International Cultic Studies Association
|Formation||1979, as American Family Foundation (AFF), renamed in 2004|
|Michael D. Langone|
|Steve Eichel, Carol Giambalvo, Michael Langone|
|Michael D. Langone, Carol Giambalvo, Edward Lottick|
The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a non-profit anti-cult organization focusing on groups it defines as "cultic" and their processes. It publishes the International Journal of Cultic Studies and other materials.
ICSA was founded in 1979 in Massachusetts as the American Family Foundation (AFF) — one of several dozen disparate parents' groups founded in the late 1970s by concerned parents. For a time it was affiliated with the Citizens’ Freedom Foundation (CFF) which later became the Cult Awareness Network (CAN). It also developed links with Evangelical Christian counter-cult movements such as the Christian Research Institute
ICSA's stated mission is ‘to study psychological manipulation, especially as it manifests in cultic and related groups.’ Michael Langone, ICSA's Executive Director, defines a cult as "a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control designed to advance the goals of the group’s leader, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community."
The American Family Foundation's early print magazine, The Advisor, was replaced by the Cult Observer and the Cultic Studies Journal in 1984.
Cultic Studies Review
Publication of the Cultic Studies Journal ceased in 2001 and the AFF began publishing the Cultic Studies Review as an Internet/online journal with triennial print editions. The final AFF published edition of Cultic Studies Review was released in 2005. Subsequent editions were published as the International Cultic Studies Association until 2010.
International Journal of Cultic Studies
The first print and online editions of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (IJCS) were published online in 2010. As a self-described "refereed annual journal that publishes scholarly research on cultic phenomena across a range of disciplines and professions",:i the IJCS is the first ICSA publication to advertise an editorial board.:ii
Edelman & Richardson (2005) state that China has borrowed heavily from Western anti-cult movements, such as ICSA, to bolster their view of non-mainstream religious groups, and so the support campaigns of oppression against them. In a previous article Richardson & Shterin (2000) had noted that in Russia, evangelic movements had borrowed Western anti-cult rhetoric – such as that of ICSA – to play on Russian government worries over religious minorities.
In their 2009 book, Cults and New Religions: A Brief History, sociologists Douglas Cowan and David Bromley describe the ICSA as a "secular anticult" organization. They point out that the ICSA provides no indication of how many of their so-called characteristics are necessary for a group to be considered "cultic." The checklist creators do not adequately define how much of certain practices or behaviors would constitute "excessive," nor do they provide evidence that any of the practices listed are innately harmful. Finally, Cowan and Bromley criticize the ICSA list as being so broad that even mainstream organizations such as Evangelical Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church, Buddhism and Hinduism fall within the criteria.
In 2005, the Hate Crimes Unit of the Edmonton Police Service confiscated anti-Falun Gong materials distributed at the annual conference of the American Family Foundation by staff members of the Calgary Chinese Consulate (Province of Alberta, Canada). The materials, including the calling of Falun Gong a "cult," were identified as having breached the Criminal Code, which bans the wilful promotion of hatred against identifiable religious groups.
- Richardson, James T.; Shterin, Marat S. (2000). "Effects of the Western anti-cult movement on development of laws concerning religion in post-Communist Russia". Journal of Church and State 42 (2): 247. doi:10.1093/jcs/42.2.247.
Another source of the Western anti-cult material have been "secular" anti-cult organizations, notably the French ADFI, the British FAIR (Family, Action Information and Resource; "R" used to stand for "Rescue"), the "old" CAN (Cult Awareness Network) and the American Family Foundation (AFF)
- Cowan, Douglas E. and Bromley, David G. ‘’Cults and New Religions: A Brief History.’’ Blackwell Publishing. 2009. Pages 4, 219-222. ISBN 978-1-4051-6128-2
- George D. Chryssides; Margaret Wilkins (10 May 2006). A Reader in New Religious Movements: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 360. ISBN 978-0-8264-6168-1. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "International Journal of Cultic Studies - International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)". Icsahome.com. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
- Dole, A. A. (1989). "Book review". Journal of Religion & Health 28 (3): 245–246. doi:10.1007/BF00987757.
- Langone, Michael. "History of American Family Foundation". Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- Peter Clarke (1 March 2004). Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-49970-0.
- Cults Questions and Answers Langone, Michael, 1988
- Langone, Michael (May 1984). "To the reader". Cultic Studies Journal 1 (1): 3.
- Langone, Michael (2002). "Introduction to Inaugural Issue". Cultic Studies Review 1 (1): 5.
- Wehle, Dana; Madsen, Libbe, eds. (2010). Cultic Studies Review 9 (1).
- Carmen Almendros; Dianne Casoni; Rod Dubrow-Marshall (2010). "About the International Journal of Cultic Studies". International Journal of Cultic Studies 1 (1).
- Edelman, Bryan; Richardson, James T. (2005). "Imposed limitations on freedom of religion in China and the margin of appreciation doctrine: a legal analysis of the crackdown on the Falun Gong and other "evil cults"". Journal of Church and State 47 (2): p243. doi:10.1093/jcs/47.2.243.
- Edmonton Police Report of Wilful Promotion of Hatred by Chinese Consular Officials against Falun Gong, Appendix 8 to "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China," By David Matas, Esq. and Hon. David Kilgour, Esq.
- International Cultic Studies Association official web site
- Critics and followers of Falun Gong: Adherents find fulfillment, but detractors call movement a cult, Vanessa Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, December 18, 2005
- Defining 'cults' is complex: Polygamists, former members speak out at Denver meetings, Deseret Morning News, Ben Winslow, June 24, 2006
- Combatants in Cult War Attempt Reconciliation: Peacemaking conference is held near Seattle, Don Lattin, Religion Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 2000