The UK is one of the most intolerant European countries towards Christians according to a new report from the Observatory of Intolerance Against Christians in Europe (OIDAC).
The report identifies the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden as the top five countries driving what it describes as a “rising phenomenon” against Christians. It reveals the UK as the number one country in Europe for having the most cases of legal prosecutions for alleged ‘hate speech’.
Furthermore, it suggests that violence against Christians has risen in the UK in the form of vandalism and severe arson attacks on Christian buildings and even physical assaults. It concludes that there is a strong social hostility and at the same time indifference or even a bias from public authorities.
Anti-Christian hate crime
Also revealed is the concerning statistic that anti-Christian hate crimes rose by 70% in Europe between 2019 and 2020 following a decline in freedom of conscience, expression and parental rights for Christians across the continent.
The report states that discrimination has continued to escalate during the pandemic with disproportionate bans on public Christian worship and downgrading churches to non-essential services.
From extensive questionnaires and in-depth interviews, the report finds that education, church, politics and the workplace are the four key areas of Christian life most affected.
The report identifies secular intolerance and Islamic oppression as driving forces behind the discrimination which it says is “becoming more visible.”
It says that: “The negation of a public voice is mainly based on strong and sometimes even extreme opposition to Christian morals derived from core beliefs. In some cases, it does not stop at negation but goes even further towards a criminalisation of public or even private opinions.”
OIDAC conclude its report by calling on “international and civil-society organizations to contribute towards improving this situation by reporting and raising awareness about this phenomenon.”
The ‘terrorist’ chaplain
Launching the report at an online press conference in Vienna, OIDAC featured the chilling story of Rev. Dr Bernard Randall.
Dr Randall, now dubbed the ‘Terrorist chaplain’, is receiving support from the Christian Legal Centre after he lost his job as a school chaplain and was reported to the government’s terrorist watchdog for a sermon he gave which encouraged students that they shouldn’t feel compelled to believe LGBT ideology and identity politics.
The school where Dr Randall worked had invited an LGBT group into the Church of England school and had encouraged staff to chant ‘smash heteronormativity’.
Speaking to delegates, Dr Randall said: “It is sobering to read just how widespread discrimination and intolerance against Christians has become across Europe. My own case is just the tip of an iceberg, but it does show how bad things could get if this is allowed to continue. The direction of travel is extremely worrying. I’m grateful that OIDAC Europe and Christian Concern are standing up for the principle that freedom of conscience, and the freedom to express one’s beliefs openly, apply to everyone, including Christians. These principles are the foundation of a free society.”
OIDAC´s director Madeleine Enzlberger, said: “This phenomenon can occur in various forms, such as vandalism – antireligious motivated attacks against churches and Christian buildings – or even anti-Christian hate crimes against individuals. But also, through the progressively restricting or contestation of fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, contractual freedom or parental rights.”
The Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska, who is an expert on European Law, said: “A 70% rise in hate crimes across Europe is a chilling statistic, but sadly not a surprising one from the perspective of many Christians.
“We have seen free speech eroded in UK universities and parental rights violated through the UK government’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) programme. Yet, as the report identifies, government and civil authorities are sleepwalking through this growing crisis and are refusing to confront or recognise the impact radical secularism and intolerance of Christian beliefs is having on Christians.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “The report clearly indicates that there is an unaddressed and concerning problem in Europe with intolerance towards Christians.
“We have seen the rising tide of discrimination in the UK for well over a decade. The number of alleged hate crime cases in the UK is disturbing and points to a policing of Christian beliefs in public and private.
“Discriminatory attitudes and actions towards Christian beliefs, which would have been shocking to many 10 years ago, are now becoming normalised.
“A society that eradicates Christianity becomes less free, less tolerant, less humane.”