Monday, October 04, 2010

Media and Law Enforcement "Drinking the Kool-Aid?"

Julie Ingersoll of the University of North Florida has an interesting article in Religion Dispatches titled "Did We Drink the Kool-Aid in 'Suicide Cult' Disappearance?". The article looks at the way the media responded recently to the California Prayer Group which "disappeared" for a short period while the media and law enforcement feared the group would commit mass suicide. Ingersoll draws attention to the "suicide cult" template that the media and law enforcement are quick to view minority religions through and notes its connection to the anti-cult movement. Although Ingersoll's essay is missing the important distinction between the secular anti-cult movement which focuses on "deed not creed" and the evangelical "counter-cult" movement which focuses on doctrine, nevertheless it does point out the importance of understanding the framework from which new religions view the world, a framework that rarely conforms to the suicide cult template.

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