Mon Dieu! A French government official recently stated in an interview that cults are a "non-problem" in France and the merde has hit the ventilateur! The outcry has been very loud, particularly from the government, which considers cults to be very much a problem in France. They have issued several statements sharply criticizing groups like the Church of Scientology, but have stopped short of actually banning them.
The fellow was criticizing the government's stance from the position of religious freedom. Interestingly enough, the US government has also complained to the French government about its anti-cult statements, also from the position that they go against religious freedom. One also suspects that they're a bit less afraid of Tom Cruise than the neighborhood imam!
Maybe the answer would be to oppose certain cultish activities instead of opposing specific groups. For instance, religious organizations could be forbidden to require payment as a condition of membership or "enlightenment", to pressure members to break ties with their friends or family, or to harass non-members or "apostates". And perhaps they could lose their protected status for repeated violations, or be fined. Because it seems to me that the problem with these groups isn't their goofy sci-fi beliefs, as much as the way those beliefs seem to crowd out all other ideas in their members' heads.
What say you?