Has the French government declared war on religion?

So what you’re saying is that all those drugs we’ve been slipping into your food aren’t working, huh?

TomH: I guess what confused the matter was that the OP’s link said it had already been signed into law, when apparently it hasn’t. Otherwise, the system seems pretty straightforward.

Precisely correct.

Good point. I was trying to be cute rather than insulting, but I missed. My apologies for that, and also for cluttering up the thread.

Which I would have no problem with, except that this site states that "The law would create the offense of 'mental manipulation’which it apparently defines as “any activity with the goal or the effect to create or to exploit the state of mental or physical dependence of people …in order to …drive the person, against his will or not, to an act or an abstention”

If this is accurate then it seeems that the the RC church, by preaching that a person will likely suffer damnation as a result of not attending confession or communion, is undertaking an activity with the goal of driving a person to an act. Basically any religion that preaches that a person needs to perform certain acts or abstain from something in order to obtain salvation/nirvana/paradise/happiness is guilty of the crime of mental manipulation.

Note that their is no mention that the person be proven by a competent psychiatrist to be suffereing from a mental dependence. The state need only demonstrate an intent to create a mental dependence. Isn’t the basis of the vast majority of religion to create such a dependence. eg “Only through Christ shall you find happiness” type stuff?

The phrase “against his will or not” is very telling. Any legistlation that makes it a crime to use persuasion, as opposed to coercion, would be very dangerous IMHO.

Scientology. Never pass up a chance to irritate them. :smiley:

My reading of the Bill is that the “mental or physical manipulation” described in Art 1 must be accompanied by some other offence in order for the organisation to be dissolved. To that extent, it is not a new offence as such, but a criterion for determining the penalty for other offences. I imagine the sequence would be as follows:

  1. An organisation (or one of its directors) is convicted of one of the listed offences.

  2. The court determines whether or not mental or physical manipulation of the kind described in Art 1 was involved.

2A. If it was, then the organisation is dissolved under Art 1.

2B. If it was not, then the organistion is penalised according to the established penalty for that offence.

In other words, the organisation must have done something that is already a criminal offence in order to face dissolution under the law.

In English law, at any rate, various offences can be committed even if the victim consents. Assault is one example, though a tricky one, but there have been successful prosecutions for assault over consensual activity between adults. Similarly, employers can be prosecuted if their arrangements fail to meet various requirements of health and safety or employment law, even if the employees have agreed to the arrangements.

Presumably most people who are being psychologically manipulated, brainwashed or whatever, will demonstrate at least a simulacrum of consent so any law which is intended to address it will need to include a provision of this kind.
Thanks for the clarification, Collounsbury. I was confused by the distinction between personne morale and personne juridique. Do you know what it is?

Apologies for the delay. I think you are confusing a few phrases. Personne morale = personne civile, which is to say a legal entity. Personnalité juridique is a phrase which indicates that « la personne » has a judical or legal existance be it « morale/civile » be it « physique » (real physical person.). Or such is my understanding per my recollection of our civil code documents. One would be better served by someone properly trained in civil code and french.

Yes, but the phrase ‘mental manipulation’ is so vague, it an apply to any religion that appeals to youth. A degree of doctrination, coupled with a revelation, is necessary to have a person believe in what one is saying.

Yes. And if any organisation, religious or otherwise, is convicted of one of the offences listed in the Act, it could be wound up if the court is satisfied that it is engaged in psychological manipulation of the kind described. My guess is that the average French court is going to be much more likely to find against the Scientologists than against the Roman Catholic Church, but a law which exposed one while protecting the other would be fundamentally unjust.