Religion News Report
Religious freedom in France: according to the Protestants the USA is poorly informed
AFP, May 15, 2001
(This article was translated from French to German to English.)
Paris May 15 (AFP) - The president of the French Protestant Federation (FPF), Pastor Jean Arnold de Clermont, stated on Tuesday that the American complaints against France concerning religious freedom were based by and large on poor information.
"The chapter dedicated to France in the State Department report on Religious Freedom in the world is very deficient," he stated and opined that the American administration was relying on biased informants for its accusations against France.
He nevertheless thought it was "quite normal for one country to ask questions of another" regarding the manner and method it respected fundamental freedoms.
At the end of April Pastor de Clermont visited Washington at the invitation of the Institute for Religion and Public Politics for a meeting at which American churches participated.
At an interview with journalists at the close of the session of the Protestant Federation, the FPF President reminded them that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbad any intervention by the state into the area of religion. In stressing "the extreme difference of the situation between the two states," he thought it was "completely legitimate for the French administration to be acting legislatively in the area of religion."
Pastor de Clermont also brought up the opposition by the Protestants to the first version of the "About-Picard" legislative proposal against sects. He said the joint mobilization of the FPF and the Catholic Church made it possible "to break the parliamentary consensus" so that the project would continue to be sensibly developed, he added.
The text, past by the Senate in the second session, was discussed in the National Assembly in the second half of May.
Michael Parmly, a representative from the State Department, still expressed the "concern" of the United States regarding this legislative proposal, which threatens religious freedom according to Washington.
In accordance with a law of October 27, 1998, the American State Department is obligated to consider the local status of religious freedom in its relations with foreign states.
U.S. government officials promote extremist groups like the Church of Scientology, and often base their reports on information provided by its members, as well as by sympathizers like cult apologist Massimo Introvigne
Most countries outright reject U.S. interference in their internal affairs. And while supporting and promoting human rights, including freedom of religion, is a worthwhile cause, many countries call on America's to address its own record of human rights violations.
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