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First posted: Aug. 1, 1998
"NOTE:" France has adopted a law that addresses crimes encouraged and committed by cults. Cultists, cult promoters and cult sympathizers are bombarding the press with spin-doctored information, going as far as too suggest this proposed law indicates the end of democracy in France. That, of course, is utter nonsense. Freedom comes with responsibility, including the responsibility to address crimes committed by cults under the guise of ''religion.''
But as the Chinese say, ''When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps got hit.'' Therefore it is not surprising that the Church of Scientology yelps the loudest.
Cult-watchers have long known that the Church of Scientology engages in deceptive propaganda practices. It pretends to be a religion, and veigns a concern for human rights and ethics that is directly contradicted by its own behavior. The cult sells expensive and potentially dangerous drugs (as part of the so-called ''purification rundown'' program), and increasingly acts like a hate group. It is Scientology's own record of unethical behavior that make cult-crime laws a necessity.
Nevertheless, the United States government has been - and remains - a staunch promoter of the cult.
President Jacques Chirac has told Mr Clinton that religious freedom will no longer be a subject for bilateral presidential talks, in the light of what has been officially described as ''shocking'' White House' support for Scientologists and Moonies.
France to crack down on sects, The Guardian (England), June 14, 2000
Much has also been made of France's list of sects). However, it appears that few of those who talk about the list have actually read the report it is part of.
On June 23, 2000, The Guardian (England), reported:
The French parliament yesterday adopted Europe's toughest anti-sect legislation yet, creating a controversial new crime of ''mental
manipulation'' punishable by a maximum fine of £50,000 and five years imprisonment. The move was applauded by Alain Vivien, head of a government committee that has identified 173 dangerous quasi-religious groups in France, but was denounced by both the Church of Scientology and the Unification Church as fascist, anti-democratic and in breach of basic human rights law. Current French law, described as ''inadequate to deal with increasingly sophisticated and manipulative groups'' by Catherine Picard, one of the MPs who proposed the bill, allows sect activities to be caught by prosecutions for traditional crimes such as incitement to murder, sexual assault, fraud and the abuse of a vulnerable individuals. The new law allows judges to order the dissolution of any sect whose members are convicted of a criminal offence. It also bans sects from advertising, and prohibits them from opening missions or touting for new members near schools, hospitals or retirement homes. But the law's key weapon is the new crime of mental manipulation, defined as ''exercising, within a group whose activities are aimed at creating or exploiting psychological dependence, heavy and repeated pressure on a person, or using techniques likely to alter his judgment, so as to induce him to behave in a way prejudicial to his interests''.
Church attacks new French anti-cult law, The Guardian (England), June 23, 2000
June 14, 2000:
France is to defy President Bill Clinton's appeal to be more tolerant of religious sects and introduce draconian laws, including an offence of ''mental manipulation'' - brainwashing - which will carry a two-year prison sentence. President Jacques Chirac has told Mr Clinton that religious freedom will no longer be a subject for bilateral presidential talks, in the light of what has been officially described as ''shocking'' White House' support for Scientologists and Moonies. The French government has also complained that Congress's introduction of laws protecting religious freedom internationally is ''an unacceptable intrusion into internal affairs''. The chairman of a French ministerial mission to combat the influence of cults, Alain Vivien, said many observers believed that Mr Clinton was making his peace with big religious movements ''because they offer an indispensable source of political financing''. The French senate has approved legislation reinforcing the right of victims to take action against marginal religious groups.The national assembly plans to toughen the measure even further when it debates it on June 22.
France to crack down on sects, The Guardian (England), June 14, 2000
The faith in France - any future? Paul Wells surveys the spiritual landscape of this traditionally Roman Catholic country. By Paul Wells, writing in "Evangelicals Now."
Le FAQ (questions souvent posées) au sujet des apologistes des sectes Roger Gonnet's translation of Tilman Hausherr's Cult Apologists FAQ (English). The French version includes a few additions specific to France.
The French and German Versus American Debate Over 'New Religions', Scientology, And Human Rights by Stephen Kent, in the Marburg Journal of Religion, Volume 6, No. 1 (January 2001)
» Database of archived news items
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)
FECRIS Fédération Européene des Centres de Recherche et d'Information sur le Sectarisme (European Federation of Centers of Research and Information on Sectarianism)
UNADFI Union Nationale des Associations de Défense de la Famille et de l'Individu (National Union of associations for the defense of family and indiviuals)
Jun. 10, 1999 N° 83, SÉNAT, SESSION ORDINAIRE DE 2000-2001, PROPOSITION DE LOI, ADOPTÉE AVEC MODIFICATIONS, PAR LE SÉNAT EN DEUXIÈME LECTURE tendant à renforcer la prévention et la répression des mouvements sectaires portant atteinte aux droits de l'homme et aux libertés fondamentales. Latest modified bill, to be voted on at the end of May or the beginning on June.
Jun. 22, 2000 N°546 - PROPOSITION DE LOI tendant à renforcer la prévention et la répression à l'encontre des groupements à caractère sectaire - première lecture - adoptée le 22 Juin 2000 (439 Ko) Text of the anti-sect legislation passed by the French National Assembly. The bill still has to go through the Senate. See also:
» News items regarding this bill
» Senate documents on the issue (in French). See also: Prévention et répression des groupements à caractère sectaire (in French) Jun. 10, 1999 Les Sectes e L'Argent (The Sects and Money). French language only. Rapport fait au nom de las commission d'enquÊte sur la situation financiery, patrimoniale et fiscale des sectes, ainsi que sur leurs activites economiques et leurs relations avec les milieux economiques et financiers.
Dec 22, 1995 Cults in France National Assembly report. (French-language version)
» Alain Vivien (heads the Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Sects)
» Louis DeMeo (Evangelical Grace Church/Baptist Theological Institute)
Secticide, Le Roger Gonnet's extensive anticult site.