Freedom Church accused of radicalisation

Freedom cultHereford-based cult Freedom Church have been accused of radicalising university students in south Wales.

Swansea University have taken steps to ‘protect’ students from Freedom’s “cultic style of operation”.
Suspicions were raised when a parent contacted university authorities worried that their child had been inducted into a cult.

In a statement head of student services, Kevin Child, said, “Concerns have been raised by various organisations and individuals in Wales and elsewhere about the operational methods used by the Freedom Church to recruit members by targeting vulnerable members of society and their cultic style of operation”.

He went on to say: “Swansea University is committed to the protection of its students through its safeguarding policy and the UK Prevent agenda, which urges public bodies, including education institutions, to have a critical role in preventing extremism, terrorism and radicalisation.”

In response to these concerns the university removed 250 posters from around campus advertising the church and banned them from holding services on university grounds. The university is also working with other organisations around Swansea to ensure student safety while off campus.

You’d think that the Snowzell clan who run Freedom Church would have learnt from past misdemeanours. It’s only two years since they were caught handing out sweets at Whitecross School. But it appears that their recruiting tactics have moved from dishing out Smarties to school children to far more sinister methods.

One Swansea University student who is said to have been ‘damaged’ by their time in the church, claims that Freedom are now using a ‘profiling system’ in which existing members approach new members as friends and use conversation to collect personal details to use to target them in future.

All this is extremely worrying. These people are based in Hereford and are exporting their brand of fundamentalist Christianity around the world. They have now opened churches in Belgium, Cambodia and Uganda.

Recently the old Marian Fathers residential home on Holme Lacy Road has been acquired by the church and renovated for a considerable sum to create their ‘international headquarters’.

But questions are now being asked about Freedom Church; about their beliefs, about their methods and about the source of their funding. People are well aware of the threat fundamentalist religious groups like Freedom Church pose.

Don’t be fooled by the slick videos and their ‘down with the kids’ attitude. These people are a danger to young people.

As we have seen recently, religious radicalisation of impressionable people can end in tragic ways.

Luther Blissett

Religious fundamentalists target Hereford youth

There is growing concern amongst parents and youth workers in Hereford about the increasing influence of Christian fundamentalists on young people. In particular the growing influence of Freedom Church who, through the work carried out by their youth group 2XL, are being openly promoted and funded by Herefordshire Council, as seen with the free two-page advert in this month’s ‘Herefordshire Matters.’

Christian fanatics like Freedom Church hide behind the veneer of forward thinking, welcoming, new-age acceptability. But look beyond the shiny PR and you’ll find a group that disregards science in favour of ‘creationism’, thinks of contraception and homosexuality as unholy and believe that women should be subservient to dominant males. In all a narrow minded and unethical, fundamentalist cult.

Of course like all religious groups Freedom Church promote the work they do here and abroad as the positive work of god, and any youth work that 2XL is involved in is heavily regulated. But what many people are asking is how a church with such extreme views can get paid to deliver sexual health work in schools. How do they approach subjects like abortion, homosexuality and gender issues?

Freedom Church is not the only organisation causing concern. Questions are being asked about the work done by the Closed House in Hereford. What is the real agenda of these people? Are they simply trying to recruit more members? We have religious freedom in this country but we also have a duty to protect young people from the damaging influence of religious groups. We can only imagine the uproar if these groups were part of the Muslim faith.

We at Hereford Solidarity League believe there is no place for religion in education, but it should be up to every student, parent and teacher to decide who is involved in schools and youth groups.  Choices can only be made if groups like Freedom Church and Close House are forced to make it clear who they are and what they stand for.