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Scientology On Trial In Belgium

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the fighting-fire-with-fire dept.

The Courts 540

dgharmon sends this news from the Atlantic Wire: "After a years-long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine. ... Multiple reports and the group's legal history point to one key factor here: The Belgian government won't charge Scientology for being a cult — authorities are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization. Which is a new twist, as most of the group's many court battles over the years have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion. ... The Church of Scientology houses its European headquarters in Brussels, so a ban in Belgium could be crippling to the group — and authorities there seem to know it."

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Here it comes... (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42443089)

Queue Zenu jokes in 3... 2... 1...

But seriously, is there all that much difference between Scientology and the Mormon Church?

Re:Here it comes... (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#42443125)

The underwear.

Re:Here it comes... (3, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#42443875)

Magic underwear? Same loony bin, different floor.

Re:Here it comes... (4, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#42443149)

But seriously, is there all that much difference between any of them? Just because we can trace these two churches back to their wacko founders, doesn't mean the other older churches weren't founded by wackos too.

Re:Here it comes... (5, Informative)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#42443195)

i don't know alot of mormonism, but scientology has been known to harass, abuse, threaten ex-members, people who disagree with them etc. etc. also check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org]

Re:Here it comes... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443333)

Mormon here. When someone disagrees with us, we do worse: we send missionaries after them.

Re:Here it comes... (2)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#42443921)

Unless it's a certain group in Mexico. Those guys are already past that point and have begun to actively fight the drug cartels.

Re:Here it comes... (5, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 2 years ago | (#42443451)

i don't know alot of mormonism, but scientology has been known to harass, abuse, threaten ex-members, people who disagree with them etc. etc

This is true. Mormonism seems to run the same way as other churches. Scientology seems to operate like the US government.

Re:Here it comes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443731)

Same for Mormons. Just not as brutal perhaps. However, if you live in a predominant Mormon area you are sure to lose your job and be evicted from your home if you're a renter. No to mention the harassment any child you have will receive in school from others.

Re:Here it comes... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443281)

How many other churches have, in the modern era, tried to infiltrate the government and destroy evidence against them (Operation Snow White)?

Re:Here it comes... (4, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#42443581)

How many other churches have, in the modern era, tried to infiltrate the government and destroy evidence against them (Operation Snow White)?

The Scientologists are bumbling amateurs in this area. The serious religions effectively take over [wikipedia.org] the state. In some cases, the takeover of state by religion was accomplished so long ago that the religion is even considered a state [vatican.va] itself. Once a state is under the control of a monomaniacal cult, all shenanigans committed therein simply don't exist.

Re:Here it comes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443643)

Building that sort of power base takes time. Scientology is still a newcomer. Give them another century or two.

Re:Here it comes... (1)

Incadenza (560402) | about 2 years ago | (#42443777)

How many other churches have, in the modern era, tried to infiltrate the government and destroy evidence against them (Operation Snow White)?

Ever heard of the Islamic republic of Iran? That did not come about peacefully.
Or the Banco Ambrosiano scandal [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Here it comes... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#42443391)

But seriously, is there all that much difference between any of them? Just because we can trace these two churches back to their wacko founders, doesn't mean the other older churches weren't founded by wackos too.

Alleged theology, and just how much the founder really could have used a stiff dose of Chlorpromazine, are surprisingly poor guides to the contemporary behavior of religious groups once they've had a few decades or centuries to move past the initial 'charismatic leader with band of disciples' stage. The big question is what direction(or directions, sub-sects crop up like weeds) the group drifted on its road to the present.

Re:Here it comes... (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42443501)

In particular, having stupid theology isn't a crime in Belgium. The Scientologists here are being charged with a bunch of "regular" criminal conduct, which doesn't really depend on whether they're a real religion or not (you can be prosecuted for that even if you're a very well established religion, as some Catholic dioceses have discovered).

Re:Here it comes... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#42443865)

In particular, having stupid theology isn't a crime in Belgium.

If you've ever had the misfortune to wonder into Schaerbeek you could be forgiven for thinking that it should be.

There is a huge difference in places (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444007)

For a start, religions don't demand you pay up to read the texts and consider them trade secrets.

Re:Here it comes... (3, Informative)

teg (97890) | about 2 years ago | (#42444059)

But seriously, is there all that much difference between any of them? Just because we can trace these two churches back to their wacko founders, doesn't mean the other older churches weren't founded by wackos too.

I believe that there are severe differences from them... Take these two:

  • Scientology is a scam, clearly designed by a science fiction author to part fools and their money
  • Islam was established as a way to control and motivate followers and gain power by a local chief... it just spread a bit much afterward

In contrast, some of the other religions (Judaism, Christendom, Hinduim, Buddhism) seem to have started out as attempts to understand the world and fill out holes of their knowledge... and then it grew from there. Sure, many sects and leaders have used these to the same ends as the two religions listed above, but at least they don't seem to be started by someone with a clear motive to gain from it.

That said, that the core of the religions is imagination doesn't prevent many of them from being rich treasure troves of culture and knowledge of what it is, and has been, to be human - created by humans.

Re:Here it comes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443161)

Yes. While the theological principles of both are particularly wacky, the Scientologists are involved with a whole host of criminal-esque activity that they cover up with a combination of an army of loyal attorneys and blackmail, whereas the Mormon church is largely not involved with that sort of thing.

Re:Here it comes... (4, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42443475)

Catholic church's Vatican bank has been slapped with fines for money laundering, more than once, IIRC, never mind the whole sex abuse thing. I'm pretty sure any religion you'd look at, with exception maybe of pastafarians (yum noodly appendages!) would have huge recent skeletons in their closets :(

Re:Here it comes... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443619)

Pastafarians have pirate skeletons in their closets(because pirate skeletons are cool!)

Re:Here it comes... (1, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42443951)

I'm pretty sure any religion you'd look at, with exception maybe of pastafarians (yum noodly appendages!) would have huge recent skeletons in their closets

Buddhism? I think not.
Paganism? I think not.
Unitarian universalists? I think not.

No its pretty much JUST the mainline judeo-christians and fringe cults that misbehave.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443163)

Quite a few, tbh.

That you think that there isn't really just highlights your own ignorance and stupidity.

Re:Here it comes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443247)

How are those "special underwear" you're wearing fit? "Ride up" much? Because you clearly have your panties in a twist...

Re:Here it comes... (4, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about 2 years ago | (#42443179)

But seriously, is there all that much difference between Scientology and the Mormon Church?

Is there really much difference between "insert religion" and "insert religion", except for when the scam started? They seem to be going after them in LIFO order to build up precedence.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443197)

Time.

Same thing applies to all other organized religions as well.

One is a religion, the other a con scam (4, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#42443233)

I don't know of very many similarities between scientology, a con game started by a science fiction writer, and the Church of Latter Day Saints, a significant religious denomination whose members perform millions of hours of community service and give generously to communities around the globe. That's like asking "what's the diference between the Red Cross and the mafia?"

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42443269)

So... How are those "special underwear" you're wearing fit? "Ride up" much? Because you clearly have your panties in a twist...

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#42443315)

Odd, he answered your question. But you returned with a snide reply, it seems that the only person with their panties in a twist is yourself. He makes a good point, between the two you can tell which of either does good work with the money they receive.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (3, Interesting)

aissixtir (2752321) | about 2 years ago | (#42443459)

what is the difference between red cross and mafia?

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42443981)

what is the difference between red cross and mafia?

One gives you money before your business burns down, the other gives you money after your business burns down. Or something similar WRT broken kneecaps.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42443497)

You'll find people who do community service everywhere. So, that's IMHO a non-argument. You're claiming, essentially, that LDS is significant because they do community service. Well, if they've got millions of members, then each member has to do one hour a year to add it all up to millions of hours per year, so that's hardly worth talking about.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | about 2 years ago | (#42443801)

Well, if they've got millions of members, then each member has to do one hour a year to add it all up to millions of hours per year, so that's hardly worth talking about.

In my experience they're one of the most service-oriented groups I've come across - there's a reason that there are strong ties with the Boy Scouts, are such a large part of many disaster relief efforts, and offer so many services to members. If you want a more reasonable downside to that, point out the LDS involvement is one of the main reasons the the Scouts are still so harsh on gays and atheists, that volunteer work and in-group services often used as recruiting tools and to make it hard to leave, and their massive involvement with California's Proposition 8.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443561)

the Church of Latter Day Saints, a significant religious denomination whose members perform millions of hours of community service and give generously to communities around the globe.

That community service's whole purpose is to convert folks to their cult.

And building a church hardly counts as community service.

To me community service is helping people with no strings attached. No need to hear a sermon, convert, or do something that in the end helps said religious organization.

There are always strings attached when it comes to the Mormons.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42443597)

"[Pablo] Escobar was a brilliant criminal, and he knew that he would be safer if the common people of Medellín loved him. Therefore, he spent millions on parks, schools, stadiums, churches and even housing for the poorest of Medellín’s inhabitants. His strategy worked: Escobar was beloved by the common people, who saw him as a local boy who had done well and was giving back to his community."

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (2)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#42443605)

The mafia started as a self-help group, protecting people against corrupt government forces. It's nearly exclusively bad by now, but it has at least traces of good. So please don't disrespect the mafia by comparing it with the Church of Scientology (or RIAA+MPAA, for that matter).

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 years ago | (#42443607)

Lots of cults and criminal organizations use charity to try to improve their image, so that's meaningless.

What distinguishes a cult from a religion is the use of social pressure and secrecy, and LDS has both.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1, Insightful)

Gorobei (127755) | about 2 years ago | (#42443617)

I don't know of very many similarities between scientology, a con game started by a science fiction writer, and the Church of Latter Day Saints, a significant religious denomination whose members perform millions of hours of community service and give generously to communities around the globe. That's like asking "what's the diference between the Red Cross and the mafia?"

Well, they both (like most religions) started as con games. Both are significant (in that governments pay attention to them - e.g. Scientology gets sued, Mormons get run out of states.) Both do tons of community service, although the communities involved tend to be annoyed: missionaries and touch-assist helpers are pretty annoying to normal people. Both offer you a living if you just accept the faith and power structure (scientologists prefer rich people, and Mormons prefer women, but that's minor.) Both have acted vigorously when threatened.

Can't see a lot of difference here. But then, neither seem that much worse than extreme established religions.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443637)

the Church of Latter Day Saints was started by a con man and it is a scam.

People who follow that "religion" are either stupid or in on the scam.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443797)

As opposed to any other religion?

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (0)

yndrd1984 (730475) | about 2 years ago | (#42443673)

I don't know of very many similarities between scientology, a con game started by a science fiction writer, and the Church of Latter Day Saints...

They were both started by charismatic con men and are harsh on ex-members? In my opinion the LDS church has done better things with the community and beliefs that resulted from those manipulations, but that doesn't alter the fact that both were founded based on a deliberate fiction, and both are willing to impose on others.

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42443701)

What's the difference between the Rotary Club and the mafia?

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#42443995)

The mafia don't wear aprons and roll their trousers up?

Re:One is a religion, the other a con scam (0)

terec (2797475) | about 2 years ago | (#42443895)

How was Smith's con any different from Hubbard's? The Book of Mormon makes numerous statements about history and archaeology that are clearly and objectively false, yet Mormons claim it was received directly from God and translated with divine aid. There is no possible explanation other than that is a forgery. And that conclusion isn't even taking into account Smith's personal history.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42443327)

But seriously, is there all that much difference between Scientology and any other religion or cult?

FTFY.

Re:Here it comes... (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#42443377)

In terms of beliefs? That's for you to decide. In terms of actions and the things that really matter? Not even close. When the Mormon church has been implicated in things like Operation Freakout or Operation Snow White, or any of the other crazy things the CoS has done to people that you can learn of after 5 seconds on Google, then your false equivalence of comparing the CoS to other religious bodies might have a point. The modern Mormon church is, as far as I know, generally decent and full of okay folks. I don't know if I can say the same of the CoS, judging by all the stuff they've done, and that's the issue here.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443663)

The LDS church is also full of people who fund anti-gay campaigns, protest free speech, lobby for blasphemy laws and were responsible for slaughtering civilians during their fight against the US government. That's just the official LDS church, there are fundamentalist offshoots of Mormonism which are smaller, but much creepier.

So, yes, I would say it's completely fair to compare the CoS with the LDS church. Or, for that matter, any other reactionary, religious organization.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443787)

I'm not Mormon, and frankly, I find the religion a little weird. That being said it is absurd not to put things on a relative scale. The weirdness and widely known evil of the COS is orders of magnitude worse than LDS.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

I_am_Jack (1116205) | about 2 years ago | (#42443899)

I'm not Mormon, and frankly, I find the religion a little weird. That being said it is absurd not to put things on a relative scale. The weirdness and widely known evil of the COS is orders of magnitude worse than LDS.

I don't know about that. Scientology, for all its ills and faults, doe not try to subjugate women. LDS, on the other hand, thrives as a result of it.

Re:Here it comes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443553)

"But seriously, is there all that much difference between Scientology and the Mormon Church?"

Or Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, etc...

WOW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443683)

WOW, looks like there are a LOT of Mormons on Slashdot! Maybe that's why it sucks so hard these days...

Re:Here it comes... (2, Funny)

overmoderated (2703703) | about 2 years ago | (#42443729)

You mean the Moron Church?

Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443133)

May Justice prevail.

Re:Hooray! (1)

boorack (1345877) | about 2 years ago | (#42443783)

Unless US Department of State intervenes (as they did in Germany). CoS has lots of money and significant lobbying power after all...

it was (5, Insightful)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#42443135)

about time this happened. It should be banned EU-wide.

Re:it was (3, Insightful)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42443165)

Why only EU?

Re:it was (1)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#42443225)

valid point. I'd like to see it banned world-wide, it's just that i dwell in the EU, so that's why i "focused" there.

Re:it was (5, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42443255)

Atleast in the EU, there is some evidence that intelligent life exists, and rational debate is encouraged.

Re:it was (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#42443371)

The question was never about intelligence. There's plenty of that to go around. It's our bureaucracy that's so massive that a lot of absurd stuff happens.

Fortunately, our bureaucrats are good at banning stuff.

Re:it was (5, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 years ago | (#42443555)

Atleast in the EU, there is some evidence that intelligent life exists, and rational debate is encouraged.

Citation needed.

Re:it was (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#42444019)

You need to look North of the alps.

Re:it was (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42444035)

Why only EU?

Its just a EU court. Only the US empire considers the whole world its jurisdiction.

And this makes it different from other religions? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443175)

Seriously. All religions practice abuse of one sort or another.

Catholics: the child molester's club.
Muslims: the cult of the pedophile warlord.
Jews: faith of the would-be child murderer (that would be Abraham...)

Need I go on?

Re:And this makes it different from other religion (3, Insightful)

cursingflashor (571586) | about 2 years ago | (#42443311)

Sure. Maybe you should include the Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains. Unless you only mean Abrahamic religions, in which case you should say so and not ALL.

Re:And this makes it different from other religion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443417)

But few make it an organized part of the dogma. They'll look the other way, or even cover up the actions of what they believe to be an otherwise honorable member, but Scientology is the only one that appears to systematically institutionalize these acts as a 'good thing', that much/most of the church should support and participate in.

This is good, but! (3, Interesting)

chthon (580889) | about 2 years ago | (#42443187)

I think that the Belgian authorities should also try to organise this in a European context (L'union fait la force!).

Another idea I had: how should crowdsourcing be organised to damage scientology (I refuse them a capital)?

Epic Corruption: Operation Snow White (5, Informative)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 2 years ago | (#42443245)

Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries;[1] the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents. This was also the operation that exposed 'Operation Freakout', because this was the case that initiated the US government investigation of the Church.

Under this program, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly-placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty or were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F.Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org]

Re:Epic Corruption: Operation Snow White (4, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | about 2 years ago | (#42443335)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White

Interestingly nowhere does this text contain the word "terrorism". Maybe the people involved were just the "wrong" religion...

Re:Epic Corruption: Operation Snow White (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | about 2 years ago | (#42443785)

Terrorism implies (threats of) violence.

Re:Epic Corruption: Operation Snow White (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443457)

You might also mention what "Operation Freakout" was [youtube.com] . Quite an amazing story. (details around 4 minutes)

Re:Epic Corruption: Operation Snow White (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#42443963)

Interestingly, if you read the CoS' account of L. Ron Hubbard's military career, he was some sort of war hero who commanded ships on many different oceans (sometimes simultaneously) and two different navies (British and US) while being awarded numerous medals (including British ones that are never awarded to non-British personnel). His official record shows that he joined the Navy before Pearl Habor as a Lt. Junior Grade and in 9 years only promoted to Lt. He spent most of this time on American shores and was reprimanded (and relieved of command) numerous times. He does have medals from his service; however, most of them were routine ones awarded for time of service rather than valor. His official CoS archivist and biographer Gerry Armstrong quit the church after discoveries of numerous inconsistencies in his records including his military one.

Terribly naive, I know... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#42443261)

Why(except perhaps for tax purposes) would a group being recognized as a religion or not so recognized be relevant? Both religious and secular organizations are capable of being criminal organizations, or not, and both are capable of using the sort of ethically problematic coercive tactics most commonly associated with cults.

Certainly, being a well established and respected religion can be very convenient indeed(see also, decades-if-not-more of kiddie rape with near-total impunity); but if you have to fight for recognition as "Well, I guess you technically meet the standards of a 'religion', so we can't legally deny you." you don't automatically acquire the establishment and respect, which are what really count.

Re:Terribly naive, I know... (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#42443499)

Because the key word "religion" has been a hot issue for so long that it's built into many laws. Employers discriminating against a religion is outlawed, but forbidding membership in a non-religious group may be fine (and the reverse as well... employers often can't only hire one religion, but can mandate union membership). Church property may be exempt from police searches under age-old sanctuary laws. Of course, those taxes you mentioned can also mean a difference of 20-50% in a church budget.

Much of law is based on categorizing entities. Some categories are governed by this particular set of laws, other categories by a different set. Trying to work entities in to or out of any particular category is therefore a big part of a lawyer's job, and where lawyers get such a reputation for being dishonest.

Not a first in Europe (3, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42443299)

France has already convicted several senior officials a few years back for crimes such as embezzlement, and contribution to suicide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_in_France [wikipedia.org]

So are they going to be consistent... (0)

John Hasler (414242) | about 2 years ago | (#42443319)

...and bring the same charges against the Catholic Church?

Re:So are they going to be consistent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443481)

most of the corruption was in Italy and sold pardons, you can go into a catholic church for free, and if you don't want to give money during mass you don't have to.

Re:So are they going to be consistent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443493)

Is the CC primarily a criminal orginization?

Re:So are they going to be consistent... (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 2 years ago | (#42443727)

Probably at some point, once the relevant evidence is collected and researched. There have been a couple of cases against high profile individuals in recent years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_Belgium#Pedophile_priests_scandal) but collating the right evidence to make a solid case against a large organisation is rather more difficult.

others? (0)

aissixtir (2752321) | about 2 years ago | (#42443409)

why not the rest of religions?

Scientology not to blame (1, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42443437)

Unfortunately the problem in the west is not scientology, but the Catholic church which sets a very low bar on the ethical behavior required by a religion. Because the west is largely based on fairness and due process, any sociopath can set up a religion and do pretty much whatever they want. We have to give credit to most other cults in that they are under more scurtiny and threat of conviction than the catholic church, the do tend to behave better.

I know many would disagree, but look at the rape situation. We have substituted accusions and sometimes admission of rape of children, rape of nuns, in an institutional environment. The fact of the matter is that these are crimes against humanity. That these were not codified as crimes against humanity until this century is irrelevant. Trail were held after WW1 using codes that were not developed until after, and these codes were continually developed and applied as new atrocities were dealt with.

Yet not a single Catholic official has been put on trial in international court. The Vatican is a sovereign city-state. I do not expect the pope to have the morale courage to take the responsibility for these crimes against humanity, but I would this he would choose one or two top officials to throw under the bus and reach some moral compensation. But the catholic church, like more religions, live outside the sphere of civil and normal discourse, so is not subject to the noms and laws most fo the secular world lives by. Whichis why picking on scientology is not really going to change anything.

Re:Scientology not to blame (2)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#42443531)

so you are saying "scientology blackmails, threatens, harasses ex-member and people who point out what scientology really is because the catholic church set a low bar of moral expectations". and "catholic priests are pedophiles, therefore scientology is innocent". the well known as "you too" argument. do yourself a favor and educate yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuJlZ_f1594 [youtube.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Freakout [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_snow_white [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_game_(Scientology) [wikipedia.org]

p.s. not a catholic, not religious at all.

Re:Scientology not to blame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443623)

Actually, I believe that the GP is pointing out the failure to do anything to rein in the egregious abuses of the Catholic Church.

BTW, you're making the same argument.

Re:Scientology not to blame (1)

etash (1907284) | about 2 years ago | (#42443651)

so the failure to do anything about the wrongdoings of the catholic church is the reason scientology is doing what is doing today, thus they are not to blame ? which same argument am i making ?

Re:Scientology not to blame (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42443695)

Sure, but no true Scientologist would...

Re:Scientology not to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444073)

No one is saying that, but educate yourself on what the modern christian church is doing and how many are not being prosecuted for anything. I know a number of ministers in my are that are getting wealthy by doing the exact same thing scientology is doing. Promising great wealth. For more information look up "prosperity gospel"

Christianity is the majority, and therefore can get away with stuff. But I am sure many out there are of the thought that a young black man can be lawfully shot for stealing $10, but nothing can be done about a corporation that fraudelently pushes families out of their homes on Christmas. That is the problem

Matters of degree (5, Insightful)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 2 years ago | (#42443441)

Not to offend anyone (or, sorry that I WILL) basically every organized religion is wacky. Since they're all based on things that have to be taken on faith, the only difference is how much disbelief the adherents are willing to suspend. Granted, to THIS observer, Scientology (and Mormonism, close behind) are at the far end of the spectrum, but it's a quantitative rather than qualitative difference. Now, practically, the Scientologists appear to present an ongoing danger to society; the Mormons no longer appear harmful.

Re:Matters of degree (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42443675)

Now, practically, the Scientologists appear to present an ongoing danger to society; the Mormons no longer appear harmful.

Presumably that's "Now" as is "Since Mitt Romney lost the election". Mormon beliefs might well have informed the decisions of the most powerful official in the world. Phew!

Re:Matters of degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443943)

a quantitative rather than qualitative difference

So? The quantitative differences are significant. Mormonism is a bit toward the wacky, but I would put them within a standard deviation or so of midpoint wacky. COS is at least three off.

I would also argue there are qualitative differences even to the secular/agnostic/atheist. Some religions have a degree of tolerance in their core beliefs (turn the other cheek, do unto others, all that stuff) while others have inherently harmful intent. I would argue that Mormonism has been getting gradually less wacky as the years since founding pass. COS seems to be pretty steady paced in its wackiness.

Re:Matters of degree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443999)

Of course here it's less about the wackyness of the belief, and more about the criminalness of the particular religious organization (the Church of Scientology).

Re:Matters of degree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444027)

every organized religion is wacky

It's not whether they are wacky. It's whether they are criminal. CoS has a documented history of criminal acts (e.g. Operation Snow White).

Admissions of a Member: The Fishman Affidavit (5, Informative)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 2 years ago | (#42443447)

Steven Fishman attested in court that he was assigned by the Church of Scientology to to murder his psychologist, Dr. Uwe Geertz, and then commit suicide.

The Fishman Affidavit is a set of court documents submitted Steven in 1993 in the federal case, Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz (Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx) U.S. District Court for the Central District of California).

The Affidavit contained criticisms of the Church of Scientology and substantial portions of the Operating Thetan course materials.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishman_Affidavit [wikipedia.org]

Re:Admissions of a Member: The Fishman Affidavit (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443835)

I'm reading Steve Fishman's book "Lonesome Squirrel" for the second time. He is a perverted, schizophrenic nut job, but his writing is quite funny and sharp, and the story is entertaining, even though a lot of it probably is a product of his imaginative and messed-up mind. It contains lots of Scn jargon, so a dictionary is handy:
http://www.xenu-directory.net/glossary/glossary_a.htm

His book:
http://fishman.home.xs4all.nl/ls/indexls.html

Also recommended reading is "Blown for good", and "Barefaced Messiah".

Steve Fishman interview. At least watch the beginning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKTveC__FMs

Q: What is the difference between Scientology and the Mafia?
A: The Mafia don't kill people in church.

Scientology going down is something good. They prey on the vulnerable and harass, if not attempt to kill, their critics.

I'd love ... (2)

sponse (1468283) | about 2 years ago | (#42443593)

I'd just love see them bite the dust.

Headquarters (3, Informative)

Svippy (876087) | about 2 years ago | (#42443711)

Actually, the European headquarters of Scientology is in Copenhagen (according to this US report [state.gov] ), while the Brussels office is merely a lobbying firm for Scientology to the EU.

more of a scam not cult (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about 2 years ago | (#42443769)

Scientology is not a cult nor a religion but a big money scam. Their #1 priority is to drain their members bank accounts just like so many mega churches here in the u.s do. Religion like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam started as a personal belief systems but turned into political tool to control people. Even our u.s constitutional laws are being used against us by the oligarchy. Regardless of religion or government common laws the power hungry will always find ways to control the masses.

Re:more of a scam not cult (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#42443991)

It is a cult in UK. As to whether it is legally considered a scam (and if so it will invite similar cases in rest of EU) we'll just have to wait.

Re:more of a scam not cult (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42444029)

Unfortunately it is both a cult and a scam. The scam is designed so that the scammers actually think they are doing something good when forcing people to part with their money. L Ron Hubbard built the organisation as a playground where he could exercise complete control over its members to satisfy his narcissistic personality, as well as to make money.

Learning how to suppress critical thoughts, inducing hypnosis-like states, telling every secret you ever had (and having it recorded for blackmail purposes), writing Knowledge Reports on your friends and spouses, encouraging to break contact with family members who are critical ... this is much more than a scam.

The mind-control techniques they employ, together with their determination, and the way the cult may look innocent at first, makes it extremely dangerous.

Book: The Complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443879)

If even half of this book is true, every government should be going after them.

Not all the same (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42443909)

You can always, and I mean always, count on some idiot out there ready to insult all religions by saying that Scientology is no worse than anything else. You'll see it in comments of any Scientology post. It's that uneducated (and blinded atheist in some cases) attitude which allows them to continue staying in business.

I have an idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42443979)

So...what are the approximate odds that they'll be able to get the US to extradite basically every scientology employee (yes, I said employee) to Belgium to get locked up forever? lol.
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