A new report finds that Christians are the target of religiously motivated physical attacks, intolerance and discrimination more than the people of any other faith in Europe.
“Statistics show the breadth of the problem: 74 percent of U.K. respondents said that there is more negative discrimination against Christians than people of other faiths, said the Report 2011 by an organization called Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.
The report said 84 percent of “the strongly increasing vandalism in France is directed against Christian places of worship. In Scotland, 95 percent of religiously motivated violence targets Christians.”
Authored by Gudrun Kugler, of NGO Intolerance Against Christians, the report highlights attacks on Christians because they are Christian.
“The term ‘intolerance’ refers to the social dimension, the term ‘discrimination’ to the legal. Intolerant and discriminatory behavior results from opposition to individual traits of the Christian faith or moral positions that are intrinsically part of the Christian faith,” the report said. “Intolerant and discriminatory behavior also results from a negative, categorical bias against Christians or Christianity as a whole. This behavior causes various sectors of society to be used as vehicles of intolerance and discrimination against Christians. Such areas of society include the media or arts (through negative stereotyping or profane exhibitions); on the government level (through a discriminatory law or a biased court verdict); on the political level (exclusion from the public sphere, a resolution of a parliament, etc.). Intolerance and discrimination against Christians is also promulgated in the workplace, academia, and in the private and social sphere.
“‘Christianophobia’ or ‘Christophobia’ as well as ‘anti-Christianism’ are common terms describing the same problem,” the report said.
It noted that are no European-wide assessments on attacks on Christians, but several localized surveys support the worry over anti-Christian feeling and action.
In Scotland, for example, of 693 charges aggravated by religious prejudice, 2.3 percent targeted Jews and 2.1 percent related to Islam. The rest targeted Catholics and Protestants.
In France, 94 percent of vandalism with a religious link “was directed against Christian sites,” the report said.
About a dozen organizations have recognized the surging problem and adopted statements, including the European Parliament Seminar, which stated, “Anti-Christian intolerance takes place in different forms in the European Union and, therefore, requires a multi-pronged approach.”
According to the Christian Institute, some 85 percent of hate crimes in Europe are against Christians.
Kugler said, “We also notice professional restrictions for Christians: a restrictive application of freedom of conscience leads to professions such as magistrates, doctors, nurses and midwives as well as pharmacists slowly closing for Christians.
“It is high time for the public debate to respond to this reality,” Kugler said. “Teachers and parents get into trouble when they disagree with state-defined sexual ethics. Our research shows that only with a more accommodating approach to religion and specifically to Christianity, Europe will live up to its foundational value of freedom.”
The report listed dozens of instances of “Christaphobia” in a number of categories.
Under Freedom of Religion was listed a case involving a monastery in Turkey in which the lands were “expropriated” by the government, a move upheld by that nation’s courts. And in Spain, a glass panel was set up to prevent worshipers from entering the chapel of the University of Valladolid. Officials there told students to “Go away to pray in the field.”
In Germany, a mother served a 43-day jail sentence for refusing to enroll her children in state-mandated explicit sex ed classes, and one member of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s staff called for a ban on weddings at Christian churches unless they also performed same-sex “marriages.”
Under Freedom of Expression, a French teacher was fired for showing students a video on abortion and talking about French abortion laws. In Poland a therapy conference aiming to help people who struggle with same-sex attraction was refused permission to use Medical School Foundation facilities in Poznan. Postal workers in the U.K. refused to deliver recordings of the New Testament book of Mark after calling it “offensive material.” A Scottish National Party leader, Gordon Wilson, reported a “lynch mob” booted him from the board of the Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau because he supported traditional marriage.
Regarding Freedom of Conscience, foster parents in the U.K. lost their right to provide help to children because they wouldn’t support homosexuality, a pharmacy was vandalized in Germany after the owner declined to sell abortifacients and marriage commissioners in the Netherlands will be given annual evaluations to ensure they pave the way for same-sex “marriage.”
Some of the more significant problems come from “equality” policies which favor homosexuals, the study said. In a stunner in Croatia, a “Catholic catechism teacher of a Zagreb primary school was accused of homophobia for saying nothing else but Catholic Church teachings during catechism classes.”
Internationally, Apple suppressed diversity by shutting down two Christian iPhone applications, and Catholic organizations in the U.K. were ordered to facilitate homosexual adoptions or shut down.
Further problems came from societal intolerance of Christianity and the exclusion of Christians from public life, the report said.
The defamation of Christianity was highlighted in case in Poland where homosexual soccer fans demanded separate seating for the 2012 championships.
Said the report, “Associated Press Sports Editor, Ms. Terry Taylor, reported about this plea with the following comment: ‘Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.’”
It added regarding the Poland case, “American embassy officials under the Obama administration complained that the Catholic Church teaching is a major source of ‘homophobia’ in the heavily Catholic country.”
Also cited were dozens of cases of “hate,” such as an incident in Belgium in which a Catholic official was hit by pies, broken windows in Austria after a pro-life event, a fire at a Spanish church and graves vandalized in France.
“Christians should neither be marginalized nor discriminated against for being heirs of a religious group that played in the past, and still plays, a relevant role,” the report said.
“Religion, and most of all the Christian faith, is a valuable asset for society: Religious people have a healthier lifestyle and higher life expectancies; are less likely to suffer from depression, have more stable marriages, are less likely to engage in criminal activity, and are more generous in contributing to the common good,” the report said. “Religion should be fostered and encouraged, not restricted or oppressed.”