1st Edition

Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions

Edited By Eileen Barker, James Richardson Copyright 2021
    256 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Much has been written about the law as it affects new and minority religions, but relatively little has been written about how such religions react to the law. This book presents a wide variety of responses by minority religions to the legal environments within which they find themselves.

    An international panel of experts offer examples from North America, Europe and Asia demonstrating how religions with relatively little status may resort to violence or passive acceptance of the law; how they may change their beliefs or practices in order to be in compliance with the law; or how they may resort to the law itself in order to change their legal standing, sometimes by forging alliances with those with more power or authority to achieve their goals. The volume concludes by applying theoretical insights from sociological studies of law, religion and social movements to the variety of responses.

    The first systematic collection focussing on how minority religions respond to efforts at social control by various governmental agents, this book provides a vital reference for scholars of religion and the law, new religious movements, minority religions and the sociology of religion.

    1 Fight, Flight or Freeze? Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions

    Eileen Barker

    2 Stand Up For Your Rights: (Minority) Religions’ Reactions to the Law in Estonia

    Ringo Ringvee

    3 Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Law: "Caesar’s Things to Caesar, but God’s Things to God"

    Tony Brace

    4 Scientology Behind the Scenes: The Law Changer

    Eric Roux

    5 No Stranger to Litigation: Court Cases Involving the Unification Church/Family Federation in the United States

    Michael L. Mickler

    6 Legal Challenges Posed to the Unification Church in Europe: Perspectives from a Unificationist Advocate for Religious Freedom

    Peter Zoehrer

    7 The "Doukhobor Problem" in Canada: How a Russian Mystical Sect Responded to Law Enforcement in British Columbia, 1903–2013

    Susan Palmer and Shane Dussault

    8 Making Sense of the Institutional Demarcation: Tenrikyō’s Response to Legal Environments in France

    Masato Kato

    9 Strategies in Context:Tthe Essenes in France and Canada

    Marie-Ève Melanson and Jennifer Guyver

    10 Reactions to Legal Challenges by Aum Shinrikyō and its Successor Organisations

    Rin Ushiyama

    11 Religious Persecution and Refugees: Legal and Communication Strategies of the Church of Almighty God in Asylum Cases

    Massimo Introvigne and Rosita Šorytė

    12 Minority Religion Reactions to the European Court Of Human Rights

    Effie Fokas

    13 Minority Religions Respond to the Law: A Theoretical Excursus

    James T. Richardson


    Eileen Barker, FBA, FAcSS, OBE, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the London School of Economics, UK. She has spent the past five decades studying minority religions and social reactions to them. In 1988 she founded Inform in order to help enquirers with information that is as reliable, balanced, contextualised and up-to-date as possible. She has over 400 scholarly publications and is series editor of the Routledge Inform book series.

    James T. Richardson is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada, USA. He is a sociologist with legal training and has been researching new religious movements for five decades. He is the author of over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals and chapters in edited collections. He has been a Fulbright Fellow in the Netherlands and a Rockefeller Scholar at the Bellagio Center in Italy as well as being an invited guest of universities in Europe, Australia and China.

    "With its broad scope, the publication is an ideal starting point for everyone interested in this specific chapter of the history of religions and the more general question of how religions and state authorities get along."

    - Franz Winter, University of Graz