Archive for May 19th, 2006

Unbound freedom or community protection?

I was reading an interview of the 33-degree Freemason Akram Elias who was discussing the differences of seperation of Church & State in USA and Europe. From the article:

As we speak, in Europe, in European democracies, including France and Germany, discussions are ongoing regarding the Church of Scientology. Governments are discussing is this is a church is as legitimate religion or is it one of those cults or sects? The reason they are debating that in Europe, if they find that it’s a cult, then it will no longer be able to benefit from certain rights and privileges that a recognized church or religion would. In this country, we don’t have this.

This made me think: who’s doing the right thing? USA or Europeans? In my own country, Greece, Scientology has already being ruled as “immoral and a scam”, and I personally think that this was a fair judgement. But here’s the thing: does the government or the judges have the right to jump the gun and investigate new religions/sects and deem them “good or bad”, even if no one have complained about them yet? The way France goes about it is that they consider sects as scams and so they try to protect their citizens and community before things get escalated. USA on the other hand gives full freedom to the individuals to join anything they want and only start investigating or prosecuting these sect organizations IF an individual or more actually brings up a lawsuit or there is strong evidence of unlawful procedures going on in the sect. But when that happens it means that someone has already been hurt.

On one hand we have a government that is protective of its community and on the other hand we have a government who gives full freedom to everyone. Who’s right and who’s wrong here? From one side I like USA’s way of giving freedom to everyone, but on the other hand I keep thinking that France and Greece did the right thing about exposing obvious scams and have probably already saved lots of people by doing so. My JBQ says that it’s simply a difference in culture more than anything else. What do you think?