European threats to freedom of religion, speech and assembly are very different from those in North America. In the U.S. and Canada, the main, concentrated attacks on new religious movements come from:
- The anti-cult movement (ACM). These groups target new religious movements, believing them to be largely criminal, mind-controlling, dangerous cults. The influence of the ACM has been in decline for a few years, partly because of. recent court rulings which have linked them to criminal activities. Law suites drove the largest ACM group, the Cult Awareness Network, into bankrupcy.
- The counter-cult movement (CCM). These groups are largely conservative Christian ministries which hold traditional, historical religious doctrines. They target fellow Christian faith groups whose theology deviates from their own. Although there are many hundreds of CCM groups, most are quite small and often target only a single non-orthodox faith group. Their influence is not great outside of the Evangelical Christianity community.
In much of Europe, there appears to a gradual improvement in religious freedom and tolerance. New religious movements are largely ignored. However the anti-cult movement appears to have taken hold in a few countries, notably: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Russia. Governments in these countries are now spreading the ACM message. They have inspired religious hysteria, mounted economic attacks on faith groups, and spread heavily biased religious propaganda.
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