On December 7th, the UK shadow minister for faiths, Janet Daby, has resigned from her position. This was due to her statement, regarding the right of registrars to refuse same-sex marriages without being terminated. Janet Daby said that registrars who had a religious objection to same-sex marriage should not be forced to conduct them, as well as someone who has objections to abortions is not forced to carry them out. She sincerely apologized for her misjudged comments, and decided to resign as Shadow Faith Minister.
On November 26th the Pro Femina consulting center in Munich was the target of a paint attack. After the growing political pressure on Pro Femina in the last few weeks, the office building was smeared with pink paint. On the opposite side of the street, posters were hung up with the slogans: "Decriminalize abortion", "My body, my choice" or "Kill fetuses". The police have been informed and a criminal complaint has been filed.
On the 10th of November, the Parliament of Norway has extended the hate-speech law to transgender and bisexual people, or generally "sexual orientation". People that are found guilty of hate speech could face up to one year in jail for private remarks and up to three years for public comments. This law could be conflicting with the freedom of speech for Christians, who preach the teachings of the bible.
Mary Douglas, a Christian councillor at Wiltshire, was forced to step down from her role in November 2019, as she expressed her disapproval of the use of public funds to promote the "gay pride" event, as she did not agree with this "ideology and worldview". Accused of homophobia, she had to leave her role, but after an investigation the Wiltshire Council reversed the decision. The council admitted that her removal was an infringement of her "right to freedom of expression".
The First Minister of Walse, Mark Drakeford announced a new lockdown from the 23rd of October to the 9th of November, which includes the closing of churches. Christian leaders have raised their voice against the regulations made by the Welsh Government. The Christian leaders argue that the regulations are severely interfering with the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and worship, which are protected under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act.
On October 17th, counter-demonstrators interrupted the March for Life in Vienna by blocking streets, which led to serval changes of the originally planned route. The counter-demonstrators also verbally and physically insulted the participants of the march with vulgar expressions and gestures. They also held up highly insulting banners like:"If Mary would have aborted, we would have been spared of you." Additionally, the counter-demonstrators held up flags against homophobia, stereotyping Christians as homophobic, despite the fact that the march was not about LGBTQ+ issues but the protection of the unborn life.
On October 8th, MEPs have approved the first reading of the proposed changes in abortion law in France. They wish to extend the legal time limit for abortions from 12 to 14 weeks and to eliminate the clause for contentious objection, which allows gynaecologists and obstetricians to reject to perfom an abortion when they consider it murder, or for other moral reasons. The Prime Minister, the President and the Minister of Health object, that the discussion has been one-sided, and demand the recognition of the opinion from the national advisory committee on ethics.
In the city of Zürich, the March for Life was opposed by extreme left activists, as it also occurred in Austria and Germany, which led the local government to ban the march. The march has already been banned in 2019 and also for 2020 and 2021 with no consistent reason. The official reason for the ban are safety concerns for the participants of the march, due to violent counter-protests and possible riots. As an alternative to the march, there would have been a smaller gathering of the pro-life supporters, but the Congress Center Winterthur, where the event would have taken place in a smaller form, has denied access. The organizers of the march announced that they will pursue legal action against this decision.
The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship. The Parliament has accepted to re-draft the Bill, to protect Freedom of Speech. The new amendment should be known in December 2020.
Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.
The abbess of the German Benedictine convent Maria Frieden in Kirchschletten faced criminal charges for granting church asylum. The trial against Mother Mechthild Thürmer before the Bamberg District Court was scheduled for July 31. The abbess of the monastery in Upper Franconia had taken in an Eritrean woman in fall of 2018, who was to be deported to Italy. She disputed a penalty order for "aiding and abetting an illegal stay", combined with a fine of 2,500 euros, arguing for freedom of conscience.
The Parliament of Northern Ireland passed a new marriage law for same-sex couples, which has two implications for the church and Christian business owners. The law prohibits private business to deny service to same-sex couples arguing for freedom of conscience. Additionally, the new legislation allows same-sex couples of faith to have religious wedding ceremonies in church or other religious settings if all parties agree.
On March 2nd, member of the Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen faced a police interrogation because of a tweet she posted in June 2019. The tweet was directed at the leadership of her church and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event “Pride 2019”, accompanied by an image of a bible text.
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.
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.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls "for an end to violations against the freedom of Christians and other religious minorities to worship."
A Christian pastor and school caretaker, who received abuse and threats for a June 2019 tweet about LGBTQ Pride has taken legal action against the school which he felt forced to leave.
A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone around a school in Birmingham permanent, preventing parents from protesting outside the grounds against the "No Outsiders" primary school programme that teaches about LGBT relationships. Many parents and activists claim the programme contradicts their faith and is not "age appropriate." A temporary exclusion zone was first imposed by the courts in the summer after months of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School by mostly Muslim parents. Birmingham City Council claimed that the order was sought from the courts over safety concerns.
On November 4th, the Finnish State General Prosecutor issued a press release announcing the launch of a pre-trial investigation into the publication and distribution of the 2004 pamphlet "Mieheksi ja naiseksi hän heidät loi" (in English, “Male and female He created them”), authored by Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician investigated by the police for a tweet in June 2019 quoting the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. Although the pamphlet was printed 15 years ago, it will be included in the case against the Christian politician because it is still “available online.” Räsänen, who served in the past as Minister of the Interior of the government of Finland, risks being accused under Section 10 of the Criminal Code of Finland for “ethnic agitation,” a crime punishable with a fine or prison.
Victory in international court bolsters protections for Christians who face life-threatening persecution in home countries.