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>> Interview:
Deutsche Welle with the director Michaela Kirst (mp3; 4,8MB)
(German)

© Deutsche Welle / Weltspiegel 2004

synopsis

Evangelical groups from the U.S.A. are on the increase worldwide. These “born-again” Christians stand for conservative beliefs like the abolition of abortion and the issue of abstinance from premarital sex. They also believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the forthcoming decisive battle of Armageddon. Through the dynamic of the political events after the attacks on September 11th they recognize the signs of their promise. Beginning in the U.S.A., these missionaries are carrying their literally understood message of the bible into the far reaches. Increasingly in central Europe.

More than 4000 evangelical groups surged to the Olympic Games in Athens. They saw the international gathering and the cosmopolitian demographic there as the perfect promotional platform for their message of salvation. Evangelical strategists purposefully make use of large sporting events, in order to reach as many people as possible. Fortunately the games already carry an air of spirituality (and holiness) in Greece. There is in fact a law prohibiting missionaries of other persuasions from evangelizing their beliefs in the Greek-orthodox stamped country.

American lobbyists decry such regulations. Methods which are considered normal in the U.S.A., would stigmatize religious groups, across the Atlantic, as “sects” very quickly. The communities feel constricted. Europe would be a “developing country” in so far as religious freedom is concerned. Since the “Freedom from Religious Persecution Act” of 1998, the enforcement of religious freedom has been announced as a foreign-policy goal of the U.S.A.

European states and churches keep the practice of separation. Christian American medias affirm that the French secret police spied on an Alsatian community in an aggressive way. In the Swedish town Borgholm, an evangelical preacher said, he didn`t do anything but preach the bible. But due to a new law protecting minorities, he was convicted to one month in prison because of his defamation of homosexuals. In both cases, U.S. lobbyists are fighting for a revision of the laws for the benefit of the radical Christians.

Is the growing political influence of the evangelicals in the U.S.A. also gaining more importance in Europe?

 

 


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