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1979 the Cult Phenomenon in the United States - Father James LeBar

1979 the Cult Phenomenon in the United States - Father James LeBar

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Published by Frederick Bismark
The Cult Phenomenon in the United States - 1979 - Joint-Congressional Proceedings, Chaired by Senator Bob Dole. IFORMATION MEETING ON THE CULT PHENOMENON IN THE UNITED STATES, February 5, 1979, 318 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Cult Phenomenon in the United States - 1979 - Joint-Congressional Proceedings, Chaired by Senator Bob Dole. IFORMATION MEETING ON THE CULT PHENOMENON IN THE UNITED STATES, February 5, 1979, 318 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

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Published by: Frederick Bismark on Sep 25, 2007
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The Cult Phenomenon in the United States (1979) ("Statement of James LeBar.")Joint-Congressional Proceedings,statements by Father James LeBarINFORMATION MEETING ON THE CULT PHENOMENON IN THE UNITED STATES, February 5, 1979,318 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. P.103-107. of Transcript ofProceedings. Note: Though written as "James La Bar" in transcript, official biopage lists as "James LeBar", and is correct spelling of name.Senator Dole. The next witness is Father James LaBar, Catholic priest of theArchdiocese of New York.I don't want to take away time from the witnesses, but we are under some timeconstraints because of other commitments. If anybody -- we have -- we are down tothe last two witnesses. Some of the panel would like to submit questions.If we can speed it up, it would be helpful.STATEMENT OF FATHER JAMES LA BAR.Mr. LaBar. Members of the Senate and the House, it is indeed a privilege to behere today. I hope that the points raised today by all the speakers will beconsidered very carefully.Speaking of the religious cults, it is important to make some basic definitions. Icertainly feel that the term "cult" can be applied to various offshoots ofestablished churches as well.I would have to disagree considerably that the term pseudo-religious cult isinappropriate, because the very idea of the First Amendment and religion, we haveto first determine was religion is.So I use the term pseudo-religious cults to describe those groups that purport tocall themselves a religious movement, but in fact are only using religion as ashield for their true purpose.Four basic characteristics I see in them:A close allegiance to a person rather than to God.An inordinate preoccupation with the attainment of money, which is not used forthe poor or charity, but for the enrichment of the leader.Deceptive practices in recruitment.And deprivation of freedom within the group, and in particular the lack of freedomwhen it comes time or a desire to leave the group because of what has been taught.I am sure that all of you know that the Roman Catholic Church has a high regardfor religious liberty. Together with the World Council of Churches, there iscommon agreement with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 thatreligious liberty, that is an immunity from coercion in religious matters, is aninviolable human right.There is agreement, too, that it is the duty of government to protect and promotehuman rights; and that includes religious liberty.I come to you today as an American citizen, a parish priest, a Catholic, withyears of experience in education, youth programs, and counseling. I come to tell
 
you there is great danger to our young people, to society as a whole in theactivities and some practices of pseudo-religious cults.I ask you today to consider the human rights of the children of many of yourconstituents. These young people have been enticed with false promises and emptyideals and their freedom has been taken away from them in a process you havealready heard described.That process is so subtle and so devious that the recruit is not even aware ofwhat happens.Oftentimes leaders of the pseudo-religious cults will try to equate theirpractices with some of our Roman Catholic seminaries and religious orders, but theabsolute falsehood of a charge like this is found in an examination of any of ourorders.Let me point out just one difference:Before a candidate for holy orders or the religious life is allowed to make apermanent commitment or accept ordination, a period of years must elapse. Duringthat time, the constant questioning of the individual's own motives and his or herrealization of the importance of such a step must take place.Often the director or the novice master will almost try to dissuade them fromcontinuing in the order.Constant reflection is needed and frequent review of the candidates progress ismade. Contrast this with the instant membership, the deceit, the empty idealspromised the pseudo cult recruit.The government has no buisness investigating religion. Everybody opposed to thecults will agree readily to this statement.But when the practices of any group deprives the individual of basic human rights,then as the 1965 Vatican Council II Declaration on Religious Liberty states,"Society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on thepretext of freedom of religion."A court order today can give a blood transfusion to a minor whose parents professthe faith of Jehovah's Witness. The Mormons were required to give up polygamy as acondition for joining the Union.Both of these examples show how society, that is government, can step in when itis needed for public order, public morality, and the respect of the rights ofothers.It is not the province of the government ot declare that the Unification Church isnot Christian. Both the National Council of Churches, their Faith and OrderCommission, and the Catholic Church have come to that conclusion and stated itpublicly on several occasions.Others can determine whether hari krishna is true Hinduism or not; but not thegovernment, not the Catholic Church, not the Judiasm. But the government caninvestigate the practices of any group, pseudo-religious or others, that has upsetthe public order.We must not be misled or hesitant because a certain group hides under the mantleof religious movement. It is important, doubly so in such cases, to protect the

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