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?

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Thom Holwerda wrote on May 19th, 2006 at 8:49 AM PST:

For me it’s simple: I want a full 100% divide between state and church.

The problem with the US is that, even though law-wise there is a seperation between the two, in practice, this difference is fairly blurred. Look at how the religious ideas concerning same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. are preventing the US from moving into the 21st century to provide true freedom to its citizens.

So, while you say that the US leaves its citizens more free, I don’t think that’s really true. It might be on the level of dangerous sects like scientology (come on Eugenia, I didn’t expect you to give them an uppercase ’s’ ;) ), but overall, taking other religious things into account, this diffrence is far less clear.

Even though I want a full seperation between state and church, I do expect my government to protect its citizens against scams like scientology. Why? Because scientology is not a religion. You might as well call Star Trek a religion. I expect my government to make this call for people who themselves are mentally challanged or something. Intelligent people like me will make our own call.

See it like this: my government also keeps an eye on commercials and adverts in the media, to make sure they do not make false claims. Same for the medical world. It is then no weird thing to do the same for religions.

KCorax wrote on May 20th, 2006 at 2:50 AM PST:

For Greece specifically you are missing the kidnapping of an underage boy part of the story. The “center of philosophical studies” went well beyond financial scamm. Thankfully they did so quite early too.

As for complete freedom in culture, it falls in the same category as freedom in economy: a lawmaker will only let a system free if they believe that it will converge to a better state in the foreseeable future.
That said a lawmaker body is little more than an intuitive (read chaotic) decision maker whose actions are further impeeded by lobbies (attractors) . The design is not absurd, just very slow. Usually defined by the mean age of each parliament/senate etc.

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