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Anti-Cult Law in France

Commission Approves French Draconian Anti-Cult Law, Sends It to the Assembly's Floor for Vote - Pope John Paul II Calls for Religious Liberty in France (June 14, 2000)

On June 14, 2000 the Law Commission of French National Assembly approved the law proposition "To reinforce the prevention and repression against groups of a sectarian nature". It will now go before the National Assembly for a full vote on June 22, just three weeks after it was proposed (a very short time period by any French standard). A full review of the draft law in English and the full text in French may be found on this Web site.

Within the context of the heated debate on this law in France, it is significant that Pope John Paul II, formally accepting the credentials of the new French Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Alain Dejammet, on June 10, 2000, devoted a whole part of his speech to religious liberty, an unusual theme when receiving ambassadors of Western democratic countries. The Pope reminded the ambassador that "religious liberty, in the full sense of the term, is the first human right. This means a liberty which is not reduced to the private sphere only". " To discriminate religious beliefs, or to discredit one or another form of religious practice", the Pope said, "is a form of exclusion contrary to the respect of fundamental human values and will eventually destabilise society, where a certain pluralism of thought and action should exist, as well as a benevolent and brotherly attitude. This will necessarily create a climate of tension, intolerance, opposition and suspect, not conductive to social peace". The Pope also called "the media to be vigilant and to treat fairly and objectively the different religious denominations (in French, "confessions")". The full text of the relevant paragraph (5) of the Pope's speech of June 10 (in French) is available on this Web site. Although the Pope may have had in mind primarily religious liberty for Catholic schools and organizations (mentioned in another part of the speech), and mentioned specially "values shared by an important number of persons", it is significant that he devoted a specific paragraph to the issue in an official diplomatic event involving France, and that he mentioned "one or another form of religious practice" and the "different religious denominations" or "confessions" (French authorities would of course comment that "cults" or "sects" are not "confessions", a word game they have continued to play in order to discriminate against the former).

France: Assembly Passes Extreme Anti-Cult Law, Making Brainwashing a Crime (June 22, 2000)
by Massimo Introvigne

Anti-Cult Law in France - Index Page

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