n International Journal for Religious Freedom - Coercion in new religious movements

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2070-5484



The South African Constitution, in line with international standards, upholds the condition that participation in any religious practice must be free and voluntary. The belief in other countries that some religious groups (generally referred to as "new religious movements") are in violation of this condition seems to have been accepted in South Africa. This view became evident through the number of media reports over the past few years indicating that some alternative religious groups utilise unethical coercion methods to proselytise and maintain members. A means to address this issue is through a legal approach relying on the condition of religious freedom that no coercion may be used in religion. Other means such as dialogue with and information about these groups are proposed in order to resolve this issue. An ideal platform has been created for this by the South African Charter for Religious Rights and Freedoms.

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