(International Herald Tribune, édition américaine seule, 23/3/2000)
Publicité passée par les scientologues bien qu'ils n'apparaissent pas!
Voir aussi en français: Lettre ouverte dans "France Soir" du 20 avril 2000, adressée au Président Chirac
O P E N L E T T E R
To The Prime Minister of France
M. Lionel Jospin
|Dear M. Jospin,
No doubt you read Le Monde. And thus, perhaps you saw an article about "an investigatory public hearing"recently held into human rights abuses committed by, among others, Alain Vivien, chairman of the "Interministerial Mission To Fight Against Sects (MILS)", part of your office.
Some of us were on the expert panel at that hearing. Held at the Forum of Grenelle in Paris, it was attended by more than 300 people from 38 religious movements. Twenty-nine victims from throughout France testified about abuses suffered in their private and professional lives, all due to their religious beliefs.
The French press described the atmosphere as "electric", but that description is, if anything, understated. What truly appalled us was that the outrageous human rights abuses we heard could actually be taking place in a democratic nation. It seemed that the ghost of U.S Senator Joseph McCarthy had come to haunt France.
There are also other compelling historical parallels to what is happening today.
We think of the shameful Revocation Edict of 1685, by which Louis XIV ended a period of relative tolerance for French Protestants and revived widespread religious persecution. Yet equally shameful, on December 16, 1999, a new "Revocation Edict" was maneuvered through the French Senate when a mere handful of its 321 members were present.
Ironically, perhaps tellingly, it rejuvenates and expands a 1936 law authored by the infamous Pierre Laval, who became the Vichy government's leader under the Nazis and was executed as a collaborator in 1945. The new bill would give the authorities the
|power, provided only that certain ill-defined conditions are met, to simply dissolve
any religious, cultural or political organisation the government disagrees with.
The Catholic Church, or any of France's political parties, having seen many from their ranks convicted and jailed, could be dissolved. As a member of the Senate observed, "A movement may be dissolved because a leader has twice been found guilty of writing bad checks for 10 francs."
But make no mistake, the real target of the bill is religions whose beliefs and practices the government disagrees wirh -- the religions whose members so movingly told their stories of discrimination and abuse at the Forum of Grenelle. It is the latest escalation of religious intolerance begun with a 1996 Parliamentary Commission report which blacklisted 172 religious minorities, including Protestant and Catholic denominations, as "sects."
The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights have both held that governments have no right to make arbitrary distinctions between "sect" and "religion." Whereas the Swedish, Dutch and British governments have engaged in dialogue with minority faiths, your government has chosen to persecute them.
France has a vital part to play in the nurturing of democratic principles throughout the world. We urge you to disband MILS, and instead adopt a policy of dialogue with minority faiths and not one of destruction. By so doing, you can restore France's reputation for freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom of speech.
"One by one, the movements...came to the bar to complain of 'sectarian harassment', of the 'new Inquisition'."
--Le Monde, March 7. 2000
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