A Canada-based religious group shocked by its blacklisting in France
April 23rd, 2012
13, rue Vaneau
I am a Canadian citizen, President of the Essenia Foundation.
The Essenia Foundation is a Christian-Essene church incorporated under the « Religious Corporation Act » of Quebec (R.S.Q., chapter C-71). It is recognized as a charity since April 13, 2006 by the Canada Revenue Agency (Registration number:859930364RR0001).
I just found your 2010 report to Mr Francois Fillon, Prime Minister of France. On pages 84 and 85 of the report, you refer to the Essenia Foundation.
Among other things, you write: « The movement of the Essenes or Essenia Foundation […] pursues numerous associative and commercial activities on the basis of a doctinary message founded on apocalyptic theses. This movement is supported by a doctrine oriented towards a syncretic and eschatological trend with an apocalyptic and esoteric tendency of a New Age type. [..] Vigilance in regard to this group is motivated the use of numerous New Age topics, impregnated with references to end of the world theories and unfological themes. [..] This movement prophesises the end of the world for DECEMBER 12, 2012, DATE OF WINTER SOILSTICE »
As President of the Board of Directors of the Essenia Foundation, I vigorouslyopposeyour assertions and want to bring thefollowing clarifications:
– Contrary to what you forward, the Essenia Foundation does not teach, defend or promote any doctrine founded on « apocalyptic theses » or on « unfological themes. » We absolutely do not prophesy « the end of the world for December 21st, 2012 » as you pretend (or for any other date for that matter).
– These gratuitous statements are totally devoid of any basis; they are only the mere fruit of the imagination of your services. I wonder how such errors can appear in an official report of your agency to the Prime Minister of France
The Essenia Foundation is a Christian-Essene church, an ancient tradition having among its foundations the words of the Gospels and Jesus Christ. Our church is recognized in Canada, the USA and in Holland. The pastor Olivier Martin (whose author name is Olivier Manitara) is only one representative among others of our tradition.
Concerned by respect for the laws, the fundamental rights of each individual and preservation of human values indispensable to life on earth such as respect, brotherhood and wisdom, the Essenia Foundations condemns without any reservation and ambiguity the practices that are contrary to human dignity, to the integrity of the individuals and ownership of property. It works peacefully whilst prohibiting itself from any manifestation susceptible of interfering with public order or the authority of the State.
The Essenia Foundation is not what call a « Sect ». Our members are totally and perfectly free to leave our church or our teachings at any time, without being harassed in any manner whatsoever. We never impose on our members a dogma or a one-way thinking, and we respect the plurality of religious and philosophical beliefs. We never present to our members the thought or the work of any of our representative as the only expression of truth. We do not use any method of persuasion or manipulation that could undermine the free choice or the will of the individual.
The Essenia Foundation does not impose any particular lifestyle on its members, be it in their eating or other, and it does not engage them in any practice or speculation of sexual order. It defends family and in no way induces its member sot break with their family or social environment. It respects medicine and encourages its members to use it.
The Essenia Foundation is heir to an ancient tradition and its only aim is to pass on its traditional teachers and promote all the values of authentic Christianity: love of others, respect, tolerance, non-sectarianism, non-violence, family, human rights, and a peaceful and happy society. We venerate individual freedom, within the limit of the respect for the law and the freedom of others.
We disapprove of suicide and condemn all forms of violence, be they individual or collective. We reprove anti-Semitism and oppression of any minorities (religious, ethnic, racial, political, etc.). We advocate a democratic and pluralistic society, real human progress. We recognize that diversity is enrichment.
We encourage our members to be positive and beneficial actors for their family, those around them, their work and society in general. We induce them to raise children in non-fanaticism, non-sectarianism, openness to others and the world, happiness and joie de vivre. We condemn any breach to the laws on schooling and education.
To conclude, I am deeply astonished and concerned that a governmental agency of a country like France can write, without any verification whatsoever, such lies about organisation. I was never personally interrogated by your services and, to my knowledge; none of our members have been approached in that regard either.
I am a rational and sensible person and I feel profoundly insulted by the gratuitous and silly statements that appear in your report. Along with me, you are insulting and discrimination our members in the whole world. Know that we absolutely do not recogniseourselves in what you are saying about us.
Many of our French members have let us know about a distinctive feature of fighting against religiousfreedomand against freedom of conciseness. They havetold us about a real climate of « witch hunt, » that reeks of inquisition. I am today personally very sad to seeby myself that what they are saying is true and that unfortunately France can no longer say it that is the « country of human rights. »
Religiousfreedom is one of the foundations of Canadian society, and I am proud ofthat. I hope that through the appropriatecommunication you will make it so that your errors are rectified in the eyes of the French public. Otherwise, you would only prove to the world that your agency is an odious instrument of defamation, ostracism, and even incitement to hatred. Yet isn’t it the face of sectarianism that you are supposed to fight? Today is it prohibited in France to believe in God outside of the « official » religions?
In the absence of a favourable response from you, know that I will refer the case to our international lawyers.
Pier Antoine Marier
President of the Essenia Foundation and CEO
The President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy
The Prime Minister of France, Francois Fillon
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minster of Canada
The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Office of Religious Freedom
The Honourable Marc Lortie, Ambassador of Canada in France
The Honourable Charles H. Rivkin, Ambassador of the United States of America In France
The Honourable Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. State Department
The Honourable Heath Shuler, House of Representatives, Congress of the United States, Co-chair of the House International Religious Freedom Caucus
The Honourable Trent Franks, House of Representatives, Congress of the United States, Co-chair of the House of International Religious Freedom Caucus
Mrs.NavanethemPillay, High Commission for Human Rights, United Nations
Mr. William P. Mumma, President, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, USA
Mr. Jeffrey J. Teagle, International Association for Religious Freedom, United Kingdom
Rev OrlandaBrugnola IARF New York