Threats to religious liberties in the EU
THE media across Europe have been running reports and features about sects and various religious groups, and discussions on the subject have involved national governments, the EU, state and non-state churches, and religious liberty and human rights organisations. It is significant that in the European Parliament most MEPs who have taken parts in debates about sects not only spoke against them but also expressed antagonism toward religious belief.
In some EU countries, notably Belgium, Greece, France and Germany, some churches and para-church groups, which are generally regarded as “evangelical”, have been classified as “sects”, and have consequently been harassed by these governments. Oliver Seguy, a French lawyer with the Paris Court of Appeals, has expressed the opinion that there is a serious threat to religious liberty in Europe today.
We agree with the English Churchman that “this European obsession with sects’ and cults’ is patently an attempt by Rome to justify persecution of Evangelicals and to distract attention from the fact that she herself is a great cult”. It is not surprising that the hand of Rome is to be seen in this new form of subtle persecution, for her hands have not ceased to be stained by the blood of a multitude of martyrs. Nor need we be surprised if our religious freedom in this country be curtailed. There are sufficient signs to indicate that we should be praying fervently for the preservation of our precious Protestant heritage and hard-won religious liberties.