Tyler Ament

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Group says discrimination against Christians on the rise in europe

Tyler Ament

VIENNA, December 17, 2010 (C-Fam) - The murder of a Catholic bishop in Turkey, 100,000 Euro fines, and exclusion from public office are just a few of the acts of discrimination and intolerance against Christians in Europe. 

A Viennese group just published a report, which cites dozens of cases of intolerance and discrimination against Christians, and makes various corrective recommendations to European governments and the European Union.

The report identifies discrimination as interference with a person’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion.  Intolerance is defined as instances where Christians or expressions of Christianity are marginalized, especially in public life.

The report tells the story of the head of the Catholic bishops in Turkey, Luigi Padovese, who was fatally stabbed in his home by his driver.  The Spanish government fined a broadcaster 100,000 Euros for running a series of advertisements that favored the family and opposed homosexual lifestyles, And Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione had his nomination to be an EU Commissioner withdrawn because of attacks against his Catholic beliefs about homosexuality.

The report says where discrimination is concerned laws must be created that respect freedom of religion, expression, and conscience. Where legal discrimination against Christians already exists, the group calls for the legal preservation of fundamental rights. 

The report states: “We do not view the law as being a tool of education for the ill mannered to become gentlemen.” Instead of asking for specialized rights to become the letter of the law, the report calls for soft political measures like awareness campaigns to expose the phenomenon, and fair treatment by the media. 

The report recommends to the European governments that they show full respect for fundamental freedoms, recognition and condemnation of intolerance and discrimination against Christians to ensure their full participation in public life, and official monitoring and data collection to ensure official awareness.  The European Union is advised to take similar measures and be sure to respect the autonomy of churches as defined in the Lisbon Treaty. 

During his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI identified anti-Christian discrimination as a serious issue for Europe. “I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.  There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere,” he said.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians published the five-year report as a step towards a solution to the growing phenomenon. 

Over 200 cases are recorded in the full report and on the Observatory’s website.

This article reprinted with permission from www.c-fam.org

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