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.
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.
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."
Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.
After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.
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?"
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.
Dozens of its members stormed out of the "Extraordinary General Meeting" of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) concerning the Irish abortion bill on December 2nd. The members protested that their concerns and objections were not taken seriously and the ICGP “refused to accept members’ motions from the floor.” The spokesperson for the group of approximately 80 doctors, Dr Andrew O'Regan, told the media: "We feel disrespected and not listened to by our own college board."
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.
In November, several parents of children who were required to participate in a "Proud to be me" pride parade at the Heavers Farm Primary School in South East London threatened legal action. Despite numerous complaints from parents, they were informed that no opt-outs would be allowed. Parents, including Izoduwa Adhedo, reported that they were treated dismissively and victimized following their complaints. "I wasn't even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination," Adhedo said.
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.
A draft of abortion legislation provided that doctors, nurses, and midwives who have a conscientious objection to abortion must refer their patients to another provider who will perform the abortion. The National Association of GPs (NAGP) voted to "advocate for conscientious objection, without obligation to refer" and for an "opt-in" system, where medical professionals register their willingness to perform the procedure, rather than an "opt-out system.
An attack on the freedom of conscience of doctors and medical staff was launched on the 27th of September in the French parliament by socialist senators including former Minster of Families Laurence Rossignol. They want to remove the specific conscience clause for doctors covering abortions, because it is already covered by the Public Health Code.
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.
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.
Member of the Irish Parliament, Carol Nolan TD was suspended from the left-wing Irish political party Sinn Féin for a period of three months after voting against a bill which would allow a Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment which effectively bans abortion. Nolan said, "I voted according to my conscience and did not vote in favour of the legislation put before me as it was greatly at odds with my strong pro-life values."
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.
France's highest administrative court refused to hear the appeal of a pharmacist who was sanctioned for refusing to sell an IUD.
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.”
On September 12, 2017, the European Parliament adopted a parliamentary report which charges “the denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls” by a vote of 489 in favor, 114 opposed and 69 abstentions.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has suggested that all Church of Sweden priests be compelled to perform gay marriages, or "do something else." Currently the Swedish church holds the position that “no priest should be obliged to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple.” Löfven said priests who are unable to bless gay marriage are in the wrong vocation and that the Social Democrats are working to ensure that priests "will consecrate everyone."
Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen are two pro-life midwives who challenged their employment termination cases in court. Grimmark's case was taken to the Labor Court where she lost the case in April 2017. Due to this loss, she has been ordered pay all the court costs and received an invoice from the Jönköping County in the amount of 1 640 000 Swedish Kronor (€168 634). Linda Steen was denied an appeal in the Labor Court, but she will receive an invoice of 1.2 million Swedish Kronor (€123 391).
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.
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.
The Swedish Court of Appeals concluded that a Jehovah's Witness was discriminated against on the basis of his religious convictions by the public Job Center (arbetsförmedlingen).
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.
In May 2017, the British Pharmaceutical Council published new professional standards, stating that pharmacists would have to “take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs.” The previous conscience "opt-out" provisions were removed. Previously, a pharmacist who did not wish to issue an abortifacient drug could refer the patient to another colleague. In June 2017, the Council developed new guidance called “In practice: Guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs.” This guidance made clear that in some circumstances, pharmacists were expected to dispense a drug against his or her conscience.
On February 9, 2017, a Norwegian court ruled against Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a Polish Catholic doctor who sued after she was fired for refusing to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs). Jachimowicz v. the Municipality of Sauherad was the first case in Norway in which a medical professional sued over conscience rights.
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.
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.
On the national Swedish Morning news, a journalist said: ”Those who are against abortion should be aborted. Retroactively.” And everybody in the panel laughed. Just before that, pictures of Christian midwife Ellinor Grimmark and her attorneys were shown on the screen. This occurred during the week Grimmark's lawyers defended her case in the Swedish Labour Court.
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.
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.
Swedish midwife Linda Steen objected to assisting with abortions for reasons of conscience and as a consequence public hospitals denied her employment. She sued the Sörmland county council for violation of her freedom of conscience and religion. After losing the case, she was ordered to pay 1.2 million Swedish krona for the city's legal expenses.
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.
The home, which belongs to The Salvation Army, had previously contested a Swiss law that allows assisted suicide to take place in charitable institutions, if requested by a patient. They challenged the legislation, saying that it conflicted with their religious beliefs and violated their freedom of conscience. Last week, federal judges rejected their complaint and said the only way the care home could avoid complying with the law was by giving up its charitable status.
The case concerned the authorities’ refusal to grant a Jehovah's Witness the status of conscientious objector and to allow him to do alternative civilian work instead of military service. The Court held that this was a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
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.
Macy’s department store in New York fired a Catholic employee because he questioned their transgender bathroom policy, even though he told his employer he would enforce the policy.
British pro-life doctors and nurses face hostility, loss of advancement, and pressure to perform or refer for abortions despite legislation guaranteeing their right to conscientiously object, according to a parliamentary inquiry.