Intolerance rising in Europe
A RESPECTED monitoring organisation, the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, has reported ‘a tremendous amount of cases of vandalism against Christian sites and places of worship’ in recent years.
The organisation cautions that it is not possible to record every act of hate-related crimes against Christians because European governments generally do not keep separate data for attacks on Christians, but instances 133 cases of vandalism against Christian sites in 11 European countries in 2013.
In the same year the Observatory also recorded 241 cases of intolerance against Christians in law and politics, the arts and media. Intolerance against Christians occurs particularly with regard to limitations of conscientious objection, freedom of speech, equality and discriminatory policies, limitations of the rights of parents with respect to sex education, and freedom of assembly.
The Observatory has conducted a survey of 41 laws in 14 European countries that impede the free exercise of faith by Christians. It warns of growing antiChristian sentiment in the arts and the media, including the social media.
“Respect is a key concept for the understanding of human rights in general and in particular for the freedom of religion or belief,” notes Observatory’s Annual Report.
“The increasingly secularised society in Europe has less and less space for Christianity,” comments the Director of the Observatory, Dr Gudrun Kugler.
“Some governments and civil society actions seek to exclude instead of welcoming. There are countless cases of intolerance against Christians that are reported to us. Through research, documentation and the publication of these cases, we hope to create awareness, which is the first step towards a solution.