Worthy Christian News » Christian » Religous Liberty in France "Still in the Balance"
By Michael Ireland
ASSIST NEWS SERVICE
UCHAUD, FRANCE (ANS) -- An American pastor who runs a church and seminary in France says that religious liberty in that country is still in the balance.
The issue surrounds proposed "anti-cult" legislation that seeks to outlaw "mental manipulation."
"As far as the proposed law is concerned, it has been discussed and rediscussed recently because of the pressure from religious leaders in France and because of international input," said Louis DeMeo, who is the founder of the Institut Theologique de Nimes, in Uchaud, France.
"The law is to create a new 'crime' that would be 'mental manipulation.' A convicted person could be fined or imprisoned if convicted of such crime. The difficulty is for the French to actually define what 'mental manipulation' is!" DeMeo said.
DeMeo said: "The American government as well as European Human rights groups, as well as religious liberty groups, are up in arms about this.
"We can't really know how it is actually affecting churches so far. The thing for which we are sure is that some churches are looked at as 'cults' and face difficulties from local authorities. If the bill is passed, more trouble will face evangelical churches in the near future," DeMeo said.
"The first thing western Christians can do is pray. Pray and keep updated on the situation as well as express their concern to local or maybe federal authorities," he said.
DeMeo said his group has been contacted by a national TV station to do an interview about religious liberty. "They filmed our home church, met with the US Commission on Religious Liberty, who was shocked by the lack of professionalism, aggressivity and anti-American and anti-Evangelical angle they are taking on this program.
"All those interviewed, including Jay Sekalow's group, European Center of Law and Justice in Strasbourg, could not believe what a 'hit job' they are doing to run down Americans and Religious rights activists," said DeMeo.
"The French are assuming all involved in such issues are either Scientologist or are part of some cult. For them, even Evangelicals are cults," he said, adding: "We have been targeted because of my being so active in Washington and speaking out about the injustice of the French system. They have not wanted this information to leak out and to go public."
DeMeo said: "Next week a UN report will be coming out about how the French are prime examples of not gathering right information and disseminating incorrect, judgmental information. This is all going to come out mid-April, with the hearings about the Solar Temple, and the law on mental manipulation."
Special thanks from Worthy News to Michael Ireland for this excellent article.