Media consumers are trained to fear alternative spirituality perpetuating a cycle of governance which is reflected at an individual and institutional level. At best this leads to media consumers who self-censor their spiritual yearnings and at worst to spiritually repressive cultural environments like that of France, where the media, anti-cult movement and government policies have made it almost impossible to meet as a group to practise any form of alternative spirituality without facing huge amounts of discrimination and bigotry.
Sociologist Lonnie Griffin suggests that only 1% of new religions receive coverage in the mainstream media. If rather than attacking spiritual minorities by framing them as dangerous and illegitimate groups to create sensationalised news stories, the media instead published accounts of positive and socially beneficial experiences from the other 99% of new religious movements, then the wider public would have a much more balanced view of the spiritual alternatives to major religious denominations. Until that happens, which seems unlikely, the media will remain a weapon of propaganda for those in the world who would seek to restrict our spiritual freedoms.
- Shupe, Anson (1998) “The Role of Apostates in the North American Anti-Cult Movement” in the Politics of Religious Apostacy, D. Bromley, Ed., pp. 209,212-213, Westport, CT, Praeger; Palmer, S.J. (1998) “Apostates and Their Role in the Construction of Grievance Claims against the Northeast Kingdom Community Church,” in the Politics of Religious Apostacy, Id. at p. 198.
- Journalists’ Attitudes toward New Religious Movements, James T. Richardson and Barend van Driel, Review of Religious Research, Vol. 39, No. 2, Special Issue: Mass Media and Unconventional Religion (Dec., 1997), pp. 116-136
- Wright, Stuart, “Leaving Cults: The Dynamics of Defection” 1987, and Barker, Eileen, “Defection From the Unification Church: Some Statistics and Distinctions,” 1988
- Wright, Stuart A. (December 1997). “Media Coverage of Unconventional Religion: Any “Good News” for Minority Faiths?”. Review of Religious Research 39 (2): 101–115. doi:10.2307/3512176.JSTOR 3512176.
- The Herald Sun – Australia August 16, 2009, Rein in Family cult – article no longer online