Catholic Bishop Mario Toso, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace says “intolerance and discrimination against Christians have not diminished” but increased, despite more attention to the problem.
There are many areas where intolerance against Christians can clearly be seen, but two stand out as being particularly relevant at present.
The first is intolerance against Christian speech. In recent years there has been a significant increase in incidents involving Christians who have been arrested and even prosecuted, for speaking on Christian issues. Religious leaders are threatened with police action after preaching about sinful behavior and some are even sentenced to prison for preaching on the biblical teaching against sexual immorality. Even private conversations between citizens, including expression of opinions on social network, can become the grounds of a criminal complaint, or at least intolerance, in many European countries.
The second area where intolerance against Christians can clearly be seen is in regard to Christian conscience, particularly in the workplace. Throughout Europe there have been numerous instances of Christians being removed from the workplace simply for seeking to act according to their conscience. Some of them are well known since they have come even before the European Court of Human Rights.
Massimo Introvigne, coordinator of the Observatory on Religious Liberty of the Italian foreign affairs ministry, concurs. He cited 169 rulings in EU courts that had to do with freedom of religion issues for Christians.
The most dangerous areas, are those which limit the conscientious objection of Christians who do not want to cooperate in abortion, the sale of abortifacient pills, or the celebration of same-sex marriage; those which limit the freedom to preach through the misuse of laws against so-called ‘hate speech’; those which restrict the freedom of religious education and parents’ rights to educate their children, and those which place restrictions on the use of religious symbols…
Introvigne noted that while one cannot draw parallels between the bloodshed and torture experienced by many Christians around the world, he did say that “in terms of religious liberty, the logic of the inclined plane applies. Where discrimination becomes normal, the transition to violence is never far away.”