Anti-Cult Hysteria in France: President of Anti-Cult Mission Attacks First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The president of the newly established French governmental "Mission to Fight Against Cults", Mr. Alain Vivien, granted one of his first interviews in his new position to the magazine "Réforme" (n. 2797, Nov. 19, 1998, p. 7: "Une liberté sous contrôle", by Claudine Castelnau). We offer a translation of the last paragraph, "Une politique européenne":

Europe-Wide Politics

Finally, the president of the governmental Mission calls for a common European political attitude towards the problem of the cults... He believes that harmonization of European law in this field is "unavoidable" but sees precious nothing being accomplished. Why? "Because Latin countries such as France are more advanced as far as the anti-cult fight is concerned than Nordic or Anglo-Saxon countries. In the latter countries, too often we find a confusion between cults and sectarian religious movements. Now, it is not the province of public powers to evaluate the doctrinal content of a group, but there are criteria - such as the respect of human rights, of constitutional principles, of the great fundamental liberties - allowing us to tell whether or not a phenomenon is cultic".

In the same vein, in this interview, Alain Vivien has mentioned the problem created by the United States. They allow a "liberty without limits" and do not allow themselves to legislate on proselytization, even when a movement is largely regarded as dangerous. "The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution of 1791 prohibits legislators from making laws on proselytization - while this should be the very field legislators should regulate! The fathers of the French Constitution adopted a different attitude in 1789 when they included in the Constitution, under Article 4 of the 1789 Declaration of Human Rights, that 'Freedom consists in doing what does not cause damage to another (...) and limits may only be determined by the law'". Alain Vivien states that we should be strict with the United States, because it's the only superpower and their influence is important: "That they may have revised the First Amendment is understandable because the first pioneers, who were persecuted in Europe for religious reasons, had the idea of securing religious peace. But today, vast and often very nefarious interests hide themselves behind an allegedly religious cultism. In this, we have a good fight to pick up with our U.S. friends!".


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