France Attacks Christianity

(AgapePress) - Baptist and evangelical church leaders say a controversial new law on religion in France may not be the threat to religious liberty that some critics had feared.

The new French law is intended to restrict the activities of religious cults deemed "dangerous"- among them the Church of Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses. But Baptist Press has learned that the Southern Baptist Convention is not on the list, as was once widely reported. The French are apparently trying to cope with the new religious diversity in the country, which is part of Anglo-Saxon culture but not French.

Stephen Pacht is the chief of station for Jews for Jesus in Paris. He says France is a tough place for evangelicals. "We've got a situation where the secular state is not very positive toward church, and the church which is considered official [the Catholic Church] does not regard the evangelical church as being a genuine Christian church," he says.

Pacht says since the French Revolution centuries ago, France has had a secular culture, which makes it difficult for the church. "It's an officially secular country," he explains. The revolution was a revolution against the royalty and against the church, so there's there been this long historical opposition to the church. The Catholic Church has been in decline."

Pacht says it is particularly difficult for evangelicals because they can be labeled sects by both the secular government and the Roman Catholic Church.

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