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UK Teen Cited For Calling Scientology a "Cult"

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-it-is dept.

Censorship 995

An anonymous reader writes "A 15-year-old in the UK is facing prosecution for using the word 'cult' to describe the Church of Scientology at an anti-Scientology demonstration in London earlier this month. According to the City of London police at the scene, the teen was violating the Public Order Act, which 'prohibits signs which have representations or words which are threatening, abusive or insulting.' There's a video of the teen receiving the summons from the City of London police at the demonstration (starting about 1 minute in), and now he's asking for advice on how to handle the court case."

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995 comments

The first problem is (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487842)

naming an act the "Public Order Act."

The next thing London will do is put up posters saying that you are secure beneath the watchful eyes [samizdata.net] .

Perhaps they thought Orwell was writing an instruction manual?

Open source governance (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488122)

This is why we need open source governance [wikipedia.org] .

If you help get the Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] established, then it will be up to the people to decide how the people are governed. Weird concept, I know.

Protester now faces harrasment. (5, Interesting)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488134)

Indymedia has a good article about this [indymedia.org.uk] . The protester, ironically, was objecting to "Fair Play", which is essentially harassment of any and all perceived foes. The citation identifies him and now he faces the same retaliation he objected to.

Re:Protester now faces harrasment. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488294)

that's not what "ironic" means.

Re:The first problem is (1)

Kligat (1244968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488240)

Oh, I have an idea. They can call them "the London Eyes," which will conjure up fond memories of the giant Ferris wheel they have there when the appropriate imagery is used. That way they can run 'public service' ads once every commercial break.

Each of them will start with a child riding on the London Eye, and beneath him large explosions rock the city beneath him while a loud, intimidating voice reminds the audience of the consequences of losing the War on Terrorism. The ad raises the question of just how much the privacy proponents are being warped by terrorist propaganda by warping their talking points to look similar.

The focus zooms into the child's frightened eyes as the first explosion happens, and the child's joyous face where everything changes into rainbows and butterflies when the ad changes to "if you prevent this atrocity from happening by supporting the Terrorism and Radicalization Prevention Act."

There could also be an "if you don't" part where they show the child carrying an AK-47 and wearing a turban. It ends with the image of the child on the Ferris wheel beneath a rainbow transposed onto another Ferris wheel with the eye in the center, with the first image fading away.

It ends with "The London Eye is watching out for you." I really don't think anyone that says it resembles Big Brother would stand a chance with the imagery from before, even with the 5 second message at the end.

Once again (5, Insightful)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487848)

Once again, what would seem a basic 'right' is being brutally oppressed by an organization under the cloak of 'religion'. I wonder just how much longer this will continue? Until we are all 'clears' or cleared out of our money from the lawsuits?

Re:Once again (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488236)

Well, when an organsation's income through its usual venues start to dry up, they turn for the courts to milk unwilling and/or casual bystanders.

For reference, see SCO, RIAA...

Whats the difference? (5, Insightful)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487858)

Whats the difference between religions and cults? As far as I can tell they really are the same thing.

Re:Whats the difference? (5, Insightful)

Soporific (595477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487878)

The number of people following them is all.

~S

Bizarreness matters too (1, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488204)

I'd also say that cults tend to have more bizarre / possibly insane aspects to them. Am I the only one who remembers Tom Cruise saying he was going to eat the placenta after Suri was born?

Re:Bizarreness matters too (3, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488226)

Eating placenta is a ritual in some cultures. And it is par for the course among many mammals.

Re:Whats the difference? (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487940)

The difference is this: a cult is an unpopular religion whereas religion is a popular cult.
 

Re:Whats the difference? (5, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488168)

I agree wholeheartedly. Christianity, and especially Islam would be seen as completely psychotic if they were not several thousand years of tradition surrounding these religions, and countless reforms to make them remain relevant in our technologically advanced world. Christianity has changed especially in its nature drastically over the last century alone. It just seems normal to us.

That doesn't make it any less a cult. Its still hurting us collectively.

You should watch this video on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVuw1wEuaAQ [youtube.com]

And there are a series of videos on Youtube by a guy called Thunderf00t that is very intelligent about this topic.

Re:Whats the difference? (4, Informative)

chartreuse (16508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488318)

Christianity, and especially Islam would be seen as completely psychotic if they were not several thousand years of tradition surrounding these religions, and countless reforms to make them remain relevant in our technologically advanced world.
"Several" thousand years would seem to overstate the matter. Muhammad was born around 570, and we apparently date the Gregorian calendar beginning with some guy in year 0 or something, around 2008 years ago.

A world-spanning religion based on ancient Egyptian religion, now that would be millennia.

Re:Whats the difference? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488002)

Whats the difference between religions and cults? As far as I can tell they really are the same thing.
Perhaps Robert J. Lifton [wikipedia.org] can explain to you the difference between a church and a cult.

Re:Whats the difference? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488006)

A cult turns into a religion once nobody is alive anymore that knows the founder. It makes it easier to deify the guy who thought it's neat to be god.

Re:Whats the difference? (5, Interesting)

cynicsreport (1125235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488022)

Whats the difference between religions and cults? As far as I can tell they really are the same thing.

A religious cult, to the best of my understanding, shows the following features:
1) Is widely accepted to be a cult by those not involved. [like Scientology]
2) Is secretive regarding the beliefs of its members. [like Scientology]
3) Is secretive regarding the hierarchical organization of its members. [like Scientology]

To me, #3 is most concerning, and the best way to be labeled as a religious cult. Notice that almost all 'mainstream' religions are not guilty of #3 (e.g., the Catholic buck stops at the Pope), and rarely guilty of #2 (e.g., Muslims can point to the Koran), and also rarely guilty of #1.

Re:Whats the difference? (3, Informative)

dotgain (630123) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488256)

Speaking as a man who had a pretty hefty dose of having to learn about Cult Mind Control while I did my damndest to save my wife from the Jehovah's Witnesses, I would say this this is pretty accurate, but would add:

4) Works to create tension and mistrust between the new-guy and his unbelieving / skeptical family and friends. [like Scientology]
5) Often attempts to exhaust the person physically during the induction, 2AM knocks on the door etc. to defeat their mental defences

Re:Whats the difference? (5, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488280)

I think this characteristic:

4) In order to easier manipulate them, it will try to weaken the members by severing their ties with their families and friends.

is extremely important, for the devastating consequences it has.

Re:Whats the difference? (3, Funny)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488046)

Well, as I worship the flying spaghetti monster, I consider anything else to be a cult. The Christian cult, the Atheist cult, the Agnostic cult, Hindu's, Buddhists. Damn cults. I have to do battle every day.

Re:Whats the difference? (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488054)

Whats the difference between religions and cults? As far as I can tell they really are the same thing.

If you have any of the following, you are a cult:

* Funny underwear
* Funny hat/cap worn in open
* Weird spiritual machines
* Don't allow your kids to go to "secular" doctors even if dying

(Oh wait, I think Emacs zealots qualify :-)
       

Re:Whats the difference? (2, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488086)

Whats the difference between religions and cults? As far as I can tell they really are the same thing.
Cult = Small unpopular religion
Religion = Large Popular cult.

Cult is a root in cultivate, where all religions were at one point cults. However in popular use cults tend to benefit a majority of people, where religious are institutions whose goal is to benefit society. I'm not saying that their methods always benefit society, but that's the ideal. Also cults tend to be secretive. For example, you ask a Christian their beliefs, they'll tell you they believe in a guy who walked on water, healed the sick, turned water into wine, and rose from the dead. You ask a cult their beliefs and practices and they won't answer you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSS178Q-4eo [youtube.com]

You'll note that Tommy Davis never answered what Scientology beliefs in, only the "benefits". He also lied about OT3 involving Xenu.

Also they are not mutually exclusive. One can have a religion which is a cult.

Re:Whats the difference? (1)

TheDeivix (1090291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488166)

Also religions seem to use more subtle and slow methods for brain washing, cults generally try to get more dramatic results quicker.

Re:Whats the difference? (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488230)

Here is an informative description of a cult that I tend to agree with: http://www.rickross.com/faq.html [rickross.com]

Re:Whats the difference? (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488316)

Cults tend to deal in mind control to retain their members. Religions are largely voluntary.

This could be just what we needed (4, Interesting)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487860)

The boy will surely be let off, but not before the whole world hears--and SEES--the story.  All that will do is draw attention to the protest.

I predict: Score 1 for the good guys.

The only way this could be worse for Scientology is if the boy turns up dead anytime soon.

Re:This could be just what we needed (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488150)

If anyone's interested in knowing about the "Church" and its abuses, Anonymous, or the protests in general, Anonymous has a great page on Why We Protest [whyweprotest.net] .

Re:This could be just what we needed (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488210)

Last time when someone critical of Scientology turned up dead [tbo.com] , police was happy to believe he committed suicide, even though he had given no prior signs (nor had any reason to) kill himself.

You know that Scientology has infiltrated the police in the US in some cities?

Re:This could be just what we needed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488248)

Much like Christianity has dominated the police in nearly all US cities?

Re:This could be just what we needed (1, Redundant)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488326)

That's a straw man argument (i.e. designed to derail the conversation), because Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists (you have members of all those religions in the police in the US) are not members of a cult that also resembles a criminal organization. However, the great majority of Slashdot patrons are way more sophisticated than that and will see through your puny attempt.

I've got an idea (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487862)

Let's protest a "cult" by all wearing strange masks and chanting the same mantras over and over!

HAR HAR HAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487864)

Ill do you one better! They are a cult of bat shit r-tards!

But... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487868)

what happens if a real cult actually comes along (if it's not already)? If Hitler was cloned and tried to take over again, you'd go to jail for pointing it out and shouting "Warning, Hitler 2!"

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488014)

what happens if a real cult actually comes along (if it's not already)? If Hitler was cloned and tried to take over again, you'd go to jail for pointing it out and shouting "Warning, Hitler 2!"
I'd argue that Scientology is a real cult.

Re:But... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488088)

So there can be only one?

Re:But... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488136)

Yup, Godwin's Law is now actually a law.

Not censorship (0)

trainsnpep (608418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487888)

Why the heck is this tagged censorship? There's a law against insulting signs. Would this still be tagged censorship if it were the Conservative Party instead of Scientology?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Scientology. I'm just saying, be fair.

Re:Not censorship (2, Interesting)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487962)

Why the heck is this tagged censorship? There's a law against insulting signs.
So you're of the opinion that declaring something illegal is not ever under any circumstances a form of censorship?

Re:Not censorship (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488100)

What is insulting about it? I may not call some self proclaimed church a cult? Where is the insult?

Re:Not censorship (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488258)

Every church is self proclaimed.

Bert

Re:Not censorship (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488108)

Exhibit A:

Why the heck is this tagged censorship?

Exhibit B:

There's a law against insulting signs.

...?

Re:Not censorship (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488190)

Would this still be tagged censorship if it were the Conservative Party instead of Scientology?
And why shouldn't it be so?

Re:Not censorship (2, Interesting)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488218)

There isn't a law against insulting signs as such - the public order act is one of those vague laws allowing an officer to ticket you for something likely to cause a disturbance ... it seems to me that the sign shouldn't be enough and probably won't be when this gets brought before a judge.

If you think it's a funny law, try explaining the concept of a jaywalking ticket to a Brit :-)

Re:Not censorship (1)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488234)

...and its a perfectly awful piece of law. As you can always find somebody who will find arbitrary sign insulting.

There are laws protecting monarchs and presidents from being insulted. Predicatbly these laws are mostly used to persecute the oppositon or silence criticism in media. When the potentate makes ass of himself you get in trouble writing about it.

There are laws protecting people from hate speach - and these laws got used against a French author who dared to proclaim in public interview, when asked about Bible and Koran, that Koran is a lousy piece of literature and revulsive for him to read (he got aquitted in court only because Muhahamad is a historic person and he was criticising the literary style not the religion, etc.)

Re:Not censorship (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488310)

Why the heck is this tagged censorship? There's a law against insulting signs.

Because a law against "insulting" signs IS censorship, just as a law against "insulting" books or "insulting" speech would be.

Would this still be tagged censorship if it were the Conservative Party instead of Scientology?

Yes. Of course it would. It saddens me that you have to even ask this.

You have the right to stand on the corner with a sign saying "X is Y!" for any values of X and Y. Any values at all. (Dictatorial governments may, of course, not recognize that right; it exists nonetheless.)

"Scientology is a cult". "The Conservative Party is a cult." "The City of London police are a bunch of mindless jerks." "The Flying Spaghetti Monster is better than Jesus." "Tom Swiss is a dweeb."

Anyone who attempts to forcibly stop you from saying any of these things is engaging in censorship.

Slashdot? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487898)

How long before Slashdot is banned in UK? I may call you a mad pizza-eating hermit nerd with no girlfriend. That's at least as offensive as "cult".
     

That was Version 2.0 of The Sign (5, Funny)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487900)

UK Teen Cited For Calling Scientology a "Cult"
You should have seen the original version of The Sign - there was a N but no L.

I think he was quite well-spoken, really.

Oh, Great. (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487908)

From TFA:

"The City of London police came under fire two years ago when it emerged that more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology."

That's comforting. I wonder how many American cops, politicians, etc. the cult has on its payroll? Might as well disband the FBI and enlist Scientology as our intelligence service -- they seem to be much more effective at getting away with domestic espionage and dirty tricks.

Re:Oh, Great. (5, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488222)

I tried to post this a month and a half ago on Slashdot but it was rejected: Atlanta police arrest a peaceful protester at the March 15th worldwide protest [youtube.com] . Note the numerous police decked out in full riot gear, even though Anonymous had posed no threat to them or Scientology, and was very clear that this was a peaceful protest.

They then started issuing tickets to any cars that honked as they drove by. Second half of that video I linked, I shit you not.

From what I've read they were much better at the April and May protests, but it does show that the police's allegiances in some areas shift like crazy.

Re:Oh, Great. (4, Informative)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488290)

Much more effective than you can imagine. Check out this fascinating article about conspiracies that actually happened [cracked.com] . One of the entries is about Scientology's fairly successful effort at stealing back documents that made them look bad. From the government.

From the article:

Anyway, somewhere around 5,000 of Scientology's crack commandos wiretapped and burglarized various agencies. They stole hundreds of documents, mainly from the IRS. No critic was spared, and in the end, 136 organizations, agencies and foreign embassies were infiltrated.

Would it be dangerous... (1, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487912)

...to say David Miscavige raped me?

Would it be even more dangerous to say that he needed a small stepladder to do it?

Re:Would it be dangerous... (3, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488254)

That's utter nonsense. David Miscavige could never do that. Everyone knows he only gets an erection when he kills a puppy.

Re:Would it be dangerous... (1)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488272)

I'd repressed that part, you insensitive clod!

Challenge the law in the European Court (4, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487924)

..of Human Rights. [wikipedia.org] . I'm pretty sure the law is in violation of Articles 10 and/or 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [wikipedia.org] .

This court actually works and has authority to rule in these cases. Might have to exhaust the legal avenues in the UK first though.

Easy win - bring a dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487926)

Bring a dictionary and throw it on the judge's desk. Tell him to look up the word "cult" and he'll come to the conclusion that this 15 year old was quite simply correct. 'nuff said.

The British need to get their heads out of their arses already.

Re:Easy win - bring a dictionary (5, Interesting)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488160)

For authoritative British usage, the Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English definitions of "cult" and "sect" are:
cult
  1. a system of religious worship directed towards a particular figure or object.
  2. a small religious group regarded as strange or as imposing excessive control over members.
  3. something popular or fashionable among a particular section of society.
Wave that dictionary page in front of the judge and "I Rest My Case". All of those three descriptives apply specifically and directly to Scientology.

Now if the Judge/prosecution want to base an arrest on "when you say that scientology is a cult, you mean it as an insult" it is near-impossible to prove intent in a court of law. (at least, until they work our how to read my mind from a distance in a scientifically verifiable manner)

Anyhow, any defence lawyer would simply declare this "law" irrelevant and illegal - how can it possibly be legal to declare that writing a statement of fact on a sign and waving it around in public is illegal.

Re:Easy win - bring a dictionary (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488334)

You haven't been outside recently, have you? The saying about better having a fast horse when you plan to speak the truth has never been more current than today.

At least if the truth is somehow uncomfortable.

Thats right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487938)

If you want to bash religions that aren't popular go to a fundamentalist Muslim country where it's allowed. What's he thinking doing such things in the West.

Re:Thats right (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488082)

Just spread the word that Scientologists believe Allah is a pig-fucker.

Re:Thats right (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488214)

Now here's a plan. Scientologist and religious fundies trying to destroy each other...

Don't you love win-win situations?

Easy defense... (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487946)

"I meant 'colt' your honor. Scientologists are as cute as pony."
         

Colt (2, Informative)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488174)

Re:Colt (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488278)

Interesting, I didn't know that. But I guess they stopped offering this clearing option, I guess quite a lot of people did not fire at the floor when they realized just how much money they pumped into this money sink.

1st amendment (3, Interesting)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487952)

Gotta love it! It is disheartening that it seems every European country, and Canada too, seems to have some kind of idiotic anti-speech law(s).

The scientology thing just serves to unmask this rather gigantic lapse in liberty. I think a better question than whether the kid is guilty or not is why you Brits have such laws. Further why aren't you outraged that such laws exist and why you aren't actively trying to overturn them? This isn't a flame but a serious question, since when the slightest bit of censorship rears its head in America we tend to jump all over it - as evidenced by the Youtube article still on the frontpage.

Re:1st amendment (1, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488000)

Gotta love it! It is disheartening that it seems every European country, and Canada too, seems to have some kind of idiotic anti-speech law(s). The scientology thing just serves to unmask this rather gigantic lapse in liberty.

Whenever I get down thinking of waterboarding, wars, wiretapping, and habeas corpus suspension going on with the US; these kinds of things remind me that every country has its own stupid shit. And hopefully Americans will fix waterboarding etc. soon.
         

Re:1st amendment (1)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488072)

I just really wanted a response to my question, but I guess its easier to throw it back at me.

To address your statement, yes there is a large outcry against torture both from the public level and at the highest governmental levels as well as active attempts to forbid its use.

So I ask again, is there a similar outcry in the UK over restriction of free-speech?

Re:1st amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488276)

So I ask again, is there a similar outcry in the UK over restriction of free-speech?
Not after last night, when our glorious leader had the destructive infidels arres..

CARRIER LOST

Re:1st amendment (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488110)

And hopefully Americans will fix waterboarding etc. soon.
Quite so, in the future we won't get caught.

Re:1st amendment (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488148)

Seriously, I wonder why in a lot of cases people wonder whether someone is guilty of breaking some law or not, rather than questioning the law in question itself. That's not limited to the UK, that's a worldwide phenomenon.

We get more and more laws cutting down our freedoms. Often unnecessarily. And when someone breaks such a senseless law, the musing starts, did he break it, did he not, does it apply... instead of asking why the heck that law exists in the first place.

What he needs is... (4, Funny)

YahoKa (577942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487954)

Not legal advice, not a lawyer, but an audit.

the more scientology struggles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487958)

the more corrupt and desperate it will appear.

Definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487970)

Uh, since the definition of cult includes all organized religions, I don't really see the problem.

cult (kÅlt) pronunciation
n. ...
      2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual. ...

I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23487980)

Scientology is a cult...

move to germany (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23487986)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7133867.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Ironically, BBC (UK) mentions "cult-type" when mentioning some of scientology's activities.

either way, Germany doesn't recognize CoS as a religion....rather a cult.

Re:move to germany (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488030)

Ironically, BBC (UK) mentions "cult-type" when mentioning some of scientology's activities.
Someone needs to educate the british lawmakers. If it quacks like a duck I can guarantee you it's not a kitten.

Re:move to germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488070)

same in france

Re:move to germany (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488186)

Germany even put them under surveillance by the "Verfassungsschutz". Usually, something like this is reserved for groups that threaten the state's integrity, safety or the state itself.

So calling the CoS a "cult" seems rather tame by comparison.

If shoe fits... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488004)

Scientology is a cult created by a second-rate sci-fi author on a bet. El-Ron can suck my sweaty ballsack.

The kid should move to Germany, they recognize $cientology as the dangerous cult it is.

Jooos (0, Flamebait)

TummyX (84871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488026)

If only he had insulted the Jooooos instead. That we instead of being prosecuted he could of been gifted a job at the BBC.

in other news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488038)


I'm speechless. Just contrast the 'cult'-sign to those signs, also held on a demonstration in London:

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2006/08/muslim220806_600x400.jpg

I wonder how they will explain the inaction on behalf of police and justice in the latter case.

But... (1)

TheDeivix (1090291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488052)

If we called a rock some other name would that rock be any different?

I don't understand (5, Interesting)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488062)

Can someone explain to me how this works. Someone can be summoned because they express a non-violent opinion about a group, yet religious groups who advocate the violent over throw of the government and the establishment of a theocracy falls under protected speech. From this side of the pond, Britain clearly needs to get it's priorities straight before the movie "Brazil" because a reality.

He may have been better off advocating the death of all Scientologists because the FSM needs their blood to build the greatest pirate ship of all time.

Re:I don't understand (3, Interesting)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488154)

It's a ticket, cops love to write tickets ... here in the USA a group of local kids were arrested, shackled and prosecuted for carrying signs in a public park in protest of police brutality - there's irony for you. The cops even recorded themselves on video joking about taking off their badges and starting a fight.

Marijuana Kudzu! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488078)

Why hasn't someone crossed Marijuana with Kudzu yet?

Come together ... right now!

"All governments are liars and murderers" - Bill Hicks

fair enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488096)

I think this is fair enough. Same as if people parraded signs that insighted hate against Catholics or Protestents. "Cult" is a derogatory, fear and hate inspireing term to use against any religion. There's no reason to give established religions any advantage or respect over newer ones.

Move out of the UK (3, Insightful)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488104)

Obviously they are headed entirely too much in the wrong direction. I wish I could say you should move to the U.S., but I am not sure we are not headed down that path as well...at least here you can call Christians anything you want with impunity. We just cant say bad about Muslims or the "Church of Global Warming" or Environmentalism. Not sure about the Scientologists, they may not be a protected class yet.

The official police statement was: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488124)

Underage b&.

Well... (1)

whitespiral (941984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488156)

How about reading the judge a dictionary entry for "Cult". I bet it doesn't say it's a threatening, abusive or insulting word.

Well, that's why in Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488170)

you have to declare that you have no affiliation with the cult of scientology when applying for any public, government or law enforcement job.

If a background check or later information reveals you lied, you're out.

Germany considers the Cult of Scientology a Sect with an agenda to undermine the constitution.

Typo hunting (0, Offtopic)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488178)

starting about 1 munite in

What's a munite? And what's it in?

Balls of steel (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488188)

From TFA:

The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" which was "corrupt, sinister and dangerous".
This action hereby has the Duke Nukem seal of approval.

Could be pivitol for Anonymous (1)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488208)

Well, 4chan and company have often been the target of scrutiny and I applaud the use of the large Internet community for a good cause like this. However, I think the real public face of Anon will be determined by cases like this where push comes to shove (especially how well the group supports an unmasked and targeted member). This can be settled quietly, or a real ruckus can try and be stirred up. I would hope a calm and professionally conducted attempt was made to publicize the case and really demonstrate the strongarm tactics of the CoS. I don't know how British Law works, but perhaps a losing verdict can eventually turn into an appeal about the Church's status as a tax-free religion.

Either way, I hope this law gets overturned as a result of the case, as a favorable verdict to the CoS would help legitimize Scientology.

The Nanny State strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488232)

If I were English I would be so ashamed of my country. It seems like no one in Britain has any balls to stand up for common sense, and instead everyone has wrapped themselves up in laws so that no precious snowflakes will get their egos bruised.

You can't call a cult a cult? No beef on British Airway flights out of fear of offending Hindus? Seriously, you English should be ashamed of your spineless country.

How can he be facing prosecution for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488238)

saying what is true?

1812 Overture... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488262)

I can hear the crescendo building...

If you disagree - WRITE TO THEM (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488268)

http://www.writetothem.com/ [writetothem.com]

Contact your friendly neighborhood MP. From my limited understanding the hate speech laws are not intended to prevent people from being critical of a religion, not that Scientology is classified as a religion in the UK, or at least it's not a charitable organization.

information on "cult" definition as background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23488282)

Steven Hassan's book "Releasing the Bonds" has a good definition of a cult that is specified in belief-independent ways. He focuses on classic cult behaviors like encouraging members to cut off contact from non-members, demonizing outsiders as enemies, a totalistic belief system, the intolerance of dissent, etc. All of which characterizes Scientology to a "T," by the way. ;-)

Be careful what you say... (4, Funny)

Ux64 (1187075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488298)

I think I have to stop calling Linux users a cult before I get prosecuted.

Well, it *IS* a cult. (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23488308)

If I turn to my Wikipedian Textbook of ye Olde knowledge, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult [wikipedia.org]

It clearly says "Cult typically refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream, with a notably positive or negative popular perception. In common or populist usage, "cult" has a positive connotation for groups of art, music, writing, fiction, and fashion devotees,[1] but a negative connotation for new religious, extreme political, questionable therapeutic, and pyramidal business groups.[2] For this reason, most, if not all, non-fan groups that are called cults reject this label."

And, yes - I don't agree with Scientology *AT ALL*, and by the definition above and in my dictionary, I'm leaning towards the notion that above mentioned kid should have been given a medal, or at least a pat on the back for pointing out the obvious.

Also, it's called "free speech", innit.
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