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Church of Scientology On Trial In France

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the speaking-truth-to-fraud dept.

Censorship 890

An anonymous reader sends word that a trial has opened in Paris that could shut down Scientology in France. The organization stands accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain. Scientology does not have the status of a religion there, as it does in the US, and anti-cult groups have pursued it vigorously over more than 30 years. The current case is based on complaints filed by two women in December 1998 and July 1999. Three other former members who had initially joined the complaint have withdrawn after "reaching a financial arrangement with church officials." If convicted, the seven top Scientologists in France face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of €1M. The Church of Scientology-Celebrity Centre and its Scientology Freedom Space bookshop not only face a much larger fine but also run the risk of being shut down completely.

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890 comments

And not a moment too soon! (4, Funny)

seebs (15766) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102117)

I guess the whole "child slavery" thing hasn't been working out so well lately.

Re:And not a moment too soon! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102201)

I hope they go after the Roman Catholic Church next! The whole paedophile craze that's been sweeping through the church for the last thousand years just isn't cool.

Hell yeah (5, Insightful)

MjDascombe (549226) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102143)

This evil can't come to an end soon enough.

Re:Hell yeah - R2-45 (5, Interesting)

yorugua (697900) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102327)

After reading about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R2-45 [wikipedia.org] in wikipedia, I can't think how can this be part of the modern, civilized world if that turns out to be a true fact.

FYI: R2-45 is a Scientology auditing process created by L. Ron Hubbard. The process of R2-45 specifically pertains to shooting the target with a Colt .45 pistol, causing the victim's "thetan" to leave the body (exteriorization). In 1952 during a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Hubbard demonstrated the process of R2-45 by firing a shot at the floor.[1][2] In a lecture of 1958, Hubbard comments that "Death is not the same as clearing but there is, remember, R2-45. It's a very valid technique. A lot of people have used it before now." [3]

Re:Hell yeah - R2-45 (2, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102441)

R2-45 may go a long way to allow others to conclude Hubbard thought his religion was a joke. I do wonder if you invest your entire life saving in religion, whether you actually meant a self R2-45 but were just too squeamish.

Re:Hell yeah - R2-45 (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102647)

It's pretty clear that he considered it a joke at the beginning, and then he went bat-shit insane.

-jcr

Re:Hell yeah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102445)

I'm not sure if this will have the outcome you're hoping for.
Prosecuted religions typically thrive as the "community" comes together against the perceived threat, see: Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism.

But it'll still be fun to watch.

Re:Hell yeah (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102561)

Are these rules applied uniformly in France? If so I wish we could do such things in the US. For instance, int he US we have many so-called faith based persons that produce what in effect infomercials in the form a religious services for the sole purpose of separating vulnerable people, often the elderly on fixed income, from their money. Then there are many churches that preach the gospel of prosperity, which is a magical incantation that they say will bring you 10x more money than you give to the church. I have no love for the church of scientology, but leaving these con artists on the street while harassing scientology just seems unfair. At least the church of scientology is upfront about the money requirements, and don't harass people with fairy tales of hell to extort the money.

My experience of the Scientology center in L.A. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102151)

My experience of the Scientology center in Los Angeles, California, was that it was run entirely for financial gain.

Re:My experience of the Scientology center in L.A. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102317)

Yeah, it's a lot like the Catholic Church, without all the rape and destruction of young kinds.

Re:My experience of the Scientology center in L.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102569)

Yeah. Scientology CULTIVATES young minds. It may eventually screw them over. But just their minds. Never the bodies.

Oh man! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102155)

Xenu's gonna be pissed!

Re:Oh man! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102475)

Why would Xenu be pissed? Xenu is like the devil for Scientologists so Xenu would be happy that Scientology was squelched and no one knew about his evil deeds.

Excellent (5, Interesting)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102159)

Well, let's see. Germany declared Scientology unconstitutional in '07... are we seeing a domino effect starting?

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102287)

Well, let's see. Germany declared Scientology unconstitutional in '07... are we seeing a domino effect starting?

Wait, how can Scientology have anything to do with the German Constitution? It's not a government agency or a law. I am baffled as to your meaning.

Re:Excellent (4, Informative)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102629)

It's a false citation. The interior minister just said (his opinion) that he considered the organisation "Verfassungsfeindlich", which basically means they don't respect things like personal freedom etc. which are declared in the constitution.

They killed Chef! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102165)

Those bastards!

Well... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102183)

I hope the 3 members who "reached a financial arrangement with church officials" can un-withdraw and help testify. And if they get to keep the money - sweet!

And the church? (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102185)

I mean, scientologists are a bunch of loons, but take a look at the first set of Google search entries when you look up "catholic priests"

 

Shame they can't do it for other religions (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102199)

The wacky shit that Scientologists are taught to believe is no more wacky than the shit Christians are taught to believe in.

In regards to fraud, the only difference is that the Christians have been around longer, so the only lies they tell are the ones that are not verifiably false.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102277)

If you're going to troll, can you be a bit less blatantly obvious with your flame bait, newfag?

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (5, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102291)

Nope.

The other difference is that you arent CHARGED for reading the bible: try and get an "advanced" scientology text (pure bull, BTW), without forking some serious cash.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102335)

Try attending church regularly and never donating a cent. Watch how the other people treat you.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102403)

Try dealing with his point honestly. You know he's more right than you are.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102449)

Umm.. I agree with him, Scientology is a bunch of nutjobs. What he doesn't seem to have expressed an opinion on is the nutjobness of Christians. So who is not dealing with whom honestly?

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (4, Insightful)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102659)

It's not about nutjobness. By pointing out how ridiculous some story about Xenu (or Jesus) is, you distract people from the crimes that Scientologists are committing. Lying to people by saying they're inhabited by thetans, or that they're going to spend eternity in the lake of fire if they don't accept Jesus, is not the crime we're talking about here. This isn't what Scientology has been accused of.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (5, Informative)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102507)

Try attending church regularly and never donating a cent. Watch how the other people treat you.

It's not like people are required to give regularly. (many people pay monthly or quarterly) People give under the pretense that God has blessed them and they want to give part of that back out of gratitude. Whether you choose to give or not is up to you, and you give what you feel you should give. It's not like you should feel like you're paying dues or have a mentality where you expect to get something back. Most churches only keep track of how much you give if you pay through check (and that's more of a service to you so you know what to declare on your taxes) You always have the option of donating cash if you want to give anonymously.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102575)

What complete, utter bullsh*t. Paint with a broad brush much?

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102673)

But you are still allowed to attend the church.

In Scientology, unless you are in the Sea Org (where you pledge 1,000,000,000 years of service to Scientology) where you get courses for free, you simply cannot takes more courses (which is how they measure spiritual progression) if you cannot pay for them upfront.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (0, Troll)

wondercool (460316) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102651)

For an atheist (like me) both the Bible and Scientology sounds like an equal wack job.

I have more respect for Scientology: at least they charge upfront instead of some 'donations' later :)

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (3, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102355)

Read Margaret Singer, Richard Ofshe, or many others if you want a good comparison of religion and cults. The key thing is that cults deceive people into joining so there is no real informed consent. People join under false pretenses and are conned out of their money (basically by false advertising / fradulent misrepresentation). No cults are ever upfront about all their beliefs because nobody would ever join if they knew about the wacky shit higher up the ladder. You have to be good and brainwashed before you even find out about the space alien stuff. Christians are at least up front about what they believe (often annoyingly so). People have a right to believe what they want, sure... but fraud is another story.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102499)

Yeah, that whole indoctrination of the young thing is irrelevant, right?

Christianity is just as wacky and weird.. it's just that we all know that stuff.. if Scientology lasts 100 years we'll all be able to recite their theology too.

In the mean time, save me zombie Jesus!

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (4, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102667)

But you have an informed choice to believe in Zombie Jesus or not to. In Scientology, by the time you find out what it's really about, you've spent hundreds of thousands, all your friends and contacts are Scientology, and leaving means cutting off contact with all of them (starting an entire new life). Generally, Christians won't shun you if you leave (but they might try and convert you back, which is just persuasion).

There is also the fact that scientology practices thought reform [rickross.com] (brainwashing) and ericsonian hypnosis, something that does not happen in legitimate religions. The difference, again, is that there is a lack of informed consent. They modify your thinking in ways you do not realize.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102385)

[...] so the only lies they tell are the ones that are not verifiably false.

That's an interesting definition of a lie. If it's not verifiably false, that would mean it could be true. So what you're saying is that the the beliefs that Christians lie about are the ones you think are false?

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102589)

Ya.. that's the definition of fraud.

You have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused willfully lied. I can't really imagine how they're going to do that in this case.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (-1, Offtopic)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102393)

Remember, Christians are tax exempt in many countries. The own huge amounts of land. Have huge political influence. Are responsible for more death and destruction than any other group in history. The other major monotheistic religions aren't any better (Judaism and Muslim).

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1)

Jonas Buyl (1425319) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102423)

The big difference is: Other religions don't charge you that much money. Their beliefs are not founded on ancient human suffering or a quest for answers, even the basics of their faith are entirely invented by an entrepreneur.

(Yes, Dan Brown learned us a lot of the Roman Catholic traditions are made up as well but only after 3 centuries and they didn't do this for immediate personal gain)

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102539)

Dan Brown's writing is best consumed with an ocean.

I'm not qualified to judge it directly, but there are enough people out there calling bullshit to make the above pretty clear. I guess it is fair to mention that they don't claim it is pure bullshit, just that there are lots and lots of mistakes and overstated conclusions.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102597)

I thought most protestant branches and christian-like currents (Mormons) demanded a 10% tithe.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102455)

I know it's trendy and hip to bash Christianity on Slashdot (before you ask, I'm agnostic), there are significant differences.

1.) The Bible is pretty easy to access. In fact, you can often get it for free because its believers want you to read it.
2.) I submit that believing some creator of the universe manifested its power in the form of a sacrificial holy man long ago is far less wacky then believing an intergalactic overlord imprisoned in a volcano who attached alien ghosts to primitive humans, causing all their problems.
3.) In spite of all the shit they get, the Christians I've met in life have generally been very friendly and nice to me. Just good folks who believe what they believe. You have your bad apples, but that's true for every group in the world. Scientologists, on the other hand, will ask you if you rape babies and are trained to believe that anyone critical of the religion is a criminal who is hiding dark secrets.

So, yeah, very little like Christianity, to be perfectly honest. You were just going for a cheap +5 Insightful by bashing the easy target.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102545)

I don't think it's necessary for anyone to get into a dick-measuring contest with $cientologists. I don't find Christianity's claims any more credible, per se. But you do hit on one key difference. $cientology is basically a shell game where the believer has to keep paying more and more money to get all those deep secrets. For better or for worse, one can go to a Catholic priest or a Protestant minister and get lessons on their branch of Christianity for free. These guys mass produce for free or for very little cost their holy books, and they even let people into their houses of worship for free. Yes, most churches send around the collection plate, but I don't know of any churches that would deprive someone of the Sacraments because they didn't give their church money.

It's not about qualitative aspects of either religion, it is really about the fact that one is a religion, and one is simply a cult/marketing scam that uses the size of one's pocket book as the only real determinant of salvation.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102471)

Jehovah's Witnesses were levied a 60% tax (backdated) a few years ago in France. A tax on donations. (They don't sell anymore) The case is still pending.

Before that "Watchtower" was banned in France and many french colonies after WWII.

But in defense of the Christianity of the Bible, WWII would have only been Japan vs ??? if French, German, Italian, British, Russian and American "Christians" had not made war with each other.

John 13:34,35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (NIV)

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102483)

One thing I've noted is that you don't actually have to pay large sums of money to be a Christian. In fact, I don't know of any mainstream churches that will toss you out or suspend you if you don't put any money in the collection plate.

So, while the claims of both can be pretty stupid, Christianity actually is a religion, while $cientology is just a scam.

"Not a religion" (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102525)

To be fair, the issue is specifically fraud, which requires them to charge money for it.

But yes, I have noticed that the media, including the Slashdot summary, have been repeating how France doesn't consider them a religion. Is this simply being mentioned in passing, or is it an important part of the case? I fair to see how it matters - surely any "official" religions committing fraud should also be charged?

That goes for psychics, homeopaths and so on too, if they charge money for something they can't deliver (this was being planned in the UK recently - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7351199.stm [bbc.co.uk] - although I don't know what the outcome was, nor if they exempted "religions").

I don't see why we need an "official" definition of religion anyway, it just leads to discrimination against the non-religious, by allowing exemptions for some beliefs, but not others.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102553)

The wacky shit that Scientologists are taught to believe is no more wacky than the shit Christians are taught to believe in.

It's a shame that the Pastors and Ministers of Christianity no longer hold firm to the Bible. If they did, it would remove the wacky shit.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102593)

One difference is that the founders of Christianity were clearly sincere, holding their faith even when it was to their disadvantage. The founders of Scientology got rich, and while I can't know whether they were sincere there were plausible reports that they were not.

BTW the phrase "other religions" implicitly concedes that Scientology is a religion as they claim, as opposed to a profit-making scheme with some unusual teachings added.

Re:Shame they can't do it for other religions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102609)

Cults and religions have equivalent dogmas, but the business models and tactics are different. The cult isn't on trial because told someone a tall tale. They're on trial because they ripped someone off. If you think that what the popular religions do is just as bad as Scientology, then you haven't looked at Scientology.

Google Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102207)

Ironically, there's a Google Ad for Scientology on this very page.

Re:Google Ads (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102391)

Are you ignorant about how Google Ads work or about the meaning of "ironic"?

YRO? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102209)

I'm not sure how this qualifies as "Your Rights Online." Unless you think people have a 'right' to run a criminal organization.

It's all anonymous coward's fault . . . (5, Funny)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102223)

damn you anonymous!!!

Re:It's all anonymous coward's fault . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102427)

I'm sorry ):

Re:It's all anonymous coward's fault . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102527)

None of us are as sorry as all of us.

Okay but where does this end? (1, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102227)

I don't have a problem with acting against individuals who break the law but if we start banning groups because of their beliefs it might be hard to know where to stop.

How about World of Warcraft. Isn't that sort of a cult?

Re:Okay but where does this end? (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102259)

Its not because of "their beleives". Its because they attempted to scam a lady!

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102263)

Well. Provided they're punished for their actions or crimes as an organized entity and not for their beliefs, I don't see the problem.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102311)

I think you have it wrong France isn't trying to ban them due to them being a religion (which they arn't in France). They are trying to ban them because they are using peoples beliefs for the monetary gain of the church.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (2, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102469)

They are trying to ban them because they are using peoples beliefs for the monetary gain of the church.

Oh, and that's unique to the scientologists right?
If thats what it is, they've got a long road ahead of them, and scientology is just the beginning.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102599)

I'm not saying it's unique the differnce between them and other religions is that in France Scientology is NOT a recognized religion.
I don't think that any religion has a right to make money off of someone's beliefs. As someone who is agnostic I don't believe in organized religion I think your entitled to believe in whatever you want be it Jesus, Buddah, or Xenu.
At the same time I also don't think you should have to pay money to practice a religion and that has nothing to do with the actual religion itself so much as they way religions are run.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (4, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102329)

Read Margaret Singer, Richard Ofshe, or many others if you want a good comparison of religion and cults. The key thing is that cults deceive people into joining so there is no real informed consent. People join under false pretenses and are conned out of their money (basically by false advertising / fradulent misrepresentation). No cults are ever upfront about all their beliefs because nobody would ever join if they knew about the wacky shit higher up the ladder. You have to be good and brainwashed before you even find out about the space alien stuff.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102397)

Read Margaret Singer, Richard Ofshe, or many others if you want a good comparison of religion and cults. The key thing is that cults deceive people into joining so there is no real informed consent. People join under false pretenses and are conned out of their money (basically by false advertising / fradulent misrepresentation). No cults are ever upfront about all their beliefs because nobody would ever join if they knew about the wacky shit higher up the ladder. You have to be good and brainwashed before you even find out about the space alien stuff.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102603)

You have to be good and brainwashed before you even find out about the space alien stuff.

Hardly. This cult is about money, and suckering in the young. Do you really believe the young people with money have never used the internet?

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102657)

I think these arguments show there is no clear cut difference between a cult and a religion. Cults are more virulent, but whether a religion is a cult is a judgment call. Note that Mormonism has recently been moving from cult to religion status, due to its age and conservatism, though it also has strange secret teachings.

Christian churches also con people into joining under false pretenses. The church pretends to own the door to eternal life, something which it does not in fact have.

Cults are also very good at making thorough arguments about why other cults are cults but their organization is not. And they make the same kinds of distinctions that religions make in their arguments.

I'm not saying that religions are entirely bad by the way, or that their doctrines are 100% false. I am saying that religions are establishment cults.

By the way, I think Christian Science is a particularly nasty cult, and I wouldn't mind seeing it prosecuted. Religious people often treat prayer as a legitimate way of treating disease, and arguably it is. But after making it a sin to seek treatment, the Christian Science church charges money for its practitioners to pray for the desperately sick. This is pretty seriously wrong in my view, not a matter of religious freedom.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (4, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102333)

An interesting question, but they're not in court because of their beliefs, but because of their alleged actions: "The organisation, he [the magistrate] argued, is 'first and foremost a commercial business' whose actions reveal 'a real obsession for financial remuneration'."

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102353)

How about World of Warcraft. Isn't that sort of a cult?

No, it's nothing like a cult.

Re:Okay but where does this end? (1)

Grandim (1390511) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102367)

Its a shame I posted in this discussion, I should have kept my mod access just because I knew some of you would creep out and try to defend people that will "disconnect" people from their family and that's just the beginning of what they do to their members.

Got to give credit to the French (1)

Grandim (1390511) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102251)

While America left itself be bribed into accepting a scam has a religion, France maintained its integrity. Its a shame the scientology achieved the buyout of most the plaintiffs

America left(sic) itself be bribed (0, Troll)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102517)

"America let itself be bribed into accepting a scam has a religion" Why are you bring Fundamentalist Christians and Televangelists into this discussion? "France maintained its integrity." Do you mean France's integrity with the Catholic Church?

Re:America left(sic) itself be bribed (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102645)

They did stand their ground against the US when Bush tried to sell the BS that became the Iraqi war. That's gotta count for something.

How about being fair? (-1)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102283)

Much as I despise Scientology, the grounds for this lawsuit are quite frivolous. It's misleading to say the 'preyed' on certain individuals, no-one was forced to buy anything. This could be a case of blatant false advertising, do Scientology products come with a disclaimer? May not perform upto expectations..

If you're dumb enough to spend thousands of dollars on something called a 'Thetin meter' then it's your fault.. not the seller's, then again it's France :P..

Re:How about being fair? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102375)

Not quite sure if this is a troll or not, but Scientology is infamous for their brainwashing techniques. You only need to be "dumb enough" to take a few early courses "just to see if it'll work" to get well and truly shanghaied.

Re:How about being fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102415)

EVERY religion prays on the weak and ignorant. The entire basis of religion is "we tell you how to think because we know better". Sometimes this results in good rewarding behavior, but do the ends justify the means?

Re:How about being fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102639)

Every religion PRAYS on the weak and ignorant.

I see what you did there.

Re:How about being fair? (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102405)

If you're dumb enough to spend thousands of dollars on something called a 'Thetin meter' then it's your fault.. not the seller's, then again it's France :P..

So there should be no laws against fraud? Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, Madoff ... all that should be completely legal, because it's the victim's fault?

Re:How about being fair? (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102407)

If you're dumb enough to spend thousands of dollars on something called a 'Thetin meter' then it's your fault.. not the seller's.

In many places, there are laws regarding the safety of a product and its fitness to perform the function for which it was purchased. They had better be able to demonstrate that a Thetin meter definitely measures whatever it measures properly.

Re:How about being fair? (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102501)

since Thetans are completely made up, about the only thing that device could possibly measure is your body's resistivity to electricity, your body fat percentage, and/or your heart rate.

Re:How about being fair? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102559)

This could be a case of blatant false advertising, do Scientology products come with a disclaimer? May not perform upto expectations..

Yes, false advertising, also known as fraud. Which if you actually RTFA is what they are being charged with.

Business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102285)

Three other former members who had initially joined the complaint have withdrawn after "reaching a financial arrangement with church officials."

This sounds a lot like a settlement, much like a company would do in this situation.

Anonymous!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102319)

Does anyone else LOVE the fact that an ANONYMOUS reader posted this article!!!

Western Europe not a friend of Organized Religion (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102325)

I've thought for a while it is because of the two world wars that destroyed so much in their back yard. (and front) Now they are sensitive to any "religious" group that has a detrimental effect on its members.

Oh, Zenu's knocking on my door. b

Who's next? (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102439)

The organization stands accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

Inconceivable. Who will they sue then? Financial analysts, all the other religions, Coca Cola, Microsoft, or Britney Spears?

*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28102513)

The 4chan fucktards will be all over the place soon...

Amici Curiae Briefs (or Boxers) (3, Insightful)

srobert (4099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102541)

The organization stands accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

  Other religious groups might want to render an opinion to the courts defending Scientology. How many religions can't be accused of targeting vulnerable people?

Re:Amici Curiae Briefs (or Boxers) (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102591)

Other religious groups might want to render an opinion to the courts defending Scientology. How many religions can't be accused of targeting vulnerable people?

Scientology is not a religion in France. It's just another "enterprise".

Some observations (2, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#28102579)

The summary imples that the US has given scientology religious status. The US does not recognise or give religions status. This is prohibited by the Constitution. Furthermore, being a religion does not exempt one from laws, so the law would apply the same no matter if it was a religion or not. Being a religion does not allow an organisation to do things that would be illegal for another religion to do. Furthermore, an organisation being a religion should not single it out for more intense persecution.

As far as the charges against scientology, scientology does use sleazy methods to extract methods from the followers of this cult. However, these persons handed over this money willingly, in cases this is not illegal as long as Scientology did not attempt to coerce them or prohibit them from leaving.

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