Anti-Christian sentiment

Anti-Christian sentiment is an opposition to some or all Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity. Christophobia or Christianophobia are also names for "every form of discrimination and intolerance against Christians" according to Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE).[1]

Contents

Anti-Christian expressions

Vandalism

The vandalism or defacement of Christian symbols or property is one form of the expression of anti-Christian sentiment. If the defaced or vandalized object is considered holy by Christians, such as the Bible, the Cross, or an image of Christ or a saint, the case becomes that of desecration. Such destruction may also be illegal if it violates property rights or hate crime laws. Arson directed at Christian meeting places or churches is often considered a hate crime.[2] However, churches may also be targeted for reasons unrelated to anti-Christian sentiment, especially racism.[3]

An aggravating factor in the burning of a church in Minnedosa, Manitoba was that two of the arsonists were fans of National Socialist black metal music with anti-Christian themes, according to the Crown.[4] Vandals stole a wooden statue of Virgin Mary, from the Saint Albert the Great Parish of Calgary, Canada in August 2008 detached her hands, tried to incinerate it, and threw into a ditch along the nearby 22x Highway.[5] In 2010, vandals daubed graffiti and attempted to burn down the White Church of Baildon, West Yorkshire, marking the church with the sign of the pentagram and scrawling anti-Christian graffiti upon it.[6][7]

Music

Some fans of black metal and witch house music declare open hatred of Christianity. Headliners of the black metal genre have claimed responsibility for inspiring (if not necessarily perpetrating) over fifty arsons directed at Christian churches in Norway from 1992 to 1996.[8] The most notable church was Norway's Fantoft Stave Church, which the police believed was destroyed by the one-man band Burzum, Varg Vikernes, also known as "Count Grishnackh".[8]

Examples of anti-Christian sentiment in politics and culture

United Kingdom

Mark Pritchard, the Member of Parliament representing the English constituency of The Wrekin, instigated a debate in the House of Commons on 5 December 2007 on the issue of Anti-Christian sentiment, describing the phenomenon as 'Christianophobia'.[9] Introducing the debate, he said it was about "how anti-Christian sentiment is increasing, not decreasing; why many Christians feel they are not getting a fair hearing when it comes to Christianity in the public square; and what many people of all faiths and no faith see as the increasing marginalisation of Britain’s Christian history, heritage and traditions through the actions of Whitehall Departments, Government agencies, local authorities, the charity commissioners, or other sectors of society."[10] One example where anti-Christian sentiment was evident was when a church building was wrecked by squatters which included the adding of anti-Christian graffiti to the walls.[11]

Norway

On 6 June 1992, the Fantoft Stave Church, a wooden structure originally built in 1150 in Fortun, when the Vikings converted to Christianity, and moved to Bergen in 1883, was burnt down.[12] At first the fire was attributed to lightning and electrical failure. In January 1993 Varg Vikernes, also known as "Count Grishnackh", was interviewed by a local journalist in his apartment decorated with 'Nazi paraphernalia, weapons and Satanic symbols'. According to Vikernes, black metal fans had declared war on Christianity and Norwegian society and was responsible for eight church burnings as part of an ongoing terror campaign. He used a photo of the charred remnants of the church taken soon after the fire on his band Burzum's album entitled Aske (Norwegian for ashes). Following his statement the Norwegian authorities began to clamp down on black metal fanatics.[13]

In 1994 Vikernes was found guilty of murder, arson and possession of illegal weapons (including explosives) and given the maximum sentence under Norwegian law of 21 years in prison.[13] He was released in 2009.[14]

The following is a partial list of Norwegian Christian church arsons in 1992 by anti-Christian groups reported by English-language media sources:

Sweden

On 7 February 1993, the Lundby New Church in Gothenburg, Sweden was burnt down.[20]

Israel

Israeli liberal journalist Isak Letz has chronicled numerous instances of Orthodox Jewish groups becoming increasingly active in their opposition to Jews converting to Christianity, including violent acts against converts. These attacks often go unpunished by Israeli authorities.[21] In general, Christian missionaries limit proselytism in Israel due to Christian Zionist beliefs, and many believe reports of proselytism made by Orthodox Jewish groups are exaggerated as a pretext to attack Christians in the region.[21]

A frequent complaint of Christian clergy in Israel is being spat at by Jews, often Haredi yeshiva students. Even Christian ceremonial processions have been alleged to have been spat at, with one incident near the Holy Sepulchre causing a fracas which led to the destruction of the Armenian Archbishop's 17th-century cross.[22] The Anti-Defamation League has called on the chief Rabbis to speak out against the interfaith assaults.[23] One Christian complained that the spitting was "almost a daily experience."[24]. Clergymen in the Armenian Church in Jerusalem have said that they are all victims of harassment, and that whilst most incidents are ignored, when they complain, the police don't usually find the perpetrators. Father Goosan, Chief Dragoman of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, stated that, "I know there are fanatical Haredi groups that don't represent the general public but it's still enraging. It all begins with education. It's the responsibility of these men's yeshiva heads to teach them not to behave this way,".[25]

In January 2010, Christian leaders, Israeli Foreign ministry staff, representatives of the Jerusalem municipality and the Haredi community met to discuss the problem. The Haredi Community Tribunal of Justice published a statement condemning the practice, stating that it was a "desecration of God's name." Several events have been planned in 2010 by the liberal Orthodox Yedidya congregation to show solidarity with Christians and improve relations between the Haredi and Christian communities of Jerusalem. Andrea Katz, who has organized the events, said that "Jews might not have learned yet what it means to be the majority in a country".[24]

In May 2008, hundreds of New Testaments were burned in Or Yehuda, Israel after having been collected by the Deputy Mayor who described the material as "Messianic propaganda" and claimed the books were burned by three Yeshiva students.[26] In May 2009 a Russian orthodox church in Northern Israel was showered with stones thrown by yeshiva students, injuring many of the congregation.[27]

In 2009 a church in Israel was vandalised. Messages such as “We killed Jesus” and “Christians out” were written on it, as well as "Fuck off" which was adorned with a Star of David.[28] Churchmen at the site also stated that the church doors are urinated on almost every day.[28]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Bishops condemn Christianphobia" Religious Intelligence; October 1, 2008[dead link]
  2. ^ Time Magazine
  3. ^ Washington Post article
  4. ^ CBC: Minnedosa Fire, June 28, 2006
  5. ^ "2 arrested in Virgin Mary statue theft". CBC News. August 15, 2009. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/08/15/calgary-stolen-mary-statue-arrests.html. 
  6. ^ Church is ‘focus of Satanic attack’[dead link]
  7. ^ Shock at 'satanic' attack on historic church
  8. ^ a b Grude, Torstein (Director) (January 1, 1998). Satan rir Media (motion picture). Norway: Grude, Torstein. http://home.no/metalra/reviews/videos/satan_rides_the_media.html. 
  9. ^ Christianophobia warning from MP BBC News 4 December 2007
  10. ^ Christianophobia markpritchard.com. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  11. ^ Anger as squatters wreck church BBC News, 31 May 2007
  12. ^ In Cod We Trust, By Eric Dregni. p.185
  13. ^ a b c In the face of death
  14. ^ "Ute av fengsel" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet.no. May 22, 2009. http://www.dagbladet.no/2009/05/22/nyheter/black_metal/varg_vikernes/6354526/. Retrieved May 23, 2009. 
  15. ^ Lords of Chaos (1998): Hellhammer interview[dead link]
  16. ^ a b c Lords of Chaos (1998): 78
  17. ^ a b c d Lords of Chaos (1998): 79
  18. ^ a b c Satan rides the Media (1998)
  19. ^ Satan rides the Media
  20. ^ Lords of Chaos (1998): 113, 269
  21. ^ a b Persecution of Christians in Israel: The New Inquisition, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Autumn, 1978), pp. 135–140
  22. ^ Barkat, Amiram (2009-06-27). "Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=487412&contrassID=2&subContrassID=5&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y&itemNo=487412. 
  23. ^ "ADL Calls On Chief Rabbis to Speak Out Against Interfaith Assaults In Old City". 2004-10-17. http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/4576_62.htm. 
  24. ^ a b Ahren, Rachel (2010-03-05). "Capital Anglos mobilize against practice of spitting at Christians". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1154366.html. 
  25. ^ . Haaretz.com. Tue, November 15, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/ultra-orthodox-spitting-attacks-on-old-city-clergymen-becoming-daily-1.393669. 
  26. ^ "Hundreds of New Testaments torched in Israel". CNN. 2008-05-28. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/05/28/bible.burning/index.html. 
  27. ^ "Church Showered with Stones in Northern Israel". Compass Direct News. 2009-06-24. http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/11605133/. 
  28. ^ a b ISRAEL - VATICAN More Jewish anti-Christian graffiti at the Cenacle

Further reading

External links


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