of 2015 discrimination conviction for refusing to bake a cake ordered by homosexual activist Gareth Lee showing two Sesame Street characters and the message: “Support Gay Marriage.” The case was heard by the Supreme Court in May 2018.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

France Plans to Ban Pro-Life Websites it Judges 'Extremist'

October 6, 2016, France

Laurence Rossignol, minister of families, children, and women’s rights, has announced that the French government intends to introduce legislation to ban pro-life websites it judges to be 'extremist'. She plans an amendment to the current “Equality and Citizenship” law, which will impose penalties on owners of pro-life sites of 30,000 euro fine (£26,517/ $33,600) and two years in prison.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Humanist Association Urges Vote to Remove "God" from Constitution

September 29, 2016, Ireland

The Association calls for the removal of any references to God in the Constitution, and to any clauses that require public officials to swear a religious oath upon taking office.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Four Spanish Bishops Threatened with Prosecution for Criticism of LGBT law

August 31, 2016, Spain

Three of the bishops are being threatened with a criminal complaint for having written and published a condemnation of Madrid’s new “Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity.” The fourth bishop is being criminally investigated for expressing support for the statement of the first three.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Nurse Fired for Talking about Faith with Patients

August 31, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian nurse was fired for "gross misconduct" by the NHS for talking to her patients about her faith and occasionally offering prayer to help them prepare for surgery. Part of her job was to help patients complete a questionnaire, which included a question about religion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Nice Deputy Mayor Confirms "Burkini Ban" Also Applies to Nuns' Habits on Beaches

August 26, 2016, France

Rudy Salles defended the ban of the "Burkini" and said that the same ban would apply to Catholic nuns wearing habits on Nice beaches.

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

Town Council to Remove Cross from Public Square

August 11, 2016, Spain

The Callosa de Segura town council voted to remove the cross in the plaza of the church of San Martin. Christian legal groups objected, noting that its presence poses no threat to anyone and that it is part of the town's historical and cultural heritage.

Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Funding for Christian Charity Cut for Encouraging Homosexual Celibacy

July 19, 2016, Netherlands

"Hart van Homo's" (Heart for Gays), a Christian charity that encourages celibacy for gay Christians, lost governmental funding after the ruling party argued that it sent the wrong message.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Street Preacher Arrested for Hate Crime for Quoting Bible to Gay Teenager

July 17, 2016, United Kingdom

Gordon Larmour, a Christian evangelist, was charged with behaving in a "threatening or abusive manner aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation" and "assault", after he referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children in response to a 19-year-old's question about God's views on homosexuality. He spent one night in prison. Six months later, a court in Kilmarnock, Scotland acquitted him of all charges.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Expression

Russia's Anti-Terrorism Law Restricts Missionary Activities

July 7, 2016, Russia

The new law bans preaching, praying, proselytizing, and disseminating religious materials outside of officially-designated sites, and authorizes fines for these activities conducted in private residences or distributed through mass print, broadcast or online media.

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

Lay Association Calls for Mayor's Resignation for Assisting in Catholic Blessing

June 29, 2016, Spain

The president of Asturias Laica, Jose Luis Iglesias, has formally requested that the Mayor of Gijon, Carmen Moriyón, resign from office for assisting in the Catholic ritual of the blessing of the waters in the feast of San Pedro, the city’s patron saint, which was celebrated on June 29.

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

Valencia Cardinal Accused of Hate Speech for Homily Criticizing Gender Ideology Legislation

June 23, 2016, Spain

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares was accused of hate speech by the Feminist Platform of Alicante, along with 55 other LGBT organizations. They alleged that his homily was "full of hatred, homophobic and sexist." On June 23, 2016 he was cleared of the charges.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Christian Union Banned From Holding Meetings on College Premises

June 7, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian union has been banned from holding meetings on college premises, as a result of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy "Prevent".

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

Greens Demand Ban on Pro-Life Presentations at Schools

May 12, 2016, Austria

In April 2016, members of the Green Party in Austria submitted a Parliamentary Question to evaluate possible actions to stop “pro-life” workshops in religious education.

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

Television Presenter Calls Christian a "Homophobe"; Receives No Sanctions

April 12, 2016, United Kingdom

Piers Morgan will not face sanctions after asking a Christian who opposed same-sex marriage whether he was a "homophobe".

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Insult or Incitement

Magistrate Removed from Office, Suspended from NHS Trust, for Christian Belief in Traditional Family

March 29, 2016, United Kingdom

A Christian magistrate Richard Page has been removed from office by the Lord Chancellor after sharing his personal conviction in a media interview that there is not enough evidence to show that placing children in the care of same-sex couples is in their best interest.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Peaceful Protest in Stuttgart Disrupted by Counter-Demonstrators

February 28, 2016, Germany

A peaceful manifestation by 4,500 supporters of Demo für Alle against a proposed education program was disrupted by counter-demonstrators, resulting in clashes with police and 18 people injured, including 3 police.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Incident Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Christian Postgraduate Student Expelled for Opposing Gay Marriage

February 27, 2016, United Kingdom

A Sheffield University social work postgraduate student, Felix Ngole, was expelled from his course for posting on his Facebook page that homosexual activity is against the teaching of the Bible.

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

Antifa Admits Attack on Demo für Alle

February 26, 2016, Germany

In advance of a planned peaceful demonstration on February 28 in Stuttgart by Christian activists against a new school curriculum emphasizing gender ideology, the radical left group "Antifa" attacked the building owned by a financier of the buses provided for the demonstration.

Freedom of Expression Hate Crime Insult or Incitement Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Paris Court Acquits Femen

February 16, 2016, France

A Paris court acquitted members of the radical feminist group Femen who had in November 2012 disrupted Catholic families peacefully protesting in defense of traditional marriage, topless with vulgar anti-church slogans written on their bodies and spraying fire extinguishers at the group.

Freedom of Expression