After criticising the Irish government's plans to legalise euthanasia, Twitter has banned the Irish bishop Kevin Doran on February 20th. In his tweet, he spoke out about the Christian dignity in dying, paradoxically Twitter argues "he violated their rules by promoting (..) suicide or self-harm" because the tweet mentioned the term "Assisted Suicide" in it, which he opposes. According to writer David Quinn, Twitter has turned the bishop down on appeal.
Three years after the publication of the bestselling book "When Harry became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment" by Dr Ryan T. Anderson, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington, Amazon removed the book on gender ideology from its online store on February 20th. The book gives an accurate and accessible account of the scientific, medical, philosophical and legal debates surrounding the transgender phenomenon. Amazon has not notified the author or the publisher that the book has been removed, nor have Amazon representatives responded to any of their enquiries.
In February, Facebook permanently deleted the page of Core Issues Trust (CIT) on the grounds that the charity is in breach of its community standards. Since June 2020, LGBT activists have viciously attacked the site and refused to recognise people who previously identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. During this time, Facebook did not respond to the attacks against CIT and its employees, even though their personal safety was at risk. Now Dr. Mike Davidson, CEO of CIT, wrote a statement on the case in which he makes clear to continue to platform "the voices of those who with free conscience express the transformation they experience and the Christian convictions that are important to them and protected by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights".
For being pro-life, almost one of four students have been "threatened, abused, alarmed or distressed" at their university. According to a survey by the national student pro-life group, the Alliance of Pro-Life Students (APS), nearly three quarters of pro-life students have been confronted with situations in seminars where they experienced a restriction in freedom of expression. APS Executive Director Madeline Page said: “These statistics are alarming, yet confirm what we already know – pro-life students are being marginalised and silenced at universities. Institutional policies which refuse to allow certain topics to be discussed don’t just damage free speech – they destroy a culture of tolerance and respect on campus, ruining the chance for all students to engage with people of diverse opinions and understandings."
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."