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Cult experts snubbed by archbishop

The Guardian, USA
May 17, 2004
Stephen Bates • Monday May 17, 2004

An ecumenical group that provides information and advice for families of people involved with religious and other cults has been dismayed by a decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury not to follow his predecessors by becoming its patron.


INFORM is a controversial cult information agency financed in part by an annual consultancy fee from British government.

It claims to provides objective information from a pluralistic, middle-of-the-road perspective, but has a tendency toward defending cults.

Founded and chaired by Eileen Barker (an agnostic). Ms. Barker is a board member of cult defenders organization CESNUR. Cult apologist Jeffrey K. Hadden‘s controversial memo was written on behalf of Eileen Barker and David Bromley

Inform, based at the London School of Economics, has had the active support of both Rowan Williams’ predecessors, George Carey and the late Robert Runcie, since its foundation 16 years ago. Among its other patrons are the moderator of the Free Churches’ Council, and Catholic and Greek Orthodox bishops.

Colin Slee, dean and provost of Southwark Cathedral and now the senior Anglican on Inform’s board of governors, was considering his position after Dr Williams’ decision.

Some senior members of the group suggested Dr Williams had been “nobbled” by Anglican evangelicals who disapprove of Inform’s consensual rather than confrontational approach to new religions.

Inform has a database of more than 2,000 cults to advise families concerned about the recruitment of their relatives.

A spokesman for the archbishop said he remained interested in the group and had donated 1,000 to help its running costs.

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