The New Heretics of France: Minority Religions, la République, and the Government-Sponsored "War on Sects"

By Susan J. Palmer | Go to book overview

NOTES

Preface

1. Dr. Massimo Introvigne is the director of the Italian Center for the Study of New Religions (CESNUR) based in Torino. He used the expression “anticult hysteria” in his e-mail inviting me to participate in the Pour en finir avec les sectes volume. When I asked his permission to use this quote, he agreed, but only if I made it clear it was relevant only to the “pre-9/11 situation in France.”

2. “No Good Sects in France: Social and Political Implications of the Picard Law,” by Stuart A. Wright (Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas). A paper presented at CESNUR 2002, Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah.

3. Rioufol wrote: “Il y ‘a de l’hystérie anti-sectes dans l’air … d’un amalgame n’est jamais sortie une bonne réponse…. La traque aux sectes risque de devenir par excès d’affolement et par manque de discernement, une absurde et inutile inquisition. La liberté d’opinion, reconnue par la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen de 1789, serait-elle aujourd’hui mise en danger?” (Le Figaro, November 13, 1996).

4. Massimo Introvigne and J. Gordon Melton, eds., Pour en finir avec les sectes (To put an end to sects) (Torino, Italy: CESNUR-Di Giovanni, 1996) . “To put an end to sects” has a double meaning, and is deliberately misleading. It appears to attack sects, but it is rather proposing to dispense with the secte label.

5. See Appendix I.

6. Robert Ferrato, who opposed Mandarom, and Roger Gonnet, who opposed Scientology.

7. Moussa Khedimellah, “Liberté, Egalité, Islam,” Religion in the News 8, no. 3 (Winter 2006) : http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RINVol8no3/liberte%20egalite%20islam.htm.

8. See my interview with Faivre in Appendix II for details of this case.

9. See my interview with Nathalie Luca in Appendix II.

10. See Appendix II for interviews with Kudrat Singh Menir of the United Sikhs and with Guy Canonici, president of the Fédération Chrétienne des Témoins de Jéhovah de France.

11. I am actually a fifth-generation Canadian.

12. I have been amused and somewhat flattered to find myself attacked on French anticult Web sites for expressing my opinions on the treatment of NRMs in France. After my first article appeared in the Montreal Gazette (“No Sects Please, We’re French!”) I was branded as an “apologiste” (and even worse—a “révisionniste”!). After my critique of the About-Picard “brainwashing law” appeared on the CESNUR Web site, a French lawyer dismissed me as a “soi-disant expert” and suggested that as a non-juriste, non-française, my views on French law were irrelevant and ill-informed.

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