A church-backed report has documented rising anti-Christian prejudice in Europe, despite calls for fairer legislation and measures to curb discrimination.
"Studies suggest 85 per cent of hate crimes in Europe are directed against Christians – it is high time for the public debate to respond to this reality," said Gudrun Kugler, director of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians.
"A restrictive application of freedom of conscience is leading to professions such as magistrates, doctors, nurses and midwives as well as pharmacists slowly closing for Christians.
Teachers and parents get into trouble when they disagree with state-defined sexual ethics," Kugler said March 19.
Her agency's 53-page report, published the same day, said incidents in 2011 had included a resolution by European legislators calling for a reassessment of legislation with "negative ramifications for Christians," and a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Christian crosses could remain in Italian schools after a constitutional challenge.