Economic climate a breeding ground for cults - Sydney Morning Herald1 November 2011, 9:03 am
By Leesha McKenny RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
Global fears of economic or environmental upheaval feed the growth of gurus and damaging cults that prey on the weak, a visiting French government expert has warned.
Georges Fenech, president of France's Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviances, said it was working for greater international co-operation in dealing with sectarian abuses – with one in five French, or 12million people, affected in some way by a cult.
"We're going through an age where there are numerous crisis, whether it's financial, climatic, pandemic, and these create favourable basis where the gurus can work for their own benefit," he said.
Advertisement: Story continues below
The politician and former judge cited one instance where an Australian cult, the Order of St Charbel founded by the now-jailed "Little Pebble" William Kamm on the NSW South Coast, spread to France where members have since been imprisoned.
"So that proves there are no borders for that kind of group and that's why it's so important to have this kind of exchange and common vision between countries," he said.
The French government has a history of taking a strict line on monitoring what it considers negative “cultlike movements”. It has previously released a list of more than 170 groups deemed cults on the basis they met one or more of 10 characteristics.
"Some of these organisations anyway are huge organisations, like the Church of Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses, and of course these people are here [in Australia] as well."
more at http://www.smh.com.au/national/economic-climate-a-breeding-ground-for-cults-20111101-1mu6i.html