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Scientology Critic Flees U.S. Over Usenet Posts, Pickets

jamie posted more than 12 years ago | from the that-was-a-joke-Your-Honor dept.

Censorship 477

Keith Henson was arraigned on charges of "misdemeanor terrorism" last September. Last month the jury deadlocked on those charges, but convicted him of making threats to interfere with the constitutional privilege of enjoying religious freedom. He was not present at his sentencing hearing yesterday and is a fugitive from justice, apparently planning to claim asylum in Canada. If you've ever flamed anyone in an online forum, and think you have a right to carry a picket sign, you need to study this miscarriage of justice. Details below. Update by J : freehenson.tripod.com has been taken down, so I'm linking to a mirror.

"Religious bigotry will not be tolerated in Riverside County," was a Scientology spokesperson's reaction to the verdict.

That's basically the problem right there. The First Amendment gives me the right to be a bigot as long as I don't hurt or threaten anyone. You don't have to like my opinions, but you do have to tolerate them.

If you've ever hung out in an online forum, you'll probably get deja vu reading this Usenet thread. The first message posted is a description of cruising past some Scientology related buildings, complete with GPS coordinates for whatever reason. It's written as a self-mocking, satirical sendup of spy movies. The remainder of the thread is jokes in the same vein.

The question is whether this running gag about "Tom Cruise Missile Coordinates" (get it?) could be taken seriously enough to qualify as a threat under Section 11415 of the California Penal Code.

As I read the recently-passed law, if you go along with the jokes about the "handheld laser guidance system," you might be a terrorist:

Any person who knowingly threatens to use a weapon of mass destruction [including] by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out ...

The fact that the person who allegedly violated this section did not actually possess a biological agent, toxin, or chemical weapon does not constitute a defense to the crime specified in this section.

The victim of said terrorism must have been in "sustained fear" of the threat being carried out. And how does the law know your victim was in sustained fear? Because he or she evacuated the building -- or took "any other action."

Here's what Henson says. In this case, the Scientology organization's legal team managed to bar any evidence from being presented about why Henson was picketing the Scientology location (because of two unusual deaths within a month).

Nor was the context of the above thread, or context of Henson's other Usenet posts, allowed to be introduced. For example, the jury could not see the context of the above thread; they only saw Henson's contribution to the running gag:

Modern weapons are accurate to a matter of a few tens of yards. The terminal guidence ones are good to single digits.

Of the next quote, the jury was only allowed to see the first sentence, not the second:

The only way I can get clear of this scientology mess is to "destroy them utterly." So: This week I will be back picketing gold base.

And you can decide what you think his third quote means, but again you have the advantage of its context being just a click away:

PPS Killing the organization off entirely is the best way to change the future of Scientology.

Worse still, according to Henson's at-the-time lawyer, whether these statements caused fear in some Scientologists was decided not by the statements he actually made, but by hearsay versions they got from others. He points out that Scientology's censorware package ("Scienositter") would have blocked the original Usenet posts anyway:

...cult members, who are not allowed access to the Internet and are actively prevented (by the Church of Scientology "net nanny") from reading the newsgroups on which Henson posts, may have an unreasonable and irrational fear based on unreasonable and out of context statements of which they were informed selectively, but which they did not read.

So picture Keith Henson's situation. He feels strongly about his particular cause. He peacefully carries a picket sign. He exercises his First Amendment right to post on Usenet about what he's doing and why -- and in so doing he uses sentences and phrases which, in context, clearly are not threats, but out of context could be construed that way.

Dragged into court, all context is stripped away and -- while he narrowly escapes conviction as a domestic terrorist -- he is convicted of using the threat of force against people who may never have actually read what he wrote.

If you're smart, you'll take Henson's case as a warning. You'll think about what your own statements would look like, with their context totally removed, and in the harsh spotlight of a courtroom. Do you really need to post that joke, or wouldn't the judge find it funny?

You'll soften up your opinions just a little, trying not to change what you mean while trying to change what you could be twisted to mean.

Maybe it's not such a great loss for you or me; we're not great writers anyway, and if we censor ourselves before hitting Save, maybe that's not the end of the world. We weren't really going to use that First Amendment right anyway, you know?

But somewhere out there is a Mark Twain who's had it up to here and is poised to pen a caustic attack on a religion which will become an important classic. As of yesterday, Mark's a bit more likely to live in Canada.

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Re:What the heck is wrong in California ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#216716)

I think you probably don't know, because otherwise you'd understand! The Scientologists sue absolutely anybody they can, for whatever reason, often without any grounds at all. Yet they throw enough money and effort at it, that they win a disproportionate amount of times.

I can only say, go to http://www.xenu.net [xenu.net] . Read. Marvel at it.

posted as a/c because I have the fear.

Re:I hereby threaten (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#216724)

Er, ACs aren't "members," right?

What was Mark's lawyer doing? (3)

jandrese (485) | more than 12 years ago | (#216726)

The article harps on and on about how these quotes were taken out of context, yet isn't it the job of the defendant's lawyer to give context to those quotes (and to explain his clients actions and why these threats were not real?)

I'm by no means a fan of $cientology, but I have the strange feeling I'm only getting 1/2 the story here. Certainly his lawyer should have explained that the usenet posts were a joke and the jury shouldn't have given it a second thought (the post in the google archive isn't terribly threatning IMHO, you'd need see-through thin skin to be affected by it). All in all, something just isn't adding up here.

Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.

awe, swell . . . (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 12 years ago | (#216733)

> Phasers and Photon torpedos


just what I needed today, bombardment with cruddy televisions and uncomfortable japanese bedding . . .

P>
hawk

Just for clarity (2)

Amphigory (2375) | more than 12 years ago | (#216739)

So that we can all talk civilly, I want to mention a few critical points:
  1. Scientology is the only "religion" (at least in the US) that engages in these kinds of litigious tactics. Please don't blame "religion" in general for the actions of Scientology.
  2. There is considerable reason to believe that scientology was started as a joke and/or a business. Many countries (e.g. Germany) do not regard Scientology as a religion but as a business.
  3. By most accounts, one advances in Scientology by spending a lot of money. A Supreme Court case found that this money was not donations, but fee for service.
  4. Most of all, scientology is in no way affiliated with any world religion. Please don't hold us accountable for their errors.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Scientology, and the above statements are based on things I have heard said in other forums over the years.

--

It's more embarasing than "NaziLand" Re:Canada? (3)

Forge (2456) | more than 12 years ago | (#216741)

Asylum in Canada is an embarrassment to the US if it is granted. Canada is America's closest Neighbor and closest ali (Except for burning that building which had to be repainted and is now called "The White House").

Ordinary American citizens if asked to pick a justice system other than the US they would trust their fates to would likely select Britain or Canada.

Running away to Canada just splatters egg all over the face of the US system.
--
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.

I hereby threaten (5)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 12 years ago | (#216743)

to kill all slashdot members with Phasers and Photon torpedos.

Vermifax

My question (1)

jjr (6873) | more than 12 years ago | (#216753)

Is why was not all the usegroup posting allowed to be used in a court of law. That is like picking apart a man's speech and taking out only the sentences that you feel are threting instead of understanding the context they are stating in. To a much lesser degree My twin brother once told be something out of context he pick out the part that stuck out the must to him, but without hearing why it was said I was pissed.
This entire thing frightens me because it allows people to be wrongfuly convicted if they like to use metaphors.

Re:Full Context (1)

Dino (9081) | more than 12 years ago | (#216757)

The defense lawyer was NOT ALLOWED to enter the evidence he wished to enter. keith was not able to talk about why he was picketing or the policies of practive of the Church (i.e. fair game, "hatting" a Scientology witness, destroying critics "utterly and without sorrow").
Speaking of the last point, Hubbard is quote as saying:
"There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 [
antagonism] down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow."

L. Ron Hubbard, Science of Survival

Now, Keith said the following in the USENET post:

The only way I can get clear of this scientology mess is to "destroy them utterly." So: This week I will be back picketing gold base.

You see, Keith was just quoting Scientology scripture. Any critic would have immediately "got" the joke. However, Scientology was able to act like their own scripture was coming out of Keith's mouth and try him on that. Furthermore, KEITH WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHERE THAT QUOTE CAME FROM!!!! The defense was under strict rules that none of Scientology's internal practices or even the name of the church he was picketing could be entered into evidence.
Scientology's abuse of the court system is scary. Remember people, these are the people who scared Slashdot with litigation. Not even Microsoft could do that!!!!!
---------------------------

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (5)

Dino (9081) | more than 12 years ago | (#216758)

The defense lawyer was NOT ALLOWED to enter the evidence he wished to enter. keith was not able to talk about why he was picketing or the policies of practive of the Church (i.e. fair game, "hatting" a Scientology witness, destroying critics "utterly and without sorrow").

Speaking of the last point, Hubbard is quote as saying:

"There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 [
antagonism] down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow."


L. Ron Hubbard, Science of Survival

Now, Keith said the following in the USENET post:

The only way I can get clear of this scientology mess is to "destroy them utterly." So: This week I will be back picketing gold base.


You see, Keith was just quoting Scientology scripture. Any critic would have immediately "got" the joke. However, Scientology was able to act like their own scripture was coming out of Keith's mouth and try him on that. Furthermore, KEITH WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHERE THAT QUOTE CAME FROM!!!! The defense was under strict rules that none of Scientology's internal practices or even the name of the church he was picketing could be entered into evidence.

Scientology's abuse of the court system is scary. Remember people, these are the people who scared Slashdot with litigation. Not even Microsoft could do that!!!!!
---------------------------

Re:Scientology Sucks! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 12 years ago | (#216760)

Even though they suck, if we ban them, it sets a very dangerous legal precedent.
Banning a murdering mind controlling hate group is a dangerous precedent ?

You can't ban them in the US anyway now that they have infiltrated your government at both local and federal levels.

Hopefully they'll be kicked out of France in a few months though. We'll throw a party.

What the heck is wrong in California ? (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 12 years ago | (#216762)

There's something funny going on with this DA.

Why are they wasting time with this case, are they really afraid of some guy posting jokes on an newsgroup ? Obviously, he wasn't discussing plans to bomb anybody. This law is so unconstitutional it's not even funny.


Hate crime, hate crime, hate crime !!! (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 12 years ago | (#216763)

You are a bigot against geeks. Somebody put this guy into jail, he's threatening us, quick, quick !

Re:Appeal? (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 12 years ago | (#216764)

Well, I agree, but then again it wasn't you or me facing 200 days in jail and 5 years probation.

Also, this guy is bankrupt, guess why ?

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (2)

Augusto (12068) | more than 12 years ago | (#216766)

You are correct.

The DA & the Scientology lawyer somehow convinced the judge to not allow the full thread nor context of the posts to be used.

Why was the DA working WITH the Scientology lawyers ???

This is a criminal case, you don't get to "parter up" with the other lawyers when you are the DA in this manner. Very strange.

Also, Keith's motivations for picketing and posting $cientology criticism were not allowed either.

From the point of view of the jurors, Keith just hated these "religious" people for theheck of it, and from that one quote, he did seem obsessed with weapons.

What a miscarriage of justice !

"Tom Cruise Missiles" (2)

Augusto (12068) | more than 12 years ago | (#216767)

If you want to maintain a strong sense of Hyperbole, might I recommend instead using non-existent science-fiction weapons? Threaten to use a Death Star or anti-matter weapons. Perhaps you should add a further touch of the comedic by threatening somebody with a 747 full of rabid weasels.

Uh, last time I checked, "Tom Cruise Missiles" was a non-existent weapon.

Re:Give in? (3)

gorgon (12965) | more than 12 years ago | (#216771)

No, of course that's not what he's advocating. His next paragraph is:
Maybe it's not such a great loss for you or me; we're not great writers anyway, and if we censor ourselves before hitting Save, maybe that's not the end of the world. We weren't really going to use that First Amendment right anyway, you know?
He's trying to show what a slippery slope this is. Cases like this won't affect most of us directly, so we won't do anything about it. The point is that the importance of the First Amendment comes from its protection of inflamatory, unpopular, or dangerous speech. Those of us who only speak in bland centrist platitudes don't really need the protection of the First Amendment. But if we don't fight to support it, the power of the First Amendment will not be as strong when the day comes when we need it.

--
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations ...

Interpreting the California Law (3)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#216776)

My impression is that the judge's interpretaion of the california law was slightly overboard, but not as much as I'd like to think. It says tht somebody who knowingly threatens to use a weapon of mass destruction even if the have no intent or capability of using it can be prosecuted.

So my thinking is that the judge saw the context as irrelevant in the case because this law doesn't really make clearance for the "just kidding" defense. Effectively this is being treated similarly to the laws about bomb jokes at the airport. So he forbid entry of that evidence into the record because it would have tainted the jury's perspective.

It seems quite realistic that if you sent an e-mail to somebody and jokingly said, "If you don't come out with us tonight, I'm gonna blow up your house with a cruise missile," you can be prosecuted as a terrorist (assuming they feel compelled to do so). This is a VERY bad law written in the heat of the moment and in desperate need of overturning. So whatever you do in the mean time, if you describe conducting violent acts on anybody in any forum, don't do it in California, and don't use weapons of mass destruction. And ESPECIALLY don't do it to scientologists :)

If you want to maintain a strong sense of Hyperbole, might I recommend instead using non-existent science-fiction weapons? Threaten to use a Death Star or anti-matter weapons. Perhaps you should add a further touch of the comedic by threatening somebody with a 747 full of rabid weasels.

Disclaimer: If you choose to use advice in this posting, you need to put down the crack pipe. Just say no!

---

Give in? (2)

novarese (24280) | more than 12 years ago | (#216787)

You'll soften up your opinions just a little, trying not to change what you mean while trying to change what you could be twisted to mean.

So, Jamie, to be perfectly clear, are you advocating that we give in and just abandon our right to speak as we see fit?

Re:Awful big brush you're tarring us with there .. (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 12 years ago | (#216799)

I'm curious to know why you believe Islam is a made up religion. Although I am not Muslim, I do know enough about the Koran and the beliefs of the religion to know that you should _not_ base your opinion on the perversions of it that you see in the news media. Seeing rebel fighters claiming holy war on others is not what islam is about. Indeed, Mohammed was all for peace and love. Read a little before you jsut lump it in with every religion.

Your point is valid in a lot of other ways though. A belief system is a belief system is a belief system. You'll still kill for it, you'll still put down others in it's defense.

Re:Why are we surprised? (2)

jmauro (32523) | more than 12 years ago | (#216801)

It's not the far left and the far right that think this way. Both sides are opposed to almost all government interference and help in daily lives of the citizen. The side that is most for this is the center, which is why this sort of thing plays so well. If the center was against it, then the whole thing would be mute.

Re:Well..... (5)

revscat (35618) | more than 12 years ago | (#216810)

I don't think that the man should be running to Canada. If he is going to commit such inflammatory actions then I think he should take up the responsibility and face the injustice that he has provoked in order to showcase his cause, otherwise, he will just cause the erosion of more of our freedoms.

Yeah what the fuck ever man. You ain't the one facing time in the big house. If I have a choice between being somebodies bitch and bounding over to Bampf, that ain't even a choice. Besides, he'll have a much louder voice outside of jail than inside it. I'm all for martyrdom and sacrificing yourself for principles when it's appropriate, but that only works whenever people give a shit. 99% of America doesn't care about this, so he'd be hard pressed to accomplish anything positive from jail.

- Rev.

Election time out there? (2)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 12 years ago | (#216812)

Maybe it's coming up on election time in California and the DA is needing to make an example of somebody to boost his public appeal...

--

Appeal? (3)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#216827)

Seems to me that he has strong grounds for appeal. Fleeing the country seems extreme. Why do he, and presumably his lawyer, think he would lose on appeal? There's something missing here.

Ahh, but my shields are at, oh shit, 17%! (1)

laetus (45131) | more than 12 years ago | (#216829)

B'Elanna, get those Hubbardian phase inductors online NOW!
----------------------------------

Re:AC poster was FUNNY not offtopic. (1)

laetus (45131) | more than 12 years ago | (#216830)

Yeah, the moderators are sucking on this whole thread. They don't understand that humor can be "topical". Then again, they're probably sitting in some server room, overworked and overpaid, making sure an NT box isn't crashing.

Moderators: go ahead, rate me down. ./ Karma's like dryer lint. You can live without it.
----------------------------------

Sanitized for your protection (3)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 12 years ago | (#216834)

Man, do I <LOVE> those damn Scientologists. They just <ENLIGHTEN> people and <GRACIOUSLY ACCEPT> their money. What a total <EXCELLENT RELIGION>. If I ever get my hands on a Scientologist I swear I will <PAT THEM ON THE BACK> until they are red with <PRIDE>.

*----- This message has been sanitized for your protection by Scienositter -----*

um, yeah, this was a joke...

Canada? (2)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#216839)

I'm not aware of canada's position on Scientology, but perhaps he should seek asylum in Germany? If i remember correctly, Germany isn't too big on the whole scientology thing.

Make the world a better place... (2)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 12 years ago | (#216868)

Make the world a better place...

...Kill a Zealot.

Could that be considered a threat?

"Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"

The truth (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 12 years ago | (#216870)

Throughout history, cults have been branded as nefarious, predatory and corrupt. If one sits down and looks at the facts surrounding the critisims of Scientology and compares them to any of the major religions and the histories of those religions, the differences are obscured. Compare scientology to the preachers on BibleTV, and one finds little difference. Is it a scam, of course. However, freedom of religion carries with it the same burdens of freedom of speech in that you take the good with the bad. If you start to shit on the first ammendment you are shitting on the constitution. On a much more synical note, I'm in favor of things like Scientology in that they weed out (Darwin-effect) societies idiots. Its like the Judas-Priest albumn, or that MTV show that caused those kids to run themselves over. These things should be encouraged to rid our society of the Tom Cruises of the world.

I'd be irritable too . . . (2)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 12 years ago | (#216873)

. . . if I had a bunch of aliens stuck to me.

-Peter

Re:Why are we surprised? (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 12 years ago | (#216875)

Anyone on the far Right or far Left tends to think this way. The far Right (I'm a conservative, but I'm not a religious zealot.) thinks that all "bad" language is evil, and everyone should be sheilded from it. The far Left thinks that it's the government's job to control what you see, hear, & say.

... and that's the scary part, its coming at us from both sides. With each side's remedies eroding our freedom. It's past time to get some Libertarians in Washington.

Midichlorians! (2)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#216879)

Too many midichlorians [greyjedi.net] ! Too many midichlorians! Oh damn, wrong religion [ezboard.com] . What was I thinking?

By the way, for a good time, perform this Google search [google.com] .

This isn't unusual... (1)

Blob Pet (86206) | more than 12 years ago | (#216882)

Scientologists go after everyone, even the least dangerous of people, with a force that can only come from a cult like theirs. This isn't just about our rights online and the First Amendment; we're seeing here just how terrifying Scientologists can be. I truly wonder if this is what L. Ron Hubbard intended.

Re:We accept Americans... (1)

kevin@ank.com (87560) | more than 12 years ago | (#216884)

And just when I'm out of moderation points too... Your prosecuted had me laughing out loud once I managed to read it correctly.

Should have run to Germany (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#216885)

IIRC Scientology's illegal there.

Full Context (1)

tycage (96002) | more than 12 years ago | (#216897)

So the quotes were taken out of context. Can someone explain to me why Henson's lawyer wouldn't/didn't submit the context as evidence in his defense? Was there some reason that the full context of the quotes wasn't allowed as evidence?

--Ty

California's Power Problems (4)

tycage (96002) | more than 12 years ago | (#216899)

It just occurs to me that this could be the start of a large campaign to drive people out of California in order to solve their power problems.

Just a thought.

--Ty

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (5)

4of12 (97621) | more than 12 years ago | (#216900)


I don't mean to drift too far off topic, but your comment reminds me of something my wife told me a while back about expert witnesses, etc.

It's not just that juries cannot do extra curricular investigation, nor can they consider any evidence that was not brought out during the trial.

As a member of a jury, you cannot bring in your own special expert knowledge into deliberation!

Say you could do your own calculations in your head about what the probability is of a gun going off that hits the floor expelling a bullet that hits an individual 20 feet away, and that your estimate of the facts conflicts with what you and the rest of the jury heard from the expert witness on the stand. If that becomes known, it is grounds for declaring a mistrial.

Practically, this isn't much of a problem.

Lots of readers here probably have too much education and too much of an ability to sift between emotion and fact (oh--wait--this is /.) to get themselves past disqualification from most jury selection. For that reason, it's not an issue that would come up often in our current justice system.

But, I found it interesting, and I thought you might like to know...

Re:Give in? (1)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 12 years ago | (#216911)

Sounds like he's advocating "Political Correctness". Gotta make sure that everything I say can't be taken as slander against someone, and that no one ever gets offended, and that my opinions that oppose anyone else are suppressed.

Re:Why are we surprised? (1)

friedo (112163) | more than 12 years ago | (#216912)

I don't know where people get these fantastical notions of the "far left" wanting to control people's thoughts. I'm very far left and I think there should be no government whatsoever.

Then you obviously don't understand what "far left" means.

As long as he doesn't choose BC (1)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 12 years ago | (#216914)

If he comes to BC he'll likely run afoul of the Human Rights Commission (more accurately known as the Human Wrongs Commission). It's run by a motorcycle-riding chinese lesbian...nuff said.

Re:Sick, Sad World (1)

Mr.Phil (128836) | more than 12 years ago | (#216926)

well, Martin Luther was excomunicated from the Church. Excomunication was considered the worst thing possible then because of the Church's hold on what was thought to be the only way to God. However, that is not the belief today.

The Co$ seems to enjoy perverting US law and hiding "church" documents from prospective members untill such time as the new members brain has had a major washing and allows them to believe in space cooties and other such nonsence.

It amazes me to no end the number of "famous" actor people that have joined Co$. Is Hollywood becoming a town with a Blacklist? If your not Co$, no work for you?

Religious Bigotry (1)

iambarry (134796) | more than 12 years ago | (#216932)

Although it seems clear that Mr. Henson statements where intended as a joke, they also where bigoted, intolerant, and highly offensive.

Crimes are committed daily due to religious intolerance (sometimes, too often, here at home in the US). Those who commit these crimes often mock the validity of their victim's religion.

Mr. Henson's right to free speech should be defended, as our free speech rights depend on it. We should not defend what he wrote. We must condemn what he wrote.

difference (1)

belove (142915) | more than 12 years ago | (#216946)

The difference with Christian Science is the choice is yours. Nobody in that religion will force you in or in any way try to get money out of you (aside from the usual collection plate which you do not have to put money into), etc. I don't know anything about Scientology aside from what I hear, but it sounds like they really like to assimilate people.

So Twain's essay isn't as much about slamming CS as it is slamming the attitude that causes cases such as the one above. People get sucked into a religious faith and then practice / protect that faith to the extreme.

What this has taught me about Scientology: "Do not love thy fellow man if he hath dissed our church."

Re:AC poster was FUNNY not offtopic. (2)

dizee (143832) | more than 12 years ago | (#216947)

hey man, i thought it was fucking hillarious. i was kinda upset too that it was marked offtopic.

oh well :)

"I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."

Happened Before. (2)

Alexius (148791) | more than 12 years ago | (#216956)

Anyone Remember This? [slashdot.org]

Slashdot Itself Has Been Targetted For Being Set Against Scientology. I Wonder If The Scientologists Are Going To Start Seeing Slashdot As An Actuall opponent And Start Doing More Against Them, Things Akin To What They've Done To Poor Keith. All I Can Say Is I Hope So. I Think It's Horrible That The Justice System Can Be Perverted So Easily, Like With These Sort Of Events, And The DMCA, And Many Other Places Where It Becomes An Issue Of Power As To Who Wins The Court Case, Not Who Was Right. The Courts Were Put There To Protect The Little Guy, The Opinion No One Likes, And The Outcasts. If The Scientologists Do End Up Trying To Take On Slashdot, I'm Sure Slashdot, With It's Users And Andover Backing, Help Can To Win A Court Case, And Maybe Start To Put These Cultists In Their Place.

Yes, I Know I Type Funny.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-|

USER_XYZ Sued for slashdot post. (3)

mallie_mcg (161403) | more than 12 years ago | (#216966)

In other news today, user_xyz was sued today after police raided andover HQ to obtain ip information after a spork threatened to utterly destroy commander taco with nothing other than hot grits, all your xyz are belong to ijk, petrified natalie portman statuettes, and other assorted obselete objects such as phallic beowulf clusters.

Seriously though, this shit scares me? Is there anyway to protect/imdemnify yourselft against such things when you want to desperately desire to abuse some twat that needs it? Can an american sue me even though i am an australian for implying / saying that they are a [insult here][bodypart here if needed]?


How every version of MICROS~1 Windows(TM) comes to exist.

Re:Scientology Sucks! (1)

Kryptonomic (161792) | more than 12 years ago | (#216967)

What precedent?

Like a we-do-not-tolerate-clearly-dangerous-cults- precedent?

For Christs sake, you've got prisons crammed full of minor drug offenders and some states execute children and you say that banning something as abhorrent as $cientology sets a dangerous precedent!

We accept Americans... (5)

Anonymous Canadian (165757) | more than 12 years ago | (#216969)

Give me your tired, your poor, Your religiously prosecuted...

California (1)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 12 years ago | (#216971)

Uber Alles
--

streetlawyer summary service (1)

streetlawyer (169828) | more than 12 years ago | (#216972)

OK, the above is a bit long for today's foreshortened attention spans, so here's a summary:

A lone obsessive nut threatened a gang of obsessive nuts and somehow the government got involved. We hate the Scientologists, but we're a bit scared to say so.

Typical (4)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 12 years ago | (#216974)

This is typical Scientology "fair game" tactics used to intimidate critics. Twist and/or manufacture evidence, sue defendants into bankruptcy, etc. For anyone who reads Operation Clambake [xenu.net] this is just par for the course. If you're a critic of Scientology you better have deep, deep pockets, good lawyers and a thick skin.

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Re:Canada? (2)

gerddie (173963) | more than 12 years ago | (#216991)

In Germany it is considered, that the ideology of Scientologie contradicts the constitutional law. A (german) paper on that topic can be read here [uni-wuerzburg.de] .

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (5)

DavidBrown (177261) | more than 12 years ago | (#216994)

The jury was absolutely prohibited from doing their own investigation into the facts of the case, just as they are prohibited to do so in EVERY trial. Juries may only consider the evidence that is admitted at trial, and the judge gets to make the determination about which evidence is admissible (subject, naturally, to appeals).

Re:Threatening? (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 12 years ago | (#216997)

I should have made it clear that this is a true story rather than a play.

Tim.

Re:Threatening? (2)

locofungus (179280) | more than 12 years ago | (#216998)

But what would happen if I dialed a number, got the engaged tone and then said,

"You're on that *** phone again. I'm going to have to cut your tongue out."

I can see how someone who overheard the comment could complain about the language (Substitute suitable words for ***) but I can't really see how a court could consider this to be a threat unless you repeat it to the person it was intended for.

On the radio (BBCR4) on saturday there was a couple who had returned home to discover that the cat was walking round with the budgie in its mouth.

The woman screamed and then the husband shouted "You bloody cat. I'm going to kill you."

The neighbour rushed around expecting (hoping?) to stop a murder but all was well in the end.

Tim.

Threatening? (3)

locofungus (179280) | more than 12 years ago | (#216999)

Have I got this right. Can you really be prosecuted for threatening someone even if they couldn't have been threatened by it. It will be thought police next.

In 2001, when the thought police come Knocking at your door. Think? "I'm Out".

Tim.

Scarey! (1)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 12 years ago | (#217002)

You're scaring me pal, I'm going to sue you!

"Present them!"
"Touche teacher!"

disclaimer: This comment is invalid when taken out of context from the entire conversation or discussion thread. In order to be considered valid, all posts in this thread, from all respondents, must be taken and considered as a whole.

Constitutional issue? (1)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 12 years ago | (#217003)

One suggestion would be to appeal to the Supreme Court and make it a constitutional issue. I'm sure some of the heavy-weight laywers would get involved in it to solve this problem once-and-for-all.

Re:Threatening? (3)

Ereth (194013) | more than 12 years ago | (#217010)

Of course you can. This isn't even new. What do you think they do to people who phone in bomb threats, even if they didn't have a bomb and had no intent of actually blowing anything up? It's likely that the law was enacted precisely for people who make bomb threats with no intent to follow up, just for the disruption factor. If you have to shut your business down for a couple hours while the police wander through looking for a bomb, did it matter that it was non-existent?

And, of course, we all know what happens if you say "bomb" or "gun" in an airport.

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (2)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 12 years ago | (#217017)

"The article harps on and on about how these quotes were taken out of context, yet isn't it the job of the defendant's lawyer to give context to those quotes"

It sounds to me like he has fallen foul of some of the terrorism laws. I can't say for certain about the US, but in the UK all sorts of fairly hideous laws have been passed in the name of preventing terrorism. Indeed the last law that got passed defines a terrorist as anyone whose actions are intend to have politcal effect, and whose actions might cause violence, or finance damage. In practice this means that if you do something (like hold a peaceful protest) which is liable to result in the police baton charging you, then you are a terrorist. Similarly if you for instance campaign against industries using third world sweatshops, and you actually have an impact on the business, then you are a terrorist.

Of course all along the civil rights movements have warned that giving such large powers to the state are potentially dangerous. I think here we see an example. Any law which prevents threats of violence, but which neglects to cater for sarcasm, or humour is a deeply flawed law.

I suspect that this is the reason that the context was not allowed as defence. If humour is no defence under the law then the prosecution would simply argue that presenting context is irrelevant.

In other words those of you from the US should be ironically grateful to the Church of Scientology. Once again by their actions they have uncovered a dangerous and damaging flaw in the law, and shown how rigourously we have to be in ensuring that are fundamental freedoms are not curbed.

Phil

Re:Critics of Scientology (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 12 years ago | (#217023)

It's a vary interesting read, and it gives insight into why it's in the vested interest of the organization, not to tolerate descenters.

I think you meant dissenters. The descenters are the ones that are still Scientologists. :-)

Is it possible to appeal? (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 12 years ago | (#217024)

I wish he had not fleed to Canada. Was he fearing for his life? This case needs to be appealed and overturned, but can it be done with him in Canada? It does not look good with him in Canada. I guess the word is to be careful when flaming powerful organizations who are sensitive.

Re:disclaimer necessary? (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 12 years ago | (#217029)

Sorry, that's 234 characters. You only get 120... Why not just copyright all of your posts? Like the copyrighted laws discussed a few days ago. Then you can limit who is able to reproduce them and who can (and cannot) bring them into court.

Be afraid (3)

wardomon (213812) | more than 12 years ago | (#217039)

Be very afraid. Our right to free speech is almost gone. Even (y)our president thinks that "there ought to be limits to freedom." We can barely express an opinion without the fear that we will offend someone. How long before Bill Gates himself sues everyone here for speaking ill of Microsoft?

Constitution (5)

rugadillo (215478) | more than 12 years ago | (#217042)

The constitution says nothing about individuals interfering with religion. It only says the government may not. But since most people don't have the first clue as to what the constitution actually says it is not suprising that this verdict came down the way it did. Today, free speech covers everything except what is deemed "politically incorrect", and this guys speech was apperently deemed "hateful". I say keep saying what you want. They can't throw everyone in jail.

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (3)

HyperbolicParabaloid (220184) | more than 12 years ago | (#217050)

but I have the strange feeling I'm only getting 1/2 the story here
You missed half the story. The article says the judge refused to allow the context to be introduced as evidence. The lawyer was powerless to discuss the other usenet posts. Though it doesn't say so in the article, the judge would also, probably, have forbidden the jury to do their own research, such as going to google to look for themselves. (assuming the either the judge or the members of the jury have heard of google ;-(


-------------------------

disclaimer necessary? (1)

dxnxax (225294) | more than 12 years ago | (#217051)

Perhaps a disclaimer is necessary in the signature block if you are posting any where publicly that could cause you problems. Something to the effect of:

disclaimer: This comment is invalid when taken out of context from the entire conversation or discussion thread. In order to be considered valid, all posts in this thread, from all respondents, must be taken and considered as a whole.

Re:disclaimer necessary? (1)

dxnxax (225294) | more than 12 years ago | (#217052)

No, you bonehead, because at least in court, your lawyers will have something to work with.

disclaimer: This comment is invalid when taken out of context from the entire conversation or discussion thread. In order to be considered valid, all posts in this thread, from all respondents, must be taken and considered as a whole.

Re:Awful big brush you're tarring us with there .. (1)

kyz (225372) | more than 12 years ago | (#217053)

FACT: There are make-believe religions. (Scientology, Moonies, Islam, etc.)
FACT: There is true religion. (Christianity)


If you think that there's a difference between 'make-believe' religion and 'true' religion, I have a bridge in London you might want to buy.

By the way, I've informed the Taliban regime about your feelings on Islam. They're coming over to kick your ass right now. Run while you still have legs.

The dude better pray... (2)

HongPong (226840) | more than 12 years ago | (#217055)

That Tom Cruise doesn't come on up to Canada and kick his ass John Woo-style!

--

Critics of Scientology (5)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#217058)

Scientology has had critics online for a long long time. They routinely pursue them more vigorously than any other organization in modern times. The msot notable of online criticisms of Scientology is called Operation Clambake [xenu.net] and has been around for many years. The proprietor of this collection of information has helped several people high in the Scientology organization 'escape' the clutches of that organization. It's a vary interesting read, and it gives insight into why it's in the vested interest of the organization, not to tolerate descenters.

--CTH

--

Nor can we insult them. (1)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 12 years ago | (#217061)

If we insult,
If we have secrets,
If we ask for money,
If we fear,
If we ban,

We emulate Scientology's methods.

We can stand for the truth as we find it, shine light on it, and those of us who have found the way out, can point toward Jesus. Prayer is much more useful than any of the other methods I just listed. True prayer requires you to be humble, admitting that you can't solve the problem with your own abilities...

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There is no cause for fear (2)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 12 years ago | (#217066)

Fear is not an operable solution in ANY situation. Be very informed. Realize that these kinds of things have been going on for thousands of years, and they ain't stopped us yet.

Be full of faith, seek truth, and stand for it when you find it.

People who fear God are in on the secret that fear of God is love of one's neighbor. That would be the only fear worth advocating...

Scientology (2)

DankNinja (241851) | more than 12 years ago | (#217073)

I cannot remember where I found them, if you have ever read their OT texts(for example if you pay 300,000 dollars, they will teach you how Jesus was a pedophile). A million dollars and you get to hear about when they are in control of the world, non-converts will be put in facilities to be re-educated. It is pretty scary stuff, and cannot see intelligent people getting involved in it. Even alot of bib time hollywood scientologists (many of whom owe their jobs to scientology) are finally speaking out against it(Tom Cruise for example.) I just found this site: http://www.scientology-kills.org

Giving up freedoms (1)

dexter1 (244765) | more than 12 years ago | (#217077)

I think this is just the latest in a disturbing trend where our rights have obviously been forfeited in the supposed interest of decreasing crime.

Most Americans are willing to give up certain rights and privileges in order to lessen crime. This is at least part of the gun control debate (those for gun control are willing to give up their right--or privilege, depending on how you read the law--in exchange for less killing). I am not opposed to all of this forfeiture of our rights--certainly the violent crime rate in America demands action, but there has to be a line that we NEVER cross. That, no matter how bad it gets, we do not give up certain rights. A right to free speech is one of those. Granted, no one has the right to make violent threats against another, but, unless the full context of the threat is known, a lot of innocent language could be construed as threatening. This takes away far more of our freedoms that I am personally comfortable (it is also suspicously close to a lot of the action taken against teenagers who may or may not have threatened violence)

My question is, where is the line drawn? Do we truly have a right to free speech at all? Or is the right more of a privilege--we can say certain things, but the scope of what we can say is very narrow. Lately, it seems like the latter is the case. If you are a high-school student, don't talk about violence in any way. If you are against a church, make sure your wording is nice. Is that free speech? I am not sure....

Why Keith's Lawyer was not Allowed to Show Context (3)

turambar386 (254373) | more than 12 years ago | (#217086)

A number of people have asked why the defense was not allowed to reveal the full content of the usenet posts.

The fact is that the defense was forbidden from revealing anything to the jury that would show that the "religion" in question was Scientology since this would have (rightly so) prejudiced them. In fact, there was one post where Keith quoted L. Ron's babbling. Because the jury could not discover that it was Hubbard's quote, they could only assume that the quote was actually Keith's!

The Co$ lawyers also put into evidence pictures of Keith picketing, but with the words on his sign removed from the picture.

"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. It is corrupt sinister and dangerous...."
Justice Latey, ruling in the High Court of London

One good reason he ran (3)

turambar386 (254373) | more than 12 years ago | (#217087)

Why did he run?

Scientology runs numerous front groups that serve to indoctrinate people into their cult. They have over fifty years experience in mind control.

One of their front groups is called Criminon and pretends to rehabilitate prisoners. The Co$ has mentioned that their Criminon program is operating in the county jail where Keith may be incarcerated.

L.Ron said that the thing to do with critics was to "dispose of them quietly and without sorrow".

Would you want to end up in jail under these circumstances?

Welcome to Canada... (5)

CrazyLegs (257161) | more than 12 years ago | (#217089)

I hope Mr. Henson finds the asylum he seeks (I'm Canadian). The Free Speech issues seem self-evident here. However, he should be aware that we have some Hate Crime laws in the Great White North that (sometimes) are heavy-handed - although not likely to the extent to which Mr. Henson is currently experiencing.

As well, the Scientology folks have no right to claim any injury here. I had a personal experience with these twits when I was in my teens. While walking down the street with a friend one day, some clean-cut guy (looked exactly like a mid-level manager-drone from M$ - complete with Dockers) jumped out from around the corner and offered us a free "personality test". Upon learning that we were minors, he offered to give us the tests and then discuss the results and "possible remedies" with our parents - just to be above board. Very spooky.

Here we go again... (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 12 years ago | (#217097)

Operation Clambake:

http://www.xenu.net

I can't stand these people. Copyrighted trade secrets? What a bunch of assholes. Let's just nuke Clearwater. Oh, shit! That just made me a terrorist!

Or, if you're brave.. (5)

Shoten (260439) | more than 12 years ago | (#217098)

If you're smart, you'll take Henson's case as a warning. You'll think about what your own statements would look like, with their context totally removed, and in the harsh spotlight of a courtroom. Do you really need to post that joke, or wouldn't the judge find it funny?

Or, if you're actually brave, you'll refuse to cow under the perceived threat of rare circumstances like this. This is a horrible miscarriage of justice, but I find it hard to believe it to be a common occurrence. On the other hand, if I were to watch everything I say in a public forum from this day onwards because of this incident...well, that would be a common occurrence, and greatly magnify the damage caused by this. Furthermore, I have enough faith in this country and our Bill of Rights to think that the better choice is to accept the risk, and aim to set a precedent against such abuse of the law in the future.

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (1)

WeirdKid (260577) | more than 12 years ago | (#217099)

I totally agree; his lawyer must have been out to lunch or something. However, this judgement does not surprise me - it's just another example of what I see as a critical flaw of our justice system here in the US.

If you've ever been involved in a lawsuit, you'll probably agree with me when I say that a legal battle is just that: a battle. But since the battelfield is trecherous and the rules are confusing, the opponents in the battle often hire specialists or mercenaries to fight for them. These mercenaries are expensive, and the best ones always cost more. Unfortunately, this means that the opponent who can afford the more expensive mercenary has the advantage.

Whoever can afford the better lawyer has the advantage.

And who has more money to spend on lawyers? Corporations or individuals?

The 60's tried to show us that our government has designed the laws and legal system to protect corporations before people. Semantics aside, I'm confident that we of slashdot are all well aware of how Scientology is more of a corporation than a religion. This is why I'm not surprised by the outcome of this case.

Re:Canada? (1)

skwirl42 (262355) | more than 12 years ago | (#217104)

I believe they have been found to have committed criminal acts in Canadian courts. I'm not sure where I came across that tidbit, but Operation Clambake, at http://www.xenu.net/, might be it...

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (1)

KenRH (265139) | more than 12 years ago | (#217105)

I still dont get how the jugde could deny the defendant to present the context of his messages.

What was his argument for this?

Re:Make the world a better place... (2)

XMyth (266414) | more than 12 years ago | (#217107)

I'd go after the Carriers and/or Archons myself...they do more damage.

Why are we surprised? (2)

doppleganger871 (303020) | more than 12 years ago | (#217112)

Anyone on the far Right or far Left tends to think this way. The far Right (I'm a conservative, but I'm not a religious zealot.) thinks that all "bad" language is evil, and everyone should be shielded from it. The far Left thinks that it's the government's job to control what you see, hear, & say. As long as someone's not physically attacking, or disrupting the place, (or someone personally) I don't get my feathers ruffled. Well, as long as apathy reigns, things will get worse.

Proof he sent the messages in question (1)

flakac (307921) | more than 12 years ago | (#217121)

How did the prosecution prove that Hensen sent the messages in question? I didn't notice any messages signed by Hensen in that thread. If he was dumb enough to testify in court that he wrote 'em, even if he considered the entire case against him to be a sham... well, hope he enjoys his new life in Canada.

Re:disclaimer necessary? (2)

sonofevil (316367) | more than 12 years ago | (#217128)

Yeah, because when the Scientologist lawyers see that, they'll stop their legal wrangling and play nice, right?

Sanitized for your protection (4)

myschae (317401) | more than 12 years ago | (#217129)

Now, I'm not one who usually gives into conspiracy theories but this just makes me mad. We're getting to the point in our society where we are trying so not to upset people with contrary viewpoints that it's not all right to express your opinions unless they toe the party line. If we sanitize society.... does that mean we'll all be living in a sanitorium?



And, who do we think we're fooling anyway? Oh sure, you can point to the very few cases where someone was going to do something terrible (say, shoot up a school) and announced thier intentions and no one paid attention... but compare and contrast that to the 100's of thousands of times that nothing happened at all. That's why it's such a shock. And how exactly does making voicing that sort of idea a crime solve the problem? Do you think that if language and communication is sanitized people will continue to announce that they are planning to commit violence? I doubt it. The reason they do it now is becaue it's reasonably 'safe'; no one takes them seriously.


But I digress. The whole purpose of free speech is that (within some very broad boundaries) you shouldn't have to fear prosecution for expressing your opinion. Those bondaries are getting awfully narrow.


Political tags -- such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth -- are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. the latter are surly curmudgeons, supsicious and lacking in altruism, but they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. - R. Heinlein

Re:Be afraid (1)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 12 years ago | (#217130)

Don't panic! There have to be *some* limits on freedom of speech. To quote a semi-famous example, a person who screams "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre when there was no danger, should not be able to claim they were just practicing free speech and thus should not be responsible for the stampede. The question should not be whether there should be limits to free speech, but what are the reasonable limits that should be applied in a sane and civilized society.

Re:What was Mark's lawyer doing? (1)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 12 years ago | (#217133)

The DA and judge are probably both Scientologists; the Co$ has been making lots of efforts to infiltrate the legal system.

Henson has had this problem before. Maybe this is a set-up for the DA and the judge, to get the decision reversed on appeal (very humiliating to the judge) and get grounds to disbar the judge or at least have him prevented from hearing any more Co$-related cases. We can all hope.
--
Having 50 karma is an itchy feeling; I know I'll get

Re:Scientology Sucks! (1)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 12 years ago | (#217134)

Like a we-do-not-tolerate-clearly-dangerous-cults- precedent?
Define "dangerous cult" on the basis of its teachings (good luck!).

It wouldn't be hard to get rid of the Co$; all you would have to do is attack it as an organization for its criminal acts under laws like RICO (the "fair game" practices are hard evidence of criminal conspiracy), throw any of the officials involved in these practices in jail and sell off the assets of the organization to compensate the victims. If the Co$ had no $, it would be toothless.

I see no reason why the same legal doctrine which destroyed the Klan in the south wouldn't suffice to eliminate the Co$ organization. Without the organization providing cover for the unlawful activities and sucking the money out of people's pockets, the practice itself would be pretty harmless.
--
Having 50 karma is an itchy feeling; I know I'll get

Re:Scientology (1)

jimsxe (323954) | more than 12 years ago | (#217135)

They give a different version to their "famous" converts so as to not scare them away. Other religions have a spokesman so the CoS uses celebrities as there positive PR. It is sad that the US finally agreed that they are a religion. I mean they believe a whole bunch of half-truths and fabrications and have no factual evidence of their "God" and attack those that threaten them and so on. Oh wait that descibes all other religions also! nevermind

Well..... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#217158)

While I think the motive behind the victim is reprehensible (to silence bigotry, i.e. free speech)

and while I think the law is unbelievably reactionary in what is considered a "terrorist threat"

I don't think that the man should be running to Canada. If he is going to commit such inflammatory actions then I think he should take up the responsibility and face the injustice that he has provoked in order to showcase his cause, otherwise, he will just cause the erosion of more of our freedoms.

Re:Canada? (1)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 12 years ago | (#217161)

In Germany, the cult does not have the status of enjoying the tax privileges of more established religions. They also can not deduct money from their members paychecks through the tax system. They are allowed to practise though. If members choose to give them their money, no problem.

This is considered quite a big issue here in Germany and the US Foreign Service has a regular go at the authorities about their lack of religious tolerance. Your tax-dollars at work!

Business is business, religion is religion, mixing the two is not recommended for good digestion

Re:Canada? (1)

Mantis69 (446522) | more than 12 years ago | (#217163)

Germany isn't too big on the whole scientology thing.

That's right. Here in Germany scientology is not classed as a religion rather as a 'Jugendsekte' that seeks to make money from its members. In Germany if you state you are Catholic, Protestant or whatever you pay 'church tax' which goes to your declared church. There are also lots of tax benefits for being being an officially registered church.

I'm not sure of the history of this, but it seems that the German government has a real downer on the Scientologists and in my state, scientologists are not considered suitable for work in government offices!

So if Keith Henson want's to escape he could take a vacation in Germany and have a pop at the Scientologists from here. :)

Sick, Sad World (1)

pagsz (450343) | more than 12 years ago | (#217170)

WTF?

So, if I'm reading this right, under today's legal rules, Martin Luther could have been charged with "interfering with a religion" and "domestic terrorism" for posting his 95 theses.

I mean, come on! This is ridiculous. Is this the state of free speech in this country? Say whatever you want as long as you don't piss off someone with money? Like a powerful religious group ($cientology), corporation (Micro$oft), or even government?

So, what's next? Are they going to turn this:

I will take out the garbage.
This thing is going to kill me.
George W. Bush made a bad decision.

into this:

I will kill George W. Bush?

Give me a break.

For those of you who aren't sure, I won't.

Packing my bags and heading for Canada just in case,

Church of DeCSS (1)

blang (450736) | more than 12 years ago | (#217173)

What does this mean for my plans to start the church of DeCSS?

By being a religion DeCSS would be almost immune to law, and Church of DeCSS could even use the twisted copyright laws to it's advantage, same way as those whacko scientologists used to do it.

Anybody ready to join the congregation? ( I don't really have such a plan, but it's a sweet idea, that would be really fun to see played out in court.)

"Religion" at it's best (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#217174)

So, all those people that died in wars in the past for the freedom that we all have today died for nothing? The right to free speech is one of our most basic rights...it's a shame to see a "religion" do this to a person....but that just goes to show what a group of motivated (right or wrong) people with lots of money can do....a government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations....
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