State Panel studies church recruiting

Chicago Tribune/December 8, 1993

Illinois Senate Panel on Cults

The Illinois Senate Education Committee held a hearing on Dec. 7 in Chicago that exposed the fragile tension between religious freedom and protecting college students from harassment.The hearing, convened to consider what to do about non-traditional religious groups recruiting on campuses, was dominated by discussion of the International Church of Christ (formerly the Boston Church of Christ). Former members described the group as "abusive" and "destructive," and said that it employed "mind control."

"This is not a witch hunt," Sen. Frank Watson told a packed conference room. "We are not out after any particular group. But we think we have a responsibility to the young people of this state to make sure their environment . . . is one which could be considered a safe environment."

An elder of the church testified, "We're in a country that believes in religious freedom, and it's amazing to me the committee is even discussing all this in light of the recent law that was passed in Washington (referring to increased religious protection signed into law recently by President Clinton).

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