Discrimination against Christians rises across Europe

Intolerance and discrimination against Christians is increasing across the European continent, a conference of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has been told.

“In Europe, we have identified 14 laws that are likely to negatively affect the religious liberty of Christians in 15 countries,” said Massimo Introvigne, of the Italian foreign affairs ministry.

“In 2012, we also reported 169 rulings made in European courts that we judged to be dangerous to the freedom of Christians,” he told the conference in Tirana, Albania.

“The most dangerous areas are those which limit the conscientious objection of Christians who do not want to co-operate in abortion, the sale of abortifacient pills, or the celebration of same-sex marriage; those which limit the freedom to preach through the misuse of laws against so-called ‘hate speech’; those which restrict the freedom of religious education and parents’ rights to educate their children, and those which place restrictions on the use of religious symbols,” he continued.

The Italian sociologist added that 74 per cent of European Christians think they suffer greater discrimination than persons of other faiths or atheists; 71 per cent think the media generally does not respect Christians; and 61 per cent believe that Christians are discriminated against at their workplace.

The Holy See’s representative at the conference, Bishop Mario Toso, SDB, denounced attempts to divide religious belief from religious practice in Europe.

“Christians are frequently reminded in public discourse (and increasingly even in the courts) that they can believe whatever they like in their own homes or heads, and largely worship as they wish in their own private churches, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public,” he said.

“This is a deliberate twisting and limiting of what religious freedom actually means, and it is not the freedom that was enshrined in international documents.”

Bishop Toso declared: “Intolerance in the name of ‘tolerance’ must be named for what it is and publicly condemned.”


Vatican Radio


Image: National Secular Society

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