The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has acknowledged that anti-Christian discrimination has become a serious problem right across Europe, and has called for public debate about it.
The Organisation passed a resolution that “the right of Christians to participate fully in public life be ensured.”
It added that “in view of discrimination and intolerance against Christians, legislation in the member States, including labour law, equality law, laws on freedom of expression and assembly, and laws related to religious communities and right of conscientious objection [should] be assessed.”
The OSCE resolution was highlighted in the latest annual report of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe (OIDCE).
The Observatory, which monitors intolerance of Christianity in the countries of Europe, reported that discrimination against Christians right across the continent is becoming a significant problem.
But it expressed satisfaction that a number of politicians and international organisations such as the OSCE are starting to acknowledge the injustice.
In a sample of “most striking” cases last year, it noted how the Norwegian killer Anders Breivik was “instantaneously” but wrongly labelled a “Christian fundamentalist” by the world’s media.
“Anti-Christian prejudices needed a Christian equivalent to Muslim terrorism,” said Dr. Gudrun Kugler, one of the report’s authors.
As a result, a “thoughtlessly” and too-hastily attributed label “was gratefully received by the world’s media.”
The OIDCE report highlighted over 200 cases where Christians in Europe encountered either outright hate crimes or legal restrictions, including arrests and lawsuits, targeting their freedom of expression, belief and conscience.
Catholic adoption agencies in the UK, for example, have had to close down because they insisted that they could not in conscience give children for adoption to homosexual pairs.
Earlier this year a committee of Lords and MPs in the UK noted that the Equality Act passed by Labour under Tony Blair set up a “pecking order of competing equalities.” In every case the religious rights of Christians come last.
Speaking on Vatican Radio, Martin Kugler, the head of the Observatory, pointed to increasing limitations on the legal right of Christians to speak out on issues of concern.
“Medical staff in a hospital should be able to refuse collaboration in certain acts which they consider unethical, like abortion, euthanasia, sterilisations,” he said.
“This human right, which is called conscientious objection, is not really granted in some of the EU member states.”
As a result, some medical professions, are being “step by step closed up for Christians if they really take their faith seriously.” Also affected are midwives, doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
For Kugler, “raising awareness” is the first step in countering anti-Christian religious discrimination.
The OIDCE report was welcomed by Bishop András Veres of Hungary on behalf of the commission of the EU’s Catholic bishops.It confirmed, he said, “how some values and fundamental rights proper to Europe, such as freedom of religion and the legal recognition of our Churches, are far from being an established reality in some nations of the continent.” (Source:Alive.ie)