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EU Parliament called to take action on Christian persecution ‘on their doorstep’

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An event at the European Parliament this week sought to bring to light the lack of religious freedom in Europe, particularly for Christians. The speakers are hoping that the EU Parliament will take notice of what is happening and do something about it.

“It’s the first time that Christianophobia within Europe has been discussed in the EU Parliament,” said Nathan Gill MEP who brought the call to action to the parliament. “There has often been a focus on Christian persecution around the world, but seldom do we look at what is happening on our doorstep. It’s important to raise awareness that our rights as Christians are being eroded. We need to stand together as practising Christians to oppose religious intolerance.”


CLC cases used as evidence

Paul Diamond, Standing Counsel to the Christian Legal Centre was one of those who addressed the parliament.

“I believe [cases of Christian persecution] are happening all over Europe. So, there is a lot of concern but there is also a lot of hope,” he said before sharing some of the CLC cases that demonstrate the situation in the UK.

Speaking about street preacher Mike Overd who was supported by the CLC, Mr Diamond revealed some of his concerns regarding religious freedom in the UK and Europe.

“He was arrested for a hate crime, he is then acquitted (2012), he’s then arrested again (2014), he’s then acquitted again (2015), he was acquitted again in 2017… at some point, my concern is it won’t say acquittal it will say conviction.

“I don’t want you to leave with the impression that this is a UK problem,” he said “I know from my communications with many European lawyers and my dealings across the EU that these are represented across Europe and very often people are unable to resist the weight of the state or the police.”


Religious freedom being ‘eroded’

The danger of a lack of religious freedom was shown through many examples of discrimination, violence and marginalisation of Christians across Europe.

“It’s easy to sit back and ignore the damage because like erosion, it’s not always immediately visible on the surface,” said Barnabas Fund Chief Executive, Hendrik Storm. “But look a little closer and you can begin to see the cracks.”


Christian message is ‘good news’

Mike Overd spoke passionately about his reasons for preaching on the street and the reason that it is important to uphold his and others rights for freedom of specch and freedom of religion. He knows better than most what it means to be persecuted for sharing his Christian faith.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners like you and me,” he said. “My motivation for preaching the gospel is my love for Jesus Christ and my deep concern for people who don’t know his love and are heading towards an eternity separated from God. People need to know the bad news – that they are sinners and separated from a holy God because of their sin, before they can understand the need for good news – that God has made a way for us to be in a right relationship with him [through the life, death and resurrection] of his son, Christ Jesus.”

 

Links

Watch the full event here (2hr 21m).

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here.

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