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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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."
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 .
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.