234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Shelly Han
December 10, 2012


WASHINGTON–The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced the following briefing:

The State-Sanctioned Marginalization of Christians in Western Europe

Monday, December 10, 2012

2:00 pm, Room B318 Rayburn House Office Building

Reports from Western Europe raise the question whether it has become an increasingly hostile place for Christian religious practice or presence outside the four walls of a church – and whether governments are involved in or support the marginalization of Christians. Most prominent was the 2004 case in which the European Union openly denied Italian Minister for European Politics Rocco Buttiglione a position as European Commissioner due to his adherence to Catholic moral teaching. Reports also indicate that the marginalization of Christians occurs through subtle changes in law and policy that drive Christian expression off the public square or signal that Christians are not welcome on the square. In recent months four British Christians filed petitions with the European Court of Human Rights after they were denied reasonable religious accommodation in the workplace first by their respective employers, and then by the UK courts. This briefing will examine reports of the Western European movement toward state-sanctioned marginalization of Christians. It will further analyze the origins, methods, and implications of such a movement and its relation to religious freedom rights as they are protected in major international human rights agreements.

The Following Witnesses are scheduled to Present:

Roger Kiska, Legal Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (Vienna, Austria)

Professor Tom Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University

Dr. Roger Trigg, Academic Director, Kellogg Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Oxford University and Associate Scholar, Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University

**Witnesses may be added**


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Chairman Chris Smith meets with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)