Christians most targeted religious group in France


European Union


A damaged crucifix on the ground after Christian tombstones were found vandalized in France. Photo AFP, Remy Gabalda

Of all religious people in France, Christians are most targeted by hate crimes. Also, France has the highest number of hate crimes against Christians in Europe.

That is shown by a recent report from the organisation Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.

After France, Germany, Italy, and Poland score high on the list of countries where Christians experience the most pressure. That is reported by National Catholic Register. According to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, social pressure and censorship are affecting Christians more and more. Prejudices play an essential role in the growing hatred towards Christians, says the organisation's President. Especially in Spain, believers experience "negative stereotyping and insensitivity by the media and political groups", the report reads.


The report shows that theft, vandalism and desecration are the most documented hate crimes against Christians. At the same time, it notes that four people were killed because of their faith and 14 suffered physical assault in 2021 for this reason.

In total, the Observatory documented 519 hate crimes. Yet, it suspects this is only the tip of the iceberg, as not all people who suffer because of their faith report attacks against them.

As a result of pressure, Christians increasingly self-censor their words or expressions of faith. Self-censorship is applied, especially in five areas of life, the report reads: education, the workplace, the public sphere, private social interactions and media platforms.

Some social media platforms even ban Christian organisations for expressing beliefs that contradict mainstream public opinion. At the same time, insults against Christians are not always filtered.


Another research finding is that the freedom of conscience is increasingly under pressure for doctors, bioethics commissions and medical personnel. They have voiced concerns about limitations on this, relating to controversial medical procedures, such as abortion.

Also, the LGBT movement sometimes limits Christians in their freedom of religion. Several countries introduced a ban on conversion therapy, which means it is hard to dissent from public opinion on homosexuality, for example.


According to the Observatory, these limits to the freedom of religion "should not be underestimated, as they have profound consequences on the daily life of Christians and on the transmission of the faith to future generations."

The secularisation of European countries forms a fertile ground for the development of anti-Christian sentiments, National Catholic Register writes. Secularisation leads to the elimination of religion from all spheres of society. "More and more often, the principle of separation between church and state is mistakenly understood to require a separation between faith and politics, with the result that it is becoming less and less acceptable to base one's political positions on religious convictions", says Dennis Petri, an expert in the field of religious freedom.


Increasing intolerance against Christians leads to normalisation, Martin Kugler warns. He is the head of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians. Kugler argues that legislation which limits Christians in their freedom, such as the ban on conversion therapy, is "easily used to criminalise Christians." As a result, the idea that Christian views are no longer acceptable in society becomes normal, he says.



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