In seeking to ensure respect and equality, it is also necessary to shed light on the growing bias against practising Christians – even though this may seem surprising in countries with a nominal Christian majority. For instance, 74% of United Kingdom Christians feel that there is more negative discrimination against Christians than people of other faiths, and feel more sidelined than ever in areas such as the workplace by the government and through negative stereotyping in the media. There is also vandalism of Christian sites: in November 2010 the French Interior Minister wrote a letter to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights stating that of 485 acts of vandalism against faith-related sites in the previous ten months, 410 had been directed against Christian sites.
In July 2011, the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly called for “a public debate on intolerance and discrimination against Christians” and asked to ensure “the right of Christians to participate fully in public life”. It also recommended that “legislation in the participating states, including labour law, equality law, laws on freedom of expression and assembly, and laws related to religious communities and right of conscientious objection be assessed” with a view to removing any intolerance of practising Christian lifestyles. The OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly further encouraged “the media not to spread prejudices against Christians and to combat negative stereotyping”.
The Parliamentary Assembly should therefore also address the issue of intolerance and discrimination against Christians, with a view to identifying good practices in Council of Europe member States on how to tackle this phenomenon and ensure respect and equality for all, including practising Christians.