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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/151522
- Cults and the law: a discussion of the legality of alleged cult activities
- Ogloff, James R. P.; Pfeifer, Jeffrey E.
- Recent news reports show that there is, yet again, increasing concern regarding cults and satanic cults. Among the concerns raised is the fear that cults may be engaging in illegal activity, including abducting and sacrificing humans. A survey was conducted in the United States and Canada to assess the attitudes of people regarding cults and satanic cults, and to identify those activities in which people believe cults engage. It is suggested that all religions began as 'cults' and a brief review of the law concerning the free exercise of religion demonstrates that several religious groups have been treated with suspect, and have even been referred to as cults (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons). Results from the survey are used to consider the extent to which the activities in which cults are thought to engage are legal. It is concluded that many of the activities in which cults are believed to engage are really mere beliefs that are protected by the first amendment. For those activities that are illegal, it is suggested that current laws are adequate to protect society from whatever harm people believe cults pose.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Vol. 10, no. 1 (Winter 1992), pp. 117-140
- Publication year
- FOR Code(s)
- 1701 Psychology; 1801 Law
- Cults; Demography; Fear; Human behaviour; Illegal activities; Legal activities; New religions; New religious movements; Public perceptions; Religion; Religious groups; Satanic cults; Satanism; Sociology
- John Wiley and Sons
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The copyright policy of the publisher allows the accepted manuscript to be reproduced here after a publisher-enforced embargo period.
- Peer reviewed