Témoignages devant le Comité du Congrès US en faveur de la "tolérance religieuse".

D'emblée, faisons observer que seuls des témoins "à charge" sont retenus par ce "comité" institué par une loi US destinée à sanctionner des pays qui ne respecteraient soi-disant pas la tolérance religieuse façon US. Certains, comme le Rd. N.J.L'Heureux, sont directement liés à la scientologie (sans être forcément scientologues). D'autres, comme Jeremy T. Gunn, ont ressenti un affront lorsque M. Vivien a presque refusé de les recevoir, sachant évidemment d'avance (c'est mon opinion que j'exprime ici) qu'ils étaient là pour tenter d'établir un "dialogue" entre scientologues et la MILS... Aucun des témoins n'est neutre ou opposé aux sectes criminelles.

Recevoir les scientologues ne sert à rien: ils ne viennent pas discuter, mais mentir et se plaindre de leur sort dès qu'on tente de leur demander de se conformer au droit, à la loi, et aux droits de l'homme. Qu'on me permette d'assister aux entretiens avec eux, et le vent risque de tourner, car je connais assez leurs méthodes et leurs mensonges préférés: ils ne s'en tireraient pas sans mal.

En attendant que ces "témoignages " soient traduits, ils sont ici offerts aux lecteurs intéressés en anglais.

Note: certains ne sont pas encore disponibles et seront ajoutés sous peu.

On peut déjà se rendre compte de la composition des anciennes "auditions" du même organe US à la solde des sectes, quand on sait qu'avaient été reçus en 1998 des gens comme Massimo Introvigne, l'apologiste ultra-droite, l'inconnu belge Willy Fautre à la solde des sectes, et le "pasteur" Demeo d'une soi-disant église baptiste, mais non reconnue par les baptistes officiels.

Témoignage de Robert A. Seiple, ambassadeur itinérant US

Témoignage de Jeremy T. Gunn, intervenant de la part du gouvernement US auprès des pays européens.

Témoignage de Craig Jensen, tout simplement membre de la scientologie et patron d'une boite ayant infiltré Microsoft.

Témoignage de C. Bell, actrice scientologue

Témoignage de Benjamin A. Gilman, intervenant pour le compte du Gouvernement US

Témoignage de Philip Brumley, témoin de jéhovah, ou avocat pour le compte des Témoins de Jéhovah

Témoignage du Révérend N.J. L'Heureux, très lié à la scientologie et membre dirigeant du "comité d'experts internationaux" ayant été chargé par celle-ci de "juger" les "violations des droits de l'homme" de MMs N. About, sénateur, Tibéri, député maire; Alain Vivien, président de la MILS, ainsi que de divers autres personnages clé du domaine anti-sectaire dans plusieurs villes de France et à l'étranger (Suisse et Belgique).

Témoignage du Pasteur A. Hunt, église méthodiste de Vienne (Autriche)

s'ajoute à ceci:





Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am honored to appear before
you today to testify on the treatment of religious minorities in Western
Europe. Let me begin by thanking the Chairman and the Committee for their
strong and continuing contributions toward our goal of promoting religious

Each of us here today shares a commitment to protecting the dignity of all
human beings. We hold in common the belief that at the heart of human
dignity lies the right to pursue the truth about the mystery of faith, the
truth about our place in the universe, about how we ought to order our
lives. Together we seek to speed the day when every human being is free to
pursue that truth as he or she sees fit - not only unhindered by others,
but protected by the state itself.

Freedom of religion and conscience is also foundational for democracy, as
recognized in the international covenants. The government which fails to
honor religious freedom and freedom of conscience is a government which
does not recognize the priority of the individual over the state, and that
the state exists to serve society, not vice versa. By the same token, the
government which nurtures religious freedom may be more likely to honor
other fundamental human rights. So, Mr. Chairman, the promotion of
religious freedom and freedom of conscience makes sense from the
standpoint of freedom in general, but also from the standpoint of all
human rights, and from the standpoint of promoting healthy, vibrant

Against that background, Mr. Chairman, let me turn to our subject this
morning the treatment of religious minorities in Western Europe. Overall,
it must be said that religious minorities are treated better there than in
most other regions of the world. Indeed, in relative terms, the citizens
of Western Europe enjoy a measure of freedom that is the envy of aspiring
democracies around the globe. Persecution on the basis of religion - in
the form of brutal activities by governments, such as prolonged detentions
without charge, torture and slavery -- simply does not exist there as it
so tragically does elsewhere in the world.

But it also must be said that discrimination on the basis of religion does
exist in the four countries on which we are focusing this morning -
Germany, France, Austria and Belgium. Let me give you a brief overview of
the problems that we see in each. Before I do, however, I want to
emphasize that the standard applied to these countries by the United
States is a standard that they have accepted. All of them embrace the
international instruments that protect freedom of religion and conscience,
including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European
Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. In applying these standards, we see ourselves as
citizens of the world community, putting our national shoulder to the
international wheel.

But our willingness to speak of discrimination elsewhere should not be
taken to imply that we are free of it ourselves. When it comes to
religious minorities, the United States falls far short of a perfect
record. One need only recall discrimination against the Catholic minority,
or the Mormons, in the 19th century. However, we believe that one sign of
a mature democracy is the willingness to accept criticism, so long as it
is based on international standards of human rights.


Let me begin with Germany, where our primary disagreement involves the
treatment of the country's roughly 8,000 Scientologists. The nub of the
problem is that many in the German government believe that Scientology is
more a money-making scheme than a religion. This view is shared by
officials in certain Laender (states), where responsibility for religious
questions are usually handled.

At the same time, German officials say they are concerned that Scientology
has "anti-democratic tendencies." The Offices for the Protection of the
Constitution at both the state and federal level have been monitoring
Scientology since 1997 for evidence of activities that would constitute a
"threat" against the state. Although initial reports concluded that it did
not, the monitoring continues to this day.

In 1998 a commission on "so-called sects and psycho-groups" presented a
report to the Parliament that criticized Scientology for "misinformation
and intimidation" of its critics, accusing it of being a political
extremist group with "totalitarian tendencies." Following this the states
of Bavaria, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein published brochures warning the
public of the purported dangers Scientology poses.

For their part, many of the country's Scientologists have reported both
governmental and societal discrimination in their daily lives. Some
employers, for example, use the so-called "sect filter" -- screening
applicants for Scientology membership. The Federal government also screens
companies bidding on some consulting and training contracts for
Scientologists, as do some state governments. That these and other forms
of discrimination are occurring was documented in a 1998 UN report,
although it rejected the outrageous claim that Scientologists' treatment
was similar to that suffered by the Jews during the Nazi era.

Scientologists continue to take their grievances to the German court
system. Some who have charged their employers with "unfair dismissal," for
example, have won out of court settlements.

Mr. Chairman, we have discussed these issues at some length with German
officials, both in Germany and the United States. We have stressed in
particular the risks associated with governments deciding what does and
does not constitute a religion. We have made clear our concern with "sect
filters." To prevent an individual from practicing a profession solely on
account of his or her religious beliefs is an abuse of religious freedom,
as well as a discriminatory business practice. We have expressed our
concern that the continued official "observation" of Scientology by the
German government without any legal action being initiated as a result -
creates an environment that encourages discrimination. We have urged our
German colleagues to begin a dialogue with the Scientologists, and we have
raised our concerns multilaterally at meetings of the Organization of
Security and Cooperation in Europe.


Let me now turn to France. There have been recent reports by the National
Assembly which cast Scientology in a negative light, expressing concern
that they may use excessive or dishonest means to obtain donations.
However, the government has taken no action against them. Indeed, Interior
Minister Chevenement and others, including Foreign Minister Vedrine, have
assumed a very positive and public position in support of freedom of
conscience and religion, a fact which has helped diffuse tensions

But it is also true that France has been at the vanguard of the troubling
practice of creating so-called "sect lists." These lists are created by
government agencies - in France the list was part of a parliamentary
report - and typically contain the names of scores of religious groups
which may not be recognized by the government. Some of the groups are
clearly dangerous - such as the Solar Temple, which led to suicides in
France and Switzerland. But others are merely unfamiliar or unpopular. By
grouping them together under the negative word "sect," governments
encourage societal discrimination.

Some groups that appear on France's list continue to report acts of
discrimination. One of them is the Institut Theologique de Nimes, a
private Bible college founded in 1989 by Louis Demeo, who is head pastor
at an associated church there. Others have been subjected to long audits
of their finances. For example, tax claims against the Church of
Scientology forced several churches into bankruptcy in the mid 1990s. The
Jehovah's Witnesses have also been heavily audited. According to the
International Helsinki Federation, this audit, which began in January 1996
and continues to this day has been done in a manner which "suggests

In France, too, the U.S. has been engaged actively in promoting a dialogue
with French authorities. U.S. embassy representatives have met several
times with the Interministerial Mission to Battle Against Sects. President
Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, Assistant Secretary of State Harold
Koh and I have each raised these issues of religious discrimination with
French officials during the past year, and we will continue to do so. Our
goal is to develop a common understanding with the French government on
what actions are - and are not - in accord with international agreements
on religious freedom.


Mr. Chairman, the pattern in Austria is not unlike that in France. The
government has long waged an information campaign against religious groups
that it considers harmful to the interests of individuals and society. A
brochure issued last September by the Ministry for Social Security and
Generations described several non-recognized religious groups, including
the Jehovah's Witnesses, in decidedly negative terms that many found
offensive. With the recent appointment of a new Minister from Jorg
Haider's Freedom Party, there are fears that the government may intensify
its campaign against religions that lack official recognition. We have
raised these issues with the Austrian government and will continue to
press our view that such practices contravene Austria's commitments to
religious freedom.


Let me conclude with Belgium. In 1998 the Belgian Parliament adopted
several recommendations from a Commission report on government policy
toward "sects," including the creation of a "Center for Information and
Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organizations." The Commission had also
appended a list of "sects" in Belgium divided into those considered
harmful, and all others - and recommended a special police unit to deal
with the harmful groups. The government has not yet taken any action on
this proposal.

Our concern here, Mr. Chairman, is not with the government's attempts to
deal with illegal activities on the part of any religious group, whether
recognized or unrecognized, new or old. Our fear is that Belgium, like
France and Austria, is painting with too broad a brash. In its very use of
the pejorative term "sect" to characterize unrecognized religious groups,
it casts aspersions on those groups, creating (even if inadvertently) the
suspicion that there is something wrong with them. But every religion
began as something new and unpopular. We have discussed these issues with
Belgian officials, and we will continue to urge all our European friends
to recognize that the religious quest must be nurtured, not discouraged,
for true religious freedom to exist.

Before concluding, I want to note that Muslims continue to experience some
discrimination in Western Europe, even though Islam is the second largest
religion in France and Belgium and the third in Austria and Germany. In
some cases, this discrimination has more to do with race, culture and
immigrant status than religious beliefs. Indeed, Muslims are free to
worship and form cultural organizations in each of these countries. Islam
is recognized as an established, organized religion, thus enabling it to
claim certain tax exemptions and receive subsidies from the state.

The most persistent and controversial religious issue facing Muslims in
Western Europe is the question of headscarves and whether girls should be
permitted to wear them in public schools. The question has caused
considerable debate, some of it quite charged with overtones of
intolerance. But civil society is well-established in these countries and
many organizations have defended the rights of Muslims. If some
jurisdictions remain opposed to students wearing religious clothing,
others are becoming more accepting of the practice. Our view is that the
international covenants are quite clear - freedom of religion includes the
right to manifest religious belief. Surely democracies can find the
flexibility to tolerate such an expression of piety as the religious

Let me conclude where I began, Mr. Chairman. We share a great deal with
our Allies and friends in Europe - including common religious traditions.
Together we have done much to make the world a safer, more humane place, a
place where human rights like democracy - might take root and flourish. We
offer these thoughts about religious freedom to our friends out of a sense
of shared responsibility for what we have done, and what we might do,
together. We will continue to discuss these matters with them. Our plea is
that they consider our argument that freedom of religion -- while
sometimes tragically exploited by those who would manipulate faith for
their own ends -- is inherently good because it supports the dignity of
the human person, as well as democracy itself.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership and that of this
Committee on the matter of promoting religious freedom abroad. I would be
happy to take your questions.




In 1939, Felix Chevrier arrived in the small French town of Chabannes
(Creuse) for the purpose of renovating an abandoned chateau to house and
school Jewish refugee children from Eastern Europe.1 At the tune Chevrier
arrived, France possessed a considerable and deserved reputation for
providing a home for foreign exiles. But within a year of the opening of
the school at Chabannes, France itself fell victim to foreign occupiers.
By late 1940, the northern zone of France was under Nazi control. The
southern zone was under the jurisdiction of the French Vichy government --
located less than 60 miles (100 kilometers) from M. Chevrier's school.

While M. Chevrier and the good people of Chabannes risked their lives to
save the refugee children, the Vichy government sent police into the
villages of France to arrest Jews. By October of 1940, the Vichy
government issued a law defining "Jews" and prohibiting them from holding
certain types of employment, including positions in government, law, the
police, the army, the press, and teaching. The law subsequently expanded
to prohibit Jews from engaging in most forms of commerce.2 These decrees
were issued against Jews not because any had been found guilty of having
committed a crime. Jews were condemned -- as a group -- simply because
they belonged to the group. Such is the peculiar logic of prejudice. It
does not require individual culpability; it requires only the accusation
that a person is a member of the condemned class.

The Vichy government ultimately was responsible for arresting,
transporting, and delivering to the Nazis tens of thousands of European
Jews, both French and Eastern European. In stark contrast, all but four of
M. Chevrier's 400 Jewish children survived the war.

One of M. Chevrier's colleagues, Dr. Meiseles, had previously treated
children in French concentration camps before coming to Chabannes. In 1942
he wrote: "To examine the children of Chabannes after having examined the
children in the concentration camps is to know in our sad times the two
faces of France. The true one is here in Chabannes, where M. Chevrier is
working with such beautiful success to cure the misdeeds of the other."

Unfortunately, France, like all countries of the world -- including the
United States -- has two faces: the face of courage and toleration and the
face of prejudice and discrimination. The face of France represented by M.
Chevrier saw Jews not as a despised group, but as individuals. The other
France took "legal" measures against people without needing any
particularized evidence that they were unpatriotic, had committed fraud,
or had harmed their children. Both faces of France can still be seen?

Overview of Western Europe

There are several obstacles to the internationally recognized freedom of
religion and belief in several Western Europe countries? Although I would
like to discuss them to the extent time permits, it is first important to
recognize that, unlike some places in the world, the governments and the
people of Western Europe generally believe in the role of law and human
rights. Much to their credit, virtually all European states have ratified
the European Convention on Human Rights and the people of these countries
have the option of taking complaints to the European Court of Human
Rights.5 The European Court of human rights has emerged, since 1993, as a
champion of the freedom of religion and belief. I believe that it is very
likely that, ultimately, the problems of discrimination on the basis of
religion and belief that are now confronting Western European states will
be addressed appropriately by the European Court. (I will add,
parenthetically, that the most reliable defenders of the rights of
religious minorities in European countries generally have been the
courts.) I also strongly believe that the good face of Europe ultimately
will prevail -- with or without prodding by the United States.

Although I will devote the bulk of my testimony to the problem of new
religious movements (pejoratively described by their opponents as "sects
and cults"), this Committee should not be under the impression that this
is the only, or even the most important, of the obstacles to freedom of
religion and belief.6 Without attempting to rank the problems in order,
the three other salient and inter-related problems of freedom of religion
and belief in Western Europe are: first, the incorporation of Muslims into
society, second, laws that discriminate among religions, and third,
societal attitudes of intolerance (including anti-semitism).

1. Muslims. In several Western European countries, Muslims now constitute
the second or third largest religious group. Worldwide, there are almost
one billion Muslims. As in the United States, Muslims have not been fully
integrated and suffer from popular prejudice and stereotypes. The European
Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), operating under the
aegis of the Council of Europe, recently reported that "Prejudice against
Muslim communities (Islamophobia) is a disturbing trend, manifested in
violence, harassment, discrimination, and general negative attitudes and
stereotypes.7 The societal attitudes affect Muslims particularly with
regard to employment discrimination, the lack of accommodation for the
performance of religious practices at work and school, discrimination
against Muslim girls from wearing head scarves at school, and the
inability to obtain legal recognition of worship communities (see below).
A failure to deal fairly and creatively with this issue will, I believe,
lead in the long term to greater domestic and international strife.

2. Discriminatory laws. Reflecting a historical experience very different
from that of the United States, many European countries have laws that
provide significant benefits to some religions that are denied to others.
These include such benefits as tax exempt status, payment of salaries of
clergy, religious teachers, payment of the salaries for religious teachers
in public schools, and access for their clergy to institutions such the
military, hospitals, and prisons. Although there are deep-rooted
historical reasons for this legal discrimination, I part company from my
European colleagues who defend such laws because of their historical
roots. Just as "history" cannot be used to defend current discrimination
on the basis of race and sex, so it should not be used to discriminate on
the basis of religion and belief. The international covenants are quite
explicit in forbidding discrimination on the basis of religion.

European governments frequently require religions to have a country-wide
organization in order to be fully registered and recognized by the state.
While this does not present a problem for hierarchically organized
churches such as Roman Catholicism, it does present a problem for
religious bodies that traditionally operate independently of each other,
such as Christian congregational churches or Islamic mosques.

3. Societal attitudes. Five years ago, when I was young, naive, and a
practicing lawyer, I believed that the key to resolving problems of
religious discrimination in Europe was to amend discriminatory laws.
Although I may not now be wiser, I nevertheless have come to believe that
the core of the problem is discriminatory societal attitudes. Although
discriminatory laws and attitudes no doubt reinforce each other, it is the
attitudes that bear principal responsibility. ECRI, in addition to finding
discrimination against Muslims in its most recent report, also notes "an
intensification in the spread of antisemitic ideas .... Dissemination of
antisemitic material is increasing."8

Discrimination Against New Religious Movements

One issue that has received increasing notice during the past few years in
Europe has been what may be called the "anti-sect movement." The anti-sect
movement has observed with alarm the apparent increase in small religious
and belief groups that they pejoratively describe as "sects" or "cults."
There are a number of private groups, some of which receive government
funding, that have become extremely active in mobilizing public opposition
to "sects."9

In many ways, the birth of the anti-sect movement may be traced to an
understandable reaction to the horrible mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana,
in 1979, where more than 900 people died. There have been a number of
other sensational events demonstrate the seriousness of the problem from
the perspective of the anti-sect movement: the Aum Shinrikyo's use of
satin gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995, the Solar Temple suicides in
Quebec, France, and Switzerland, the Heaven's Gate suicides in Los Angeles
in 1997, and the recent mass suicide-murders in Uganda. In addition to
these events, the anti-sect movement also points to the less dramatic
cases where there are allegations that "sects" engage in brainwashing,
deceptive recruitment methods, fraud, child abuse, and sexual promiscuity.

Before criticizing some of the tactics and methods that are common in the
anti-sect movement, I would first like to acknowledge that there are
people within the movement who are well-motivated and that many of the
problems they identify are real. There are individuals and groups who
misuse the shield of "religion" to disguise fraudulent activities. There
also are individuals who use the shield of "religion" in order to
manipulate other human beings in ways that are harmful. Many former
members of the new religious movements have bitter feelings that they were
abused psychologically and financially by these movements. These problems
are real and they should not be ignored. Many within the anti-sect
movement give their time and resources to aid people who genuinely need
their help.

Unfortunately, a salient characteristic of the anti-sect movement --
particularly the public side of the anti-sect movement - has become one of
promoting discrimination and intolerance against a broad range of groups.
What might have originated with the purest of intentions and the noblest
of goals has become overly tainted by ad hominem attacks and shoddy
analysis of facts. This faulty reasoning leads, sadly and inevitably, to
widespread governmental and public discrimination against people on the
basis of religion and belief.

The most serious problem in Western Europe regarding discrimination
against new religious movements is in France.10 In 1998, the French
government established an agency entitled -- unsubtly -- the
"Interministerial Mission to Battle Against Sects" (Interministerial
Mission or MILS, from the French Mission Interministerielle de Lutte
Contre les Sectes) which is now headed by the former French Foreign
Minister, M. Alain Vivien. The current French Minister of Justice has sent
circulars urging prosecutors to become more active in their attack on
"sects." During the past few years, the French National Assembly issued
prejudicial reports on "sects" that are shockingly unscientific. Widely
supported bills, currently pending in the French legislature, call for
increasingly severe measures against "sects." Militant anti-sect groups
issue inflammatory publications. Although the Government of France could
be using its considerable influence to promote tolerance and cool the
passions of these groups, it has chosen instead, in the words of the 1998
Swedish Commission's report, to make "common cause" with anti-sect
groups.11 (I should note here, and will elaborate in the following
section, that there recently have been some encouraging signs in France of
changing attitudes.)

I will describe the problems of the official anti-sect movement in France
to illustrate how a legitimate concern for human welfare can be diverted
toward the taking of illogical and discriminatory actions. Although the
problems in France are on the whole worse than in other European
countries, the illogic and methods are similar. I will identify two
(interrelated) characteristics of the prejudicial methods that have
seized some officials and institutions in France. I will refer to them as
first, the language of prejudice, and second, the illogical methodology of

I. The language of prejudice. The language of prejudice uses pejorative
terms as an appeal to the listener's bias and as a substitute for
reflective analysis. The term most commonly employed by the anti-sect
activists is, of course, the term "sect," which plays a role akin to
derogatory racial epithets.12 The German Enquete Commission, whose work
began as an attack on "sects," ultimately concluded that the term was a
pejorative and recommended that it no longer be used.13 The Swedish report
used the term "New Religious Movements" and abjured using the term "sect."

The language of prejudice uses pejorative terms to disparage its
ideological opponents. One common tactic by some in the anti-sect movement
is to accuse their ideological opponents of being members (or
"fellow-travelers") of the scorned group. I personally witnessed one
unfortunate example of this tactic by the MILS President himself against a
member of an official U.S. delegation to France.

En avril 1999, j'étais membre d'une délégation de trois personnes expédiée
en Europe sur demande de l'Office pour la Liberté Religieuse du Département
d'Etat US. Nous avions convenu d'un rendez-vous avec le Président de la
MILS. Mais peu avant la réunion, l'ambassade US de Paris nous signalait
qu'il avait décidé de ne pas nosu recevoir car l'un de nous était affilié à
l'égise de scientologie. Je ne suis pas scientologue et je savais que les
deux autres praticipants, le Dr David Little, désormais professeur à l'école
de théologie d'Harvard et membre de l'institut pour la Paix, et Mme Karen
Lord, conseil pour la liberté religieuse à la commission du congrès
d'Helsinki, n'étaient pas scientologues. Après divers appels via
l'Ambassade, le Président décidait finalement de nous rencontrer.

Alors que nous étons présentés au Président, il fit observer qu''il
"connaissait déjà" qui était Madame Lord et qu'il n'était pas nécessaire de
la lui présenter. Ensuite, répondant à une question de Meme Lord, le
président disait qu'il ne lui répondrait pas, mais répondrait au "chef" de
la délagation. Quelques jours après l'entretien, le président de la MILS
expliqua qu'un des membres de la Commission US était scientologue,
affirmation qu'il répéta à plusieurs reprises.14 Lorsqu'il l'a dit aux
médias, on ne lui a semble-t'il pas demandé de prouver cette allégation.

En un mot, l'affirmation de M. Vivien est fausse. Je suis certain qu'il ne
pourra pas la prouver. Je le défie d'en donner la preuve, sinon, qu'il
s'excuse auprès de Mme Lord et des Etats-Unis. Je pense que ce serait une
idée excellente pour les média français et pour le gouvernement français
d'insister que M. Vivien prouve son affirmation ou la retire.

Le sujet le plus important n'est cependant pas que M. Vivien ait fait cette
erreur destinée à discréditer Mme Lord, le Département d 'Etat ou les
efforts des Etats-Unis en faveur de la liberté religieuse. L'important ici,
c'est que sa façon de répondre aux questions à propos de la discrimination
contre des groupes démontre les tactiques d'une campagne anti-sectes:
l'usage d'affirmations fausses, non-informées, provocantes afin de
discréditer des personnes ou des groupes. Si le président de la MILS tient à
annoncer au monde de telles affirmations incorrectes au sujet d'un membre
d'une délégation officelle US, on peut très bien imaginer ce qu'il pourrait
faire aux membres des petites religions et groupes de croyance en France.
Les gouvernements devraients 'occuper de promoouvoir la tolérance, et non
d'énoncer des allégations fausses quant aux croyances des gens dans le but
de les dicréditer.

Cette attaque ad-hominem n'est pas une aberration; c'est hélas devenu un
outil rhétorique normalisé destiné à discréditer ceux qui croient que le
mouvement anti-sectes va trop loin. Par exemple:

Dans son rapport annuel, la MILS a écarté les témoignages de trois experts
qui avaient été invités à témoigner devant une réunion supplémentaire de
l'OSCE sur la liberté religieuse à Vienne, le 22 mars 1999, en disant que la
France "était critiquée par certaines sectes qui avaient été impudemment
admises à participer aux réunions par des officiels du Bureau des
Institutions Démocratiques et des Droits de l'Homme, ou par des personnes
affiliées à la commission du congrès US d'Helsinki."15

- Quand on demanda au président de la MILS récemment de répondre aux
critiques faites par le chef de l'Ecole Prtaiques de hautes Etudes qui
disait que la MILS devenait "hystérique", il répondit en disant:
"l'accusation d'hystérie est typique du langage de la scientologie". 16

- Lors du débat d'un projet de loi anti-sectes au parlement, un sénateur
français annonçait récemment "Le Departement d'Etat américain compte parmi
ses membres des adeptes de la scientologie" 17

- Un membre anglais de l'assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l'Europe, qui
avait parlé en faveur de la non-discrimination, futr décrit dans le rapport
de la MILS comme étant "un adepte de la scientologuiie, selon les rapports".

- Le président de la MILS a récemment, et sans fournir de preuves, prétendu
qu'un scientologue (non nommé) avait infiltré le cabinet d'un ancien
président de la République (non nommé) et qu'un autre (non nommé)
scientologue avait tenté "d'infiltrer" la police judiciaire. 19

Ce langage de préjugé s'observe aussi dans l'usage de termes comme
"infiltration" pour décrire l'usage (réel ou imaginaire) d'un membre de
"secte" dans un office gouvernemental ou dans les affaires. 20 Tandis que
les membres de l'église catholique ou de l'église réformée enseignent à
l'école ou travaillent pour Electricité de France, ils sont "employés". S'il
s'agit de membres des groupes attaqués, ils sont alors "infiltrés". Ce n'est
pas là le langage de la raison ou d'une analyse dépassionnée, c'est du
préjugé pur. L'anti-américanisme se fait désormais jour comme une autre
caractéristique du préjugé de langage. 21

2. La méthodologie illogique du préjugé

La MILS en particulier et le mouvement anti-sectaire en France de façon
générale, se fie à la véracité de l'information recueillie par nombre de
rapports parlementaires sur les sectes, dont le plus important date de 1996,
sous le titre "Les sectes en France". Ce rapport, souvent nommé Rapport
Guyard, dientifie 172 groupes comme étant des "sectes". Le parlement Belge a
aussi publié une Enquète Parlementaire identifiant 189 groupes comme étant
des "sectes". Ces listes incluent une large gamme de groupes, dont beaucoup
sont très respectés et établis, comme les Southern Baptists, les Témoins de
Jéhovah, l'Opus Dei et l'Antroposophie. Nombre de groupes identfiés sur les
listes des rapports ont vu augmenter la discrimination populaire et
gouvernementale à leur encontre.

Voici les critiques essentielles de la méthodologie utilisée par le
mouvement anti-sectes (partculièrement démontrées dans les rapports
parlementaires belges et français):

En premier lieu, les rapporteurs n'ont pas sérieusement consulté les
universitaires ou scientifiques familiarisés avec les sujets des nouveaux
mouvements religieux, mais se sont plutôt fiés aux activistes
anti-sectaires. C'est ce qqu'a critiqué l'enquète parlementaire suédoise,
qui est venue en France et a questionné les participants à l'élaboration du
rapport. On peut faire la même critique contre le rapport parlementaire
belge. Le rapport final de la commission d'enquète allemande, qui fit
inclure en fin de compte des universitaires dépassionnés, parvint en
général à des conclusions largement divergentes des rapports unilatéraux des
France et Belgique. La rapport allemand concluait par exemple qu'il
n'existait pas de menace sociétale des "sectes" en tant que telles.

En ne consultant pas les universitaires, les rapports présentent une vision
passée et caricaturale sur les nouveaux mouvements religieux. Les
rapporteurs semblent ne pas avoir reconnu que toutes les religions furent
par le passé considérées comme des sectes honteuses et furent accusées de
[cranes? probablement crimes et non cranes]... [crimes] de haine. Le rapport
manque à démontrer une compréhension dépassionnée et une compréhension
consciente du phénomène dont nous parlons. 22

Ensuite, les rapports et le mouvement anti-secte ne consultent typiquement
pas les membres actuels et les chefs des soi-disant "sectes", mais se fient
au contraire aux allégations des accusateurs et d'anciens membres déçus.
Ilos refusent d'admettre l'évidence considérable que la plupart (bien que
pas tous) les membres de nouveaux mouvements religieux indiquent des
expériences positives et bénéfiques dans ces groupes -- ce qu'ont constaté
le rapport parlementaire suédois et l'enquète du parlement allemand. 23

Répudiation qui en dit long, un tribunal français a récemment reconnu
Jacques Guyard, président l'enquète parlementaire sur les Finances des
Sectes en 1999, coupable de diffamation à l'encontre de l'Anthroposophie.
Lors d'une émission télévisée après la publication du rapport, M. Guyard
avait accusé l'Anthroposophie d'être "typique des sectes par le fait que
dans son vrai but était de s'approprier l'argent et l'exercice d'un contrôle
mental sur ses adeptes. Les Anthroposophes ont porté plainte. 24 Comme le
dit le journal Le Monde, le tribunal avait conclu qu'il n'y avait pas eu
"d'enquète sérieuse". Le tribunal estima que le rapport parlementaire et les
allégations de M. Guyard se basaient sur des témoignages de "victimes"
auto-déclarées de l'Anthroposophie et que la rapport ne fournissait pas
l'occasion aux officiels de répondre. M. Guyard fut condamné à 20000 F
d'amende et 90000 F de dommages et inétrêts. 25

Typique aussi du mouvement anti-sectes, le refus de s'engager dans un
dialogue avec les groupes attaqués. Quand nous avons discuté avec le
Président de la MILS, nous avons suggéré l'importance d'entendre les deux
aspects d'une histoire avant de parvenir à des conclusions. Il a répondu
qu'il n'était pas nécessaire d'entendre les sectes parce qu'elles
cherchaient uniquement à fausser le débat. J'en déduis personnellement que
la MILS refuse de rencontrer -et plus encore, de comprendre- tout groupe
étiqueté comme "secte". Ce refus de s'engager dans le dialogue est une
approche très différente de la commission suédoise, par exemple, laquelle
recommandait très fortement le dialogue avec les groupes plutôt que se
polariser sur les sujets. 26 [cela reviendrait à dire: ne parlons pas de ce
qui nous gène, et acceptons tout ce que disent les sectes, ndt]

Troisièmement, la principale source documentaire des rapports français sont
les affirmations secrètes des dossiers des Renseignements Généraux, une
division sécurité de la Police. Dans plsuieurs cas, le rapport place sur la
liste des groupes d'après des preuves secrètes infondées que les groupes
n'ont pas les moyens de réfuiter ou de disputer. La "preuve" reste secrète.

Quarto, les rapports se servent d'exemples d'activités illégales prétées à
certains membres de certains groupes (par exemple l'inculpation de plusieurs
scientologues pour escroquerie à Lyon), et condamne alors le groupe en
entier, ou même, les "sectes" en général. Ce type d'analyse est fallacieux
comme l'illustre aisément l'inculpation criminelle récente de Jacques Guyard
(Jacques Guyard était le président du rapport parlementaire fraçais sur les
finances des sectes, le rapporteur du rapport parlementaire de 1996 sur les
sectes en France, et reste membre de la mission Interministérielle). Le
même M. Guyard qui condamnait pour escroquerie les "sectes" en 1999 était
ironiquement inculpé en mai de cette année par un tribunal criminel
français pour trafic d'influence à un an de prison et une amende de 100000
F. 27 Si nous appliquons la même analyse à la situation de m. Guyard que
lui-même et d'autres appliquent aux groupes qu'ils condamnent, il nous
faudrait tenir toute la mission interministérielle dont il est membre --
pour responsable de les actions ce certains de ses membres individuels.

Cinquièmement, les rapports sont fatalement patiaux du fait qu'il ne se focalisent pas sur les causes du problème qui a manifestement lancé les enquètes (par exemple, abus envers les enfants, escroquerie, kidnapping), mais sur les groupes décriés. En se focalisant sur les groupes plustôt que sur les problèmes, l'analyse suramplifie rhétoriquement et anti-inttelectuellement les problèmes dans ces groupes et ignore des problèmes identiques dans d'autres groupes. Par exemple, le suicide d'un memebre de "secte" est traîté comme une preuve choquante que la secte est "dangereuse", alors que celuid 'un banquier ou d'un boulanger n'est poas considéré comme preuve du danger des banques ou des boulangeries. Cette méthodologie anti-sectes n'a de sens pour ses avocats que parce qu'elle démarre par l'allégation que les groupes sont dangereux. [la méthodologie pro-sectes de M. Gunn est exactement similaire à celle qu'il dénonce, puisqu'à aucun moment, il ne nomme les sectes criminelles en les accusant nommément des erreurs qu'il semble parfois leur reprocher; il dispose pourtant de nombreux textes judiciaires ayant condamné la scientologie, par exemple, pour conspiration, et divers autres crimes majeurs]

Sixièmement, le mouvement anti-sectes se fie souvent à des accusations non vérifiées contre des groupes tout en ignorant les faits qui exonèrent souvent les groupes. La rapport 2000 de la MILS a répété par exemple nombre d'accusations faites contre des groupes, mais n'a pas cité plusieurs décisions de tribunaux français ou de la Cour Européenne de Justice qui exonéraient les Témoins de Jéhovah et La Famille.
[M. Gunn ignore évidemment qu'à partir du moment où, comme les TJs viennent de le faire, ils abandonnent leurs règles illégales -comme l'interdiction de transfusion sanguine- il ne leur sera pas demandé autre chose. Quant à la Famille, il va un peu vite à défendre une secte dont on sait parfaitement que son gourou professait non seulement la prostitution, mais aussi la pédophilie et l'inceste organisé. Peut-être ces pratiques ont-elles disparu, mais si c'est pour les voir apparaître chez les Hare-Khrishnas comme on vient de le constater, sous lm'oeil bienveillant de l'Oncle Sam, je conseillerais vivemnt à M. Gunn de changer de références judiciaires et découter ce qui se passe ailleurs. A-t'on jamais vu la scientologi par exemple admettre qu'elle était coupable entant que groupe? NON. Elle s'est systématiquement défossée sur ses cadres qui ne faisaient, je peux le prouver, que suivre au mieux les règles internes; le pire est qu'on retrouve des années plus tard les mêmes délits commis par d'autres, comme on le voit dans ce détail-ci ou celui-ci]

In summary, the "methodology" of prejudice begins with the assumption that
it then pretends to then prove. It accepts as evidence accusations that
support the prejudice, but refuses to consider evidence that contradicts
the prejudice.


La Mission Interministérielle est particulièrement fière de ses efforts pour promouvoir le message anti-sectes hors de France. Elle signale avoir des relations étroites avec le Ministère des Affaire étrangères et observe avec plaisiravoir recontré des ambassadeurs français pour les informer sur les dangers des sectes. La MILS participe désormais à diverses réunions internationales en tant que délégation française. 28
[est-ce qu'on demande aux USA dans combien de pays ils envoient leurs ambassadeurs pour se méler de ce qui ne les regarde pas?]. Elle passe un tiers de son temps à promouvoir le message anti-sectes hors de France. [sans doute M. Gunn ignore-t'il que son expérience contre les sectes est demandée, jusque dans son propre pays, ce qui explique pourquoi ses intervenants sont si demandés: la France est demandée en tant qu'un des exemples à suivre en matière de lutte contre les multinationales organisées qui ne paient pas même d'impôts dans leur pays d'origine, en ramassant toutefois des pactoles en Europe, qu'elle dédouane ensuite d'impôts aux USA]

La semaine passée, le Président de la MILS a ainsi rencontré un groupe anti-sectaire allemand avec qui il ménera des actions conjointes. La semaine d'avant, il était à Moscou. La presse polonaise a rapporté une visite à Varsovie, où la presse polonaise dit qu'il a convaincu le gouvernement d'entreprendre des étapes contre les sectes. 30

L'autre visage de la France - et de l'Europe

C'est capital de faire remarquer qu'il existe en France et en Europe quelques signes encourageants d'insatisfaction vis-à-vis des méthodes discriminatoires et tactiques utilisées par le mouvement anti-sectes.

C'est avec quelque soulagement que j'ai appris qu'un journal célèbre, Le Monde, rapportait récemment que les "méthodes" du Président de la MILS étaient de plus en plus ouvertement critiquées." 31 Deux des plus fameux historiens français, René Raymond et Jean Bauberot ont récemment critiqué les campagnes anti-sectes en France. Le meneur des universitaires français constitutionnels, Jacques Robert, critique aussi les méthodes des activistes anti-sectes. Le président de la Fédération Protestante de France, Jean-Arnold de Clermont, a pris publiquement parti contre les activités de la MILS. Il disait récemment "la MILS souhaite faire une distinction entre "religion" et "secte" mais c'est en contradiction formelle avec la loi et la Constitution: la loi indique qu'il n'y aura pas de contrôle à priori sur les associations." 32

Le journaliste repecté en matières religieuses Henri Tincq, du journal Le Monde, met en doute les activités anti-sectaires en France.
[H. Tincq n'est pas le moins du monde respecté hors des milieux pro-sectaires] Dans un niombre de cas de plus een plus élevé, dont plusieurs en 1999 et 2000, des tribunaux français ont fait tomber des actions gouvernementales contre les Témoins de Jéhovah et d'autres groupes populairement désignés comme "sectes". Les tribunaux ont noté que "secte" n'est pas un terme de la jurisprudence et que l'insertion d'un nom dans la liste des 172 ne devrait pas avoir de conséquences légales. Espérons que les esprits rationnels de France prévaudront et qu'un Emile Zola sortira du rang et exposera les méthodes de la campagne publique anti-sectaire.[c'est fort heureux que les tribunaux ne tombent pas dans la petite erreur commise lors du jugement d'appel de Lyon, qui pouvait laisser supposer qu'un tribunal français reconnaissait la scientologie comme religion...]

There are other encouraging signs in Europe. The European Court of Human
Rights has handed down a number of decisions against governments that have
discriminated against religious minorities, particularly cases involving
Jehovah's Witnesses. In a very interesting recent decision, the European
Court of Justice (an arm of the European Union), recently issued a
decision critical of the French government's efforts to "restrict the free
flow of capital" in its attempt to prevent the Church of Scientology from
receiving funds from outside of France. A number of human rights
organizations, including the International Helsinki Federation, Human
Rights Watch, and Human Rights Without Frontiers now regularly report on
(and criticize), governmental actions that discriminate against religious
and belief groups.


A full respect for religious freedom and religious diversity will come to
the countries of Europe only when the people of European countries want
there to be such freedoms. The United States certainly cannot cause it to
happen, whether by sanctions or cajoling. Because of the increasing
anti-Americanism in the anti-sect movement - as illustrated by the MILS
report -- the United States must be prudent in how it attempts to promote
religious freedom. I would like to make four recommendations, the last of
which is for religious groups in the United States.

First, the U.S. Department of State should monitor much more closely and
vigorously anti-sect movements on both a bilateral and multilateral basis.
As an example, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw should have been as active in
engaging the Polish government as was MILS. I believe that the German Desk
at the State Department has, commendably, been vigorous in its efforts.
The (congressional) Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe plays
an effective role in highlighting problems and bringing them to the
attention of the Department of State.

Second, based upon my past experience in working at the Office of
International Religious Freedom, I must also recommend that the Congress
take seriously its responsibility for fully funding the State Department.
From my own observations, personnel in the State Department are generally
overworked and under-supported. When Congress creates new responsibilities
for the Department of State, it should also provide sufficient resources
so that the job can be performed properly. The single biggest impediment
to more active monitoring and promotion of religious freedom and human
rights by the State Department is, in my opinion, not a reluctance to work
on the issue, but a lack of time and resources for doing it as well as it
should be done.

Third, the Congress could assist the State Department by promoting a
genuinely international approach to human rights. The greatest rhetorical
argument of U.S. critics abroad is that the United States does not play a
consistent role in promoting human rights, as is evidenced by a reluctance
to ratify human rights treaties or to incorporate international standards
into U.S. law. While we encourage France to incorporate international
standards on freedom of religion and belief into French domestic law, we
are reluctant make similar concessions ourselves.

Fourth, I believe that the U.S. religious community can be much more
involved in promoting religious freedom abroad. It would be very helpful,
for example, for Catholic religious leaders to meet with their
co-religionists abroad and engage them in efforts to reduce religious
discrimination. Indeed, I believe that the most influential institution in
Europe for promoting religious freedom could be the Catholic Church. While
all faiths in the United States can help, those religions that are widely
practiced and respected in Europe -- particularly Catholicism,
Lutheranism, Orthodoxy, and the Reformed Church - can play a very helpful
role in promoting tolerance.


I have great confidence that in twenty years from now the anti-sect mania
will be seen as a peculiar and discredited phase in the history of France
and other European countries. The public fears that were widespread in
Germany only four years ago seem -- for the most part -- to have subsided.
The question is only how long it will take until the countries of Europe
engage in a genuine attempt to focus on resolving serious social problems
rather than on ostracizing a category of groups. The Vichy government
lasted only four years. We can hope that the excesses of the anti-sect
activists will last not much longer.


1 A prize-winning 1999 documentary film recounting the story of M.
Chevrier is entitled The Children of Chabannes, directed by Lisa Gossels
and Dean Wetherell. Ms. Gossels generously provided me with a transcript
of the film.

2 For a discussion of Vichy France and its attitudes and laws against
Jews, see Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France: OM Guard and New Order,
1940-1944 (1972), pp. 168-85.

3 I wish to be clear on one very important point. Although I will argue
below that many in France are using the same language and methodology of
prejudice against new religious movements that previously were employed
against the Jews, the resulting legal actions in France are very
different. No one in France is advocating massive arrests or incarceration
of members of new religious movements. All serious proposals urge that
legal measures be employed and that human rights be recognized.
Nevertheless, there are some frightening broader similarities to Vichy in
some extreme cases, such as the 1993 raid on the Children of God (now The
Family) community in Aix-en Provence. In that case, 200 heavily armed
police arrived during the night and dragged members of the group into
custody, alleging that they had committed child abuse. In February of this
year, the court in Aix-en-Provence finally dropped all charges against the
group and closed down the investigation.

4 International standards for freedom of religion and belief are set out
in a number of international documents ratified by. the countries of
Western Europe, including the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the 1989
Vienna Concluding Document of the Conference on Security and Co- operation
in Europe. These instruments prohibit discrimination on the basis of
religion. They also guarantee the freedom of religion and belief,
provided that the exercise of these freedoms does not cause harm to the
public welfare.

5 Europeans believe that their countries have been more willing to accept
and apply international norms than has the United States. Whereas all
European countries have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights,
the United States has not ratified the comparable InterAmerican Convention
on Human Rights.

Nor has the United States agreed to submit itself to the jurisdiction of
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Therefore, criticisms that the
United States might wish to make that European states are not applying
international standards should be well-tempered by the recognition that
the Europeans are, after all, ultimately willing to accept international
review of their laws and practices and that the United States is not.

6 There is need for some clarification on terminology. In English, the
term "cult" is widely understood to be a pejorative term, whereas "sect"
more generally refers to a branch or division within a religion. In
French, the term "culte" is a neutral term that refers to religious
bodies, whereas "secte" generally now is employed as a pejorative term
(although it also has a technical meaning). When "secte" is used by
Francophone governments, whether in France, Belgium, or the
French-speaking areas of Switzerland, it is understood to be a derogatory
term. In German, "Sekten" generally has the same negative connotations as
the French "sectes." Thus the more accurate translation of the German
"Sekten" and the French "sectes," is the English word "cults." The German
parliamentary investigation, known as the Enquete Commission, originally
used the term "Sects and Psycho- groups" to describe the groups they
investigated. (See text at footnotes 12 and 13 below.)

Scholars generally apply the term "new religious movements" to describe
these groups, although this term does not satisfactorily capture the
variety of groups that now come within its ambit. Some groups, for
example, may scarcely be considered "religious" and others certainly
should not be considered "new." Thus a Hindu ashram in France might be
labeled a "secte" by the government and a "new religious movement" by
scholars, even though the beliefs and practices at the ashram may be
traditional and thousands of years old.

7 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Annual report on
ECRI's activities covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 1999
(27 April 2000).

8 Ibid.

9 Examples include the Union Nationale des Associations de Defense de la
Famille et de l'Individu (UNADFI), Centre Contre les Manipulations
Mentales (CClVIM), and, within the United States, the American Family

10 I should add that I personally wish that I did not need to say this. I
have spent some years of my life in France and I know and admire the face
of France represented by people such as M. Chevrier.

11 See In Good Faith - Society and the new religious movements (1998) (the
Swedish government's English summary of the report), section 1.4: "In
France the state has on the whole made common cause with the anti- cult
movement .... "The French parliament recently amended French law to allow
these militant anti-sect groups legal standing to participate in
prosecutions and legal actions against so-called "sects," thereby
encouraging a common cause between private anti-sect groups and official
government policy. Before becoming President of MILS, M. Vivien was the
President of CCMM, one of the two prominent anti-sect groups.

12 For discussion of the terms, see footnote 6 above.

13 New Religious and Ideological Communities and Psychogroups in the
Federal Republic of Germany (1998), p. 295.

14 See, for example, Agence France Presse, "France-USA-Sects," June 14,
1999. "A person connected ("proche") to the Church of Scientology was a
part of an American delegation that came to conduct an inquest in the name
of the Department of State .... "(All translations from the French are my

15 MILS, Rapport (January 2000), p. 24-25. Although the religions of the
experts ought not be relevant, it may be noted that Dr. Massimo
Introvigne is a Catholic, Canon Michael Bourdeaux is an Anglican, and
Master Alain Garay is a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. M. Craray is a
distinguished French lawyer who has won several religious discrimination
cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

16 La Vie, May 11, 2000, p. 11.

17 Statement of Senator Derycke, Senate proceedings, December 16, 1999.
The opponents of the anti-sect movement sometimes accuse it of practicing
"McCarthyism." Perhaps there is no better illustration of this point than
the Senator accusing the U.S. State Department of harboring unnamed

18 Mission interministerielle de lutte contre les sectes, Rapport (January
2000), p. 27 (hereinafter MILS 2000 Report).

19 Agence France Presse, "France-sect," September 15, 1999.

20 See, for example, MILS 2000 Report, p. 10: Sects "repeatedly attempt,
with some success, to infiltrate democratic institutions and international
organizations, official or nongovernmental." The report provides no
evidence to support this assertion. When a Bavarian government official
reported to me that Scientologists are attempting to infiltrate the
Bavarian government, I asked him what evidence he had to support the
assertion. He responded by saying that he is aware of no evidence to prove
it -- but that is what makes the infiltration attempt so insidious --
Scientologists cover up the evidence of their infiltration. When I asked
him whether Catholics had "infiltrated" the government of Bavaria, he
could not understand the relevance of my question.

21 Massimo Introvigne concluded, after reading the MILS report, that
"rough anti-Americanism and nationalism are offered as poor substitutes
for logical argument." In the report, the United States is accused of
having "ulterior motives" in promoting freedom of religion. MILS 2000
Report, p. 6.

22 This is far different from the Swedish report, which is balanced and
nuanced, as well as the German report, which shows much sophistication on
many issues. While I continue to have reservations about parts of the
German report, it reveals a great deal of balance.

23 New Religious and Ideological Communities and Psychogroups in the
Federal Republic of Germany (1998), pp. 113-15, In Good Faith - Society
and the new religious movements, section 1.6.

24 Because of parliamentary immunity, groups have not been able to bring
defamation suits regarding accusations in the reports.

25 See Jean Michel Dumay, "Jacques Guyard Condemned for Having Called
Anthroposophy a 'Sect': The Work of the Parliamentary Commission did not
Constitute a Serious Inquiry," Le Monde, March 23, 2000.

26 In Good Faith -- Society and the new religious movements, section 1.4.

27 Le Monde, May 11, 2000.

28 MILS 2000 Report, p. 18.

29 Reuters, June 7, 2000.

30 Polish Press Agency, September 12, 1999; Jonathan Luxmoore (Warsaw),
"War or Peace with Cults," The Tablet, January 22, 2000.

31 Xavier Ternisien, January 22, 2000. The article suggested that some in
the French government insisted on redacting parts of the MILS report,
which would seem to be explained by the number of unexplained blanks on
pages in the report. See, for example, MILS 2000 Report, p. 4 (wholly
blank) and p. 29 blank except for two sentences in the center.

The President of the MILS is a member of the Socialist Party who in the
past has been critical of the Vichy government. He apparently fails to
see, however, that with regard to sects, he applies the same logical
analysis as the Vichy government: deciding that a "group" is dangerous
without questioning whether individuals are individually culpable; relying
on onesided, untested minors and innuendos to reach conclusions that
groups as a whole are dangerous; smearing the motives of opponents;
refusing to hear exculpatory evidence; and attacking opponents as being
sympathizers of dangerous groups.

Analogies are used to illustrate points and they obviously do not fit all
points. It must be kept firmly in mind that while the "intellectual
analysis" of the anti-sect movement may parallel in some ways that of the
Vichy government, its actions are not even remotely comparable to the
horrendous humanitarian violations that took place under Vichy. It is the
similarity in analysis that causes concern, not a similarity of behavior.

32 Quoted in "Faut-il dissoudre les sectes?", La vie, May 11, 2000, p. 12.




WASHINGTON (June 14) - U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (20th-NY), Chairman of
the House International Relations Committee, made the following statement
today at a full committee hearing on the treatment of religious minorities
in Western Europe:

The Committee on International Relations meets in open session today to
take testimony on the topic of "The Treatment of Religious Minorities in
Western Europe." We do so as part of the full Committee's geographic
responsibility for Europe.

Today's hearing allows the Committee to turn its attention to a problem
that has troubled many Americans who respect and value the nations of
Western Europe -- countries who are without doubt friends of the United
States and places where in general freedom flourishes.

The "blind spot" that some of those countries seem to have is their
attitude toward religious minorities. As Ambassador Felix Rohatyn has
written with respect to France "recent actions by (its) government
vis-a-vis sects raise questions about intolerance toward religious
minorities, and contravene France's international human rights
commitments" although it "is a country with a long tradition of religious
freedom and rule of law."

I want to point out that the purpose of this hearing is not to support the
religious doctrines or other activities of the religious minorities active
in Western Europe.

But we are called on not only to protect the rights of those we like, but
of those with whom we may disagree with as well. I have put on the record
repeatedly, for example, my concern over the use of Nazi-era imagery by
supporters of Scientology in their effort to make their points about
German policy. But I am also here to say that I must defend their human

Holding or expressing a religious belief or worshiping in public and
private as one pleases is not as such forbidden by law in Western Europe.
In practice, however, expressing a minority religious belief often leads
to discrimination -- the loss of a job, of educational opportunities, of
the right to gain custody of one's own child or to be a foster parent --
which seriously burdens one's exercise of freedom of religion. Some
European governments discriminate among religions, giving some favors --
such as financial aid or simply the right of clergy of that religion to
visit a sick parishioner -- while withholding those privileges from

Moreover, religious discrimination by private parties is far from
universally discouraged. It is encouraged in some cases, for example, by
the compilation and publication by governments of lists of "sects,"
although encouraging religious tolerance is an international human rights

Such problems are complained of frequently and vociferously with respect
to Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany. It is frankly difficult to
understand how our friends in these countries can say that they have
freedom of religion, given the burdens on the free exercise of religion I
have mentioned and which will be described today.

The Committee's attention has been drawn to this issue for several
reasons. The practices to be discussed appear to be in contravention of
internationally accepted human rights standards and seek to be leading to
an atmosphere of religious intolerance.

Americans abroad who wish to evangelize, or merely to practice their
religion, professions, or businesses, face discriminatory treatment on the
basis of their religion. Emerging democracies in Eastern Europe may copy
the bad examples that are being set by some Western European countries.

And finally, the growth of political extremism on the left and right in
some of the same countries where religious discrimination appears to be on
the rise to questions of whether there are links between such
discrimination and those political trends.




German Embargo/1 of American Products

Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the House International
Relations Committee:

Thank you for holding this hearing on religious intolerance in Western
Europe, and for giving me the opportunity to tell you about an embargo of
American products by the government of Germany.

My name is Craig Jensen. I am a citizen of the United States of America
and a living example of the realization of the American Dream.

I am the founder, owner and chief executive of Executive Software, a
company I founded in 1981 in California. Through hard work and ingenuity,
my company has grown to be one of the top 200 software companies in the
world, earning a great deal of success in the marketplace and numerous
awards for the finest products and service in the computer software
industry. Our products have been extremely thoroughly tested for safety
and effectiveness by the National Software Testing Laboratories and by
Veritest, the independent testing company responsible for granting
certification of compatibility with Microsoft's Windows operating system.
My company's products are in use in every sector of the American economy,
including fight here on Capitol Hill, and are sold extensively abroad as

As you can see, I am proud of what I have accomplished in my own business.
But I am not the only American software company that is a success. Let me
be perfectly clear: No German company, indeed no company in any other
country on earth, can produce software of the quality and usefulness that
American software companies produce. We Americans have a lock on this
industry. I cannot say why exactly, but computer software is something
Americans do a far cry better than anyone else in the world. Accordingly,
this is an industry contributing terrifically to America's economic
greatness. In that setting, a foreign embargo, and particularly a German
embargo, of American software products must be viewed as a hostile act.

Purchase of my company's software products is restricted in Germany by
government edict and attempts are being made to forbid it entirely. This
is a recent development, as my products have sold well in Germany for over
a decade. What prompted the embargo is the announcement that Microsoft
Corporation's new Windows 2000 computer operating system includes a
component developed by my company.2 This fact is being used to justify
calling for a full-scale German government prohibition on the sale of
Windows 2000 in Germany.

"Why?" you might ask. Well, here is the truly heinous part. The official
reason given is that my company, Executive Software, is headed by an
"admitted" member of the Church of Scientology -- me. Yes, it is true that
I am a member of the Church of Scientology and have been for 25 years. I
am proud of it and credit much of my success to what I have learned from
my church and the writings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. But what does
my religion have to do with selling software? Obviously, nothing. My point
is this: the German government makes no attempt to hide the fact that
their embargo is based on religious discrimination. In fact, the
government officials who have imposed it see nothing wrong with religious
discrimination, even though it violates both the German Constitution and
Germany's international human rights commitments.

As First-Amendment-loving Americans, we sometimes forget that other
countries lack this all-important freedom. Germany, a signatory to the
Helsinki Accords as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has a clause in
its constitution stating, "The freedom of faith, of conscience, and the
freedom of religious and ideological beliefs are inviolable." Yet the
actions of the German government in their conduct towards me and towards
American businesses, their social ostracism and stigmatization of
Scientologists and members of other minority religions clearly contravene
all these accords and conventions.

Simply put, I come here today not to complain of just a trade embargo or
religious discrimination, but to alert your attention to a combination of
the two -- a trade embargo justified on the grounds of government-mandated
religious discrimination.

Let me give you the background. In December, 1999, the German computer
magazine C'T published an article entitled "Windows 2000 In Danger of
Being Banned." The article discussed a proposed boycott of Microsoft
Corporation's Windows 2000 operating system, on the grounds that I, as
owner and CEO of Executive Software, am a Scientologist. The article came
out a few weeks before the release of Windows 2000 in February and was
apparently tuned to interfere with the release of Windows 2000 in Germany.

It was alleged in the C'T article that the Church of Scientology had made
a "brilliant move" to introduce a computer program into practically every
desk in companies, government offices and church institutions. The article
went on to insinuate that the computer program had a hidden purpose to
filch information from its German customers. These insinuations are
completely false and easily shown to be so. It is patently incredible that
even a semi-competent software engineer could believe such things. But, of
course, the software itself was not the real reason for the attack. It was
being targeted solely because of my religious affiliation.

The article even conceded that C'T experts had examined the program and
found no evidence of any peculiarities, but this led the magazine to
conclude (naturally) that the Americans were so clever that the hidden
purpose could be carded out without the German experts being able to
detect it!

In response to the story, a Microsoft spokesman defended the company's
choice of the program and stated that Microsoft does not refuse to do
business with anybody based on their religion, race, or other personal
characteristics. Microsoft has consistently maintained this position of

But the false and discriminatory allegation soon became international
news. The German news agency DPA sent out a wire story quoting another
alleged "expert" who said that Executive Software's involvement "is of
interest to the Catholic church, the other German states, the Office for
the Protection of the Constitution (German's domestic security agency) and
German industry."

A government official from the Hamburg Ministry of the Interior fanned the
flames by boasting in the press that in Bavaria and Hamburg, the
government does not use the services of or products from companies owned
by Scientologists. While such a blatantly discriminatory admission would
be condemned immediately in this country, in the climate of intolerance
created by the German government, it is allowed to pass.

That particular Hamburg official heads an office called "Working Group
Against Scientology" which receives $1 million annually from the Hamburg

This Hamburg government office, along with their counterparts from the
Ministry of the Interior, created the so-called "sect filter" which
forbids employment or contractual relations with individuals participating
in the Church of Scientology. I have even seen a sect filter which makes a
course in business training conditional on an individual declaring that he
is not a member of a "sect or free church." Employment applications and
contracts typically include a "sect filter" clause requiting one to
explicitly declare that he is not affiliated with my religion. And to make
sure that government officials can identify and thereby actively practice
discrimination against Scientologists, private businesses owned by members
of my Church are entered into the German government's computers with a
chillingly evocative "S" notation. The extent and pervasiveness of
governmental religious discrimination in Germany may be gauged by the
decision of a U.S. federal immigration court to grant asylum to a German
Scientologist on the grounds that she would face religious persecution if
she had to return to Germany.

"Sect filter" declarations such as I have described are now in wide use by
private and public companies throughout Germany, including Deutschebank,
Daimler-Chrysler and Lufthansa. Indeed, in 1998, the New York branch of
Deutschehank dismissed an employee for no other reason than that she is a
member of the Church of Scientology. Fortunately, unlike in Germany, the
United States has strong anti-discrimination laws, and Deutschebank was
forced to pay the Scientologist $125,000 in damages. Indeed, upon being
alerted to them, the American headquarters of Ford Motor Company, GE
Capital and IBM instructed their German branches to discontinue use of
these hateful "filters." Unfortunately, however, other American companies
operating in Germany are being compelled to use these sect filters, to an
extent not yet fully determined.

Since the first of the year, the German government attacks on American
companies Executive Software and Microsoft have escalated. A spokesman for
the Hamburg Ministry of the Interior stated that the Ministry would
attempt to use Windows 2000 only after deleting the program produced by
Executive Software.

After further reports appeared in the news media, the Federal Office for
Security and Information Technology (acronym "BSI" in German) informed
Microsoft that the agency would not certify Windows 2000 for sale in
Germany because part of the program was produced by a company owned by a

The events I describe have been widely reported in newspapers and
magazines both here and abroad, by customers of my company, and by our
European resellers and distributors. An article in the German magazine Der
Spiegel indicated that the German government's Office for the Protection
of the Constitution has asked the Ministry of the Interior to examine the
intellectual property source code for the portion of Windows 2000 produced
by the Scientologist-owned company. This article fueled the climate of
suspicion and intolerance being generated against my company and my

I find the circumstances maddening and frustrating. It is humbling for me
to come before you and present this matter. In fact, if it were solely for
my own benefit, I would not do it at all.

I come to you today on behalf of others who may not be able to shrug off a
single market such as Germany and make up for the lost sales by redoubled
efforts elsewhere. I come to you on behalf of my friends, partners and
business associates who are suffering at the hands of official German
bigots. I also come before you on behalf of all Scientologists, both
American and German, who are forbidden employment, political party
affiliation and even schooling for their children because of their
religious beliefs.

The U.S. State Department has criticized the German government for
religious discrimination against Scientologists and members of other
minority religions in each of its last seven annual human fights reports.
The State Department's first annual report on international religious
freedom, published last September, reiterated those criticisms, and
particularly criticized the use by German state and federal governments of
the "sect filters." Indeed, there are now more than 30 reports criticizing
governmental religious discrimination in Germany from bodies including the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, the U.N. Human
Rights Committee and the Commission for Security and Cooperation in

This year, for the first time, the U.S. Trade Representative, in her
report on discriminatory foreign procurement practices, placed Germany on
the watch list over its abuse of Scientologists' rights. The report states
that upon learning of German government clauses excluding Scientologists
from contractual relations, "the Administration raised its concerns to the
German government and continues to press the Germans to repeals this
discriminatory policy." According to Executive Order 13116, signed by
President Clinton on March 31, 1999, identification in the report
indicates that a foreign country "maintains, in government procurement, a
significant pattern or practice of discrimination against U.S. products or
services which results in identifiable harm to U.S. businesses ...."The
inclusion of Germany in the Trade Representative's report therefore shows
that, in the view of the U.S. government, Germany's discriminatory
practices are not only a blatant violation of human rights but a threat to
American trade as well.

But despite all these condemnations of German government policy targeting
American and German citizens because of their religious beliefs, there is
no discernable change in German government practices. In fact, as the
German government has continued to flagrantly violate its international
human rights commitments, the discrimination has worsened. Official German
discrimination broadened from individuals to private corporations and now
to corporations who use suppliers who employ or are owned by members of
minority religions - while official statements from the German government
have confirmed that public bodies expressly ban purchases from companies
owned by or associated with Scientologists, effectively prohibiting the
purchase of U.S. products. Indeed, the circumstances involving my company
and Microsoft are precisely as set forth in the Trade Representative's

We had hoped that the election of a new government in Germany a year and
half ago would mark a more liberal approach to human rights, one sensitive
to the requirements of democracy and international law. While the
Schroeder government is less outspoken in attempting to justify its
discriminatory practices than the discredited Kohl administration, it has
not only shown no interest in ending the discrimination, but is escalating
it. The Federal Economics Ministry, which already employs a so-called
"sect filter", is in the process of exporting it to all federal government
ministries of Germany. Thus, the German government is neck-deep in these
human rights abuses, and is the source of the climate of intimidation and
intolerance that minority religious members face.

Mr. Chairman, I am thankful for your actions and those of other members of
your committee such as Congressmen Salmon and Payne, who have shown
themselves to be sensitive to this issue. I am also thankful for the
actions of the Administration, but, unfortunately, these have not yet
ended or curtailed the German government's discriminatory policies and
practices. So, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, I
ask you to take up this matter as one that is vital for the preservation
of basic human rights in Europe. Perhaps the most effective action that
you can take at this time is to give your full support to the Resolutions
on Germany- HR. 388 and S. 230 - which call upon Congress and the
President to demand that Germany abide by international human rights law.
Through these Resolutions, I ask you to send a message to the German
government that the Congress and the people of the United States will not
tolerate either human rights violations of a religious nature or
discrimination against American trade or American products such as our
computer software, the pride of our new economy.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this


1 Embargo: any restriction imposed upon commerce by edict.

2 The component included in Windows 2000 is called "disk defragmenter," a
tool for consolidating disks that have become fragmented through use.
Defragmenting the files restores system performance to like-new state,
increasing the computer user's productivity, extending the life of the
computer and reducing the computer's total cost of ownership. Windows
products have included components designed and implemented by Executive
Software for six years. Why this recent announcement provoked such a
violent response is a matter for speculation.





Fifty-seven years ago on this very day--June 14, the nation's annual Flag
Day--the Supreme Court handed down one of its most historic decisions:
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. Speaking for the
Court, Justice Jackson stated: "If there is any fixed star in our
Constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can
prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or
other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their
faith therein."i This ruling guaranteed religious freedom for Jehovah's
Witnesses in connection with our Bible-based belief that saluting any flag
violates God's demand for exclusive devotion.ii

Even though most citizens do not agree with our doctrinal stand on this
issue, the fact remains that the United States has gone on record that it
will defend our right to adhere to this belief. In contrast, many nations
of Western Europe are becoming increasingly equivocal about whether they
will protect genuine freedom of worship.

When governments determine that religious beliefs do not meet standards of
"loyalty" to the State or constitute a breach of public order and withhold
religious recognition or registration, where does that lead us? Will
governments next dictate what beliefs are acceptable in democratic
societies? When governments fail to acknowledge any distinction between
commercial enterprises and voluntary, self-sacrificing endeavors to
promote humanitarian, religious endeavors, what will happen to the concept
of charities? Will volunteerism be taxed out of existence? Can a
government legitimately assert that it protects religion freedom when at
the same time it uses its taxing power to oppress those who belong to
certain religions?

We will provide some details of these trends using France, Belgium,
Germany, Austria, and Sweden as examples. The following facts speak for
themselves and document the current state of the basic human right of
religious self-determination in Western Europe.


Records show that Jehovah's Witnesses have been active in France since
1891. This spring more than 204,000 attended the most sacred celebration
of the year for Jehovah's Witnesses, the Memorial of Christ's death.
Certainly Jehovah's Witnesses are not a "new" religious movement and can
hardly be called a "minority" religion when we are the third-largest
Christian religion in France.

The recent attempt of the French government to officially deny religious
status to Jehovah's Witnesses began with an adverse ruling by the Conseil
d'Etat in a 1985 inheritance case. (The French will aver that, under the
rubric of the "wall of separation of Church and State," the French
government grants official recognition to no religion. However, the facts
speak otherwise. Recognized religions are extended benefits, such as being
able to receive charitable bequests.) The Conseil d'Etat refused to allow
one of Jehovah's Witnesses to leave a portion of her estate to the
Association of Jehovah's Witnesses in France because the court did not
agree with our doctrinal rejection of blood transfusions and refusal to
participate in military service. The fact that there are 3,000 French
doctors who are willing to operate without blood completely eviscerates
the first basis for the court's ruling. The passing of a law on
alternative non-military service in France that provides a conscientiously
acceptable method for young Jehovah's Witnesses to render "Caesar his
due,/iii does away with the other reason for the Court's refusal to
recognize the legitimacy of the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses in France.

In spite of these favorable developments, the French Parliamentary
Commissions on Sects have made the situation worse by issuing biased
reports containing lists of supposedly "dangerous sects" and including
Jehovah's Witnesses among them.

Institutional Consequences:

A direct result of the discriminatory treatment toward Jehovah's Witnesses
in France is a 60-percent tax that has been levied on donations received
by the Association of Jehovah's Witnesses in France. Next week, on June
20, 2000, a hearing is scheduled in Nanterre on this matter. Supreme Court
Justice John Marshall wisely observed: "The power to tax involves the
power to destroy."iv Although governments are fully authorized, both
Biblically and secularly, to tax their constituents, this particular tax
has no other purpose but to make it impossible for Jehovah's Witnesses in
France to financially support the operations of their own faith. That
means 60 cents of each dollar contributed to support our annual Bible
conventions, operate our Kingdom Halls (houses of worship), and fund
national relief measures will go to the French government. Only forty
cents on the dollar will be left to use for the charitable reason for
which it was given. No religion could financially continue to operate
under such a punitive tax.

To our knowledge, no other religion is being taxed 60-percent on personal
contributions made in good faith to their church. Instead, other
religions enjoy tax exemptions granted by the Conseil d'Etat. Not even
most minority religions are taxed--in fact, we are only aware of one other
case where personal donations to a religious association have been
questioned v. The French tax authorities have clearly indicated at the
conclusion of their 1996 and 1997 audits that the association that is now
being exorbitantly taxed "participates in the maintenance and practice of
Jehovah's Witnesses' form of worship."vi Those audits established the
not-for-profit nature of the associations used by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Recently, an audit by the international firm of Grant Thornton likewise
established the not-for-profit character of all associations used by
Jehovah's Witnesses in France. Upholding the religious nature of
Jehovah's Witnesses' associations, there have recently been four favorable
Courts of Appeals decisions exempting Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses
(houses of worship) from paying land (property) tax. This is part of the
process established in France to grant religious recognition. Needless to
say, French authorities have appealed all four cases which means that this
issue will ultimately be heard by the Conseil d'Etat. Should that court
rule in favor of religious freedom as Justice Jackson's court did in this
country in 1943, it will not be necessary for us to pursue this matter to
the European Court of Human Rights.

Personal Consequences:

The negative effects on a personal level from the parliamentary
mislabeling of Jehovah's Witnesses as a "dangerous sect" are widespread.
Schoolteachers and day care workers who are Jehovah's Witnesses have been
targets of smear campaigns, unwanted job transfers, or have been fired
because they were perceived as being a threat to the safety, morals, and
education of children under their care only because of belonging to a
supposed "sect." A new aspect of the consequences on a personal level is
illustrated in the case of Rene Schneerberger, a minister of Jehovah's
Witnesses, who has been corresponding regularly with inmates in the French
prison system to provide spiritual guidance. Some prisoners, who are not
Jehovah's Witnesses, requested subscriptions from Rene to The Watchtower
and Awake, the official journals of Jehovah's Witnesses.

In October 1999, the prisoners advised Mr. Schneerberger that they were no
longer receiving these religious magazines. The reason given by the
director of the Bapaume prison was that the magazines were suspended
because of the "sectarian" nature of Jehovah's Witnesses as "recognized by
the parliamentary commissions." The suspension has not been lifted.vii


Belgium's roots with Jehovah's Witnesses also trace back to 1891. At the
Memorial celebration of Christ's death held this spring, there were more
than 46,000 in attendance.

Belgium also had its parliamentary commissions and reports on sects in
1997 with ongoing consequences. Although Jehovah's Witnesses have no
"institutional consequences" as a result of being included in the
discriminatory list of sects that was published, there are effects on a
personal level.

In some schools of the French-speaking community in Belgium, students who
are Jehovah's Witnesses are feeling the effect of being, perceived as
belonging to a "dangerous sect." For example, a teacher in the Ecole des
Pagodes/viii issued a paper for class discussions that said: "In Belgium,
there are 189 variable dangerous sects and 37 are hard- core ones, such
as--Jehovah's Witnesses (among others)."

In child custody disputes, some judges have a high regard for Jehovah's
Witnesses and have granted custody to the Witness parents and rejected the
allegation of opposing parties who claim that Jehovah's Witnesses are
dangerous. But note what was stated in two cases in the Flemish section of

- "It constitutes a grave danger for the children taking into account the
influence of the "Jehovah-sect" of which the mother seems to be a

- "Jehovah's Witnesses are not to be viewed as a religion but as a
movement of fanatics."x


In 1891, Jehovah's Witnesses became established in Germany. This year over
276,000 attended the Memorial of Christ's death again not a new religion
and not an insignificant minority. In the not-too-distant past, Jehovah's
Witnesses survived the Nazi concentration camps and Communist persecution
on German soil.

The right of Jehovah's Witnesses to remain neutral in politics has again
become the focus of a legal struggle over our right to have the same legal
status that is granted to other recognized religions. The denial of this
favored status to Jehovah's Witnesses is based on our Bible-based and
historical stand of not electing individuals to political office. Recall
that Jesus told Pilate: "My kingdom is no part of this world."xi The
German State has determined that this is not an acceptable belief in a
democratic society. Since freedom of conscience and belief is one of the
most basic and universally protected human fights, what should have been a
mere logistical formality has transcended into a human rights straggle.xii

Institutional Consequences:

The Federal Administrative Court made a decision that has far-reaching
consequences for Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany. They reversed two lower
court decisions and refused recognition to Jehovah's Witnesses as a
"public law" corporation. Jehovah's Witnesses had fulfilled all designated
requirements, but the State introduced a new element when considering our
application. It was decided that Jehovah's Witnesses do not have the
degree of loyalty required by the German State to extend favorable-status
treatment. This decision is based on the fact that historically Jehovah's
Witnesses refrain from participation in political elections or holding
political office. Not even the German Constitution requires mandatory
participation by all citizens in the electoral process, but evidently the
Federal Administrative Court requires this of Jehovah's Witnesses. We have
contested this decision through a complaint to the Constitutional Court.

Due to this federal-level decision, the finance authorities then took the
unwarranted step to rescind the permanent nature of tax exemptions granted
to associations owning the houses of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses in
Germany. These authorities, in anticipation of a negative outcome, are
poised to declassify Jehovah's Witnesses' corporations as not being of
"common benefit." If an adverse ruling is handed down, every Kingdom Hall
in Germany will be taxed as though what goes on inside is not worship, an
assertion so ludicrous that no nation could make it and still maintain
that it guarantees religious freedom to those within its borders.

Personal Consequences:

The impact of the trend toward discrimination of members of minority
religions is well illustrated by what happened to a family from Bergheim,
where both parents are Jehovah's Witnesses. Over a period of 15 years, the
Local Youth Office in Bergheim assigned about 20 foster children to this
couple's care. After the chairwoman of an anti-cult- movement contacted
the office, they refused to renew the Witness couple's permit for a baby
girl to remain with them, although the baby had spent half her infant life
in their care. This resulted in a two- year court battle, with the court
ultimately defending the rights of the Witness parents to retain custody
of the foster child and rejecting the youth office's arguments as
completely unfounded. However, after the court case, the Local Youth
Office has not assigned any new foster children to the care of this
family. Clearly, the courts cannot legislate an end to prejudice.


Jehovah's Witnesses began their preaching in Austria in 1891. In April
2000, over 33,000 joined them in their sacred annual Memorial of Christ's

After 20 years of seeking to be classified as a religion in Austria and
just when the courts were close to obligating the government to do so, the
government passed a new law setting up a special religious category called
"confessional community." We are the only religion immediately affected
by this law. Under this new law, we are now required to wait an
additional -year probationary period before we may once again apply for
recognition as a religion. As a result, this new law automatically and
deliberately extends Jehovah's Witnesses' -year struggle into a 30-year
wait. In the meantime, a new complaint by Jehovah's Witnesses is pending
with the Austrian Constitutional Court concerning the new law that created
this multi-tiered religious classification system.

Institutional Consequences:

The classification of "confessional community" does not allow for
performance of marriage rites, pastoral visits to hospitals or prisons,
recognition of ministers who are free from military and civil service, or
tax advantages.

Showing that not all Austrian officials share the same viewpoint, last
fall the Austrian Constitutional Court handed down a favorable decision
regarding the pastoral care of a prisoner. This decision influenced the
Federal Ministry of Justice to make a provision for Jehovah's Witnesses to
visit prisoners who request assistance from us.

backPersonal Consequences:

To illustrate the impact on people's daily lives, we offer two examples
from Austria. A woman who is one of Jehovah's Witnesses applied for an
apartment in a village. The mayor of that village has a say on such
decisions. At a meeting with the mayor, both parties came to an oral
agreement. Upon departing the mayor asked in passing: "You do not belong
to a sect, do you?" The woman said: "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses." The
mayor did not say anything, but was visibly shocked. Later the Witness was
told that the apartment had to be given to someone else.

At times, when seeking work, a trial period or preliminary tests are
required for all applicants. The results of such trial periods have often
been very positive for applicants who are Jehovah's Witnesses. Employers
have advised them that they are very pleased with their work. However,
when employers learn afterwards that the applicant is one of Jehovah's
Witnesses, all interest in hiring them is dropped.

Most employers have only expressed their reluctance verbally, but one
letter explicitly stated: "We thank you for your application but we are
sorry to have to tell you that based on our long experience we do not
employ persons belonging to any kind of sect."


The work of Jehovah's Witnesses began in Sweden in 1886. This year over
36,700 joined together in the annual celebration of the Memorial of
Christ's death.

Sweden just instituted an arrangement for registering religions, thus
ending the existence of one official State religion. We are pleased to
report that on March 13, 2000, the government registered Jehovah's
Witnesses as a religious community. However, Sweden's labor and tax laws
evidently make no exceptions for members of religious orders or other
religious workers. Because of a lack of any acknowledgment of
"volunteerism" even based on religious devotion, the Swedish government is
in effect dictating how much time and energy one can devote to godly
endeavors within the context of a monastic arrangement. In fact, other
religions in Sweden no longer have volunteers, but have to rely on an
employed staff under central collective agreements with labor unions. For
Jehovah's Witnesses, volunteering our time and energy to promote true
worship is the whole- souled sacrifice that we desire to make to God.

Institutional Consequences:

In most nations Jehovah's Witnesses have a national office that
coordinates, under the direction of the Governing Body in New York, the
religious activities of adherents in that land. Those serving in these
offices belong to a religious order and provide their services free of
charge. This inures to the benefit of Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide by
keeping the cost of our religious endeavors to a minimum. Instead of
recognizing the monastic nature of our office in Sweden, the authorities
there are obligating each member of that office to pay a tax on any
service he or she receives from others who also serve there. Labors of
love, such as cooking, cleaning, or doing the laundry, contribute to a
family environment and expedite efforts of others to translate and
distribute our religious literature, and organize the worship of Jehovah's
Witnesses throughout Sweden. These helpful endeavors are being assessed at
the current "market value," that is, what it would cost to commercially
obtain such services. Thus, they have become prohibitively expensive to
those benefiting from those services, although no one is being paid. For
example, a volunteer member of our religious order in Sweden receives
approximately $100 to reimburse him for personal expenses incurred during
the month. The tax imposed adds up to $937, almost 10 times the cash
income that he receives.

By requiring a tax for volunteer efforts--anything perceived as a personal
service--the government has equated the self-sacrificing,
religiously-motivated lifestyle of members of the coordinating office of
Jehovah's Witnesses in Sweden with wealthy individuals who pay for such
services. As a result of this attempt to secularize the religious
activities of what takes place at our office in Sweden, we may have to
drastically reduce the number of volunteers who serve there.

Keeping this situation in mind, you may recall a Biblical event involving
Jesus and Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Matthew, Mark and John all record
the event, which took place not long before Jesus died. The account at
Mark 14:3-8 states, in part: "A woman came with an alabaster case of
perfumed oil, genuine nard, very expensive. Breaking open the alabaster
case she began to pour it upon his head." Many of Jesus' followers
objected to this act of kindness because of the cost of the gift. Jesus
reprimanded them saying, "Let her alone. She did a fine deed toward me.
She did what she could." The account estimates that Mary's gift of
personal service cost 300 denarii, which was the equivalent of a year's
wages.xiii If Mary had attempted to render such a service today, Sweden
would require Jesus to pay a tax of 10 times the value of the gift for
Mary's personal service, i.e., 3,000 denarii in cash. Mary would have been
precluded from rendering the service to Jesus and our Lord would have been
precluded from accepting it. What Jesus called "a fine deed" would never
have taken place. This well illustrates the dilemma facing our religious
order in Sweden.

Unhappily, this situation is not limited to Sweden, but is becoming more
frequent throughout Western Europe.

Personal Consequences:

A case in point is a graduate of our missionary training school who has
been serving voluntarily in Sweden since 1961. She has devoted her life to
her religious work. She has acquired decades of experience as a translator
of Bible literature. Now she has been forced to reduce the amount of time
she formerly devoted to translation to cook her own meals, care for her
own laundry, and clean her own room because she cannot afford the
prohibitive tax that would be imposed if others were to care for those
needs, as is routinely done in other branch offices of Jehovah's Witnesses
throughout the world. In another case, a skilled worker had to decline
participation in a renovation project of a house of worship. He wanted to
donate his time, all costs involved with travel, and use of his tools to
the project, but decided he could not afford to pay the high daily tax for
the simple meals that would be prepared and served for free by members of
the congregation.


The concept of legally legitimizing religious discrimination is fraught
with problems, legally and morally. Yet that is what happens, when nations
adopt a multi-tiered system of religious recognition. International
agreements/xiv have attempted to eliminate discrimination due to religious
belief, but as we have seen, it still goes on. A new and worrisome trend
in Europe is the refusal to recognize the religious nature of activities
performed by volunteers. European labor and tax authorities are
arbitrarily imposing an "employer/employee" relationship to the religious
activities engaged in by those of Jehovah's Witnesses who are privileged
to become members of the Order of Special Full-Time Servants, as our
international religious order is known. Interestingly, the Supreme
Administrative Court of Brazil ruled that members of our religious order
in that land are not subject to taxes imposed on employees since the
activities involved were religiously motivated rather than of a pecuniary
nature.xv Are governments, who laud religious freedom and human fights on
the one hand, acting consequentially when they limit "religious
activities" to what they narrowly and arbitrarily define as "worship"?
What is the solution?

Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of the promise contained
here in the Bible, in Isaiah 32:16 through 18, which says: "And in the
wilderness justice will certainly reside, and in the orchard righteousness
itself will dwell. And the work of the (hue) righteousness must become
peace; and the service of the (true) righteousness, quietness and security
to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place
and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places."

Until that time arrives under God's Kingdom rule, I appeal to this
committee to use its influence to protect and reinforce the universally
recognized right of religious freedom in Western Europe.


i Justice Robert H. Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v.
Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).

ii See the Bible at Exodus 20:2-5 or Deuteronomy 5:6-9.

iii See the Bible at Matthew 22:21; also Insight On the Scriptures, (New
York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1988), Vol. 1,
p. 382.

iv McCulloch v. Maryland, Wheaton (1819) p. 431.

v According to the report dated June 14, 1999, by the parliamentary
commission under Mr. Brard on sects and money, "the Tax Department has
availed itself of the possibility of inquiring about the source of gills
from hand to hand to sectarian associations in two cases: Jehovah's
Witnesses and Mandarom." (p. 223).

vi Reassessment notices dated December 27, 1996, and December 8, from the
Tax Department to the Association Les T6moins de Jehovah.

vii Article D. 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that "each
prisoner should be able to meet the requirements of his religions, moral,
and spiritual life" and Article D. 439 of the same code authorizes
prisoners "to receive or keep in their possession those items for
religious practice and books necessary for their spiritual life."

viii Ecole des Pagodes, 305, Av. des Pagodes, 1120 Bmxelles.

ix Juvenile Court, Twentieth Chamber of First Instance of Bruges - October
15, 1999.

x Justice of the Peace Court of the Filth Canton, Antwerp - January 11,

xi See the Bible at John 18:36.

xii The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article :
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to chane his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to
manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and
observance." Freedom to manifest his religion or belief, in worship,
teaching, practice and observance" is guaranteed by Article 9 of the
European Convention on Human Rights. Also, the German Constitution in
Article 4 states: "(1) Freedom of creed, of conscience, and freedom to
profess a religions or non-religious faith are inviolable. (2) The
undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed."

xiii In the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, agricultural laborers
commonly received a denarius for a 12-hour work-day." Insight On the
Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 614.

xiv Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2; Declaration on the
Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on
Religion or Belief, Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25
November 1981; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Part
II, Article 2 and Article 18:1.

xv National Social Security Institute, INSS/CAF-21,600,0 - Coordinator's
Office, on 11.12.97, Ref.: Term of Debt NFLD No. 018.702-0, 03.22.96,
Taxpayer: Sociedade Torre de Vigia de Biblias e Tratados, Matter:
Ministerial Avocation - Non-raising; and Ministry of Social Security and
Support- MPAS, National Institute of Social Security - INSS, General
Advisor's Office - Advisory, .200.13 - Collection Advisory Division,
Brasilia, May 06.




MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Intolerance. At the dawn of the 21st century, one of
mankind's age-old curses still afflicts us. It is religious intolerance.
In China, Christians and so-called "cults" are the targets of brutal
government crack-downs. In the Sudan, antichristian riots have killed
hundreds. In Russia, antisemitism is rearing its despicable head. Is there
a cure for intolerance, a way to guarantee religious freedom? We'll ask
Senator Sam Brownback and Nina Hope Shea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Brownback, your committee this week held hearings.
What were those hearings about?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It was about the Religious Commission report on
international religious liberty and what has happened, in that report,
they're putting forward three countries that they're particularly citing
that have some of the worst cases of religious abuse, such as in the Sudan
and China, and one that we hold some of the most promise, but some of the
problems are rearing their head, in Russia. We held the hearings on that.
It was their first report that they've come out with.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nina Shea, you're a member of that commission, are you

MS. SHEA: Yes, I am.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the official title of the commission?

MS. SHEA: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: International Religious Freedom. Is this a new commission?

MS. SHEA: This was the first annual report of the commission. We were
founded in 1998 under the act that also established an ambassador for
religious freedom in the State Department, and we are mandated to make
recommendations to the president and to Congress about foreign policy
regarding some of the worst religious persecutors in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So this is your first report?

MS. SHEA: That's correct.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of standing does it have, officially?

MS. SHEA: It is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you get cooperation from the White House? Did you get
cooperation from the State Department?

MS. SHEA: We are an independent panel created by Congress. We got -- our
cooperation from the State Department was so-so. We had some meetings, we
met with the president briefly. We met with Madeleine Albright, the
secretary of State, once. But one of the problems was that we were not
given access to important cables, especially on Sudan, from --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You were not?

MS. SHEA: We were not. So, at this point --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you register a complaint on that?

MS. SHEA: We have, and that's in the report.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And did you get any satisfaction from the State

MS. SHEA: We were told that they would correct that, so we're looking
forward to having a good working relationship with them next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mention this because this is a brand new commission, is
it not?

SEN. BROWNBACK: Oh, it's brand new. This is their first report.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you find it odd that religious liberty, which is at the
backbone of this country, one of its key, if not its central underpinning
since the Pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom -- and I come from
the state, Rhode Island, where Roger Williams sought religious freedom
there. Do you find it odd that it's taken this long for the United States
Congress to focus on religious liberty?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I find it odd, but I'm also finding it a proud moment that
we're finally doing it. This country was founded on religious freedom. My
state of Kansas came into the union on the fight about freedom versus
slavery. And it was abolitionists that moved it out to Kansas, went out to
Kansas, that founded that freedom. But the U.S. is finally stepping up and
standing tall and starting to say this is a key human right, what you do
with your own soul. Indeed, it's the first human right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, you've caucused with the members of the commission
because you are a member of the commission yourself; correct?

MS. SHEA: That's correct.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How were you impressed by your peers? And how many are
there, and who heads it up?

MS. SHEA: We have 10 members. There are nine voting members. It's very
diverse politically -- both parties are represented -- and very diverse

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who selects the members of the commission?

MS. SHEA: We have a couple selected by the president, a couple selected by
the majority in the House, majority in the Senate, who are the the
opposite parties of the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who heads up the commission?

MS. SHEA: Our chairman is David Saperstein (sp), who is a rabbi.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a rabbi.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And is there a Mr. Siple (sp), or Reverend Siple (sp)?

SEN. BROWNBACK: He's the ambassador-at-large for religious freedom that
was also appointed in this act, Bob Siple (sp), excellent man, really a
top-quality guy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he with World Vision?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I understand that he was previously. So he has a
background and a knowledge of issues regarding faith around the world, and
he carries a passion with it, which is needed as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

Now, the commission decided that it would sharpen its focus in this
particular report and focus on Russia and China and the Sudan. Let's talk
about the Sudan. What is going on in the Sudan, which, by the way, is a
country in Africa? It's about four times the size of Texas, bigger than
Texas, that is. It's got about 35 million people. And it's about 52
percent black and about 35 percent Muslim.

MS. SHEA: We call Sudan -- the commission calls Sudan the world's most
violent religious persecutor, and that's why we took it up. Two million
people have been killed in a war that is largely about religion. That is,
a major factor of the war that's been going on for 17 years is about
religion. It was ignited when the government tried to impose Shariah law
and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is Shariah law? S-h-a-r-i-a-h, right?

MS. SHEA: Islamic law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Islamic law.

MS. SHEA: It's a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you've got Muslims who are fighting and trying to
repress the Christians; correct?

MS. SHEA: Not quite correct. It's a Muslim extremist government that's
unpopular among its own people as well. It's a dictatorship.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this the government in the north or the government in
the south?

MS. SHEA: There's only one government, and that's the government in
Khartoum, in the north.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I'm talking about the government of the rebels in
the south. That, of course, is a Christian quasi- government, government
in exile, if you would. Correct?

MS. SHEA: There is a rebel force there that is comprised mostly of
Christians and animists and also some Muslims.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, has there been much bloodshed in this war?

MS. SHEA: Two million killed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two million?

MS. SHEA: Two million killed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two million. That must be a kind of a record, isn't it?

MS. SHEA: More than Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Bosnia combined.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Over how many years, Nina Shea?

MS. SHEA: That's over 17 years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventeen years?

MS. SHEA: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any remission in the fighting, or is it going on
with the violence that it has had all along?

MS. SHEA: It's accelerating because oil has been discovered there and is
now being piped up. And enormous revenues are being channeled to the
government; that started last August. Foreign companies -- Chinese
government companies, Canadian companies -- Talisman Energy -- are pumping
oil for the government of Khartoum in a joint venture partnership. The
government's wealthy now; it can afford to really prosecute the war.

SEN. BROWNBACK: (Inaudible) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the government --

SEN. BROWNBACK: -- that's what they're doing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you have been there, right, Senator?

SEN. BROWNBACK: Yes, I have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the government instigating the violence there?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I believe that they are. I believe that they are, not only
doing it, they are also commissioning other people to do it. And they also
put things such as -- slavery is in practice in the Sudan.

I met yesterday in my office with a young man that had been a slave for 10
years in the Sudan, taken when he was 7 years old and wasn't able to
escape to freedom until he was 17 years old. And he was just -- he was a
slave. And that's happened in thousands of cases in the Sudan. Slavery
happens today somewhere in the world, and it's in the Sudan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we are talking about a Muslim government that is
instigating violence?

SEN. BROWNBACK: An extremist Muslim government, because there are a number
of Muslim moderates that aren't satisfied or happy with this government at
all either. And they took power by force about 10 years ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of proportionality are we talking about? What
percentage of moderate Muslims then, who do not try to impose their faith,
their belief, their purist Muslim belief?

SEN. BROWNBACK: The group that took power -- they had stood for election
prior to taking power by force, and they got less than 17 percent of the

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is this -- is there something in the Muslim religion
that makes it prone to instigate a dimension and a quality of violence and
aggression? For example, Islama (sic) bin Laden, he clearly is motivated
by something that makes the West appear the harlot of the world, and he
hates it, and he wants to stop it. And he wants to impose the will of the
Muslim faith upon it. What is there about the Muslim faith where it is
felt in this type of extreme conditions -- what is there about it that
makes it so intense and violent and aggressive?

MS. SHEA: Well, I don't think that's quite fair; I don't think that Bin
Laden speaks for the Muslim faith. He is self-appointed. He is a Lone
Ranger. He goes out. He is very wealthy; he is able to hire armies, hire
terrorists. And I don't know what his true motives are, whether they are
religious or he is seeking power. Certainly, the government of Sudan is
seeking power and cynically cloaking itself in religious garb in order to
do this, to consolidate its power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't wish to convey the view that I think that the
Muslim religion is anything else but noble and that there are these sects
or parts of pieces of the Muslim religion, which are extremely violent.
And they believe that everyone should convert to Islam; and if they don't
convert, then it's time for war. And, therefore, they conduct a jihad, a
so-called holy war. Correct?

MS. SHEA: That's what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But what is there about that impulse? Is there something
in the tradition that would allow a Bin Laden and allow the government of
Khartoum to conduct itself the way it does?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I don't think it's there in that basis. I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh it's there and to some extent in Nigeria?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It is. But you are also seeing; there are Muslim groups
around the world that are persecuted for their faith, as well. And there
are moderate Muslims in some places in Islamic countries, that are being
persecuted and killed for their faith, too.

And I don't think you can associate it just there with that, because it
also happens in other faiths and religions, too.

MS. SHEA: I agree with what the senator said, but I also think that this
government is, he -- they are invoking Islam as a way of getting support
for this war, which they do call a jihad. Now, I don't think they are
representative of Islam; I don't think it's a legitimate form of Islam.
There are other forms I think we should -- the United States, as policy,
should be supporting moderate Islam. We are doing no favor to our friends
who are moderate Muslims by being silent about what's going on in Sudan.
I'm not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you talked with President Clinton about this matter
in the Sudan?

MS. SHEA: Yes, I have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he say to you?

MS. SHEA: He said, he only said, "I find it very frustrating." He was not
that engaged in the issue. We have really been begging him, the
commission, Freedom House, the senator --

SEN. BROWNBACK: I have. I've met with Secretary of State Albright, I've
talked with her three times. I've talked with the national security
advisor about this, asked for a meeting with the president about it. We've
been pushing to try to get this as a focus point, because of all the
countries around the world, religious persecution is taking place the most
and the worst in the Sudan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Sudan is horrible. Horrible.

SEN. BROWNBACK: It's a horrible situation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It stands alone as a perverse monument to intolerance. But
let me ask you this. When you were in Khartoum -- as you know, the
president was responsible for bombing the El-Shifa pharmaceutical factory
over there and it was a glaring mistake, and the CIA has all but admitted
it. And -- has that inflamed the passions of those -- of those violent
Muslims who are there, those violent Islamists who are there?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I have not detected that. Now, I have not been in
Khartoum. I've been in the southern part of the Sudan in the areas that
have been held by the rebels. I have not been in Khartoum.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you saw the famine?

SEN. BROWNBACK: The areas I were in there was not a famine going on at
that time. I was at a refugee camp where people had been driven from the
famine territories, and I've heard and talked with a number of people who
have had family members killed, that have died --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you don't detect any reaction to the erroneous bombing
of the El-Shifa pharmaceutical plant?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I think there has to be a reaction to that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But we know there's a government reaction.

SEN. BROWNBACK: There is a government, and I'm certain there is in the
population as well. What I'm saying is that what's taking place by
government policy in Khartoum; they house terrorists, this is a terrorist
regime, they are conducting an ethnic and religious cleansing of
monumental proportions, and the United States should be stepping forward
and helping in the south, and we're not doing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why should we help? Humanitarian grounds alone?

MS. SHEA: Yes. I think past genocides haunt our leaders today. Our
newspapers to this day are filled with stories about past genocides.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you make a geopolitical national security case out of
getting control of this lost, hopeless continent of Africa today? You've
got Sierra Leone, you've got Zimbabwe, you've got this situation there,
you have the ravaging of AIDS in the continent.

MS. SHEA: I think you have to distinguish the Sudan from all the other
areas because of the genocidal proportions of the conflict there, of the
deaths, the number of deaths.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But are there geopolitical dimensions to that?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Israel -- is any outside nation aiding either of the

MS. SHEA: As the senator said, this is a terrorist government that is
spreading terror around the world. They tried to assassinate the president
of Egypt. There has been links to bin Laden and so forth.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This goes to a larger point, and that is whether or not
Africa itself, in many of its locations, is becoming a terrorist
stronghold. And I've discussed this with other senators and they seem to
pooh-pooh the idea, but, you know, with the bombing of our embassy in
Kenya, this type of cooperation from indigenous citizens there does not
come unless there is a human climate that is hospitable to terrorism. And
bin Laden then can move in and arouse that stimulus. And I think it does
have a Muslim and Islamist extremist component that does render it
hospitable to conduct terrorist acts. So that makes it a national security
problem, does it not?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It is. And Sudan is the center --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it goes beyond humanitarian aid.

SEN. BROWNBACK: But Sudan is the center point for terrorism in Africa, if
not globally. Actually, you'd probably have to look at Afghanistan as
being the center point for terrorism globally, as the lead country now,
but Sudan is not far behind. And it's clearly the node for Africa. That's
why we have a national security interest. And I can't believe that we
aren't willing to step forward and to speak up for these people in the
south that have been so killed, 2 million. We had 100,000 die of a
man-induced starvation in 1998 alone. You have slavery going on,

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. Are you complaining we don't send
foreign aid over there?

SEN. BROWNBACK: We are doing it, but it's at the direction of the Sudanese
government of where it can go to. So they actually say you can't go here.
We have people who are starving.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we have any of our own AID workers on the ground over
there who are directing the flow of our humanitarian aid? Do we?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It's Operation Lifeline Sudan, which is a U.N.
over-arching type of operation, that's actually delivering human aid. But
it only goes where the Sudanese government lets it go.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But there's a larger question here, and that is the
incredibly paltry dimension of our foreign aid as a nation. Here we are,
the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world, and we stand at the
dead bottom of the top 20 nations that contribute. I think it's less than
1 percent of our national budget. It's about one-fourth of 1 percent of
our national budget.

MS. SHEA: It's overall very small, but I think in Sudan it's pretty large.
We've been giving about $100 million a year to Sudan for the last 10
years. That's a billion dollars in aid. But there's no policy, there's no
over-arching policy, so we don't do anything to stop the killing, we don't
do anything to stop this displacement of people. Five million people have
been driven from their lands, cannot grow agriculture, cannot produce,
cannot feed themselves, dependent on this humanitarian help.

SEN. BROWNBACK: When I was there, they weren't asking for more food aid,
for even food aid. They were saying, "Look, stop the bombings that are
taking place from the north. Let us get to peace here." That's what they
really want.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the U.S. trade relationship with China be in any
way controlled, governed or regulated by China's treatment of its citizens
and their human rights?

We'll put that question to our guests. But first, here are their
distinguished profiles:

Born Garnett, Kansas. Forty-three years of age. Wife, Mary. Five children;
two children recently adopted, a girl from China, a boy from Guatemala.
Methodist. Republican. Kansas State University, B.S. University of Kansas,
Doctor of Laws. State of Kansas, secretary of agriculture, seven years.
United States House of Representatives, Kansas, two years. United States
Senate, Kansas, four years and currently. Committees: Commerce, Science
and Transportation, Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions; Joint Economic Committee. Hobbies: reading history, working the
family farm, running. Samuel Dale Brownback.

Born Philadelphia. Forty-six years of age. Husband, Adam. Three children.
Catholic. Independent. Smith College, B.A. American University, Doctor of
Laws. Human rights attorney, emphasis on religious persecution, 21 years
and currently. Freedom House Center for Religious Freedom, director, four
years and currently. United States Commission on International Religious
Freedom, commissioner, one year and currently. Author: "In the Lion's
Den," a book subtitled "A Shocking Account of Persecution and Martyrdom of
Christians Today," 1997. Hobbies: baking cakes. Nina Hope Shea.

Senator Brownback, how serious is the repression of Christianity in China?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It's serious. It also appears to have some regional
impact. In some places, it's far worse than it is in some other areas. But
the point of it is, I think to China; if they consider themselves moving
forward towards freedom and being a great nation today, they really need
to say to their citizenry, "You are free to practice whatever you want to
do and to do with your own soul as you see fit," rather than the
oppression that's taking place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In your hearings, did you concentrate on the repression of
religious freedom in Tibet?

SEN. BROWNBACK: We focused some on that. China was one of the three
countries that we hit, and Tibet is one of the most glaring examples. And
I personally have met with a number of Tibetan refugees; even in January
of this year, I was in Kathmandu, Nepal, talking with people who had spent
two weeks at least, walking over the Himalayas in the wintertime just to
get to freedom. And they had some incredible stories of that human spirit
and the willingness to be out and to be free.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the United Nations recently accused China of using
torture; I think it was an Amnesty International report. Is torture used
to repress dissidents, do you know, Nina Shea?

MS. SHEA: Absolutely. And we have seen some torture deaths this year. A
Falun Gong woman was beaten --


MS. SHEA: -- Gong -- the spiritual movement --


MS. SHEA: -- in China that's being terribly repressed; 35,000 of them by
the government's own admission, were imprisoned. Some of those people have
been tortured.

And some have been tortured to death. A Catholic bishop was handed over to
his family in the early '90s, dead -- the body -- dead with marks of
torture all over it; Catholic priests found dead on the street, last seen
in custody last May, a year ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we use trade sanctions to modify China's behavior
towards religious dissidents?

MS. SHEA: The Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's your commission, the new commission.

MS. SHEA: The new commission recommended that we not give PNTR to China at
this time. It sends the wrong message. We want to see substantial progress
in a range of categories.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that the gentleman you're sitting next to favors
giving China permanent normal trade relation status, is that correct?

SEN. BROWNBACK: That's correct. I think it's the best way for us to move
China forward towards more freedom, including religious freedom.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you make that clear to the members of the commission
when you held you hearings this week?

SEN. BROWNBACK: We discussed that issue some, but it was also in an
overall context of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You didn't make it clear what your own opinion was?

SEN. BROWNBACK: I don't think we discussed that at length at that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you have unanimity from the members of your commission
on this point?

MS. SHEA: Yes, we did, and we have a wide range of people. We have a
Catholic bishop, we have a Jewish rabbi, we have a Baha'i, we have a
Muslim on our group, Protestants, and everybody agreed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear the rationale of the senator for not
restricting trade relations, or denying them PNTR status, by reason of the
things that worry you?

MS. SHEA: Yes, and you know, the commission recognizes that in many of
China's neighboring countries that trade relations -- permit trade, normal
relations -- does open up countries politically. But we feel that to give
China this benefit at this time when there is such a sharp deterioration
in religious freedom now would send the wrong signal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Antisemitism exists in Russia. How bad is it and what
measures is the U.S. government taking to try to induce Russia to
eliminate antisemitism?

MS. SHEA: We're very concerned about antisemitism. It is rising, it's a
serious societal problem in Russia, and we're also concerned about the
religious registration law that requires all churches and all religious
groups to register or else be liquidated.

SEN. BROWNBACK: And that's the point of really what the commission is
looking at now, is Russia is setting the template for much of the Soviet
Union, and they're putting in these very restrictive religious laws, and
we don't want them to do it because if they do it, it's going to be
replicated in a number of areas.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Russia engaged in antisemitism -- I mean, that segment
of the Russian population -- because of scapegoating?

SEN. BROWNBACK: Who knows, really, what all the underlying factors are
that takes place in it, but it exists and it's pretty rampant within that
country, and I think we've got to continually speak up and say religious
freedom is a key right for everybody, regardless of what their faith is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have a concluding thought, quickly?

MS. SHEA: That we should continue to support the Smith Amendment tying our
aid to Russia to religious freedom.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks so much, Nina Shea and Senator Brownback.

SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you.

MS. SHEA: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Baha'i movement, and we can call that a religious
movement, that movement is key to the lives of 7 (million) to 8 million
people worldwide. There's terrible persecution of the Baha'is going on in
Iran, in Pakistan and, where, Russia?

MS. SHEA: There's some in Burma, I think some in Malaysia, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I know that the commission has focused on the
countries of China and Russia and Sudan and the more outstanding and
populated religions, but what about the Baha'is? You have a Baha'i member
on your commission, correct?

MS. SHEA: That's right. And we are going to be taking up Iran this next
report. We're very concerned about it because it's illegal to be a Baha'i
in Iran. It can be punishable by death. And they have killed 200 of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This goes to my point that where you have the Muslim
religion you do have a serious or more or less uncontrolled element of
aggression that comes to the fore that has a religious -- a
pseudo-religious origin that makes it almost beyond constraint. And this
is the case with the Baha'is. They cannot tolerate the Baha'is because
they're not from Islam.

MS. SHEA: It definitely is a -- they consider it a heretical sect, and
apostate, and, therefore, liable for death, have no rights under the

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was founded by an Iranian in, what, the 1860s? Is that

MS. SHEA: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And let's move on to Scientology. There's another --it's
called a cult, which is kind of a dismissive word, which almost invites a
certain amount of oppression, doesn't it?

SEN. BROWNBACK: It does, or regulation, in some countries. Where I get
concerned is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it is, to those who practice Scientology, a true

SEN. BROWNBACK: It is. And where I get concerned is, like the First
Amendment, when you start cutting somebody's speech out somewhere, I get
concerned anywhere about it. And I think you ought to look at this the
same way. What people choose to do with their own souls is their right,
and it should be protected.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, in Germany, the Scientologists take an
extra-heavy hit. Why do the Germans find Scientology so obnoxious? Do you

MS. SHEA: They don't consider it a religion, and I guess they feel
threatened by it. And I don't think governments, especially Germany,
should be in the business of saying, you know, what's a religion or not.
And I find it very disconcerting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you find that India is a religiously free country, or
does it also persecute Christians? Because I've read about Jesuits in
northern India who have been either slain or wounded and members of their
schools likewise, or communities.

SEN. BROWNBACK: You can read about a number of horrifying stories in
India. But I would put on your radar screen North Korea. I'm reading some
absolutely terrifying stories, and I've had in my office people who have
witnessed individuals who were told, "Renounce your faith or we're going
to pour this molten iron over your head and kill you." And they wouldn't
renounce their faith, and they witnessed people killed that way, with
poured molten iron on their head. I've read of stories of people having
road equipment run over people because they wouldn't deny their faith, you
know, and this is governments doing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is because communism cannot withstand anything that
looks like a conflicting hierarchy; correct?

MS. SHEA: That's right. And we're seeing that today in Vietnam, as well.
And they're particularly harsh with the independent Buddhist church, but
also Protestants and also some Catholics in the tribal villages in
Vietnam, plus the Hoa Hao, which is an indigenous religion similar to

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have some of your people from the commission been to

MS. SHEA: Some of them no doubt have, not as representing the commission,
but the commission has also met with delegations from Vietnam, delegations
of religious people who are oppressed, and that is one of the countries
that is on our list for next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I was in Saigon and in Hanoi about six months ago, and I
heard a little bit about the Buddhist persecution, but not as strongly as
you have put it. But apparently something is there.

SEN. BROWNBACK: The problem is, this is going on in so many places around
the world. And the beauty of what we're doing is it's finally starting to
get a little bit of focus, but it needs a lot more.


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