The Belgian Parliamentary Commission on Cults submitted a report to the
Belgian Parliament in 1997. It identified 189 churches, sects, other religious
groups, and para-church organizations as "cults". The list covered a very wide
range of religious groups, including the Amish Mission in
Belgium, 2 Buddhist groups, Opus Dei (a
lay Roman Catholic group), 21 Evangelical Christian denominations, Quakers,
The Commission appeared to have adopted the fears of many Belgians with regards to
small or emerging religious groups. Pastor Jules Lambotte, head of the Amish Mission
commented: "In the minds of the population, all the churches which do not belong
to the United Protestant Church of Belgium, officially recognized by the state, are cults."
Samuel Liberek, head of the Association of Protestant Evangelical Churches in
Belgium commented: "We were not very happy to see that our churches, about 50 in
all, had been listed as cults. We were never asked to take part in the parliamentary
hearing, and didn't know that we had been filed by the police or the intelligence services
or that some of our former members might have complained about us at the Commission."
Two Buddhist institutes and the Roman Catholic church complained as well.
The Belgian Parliament adopted the report's conclusions and recommendations. However,
it neither approved nor disapproved of the list of "cults". Some of the
religious groups that were listed were:
The Quakers complained to the government at the Deputy Prime Minister level about their
inclusion on the list. They pointed out their their humanitarian aid programs in post
World War II Europe, and requesting to see the evidence against them which had been
presented to the Parliamentary Commission by the federal police in a closed session. They
This government panic about cults appears to have their foundation in the anti-cult and counter-cult movements in the US
and Canada, which started in the early 1970's, peaked in the 1980's and is now in rapid
decline. Like many religious and psychological hoaxes, this
movement has been exported to Europe, Russia and a number of English speaking countries.
It was given a major boost in credibility by the mass murder and suicide by members of the
Solar Temple destructive cult. The counter-cult movement has
succeeded in transferring the public's abhorrence of doomsday cults against all
small or new religious groups - both destructive cults and benign groups. All countries
without a wall of separation between church and state are
succeptable to this type of public and governmental panic.
"Belgian Government Labels Minority Religions 'Cults,'" Christians in Crisis
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