Fact checking: The stigmatization of the Christian Open Door and evangelicals

Updated on May 10, 2020

The live #OnEstEnsemble carried out a fact checking exercise to counter the stigmatization of the Christian Open Door.

Hlast night, in a live on YouTube, a counter-investigation was conducted by #OnEstEnsemble, following the "Media surge" and the wave of violence that followed on social media. Under the direction of Eric Célérier and alongside Samuel and Jonathan Peterschmitt, and Nathalie Schnoebelen, experts, journalists, representatives of religions and other witnesses have followed one another for a brilliant exercise of fact checking.

Because according to the initiators of this project, there were indeed five fake-news in all the hype around the church gathering the Christian Open Door from February 17 to 21. Five fake-news clearly stated by Éric Célérier, and proven by many experts, specialists and witnesses.

Fact checking 1: Evangelicals are not a sect

Eric recalled that in the media, evangelicals are often called “evangelists”. He therefore wanted to give the floor to Sebastien Fath, sociologist, historian, researcher at the CNRS. The latter explained who are the evangelicals in the world, "the most common expression of world Protestantism". These 640 million Christians put "the accent on the local community of converts" and "evangelization around a God who saves, who heals, who restores", to which "is added a social control and a militant dynamic between model of the Providence Church, united and redistributive, and sometimes also sectarian drifts ”.

“In France, it should be noted that these evangelicals have reached the threshold of 1% of the population. Driven by multipolar and local dynamics, this evangelical Protestantism is the expression, among others, of emerging civil societies that challenge political monopolies, economic monopolies and confessional monopolies inherited from the past. "

Nathalie Schnoebelen, communication director of the Porte Ouverte Chrétienne, evokes suspicions linked to a lack of awareness of the religious fact.

“When we do not know the religious fact well, when we do not know the Evangelicals well, when we do not know much, it is suspect. And the Open Door, as after the evangelical Christians became suspect. "

She also deplores a "dissonance" between the discussions with journalists and the articles and reports that followed.

“And we realized with the journalists that when they came among us, their approach was honest. Then, when we saw the articles, or when we watched the reports, there was a sort of dissonance between what we had been able to share with them and what was later reported in the report. For example, we understood that after the editing, the one who presented had really harsh words that we did not necessarily find in the report, or the headlines of articles, which had nothing to do with the body. of the article. So we understood by that that they were certainly coming to create a buzz, some of them. "

Jonathan says he is completely in tune with these words and evokes meetings with "extremely interesting people, extremely interested, with most of the time a very good contact, but sometimes with the impression that there was in the end the drafting. or the expression of an illustration of something […] that did not reflect at all what we had discussed at the time of the interview ”.

"And that I must say that it was something quite frustrating and destabilizing since honesty does not necessarily end up to the reader".

Fact checking 2: The Christian Open Door has not been negligent

The investigation recalls as such, that at the time of the rally, on February 18, 300 meters from the church, President Macron made a trip on the theme of religious communitarianism and took a walkabout for 1 hour 30 minutes, without precaution.

An excerpt from an interview with Samuel Peterschmitt is then shown. The pastor explains:

“A doctor came in and said, 'But Mr. Peterschmitt, you can't take this on yourself. You couldn't know. Nobody knew'. […] We had guarantees in France that there really was no chain of contamination yet. "

Thierry Le Gall, pastor and director of the pastoral service of the CNEF, then recalls that at that time the words of a senator and a prefect "suggested that the church of Mulhouse was responsible for this distribution, while , once again, the investigation will prove it I think, but once again, the organizers of this event are victims of this pandemic, as were others in the Lyon region, in the north or in the Oise ".

The counter-inquiry then quotes an article from FigaroVox which recalls the words of the director of La Vie.

"The director of the weekly La Vie considers that the lawsuit brought against the participants of the Christian rally in Mulhouse, in particular by Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Sunday, is unjustified, because at the same time the municipal elections or the football matches were also maintained. "

A football match where 57 spectators were present.

"It is extremely eloquent", concludes Éric Célérier, "Jonathan is reproached for having gathered 2500 people in the same place while more than 57 people were gathered, later, without any barrier gesture".

Jonathan Peterschmitt that at this time "no one was aware".

“There was no alert at the time. So we had a functioning which is that of a completely normal community. We did not have barrier gestures, quite simply because there were no barrier gestures at that time. "

Fact Checking 3: The Christian Open Door is not the cause of the spread of the virus in France

Nathalie Schnoebelen then highlights the publication made by economist Liliane Held-Khawam on her site, which reports the case of an inhabitant of Colmar, tested positive for Covid-19 in December 2019. The economist also recalls the many "comings and goings between Colmar, Mulhouse and Wuhan", but also the reception of many tourists Chinese "thanks to a reality TV show which took place in a restaurant in Colmar and which has been viewed 2 billion times" which has created a "very attractive effect on this region". Finally, she notes the many tourists at the Colmar Christmas market.

Nathalie remembers the expert's words, and wonders, "why has no one raised the alert before?" ".

“And she said to me: 'but the coronavirus, it was already circulating long before'. And I wonder, but why has no one raised the alert before? We were the first to sound the alarm. So what would it have been like if we hadn't sounded the alarm? "

Fact checking 4: La Porte Ouverte Chrétienne followed government guidelines

On March 22, a neighbor of the church posted a photo on social media. Under the caption “inadmissible !!! really this is incredible ”, a new accusation, the Open Door would maintain its gatherings.

Yet Nathalie Schnoebelen affirms it, these 5 cars, parked in a parking lot that can hold 450, were those of church employees, who came to their workplace to spread the worship online, as recommended by the sub-prefect.

But the damage is done, and social networks are on fire. Thierry Le Gall mentions “slanderous, defamatory” remarks, “even incitement to hatred against the evangelical community in the broad sense”.

Benjamin remembers this difficult time.

“It's hard, it hurts when you hear it, it hurts when you read it. It worries me for my relatives, for my children. When I'm at the table and I get an anonymous phone call and the person on the phone calls me names when I see my kids eating next to me, it's something that hurts a lot. But at the same time I took a lot of distance from it because I understood that these people were potentially people who themselves were suffering, people who were afraid, people who had lost loved ones, people in mourning. "

Fact checking 5: The Christian Open Door did not spread death

The counter-inquiry cites the statistical and health modeling sent to the Scientific Council. Jean-François Delfraissy, chairman of this board then explains:

“I remind you that France could have found itself more or less in the situation of Germany, and that we unfortunately had the Mulhouse episode which completely spread the virus. Otherwise we would probably be in German conditions now. "

Bruno Studer, president of the Commission for Cultural Affairs and Education, questions Jean-François Delfraissy on this subject.

“Mr. Delfraissy, you said that there was a great heterogeneity in the territory, between the Regions and the way in which they are affected by the virus. We have also been able to wonder a lot about the comparative situation between France and Germany and I know that the press echoed a statistical and health model which was submitted to the Scientific Council two days ago. believe. And according to this study, without the religious gathering that took place near Mulhouse, France would ultimately experience a situation similar to that of Germany. namely four times fewer deaths. How do you welcome this study and what can it say for the future? "

The president of the Scientific Council answers:

“It’s true that we really have the impression that the changeover took place somewhat with the Oise, but that it was finally relatively under control. But we really switched to something else with Mulhouse. "

But Éric Lemaître, socio-economist and expert in statistics, specifies "that it is always necessary to contextualize the information".

“This type of model is actually peremptory in the way it has been expressed because it does not rely on epidemiological surveys of infected patients. This model lacks information and data collection in the field. […] When it comes to Germany, we can see that Germany and France have different health policy measures. "

The counter-investigation is then based on a report by White Brut which compares Germany and France. He mentions the massive screening carried out in Germany after the discovery of the first case, in order to limit the spread of the virus. At the time of this survey, between 300 and 500 screenings were carried out there per week, while in France 000 tests are carried out every day at the end of March. Regarding hospitals, Germany has 20 intensive care beds, including 000 with ventilators, when France had 28 on March 000. In relation to the number of inhabitants, "the number of hospital beds per inhabitant is twice as high".

For Éric Célérier, this “stacking of fake-news leads to persecution”.

You can see, or re-see below this counter-investigation, which already has nearly 40 views.


To learn more about this topic, also read:

I defend !

Interview with Samuel Peterschmitt: "I see the real demonstration of faith in these bereaved believers, these sick believers"

Testimony of Samuel Peterschmitt: “My healing is not the result of higher faith. It's just the grace of God ”

Coronavirus: The Porte Ouverte Chrétienne church in Mulhouse takes stock of the gathering at the source of contamination

Released from the hospital, Samuel Peterschmitt addresses in a moving video message to the Christian Open Door Church

Double penalty for the Christian Open Door of Mulhouse

The Porte Ouverte Chrétienne answers questions about its gathering from February 17 to 21

Thierry Le Gall: "The Porte Ouverte Chrétienne church is a victim of the pandemic"

Christians multiply messages of support for the Christian Open Door



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