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Inform Online Event: Religions and Spiritual Movements: Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions

The next online Inform event will be taking place on Thursday 29th April, 5.30-7.30pm BST via Zoom. This will be the launch of the newest title in the Routledge Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements: Reactions to the Law by Minority Religions, edited by Eileen Barker and James T. Richardson. 

You can register to attend by making a donation through our website, at, or by emailing us at to book your place. If donating, please be sure to use the Paypal button at the bottom of the Upcoming Seminars page, not the Donate button at the top of the page. Once you register, you will receive a flyer which will enable you to purchase the book from the publisher at a 20% discount. Please note that the Inform office will not be stocking the book for sale.

For those who have already made a donation, thank you for your generosity! 

We will be joined by a panel of three speakers: 

Milda Ališauskienė, Department of Political Sciences at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania 

Mark Hill QC, The Open University Law School 

Marat Shterin, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London 

Their presentations will be followed by a chance for contributors to the volume to respond briefly to some of the issues raised, and then a general Q&A. 

About the book: 

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. 

Table of contents: 

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: Tenrikyo’s Response to Legal Environments in France – Masato Kato 

9 Strategies in Context: The Essenes in France and Canada – Marie-Eve Melanson and Jennifer Guyver 

10 Reactions to Legal Challenges by Aum Shinrikyo 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 Soryte 

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