VIENNA - On 14 December, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) discussed hate crimes against Christians in Europe, Central Asia and North America during a meeting in Vienna. The conference on “Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians” brought together government officials, non-governmental organizations and representatives from Christian communities. They focused on the underreporting of hate crimes as well as strategies for tackling anti-Christian bias.
“Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet. Even in Europe, they often face intolerance and discrimination. The so-called ‘hate-speech’ laws that have been introduced around the globe are especially worrying. Instead of protecting Christians, they are often instrumentalized to criminalize expression of their beliefs,” said Alexandra Tompson, Legal Analyst and Veritas Scholar at ADF International, who participated in the discussions.
Right to Freedom of Expression in Europe and beyond
During the conference, ADF International drew attention to the rise of ‘hate speech’ legislation across the OSCE region. Christians increasingly face legal harassment based on these new laws. Pastors, priests and bishops who are confronted with criminal investigations and trials for teaching from the bible.
“Hate speech laws create a “you-can’t-say-that” mindset which silences debate. In a free society, ideas should be fought with ideas, not criminal penalties. Once the state starts censoring unpopular speech, there is no logical stopping point,” said Tompson.