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Belgium May Prosecute the Church of Scientology

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the who-you-callin'-a-cult dept.

Censorship 755

sheean.nl writes "A Belgian prosecutor recommended after a 10-year investigation that the government prosecute the church of Scientology. The church is accused of being a criminal organization involved in extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine. Both the Belgian and the European branches of the church should be brought to court, according to the authorities. The investigation was started in 1997 after former Scientologists complained about intimidation and extortion by the church. Other European countries such as Germany have problems with Scientology, but in the US it is officially recognized as a religion. Scientology has 10 million members including high-profile followers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta." Scientology has long used heavy-handed legal and other tactics to suppress opposition on the Net.

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Go On Post, Say all you want (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468859)

We're Watching.

Xenu Smack Your Ass !! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469101)



Xenu Smack Your Ass !!

Gonna have a Clam Bake! (5, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 7 years ago | (#20469745)

You might just want to know [google.com] what all the noise is about.

Scientology is the 20th Century production of pseudo-religious scientificism in America - much as the LDS church was it's 19th century production. I expect Scientology to be at least as virulent - and ultimately compromised into the mainstream - as its Mormon predecessor. It will even gain them "martyrs" as LDS fallaciously claim for Joseph Smith - beaten to death by a mob he defrauded.

Re:Go On Post, Say all you want (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469139)

Watching the chasers, that is: Free gullibility test [youtube.com]

Fucking Scientologists. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469253)

The head of the Galactic Federation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet, 178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-Bomb on the principal volcanos (Incident II) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic area ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged".

His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. was placed in the implants.

When through with his crime loyal officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confederation) has since been a desert. The length and brutality of it all was such that this Confederation never recovered. The implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development.

One can freewheel through the implant and die unless it is approached as precisely outlined. The "freewheel" (auto-running on and on) lasts too long, denies sleep etc and one dies. So be careful to do only Incidents I and II as given and not plow around and fail to complete one thetan at a time.

In December 1967 I knew someone had to take the plunge. I did and emerged very knocked out, but alive. Probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000 years. I have all the data now, but only that given here is needful.

One's body is a mass of individual thetans stuck to oneself or to the body.

One has to clean them off by running incident II and Incident I. It is a long job, requiring care, patience and good auditing. You are running beings. They respond like any preclear. Some large, some small.

Thetans believed they were one. This is the primary error. Good luck.

Re:Fucking Scientologists. (4, Insightful)

VENONA (902751) | about 7 years ago | (#20469331)

Scientology is so bizarre that I can't tell if you're being facetious or not.

Re:Fucking Scientologists. (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 7 years ago | (#20469375)

He's not. That's scientology. (saw it on YTMND :P)

Re:Go On Post, Say all you want (1)

Arcturax (454188) | about 7 years ago | (#20469653)

I need someone to join Scientology with me. This isn't a joke. P.O. Box 66666666666666666666666 Oakview, CA 93022. You'll get your credit cards returned when we get back. Must bring your own e-meter. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.

Who is next? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468871)

I am not defending the scientologists, but.... You could state many of these things for numerous religons.

Sue the Pope? Good luck with that.

Re:Who is next? (3, Insightful)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | about 7 years ago | (#20468947)

The Pope? hard to Sue...

The Catholic Church, on the other hand... No so very hard at all [wikipedia.org]

Re:Who is next? (2, Informative)

Daar (850963) | about 7 years ago | (#20468953)

European Community trade commisionar Ms. Neelie Smit is currently looking doing just that. She'll be looking at the state support the Roman Catholics have been getting in Italy.

Re:Who is next? (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | about 7 years ago | (#20469087)

I am not defending the scientologists, but.... You could state many of these things for numerous religons.

Sue the Pope? Good luck with that.
You can't sue the Pope. As the Bush administration rightly pointed out (and you have no idea how rare it is for me to agree with that administration), in the U.S. the Pope is considered a foreign head-of-state, with all of the legal protections that that entails. We could invade the Vatican and bomb the Pope, but we could not sue him in a U.S. court of law any more than we could the Prime Minister of the U.K.

That said, Scientology's accused of: "extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine." I'm not sure that you can accuse Roman Catholicism (as a whole, discounting fringe groups that aren't practicing core doctrine) of most of those.

Re:Who is next? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469219)

You can't sue the Pope. As the Bush administration rightly pointed out (and you have no idea how rare it is for me to agree with that administration), in the U.S. the Pope is considered a foreign head-of-state, with all of the legal protections that that entails. We could invade the Vatican and bomb the Pope, but we could not sue him in a U.S. court of law any more than we could the Prime Minister of the U.K.

Tell that to Manuel Noriega

Re:Who is next? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#20469439)

IIRC, Noriega wasn't hauled into a US court until he'd been deposed in Panama.

-jcr

Re:Who is next? (2, Informative)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#20469497)

Tell that to Manuel Noriega

To be fair, he wasn't sued in court. He was extradited for trial on some drug charges after a little war. A state of war, originally declared by Panama, existed between the countries. I will certainly grant you that the timing was WAY too convenient, but it wasn't a suit brought against a foreign head of state.

Re:Who is next? (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | about 7 years ago | (#20469677)

You can't sue the Pope. As the Bush administration rightly pointed out (and you have no idea how rare it is for me to agree with that administration), in the U.S. the Pope is considered a foreign head-of-state, with all of the legal protections that that entails. We could invade the Vatican and bomb the Pope, but we could not sue him in a U.S. court of law any more than we could the Prime Minister of the U.K.

Tell that to Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega was not sued in a U.S. court of law. He was deposed by military action. His trial occurred after his deposition.

If you're suggesting that we use military force to depose the Pope and then bring him back to the U.S. to stand trail... well, what you're suggesting is an act of war, just be aware of that.

When it comes to Scientology, however, there's no nation to deal with. They're just a modern, fringe religion. Thus, they have no immunity in a U.S. (nor, I imagine, Belgian) court.

Re:Who is next? (4, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 7 years ago | (#20469373)

That said, Scientology's accused of: "extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine." I'm not sure that you can accuse Roman Catholicism (as a whole, discounting fringe groups that aren't practicing core doctrine) of most of those.
This is really the crux of the matter. No matter how bizarre or wacky you find a particular religious group (or philosophical group for that matter), you should only be able to sue for particular acts that the group, or individuals within the group, perform. I have no particular liking for Scientology, but one should focus on the bad and illegal things they have done, not the parts of their religion that are deemed absurd. I mean, American Atheists has claimed that the human race would have gone to the moon by the 3rd century (yes, the 3rd century C.E.) if it hadn't been for those "evil Christians" (this is in "Atheists: The Last Minority"). This is patently absurd, but I don't think anyone should sue them for it. However, if the head of American Atheists commits wire fraud (just for example, I'm not saying he/she has ever done anything unethical or illegal), then drop the legal hammer on the bastard.

Re:Who is next? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20469471)

I mean, American Atheists has claimed that the human race would have gone to the moon by the 3rd century (yes, the 3rd century C.E.) if it hadn't been for those "evil Christians" (this is in "Atheists: The Last Minority")


Atheists are not a singular group with a common theological stance. In fact, our common world view amounts to "We don't accept the existence of gods". Beyond that, atheists can diverge pretty heavily.

This is unlike Scientologists, Catholics, Muslims and the like. So just because you can find a few daft atheists hardly makes all atheists, or even the majority, daft. It's not a religion.

Re:Who is next? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469151)

The biggest difference is how different religions react to critique.

Most mainstream churches in the judeo-christian family tend to bitch and moan about being misrepresented but usually leave it at that.

We'll ignore the Spanish Inquisition because that was centuries ago.

Islam will try to have you killed.

We'll also ignore how much more personable Islam was compared to the crusaders because that was also centuries ago.

Scientology will try to kill you without actually pulling a trigger by bombarding you with lawsuits and dirty tricks.

Re:Who is next? (4, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | about 7 years ago | (#20469649)

I see what you're trying to get at, but I think you have to remember one thing. "Islam" is not an entity, like say the Church of Scientology or the Catholic Church. Like "Protestantism", Islam is decentralized religion with many sects. There are certain entities within the Islamic world that will try to have you killed for what you say, but at the same time, there are lots of non-radical groups of Muslims (encompassing hundreds of millions of people in several countries around the world), in which this sort of thing doesn't happen. This is especially true in Muslim countries where the legal system is not based on Islamic law.

Re:Who is next? (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20469393)

The Pope and his representatives don't try to stifle critics with nuisance lawsuits. They don't threaten or harass opponents of Catholic theology.

While I'm willing to grant the status of "religionist" to the membership of the Church of Scientology, the organization itself is a money-making scam that uses the courts to intimidate anyone who dares speak up against it. I'm content to let the average moron who buys in Hubbard's pile of shit go his own way, but the actual organization needs to be taken down a few notches.

Re:Who is next? (1)

Qbertino (265505) | about 7 years ago | (#20469399)

Sue the Pope? Good luck with that.

Curiously, in Germany the Katholic curch would get into the very same trouble Scientology has gotten if the would fall back to the same methods. It's rather hard to seriously p*ss off German authorities and agencies, especially the ones normally reserved for Neo-Nazis, Right-Wing/Left-Wing Terrorists and ultra-extremist Islamic fundamentalists. But if you try hard enough you'll have Verfassungsschutz around the clock watching your every move. And for good reasons too. Scientology is a potentially dangerous cult which has officially stated multiple times that one of it's mid-to-long-term goals is to effectively topple the constitution of Germany and other democratic nations *including* that of the US. On top of that there are manyfold instances where there is federal court lawsuit tested proof in various countries that Scientology has repeatedly and proactively done the crimes stated in the summary. And that these methods are applicable as standard means of procedure through out the organisation if someone high enough in the food-chain should decive to resort to them.
Europe (including Germany) is generally notably tolerant towards Religion and personal confessional preference, but just as humorless when it comes to defending that tolerance and freedom. Belgian officials making this move toward the Scientology Organisation comes as no suprise to me.

Re:Who is next? (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 7 years ago | (#20469751)

Europe (including Germany) is generally notably tolerant towards Religion and personal confessional preference, but just as humorless when it comes to defending that tolerance and freedom. Belgian officials making this move toward the Scientology Organisation comes as no suprise to me.
Make that modern/current Europe... Let's not forget the history *cough*inquisition*cough*holocaust*cough*, so we might avoid repeating it...

(And before the 'mericans get too comfortable, remember that inquisition is part of their history as well...)

LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#20468875)

If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium!

Back OT: About. Fucking. Time.

Slashdot hates science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468881)

Why else would it be against the Church of Scientology?

Re:Slashdot hates science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468929)

Cause Slashdot hates religion and all it's zealous sheep^H^H^H^H^H (Whoops) I mean followers.

Beware the intertubes (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | about 7 years ago | (#20468893)

Scientology has long used heavy-handed legal and other tactics to suppress opposition on the Net.

Hi. Welcome to the Internet. The neat thing about the Internet, is that we can communicate together, join forces, and accomplish any goal. At least we can, once we're done reading Slashdot, and posting LOLcats pictures.

Re:Beware the intertubes (4, Informative)

rabidMacBigot() (33310) | about 7 years ago | (#20468931)

ORLY? [slashdot.org]

Re:Beware the intertubes (2, Informative)

Cheapy (809643) | about 7 years ago | (#20469263)

There was a comment posted Slashdot once that contained some "sacred text" of Scientologists. Copyrighted sacred text. Scientologists forced Slashdot to delete the comment, and so far that is the only comment ever to have been deleted from Slashdot. That's also the reason why "Comments are owned by the Poster." is part of the text at the bottom of the screen.

I can only imagine that that statement was referring to that episode. I'd hope so because I laughed out loud when I read that.

ElRon must be so upset... (4, Funny)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | about 7 years ago | (#20468897)

Oooooh....L. Ron Hubbard must be spinning in his grave....well...his thetans must be enturbulated around their next body host at least...

Re:ElRon must be so upset... (4, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 7 years ago | (#20469529)

Oooooh....L. Ron Hubbard must be spinning in his grave....

They should strap magnets to him, and wrap a coil around the casket. Free electricity! ...see what science can accomplish?

Good luck with that... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 years ago | (#20468913)

[NT]

Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468921)

I understand many people don't like Scientology, but I fail to see how this relates to slashdot or news for nerds in general. There's not really any Online Rights issues or politics of relevance, nor is there any tech connection.

So why is this on slashdot? Because of kdawson's own biases and prejudices against it? Maybe he should post this on his own blog, and focus slashdot on tech issues instead.

Re:Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (5, Informative)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | about 7 years ago | (#20469013)

Probably because the Church of Scientology managed to royally piss off a good chunk of the USENET community (remember USENET? Cool, wasn't it?) back in the day by abusing the cancellation system, spamming, and generally making a set of newsgroups more or less unusable.

Geeks have long memories.

Plus, add in the "Scientology uses Technology" angle (debatable, at best...outright laughable more realizstically), and yeah, there's some geek.interest.to.be.had.

Mod Parent Informative (0, Offtopic)

asphaltjesus (978804) | about 7 years ago | (#20469107)

This story and the one before it are not why I check /.

If I want garbage like this, I'll check Yahoo.

Re:Mod Parent Informative (1)

monoqlith (610041) | about 7 years ago | (#20469567)

Ok, there's a simply way of getting rid of these articles. Go to Preferences, go to Homepage, exclude all stories from Your Rights Online or just include the headline.

  Just because the site is "News for Nerds" doesn't mean that's all it is.

  Slashdot has the editorial discretion to put articles on its site that aren't geared directly at you.

Re:Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469161)

I hear there is some geek interest in spell checker, too. Maybe they need to post an article like that for gimps like you?

Re:Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469061)

but I fail to see how this relates to slashdot or news for nerds in general.

Scientology is the only religion invented by a SciFi writer. Nerds read SciFi. Ergo, news for nerds.

Re:Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (5, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | about 7 years ago | (#20469097)

It might be something to do with this [slashdot.org] . Scientologists issued a DCMA takedown notice against /. after part of OT III was posted on here by a random user.

Re:Why Is This On Slashdot??!!! (0)

newgalactic (840363) | about 7 years ago | (#20469565)

Seriously, I'm a Christian (and fan of everything scientific and technological), and I'm asking myself that same question. Why is this on Slashdot? I'm not asking this because I want the story removed or anything, I'm actually indifferent. But I find it funny that this site has more debates on religion then I see anywhere else on the web. What's the deal, why all the interest in all things religious? On a side note, why would a religion restrict the distribution of their "gospel"? Christianity does not stop people from reproducing pieces of the Bible. Just as long as you are accurate, and properly reference the citation with book, verse, and version (ex. John 3:16 NIV).

Will this cause (4, Funny)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | about 7 years ago | (#20468935)

Tom Cruise to come out of the closet?

Xenu's Blazing Saddle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468961)

Xenu Lamarr: Qualifications?
Elron Blubbard: Fraud, barratry, extortion, and fraud.
Xenu Lamarr: You said fraud twice.
Elron Blubbard: I like fraud.

Required. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468965)

I for one welcome our new Thetan overloards.

Censorship vs. Karma (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20468969)

As much as I hate censorship and think anyone has the right to invent any kooky religion they choose, this is true karma.

What goes around comes around.

Re:Censorship vs. Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469473)

Just because a person is free to take an action (ie: create a kooky religion, sue people like crazy, etc...) does not mean that they are in any way free from the consequences of that action.

Scientology not a Cult? (5, Interesting)

Esteban (54212) | about 7 years ago | (#20468989)

Here's an article in which it's argued that Scientology is not a cult: http://www.slate.com/id/2171416/ [slate.com]

It doesn't so much make Scientology look better, as make other religions look bad...

Re:Scientology not a Cult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469417)

All religions are basically cults with a large number of followers. While Scientology is indeed ridiculous, it's hard to argue that any of the other major religions are any less ridiculous.

Re:Scientology not a Cult? (3, Insightful)

norite (552330) | about 7 years ago | (#20469615)

Cult (n) A small, unpopular religion.

Religion (n) A large, popular cult...

Re:Scientology not a Cult? (1)

Porchroof (726270) | about 7 years ago | (#20469461)

The author at that link knows neither Scientology nor Christianity.

All churches are guilty of that (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#20469007)

I happen to think that talking unsubstantiated nonsence and practising extortion and fraud is a hallmark of all religion...

Re:All churches are guilty of that (3, Informative)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#20469067)

I happen to think that talking unsubstantiated nonsence and practising extortion and fraud is a hallmark of all religion...

Agreed, but in all fairness to the 'regular' religions, they at least welcome you in and then extort you, whereas Scientology extorts the money up front, over a long period of time, before you're allowed full access to the church's teachings.

Re:All churches are guilty of that (5, Insightful)

Selfbain (624722) | about 7 years ago | (#20469227)

I was raised in an extremely Christian environment and when I grew up I stopped going to church and rejected their belief system. However, I never once received death threats from the church and for the most part, I believe their intentions were good however misguided I believe them to be. To put it simply, the church I was forced to attend in my childhood never scared me. These people do.

Re:All churches are guilty of that (2, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#20469315)

Exactly. I'm not a fan of any organized religion, but to compare Scientology to any of the major Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Buddhist sects is just ridiculous. Which is why I posted the above comment of 'about fucking time'. I'm all for Scientology getting the mainstream recognition they want, they just need to realize it comes at a price.

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#20469681)

Exactly. I'm not a fan of any organized religion, but to compare Scientology to any of the major Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Buddhist sects is just ridiculous. Which is why I posted the above comment of 'about fucking time'. I'm all for Scientology getting the mainstream recognition they want, they just need to realize it comes at a price.

I grew up a Catholic. I went to church, was an alter server, watched as my mother placed their hard earned money into the collection basket every week. I watched as the Diocese of Scranton told a priest at our church that they would make him a Monsignor if he collected enough money from our congregation to build a new church out in Boo Fuck Egypt (coincidentally his name was Msgr. Bendik and the church to be built was named Church of St. Benedict which was entirely too close).

So, with this plan in place, he set about ensuring that the new church would be built so that he would be escalated (years earlier than most) to the level of Monsignor. Every week in the bulletin were notices of how much the previous week's collection was and how much it was off (or above) the goal. His sermons were centered around money and giving to the church. He was a pimp for the Diocese and we were all his whores.

That fucking church was built and he got his title all while extorting everyone in the parish (which to this day continues to support that horrible monstrosity which apparently needs a new roof much earlier than expected) and fucking everyone over. If anything, while the church might not coerce you to pay them untold amounts of unnecessary money until you are in, at least the Church of Scientology is up front about it (although that's where my sympathy for this comparison ends).

All churches are fucking crazy -- a superhuman living in some mystical place pre-planning all the events on Earth and guiding His people with a glorified children's book is just as bad as having rocket propelled modern airplanes bring everyone to defrost in volcanoes while watching videos of the future. Sounds like stuff only a sci-fi writer could come up with...

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

auxsvr (811165) | about 7 years ago | (#20469349)

I'm a Christian and wasn't aware that I was being extorted, what do you base your assertion on?

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#20469463)

Depends on your sect, really. As a general rule, sex before marriage is totally OK, no matter what any preacher or good book says. Oh, and there won't be any rapture. It was a metaphor, you see?

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

auxsvr (811165) | about 7 years ago | (#20469741)

In your previous post, you wrote that religions in general

welcome you in and then extort you.

As a general rule, sex before marriage is totally OK, no matter what any preacher or good book says
What is the extortion in my case is my question.

there won't be any rapture
What does some rapture have to do with this?

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#20469469)

And where does the Catolic church not allowing its followers to read the Bible fit in? It was taken off the list of reading that is not recommnded to the casual parishioner as recent as the mid-20th century. This is just one example of the top of my head. While the prevailing forms of Christianity, Islam and Buddism are nowdays more or less liberal regarding the availability of religious texts to the casual believer that was not always the case. In fact, for many fringe sects it is still not the case.

Re:All churches are guilty of that (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 7 years ago | (#20469583)

I happen to think that talking unsubstantiated nonsence and practising extortion and fraud is a hallmark of all religion...

Which is why other religions are pissed... scientology seems to be more efficient at that.

Great !!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#20469019)

It was about time for the shit to hit the fan. Let the scientology perverts face eu machine.

spoiler : eu machine will win.

Well... (2, Insightful)

martinelli (1082609) | about 7 years ago | (#20469031)

I have absolutely no problem with these guys believing what they want, or even doing as they please within the confines of the law. However, once they start over stepping the bounds of their local laws, individuals should be prosecuted. I stress individuals.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

kwandar (733439) | about 7 years ago | (#20469195)

here in Canada we went after the "Church" itself [lermanet2.com] and they were held to be criminally responsible. As I recall, the "church" had an office within it that was set up to spy on government organizations, but the link above explains.

Re:Well... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 7 years ago | (#20469503)


I stress individuals.

Why? The allegation here is that this is an action of the church, not just a few misguided individuals. If this is the case, punishing a few individuals won't solve anything.

Seems stupid (4, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | about 7 years ago | (#20469035)

A religion doesn't become legitimate until the people are persecuted for a little while (see the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, etc)

Why don't we all just ignore the cult and let it die on it's own? Apparently the 10 million figure is highly exaggerated, which makes people think they are more of a threat than they really are. High up, Scientology WANTS to be persecuted so they can energize their followers and gain the sympathy of others.

Re:Seems stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469143)

I take a dim view of outfits that charge their membership for salvation, and then send them to work at soybean plantations or as staff on the leadership's private yacht (cruise ship, whatever) when they wind up in debt.

Re:Seems stupid (2, Insightful)

pstrong (220897) | about 7 years ago | (#20469167)

The point is not what Scientology may or may not want to do in order to energize (or whatever) their followers, but rather if that organization is breaking the law.
The former is next to irrelevant. The interesting part is if the law can be successfully applied in this case, assuming that sufficient evidence of breaking the law exists.

So can we burn a few? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20469273)

Can you buy them on eBay?

Re:Seems stupid (2, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#20469421)

Persecution for your beliefs as an individual and persecution as a whole for allegedly breaking the federal laws in several countries are two completely different things. The general public won't see CoS followers being stoned in the street, sent to camps, etc. They'll see "CoS accused of extortion" in the newspaper. I don't see that situation bringing much sympathy to their cause.

Also Prosecute (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469051)


and seize ALL the assets of the American Taliban [patrobertson.com] .

Thanks for your PatRIOTism.

Thank Xenu! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469065)

Its about time. Scientologists are about as creepy as islamic fundamentalists, complete with the 747 fetish.

Not officially recognized as a religion (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469105)

The US government does not officially recognize any organization as a religion. There is the definition of church under section 501(c)(3) of the US tax code as a simplified tax exempt body. But religious organizations themselves are not regarded as tax exempt, just the complicated definition of church as a non profit body. But there are no officially recognized religions in the US.

Re:Not officially recognized as a religion (2, Informative)

Mattintosh (758112) | about 7 years ago | (#20469419)

Not quite true.

Many municipalities require "religious" buildings to be zoned residential and have a steeple of some sort (it can be inconspicuous, but there's a minimum height requirement). If these conditions aren't met, then the local government won't give it tax-exempt status. Sure, you can get out of federal taxes as a non-profit, but there's property taxes, sales taxes, and all the other local stuff.

Then there's the states. Some states require each church location to register (similar to the property-tax-exemption requirements of some municipalities) in order to get state tax exemption.

So, yes, the US federal government does not require anything more than a non-profit shell corporation and various associated tax-dancing that goes with them in order for a group to be a "religion", but the states have their own rules, and counties and cities have even more. And they use the term "religion" in the laws.

European headquarters here too. (5, Insightful)

bmcage (785177) | about 7 years ago | (#20469123)

What is interesting in this is that the European headquarters are also in Belgium, Brussels to be exact. So some very high ranking scientologists can be sued.

In 1998 or so they where already being cataloged as a sect, not a church, which is important here (state money and benefits I suppose). It is estimated that Belgium has 8000 Scientologists, which is pretty lousy on 10 million, but still, with the headquarters, it could be painful for them.

Submitter Obviously Poor (0)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | about 7 years ago | (#20469165)

If the submitter weren't poor they would have no excuse not to make themselves Clear, and once they were Clear they would unquestionably see the wisdom in spending the money to become Clear. Q.E.D. Praise Tom!

Xenu knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good, so audit yourself thoroughly for Elron's sake.

(NB: The contents of this comment are sardonic. I am not a Scientologist, and I have never played one on TV. Defenders and apologists of this rubbish do so only because they lack the jewels to take on its elder siblings like Jesusism, Dirrka-dirrkaism, and Americanism. All poppycock equal, I say.)

What this means for Scientology: (1)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | about 7 years ago | (#20469169)

Status as a terrorist organization once they declare war on the Belgian government

But they haven't actually massacred anyone yet? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#20469211)

So... Seems to me like they have some catching up to do. Most other religions have a big long list of depraved acts to their names.

 

Re:But they haven't actually massacred anyone yet? (1)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#20469377)

They've got a good start though. A special branch that keeps up with people that are likely to defect (err, go away from the church), and at least one death [wikipedia.org] on their record.

Re:But they haven't actually massacred anyone yet? (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 7 years ago | (#20469533)

Oh yeah? Why do you think there is no life on mars? THINK ABOUT IT.

Re:But they haven't actually massacred anyone yet? (1)

Porchroof (726270) | about 7 years ago | (#20469605)

Most other religions have a big long list of depraved acts to their names.


What you mean is that followers of other religions have a big long list of depraved acts to their names.

Simpletons frequently confuse the messenger with the message, but that doesn't excuse you of muddy thinking, Colin.

Re:But they haven't actually massacred anyone yet? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#20469645)

What you mean is that followers
Actually, no. I meant representatives.

 

a few more followers (4, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 7 years ago | (#20469213)



Scientology has 10 million members including high-profile followers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Don't forget

Beck [wikipedia.org]

Jenna Elfman [wikipedia.org]

Leah Remini [cnn.com] (King of Queens, Old School)

Jason Lee [wikipedia.org]

Juliette Lewis [contactmusic.com]

and a bunch of others... [scientology-kills.org]

Seth

Re:a few more followers (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 7 years ago | (#20469535)

Beck? Shit. And I liked "Sea Change." Oh well. Who says delusional dumbasses can't have talent.

Re:a few more followers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469619)

There are two groups that run Hollywood. Can you name them?

So what, America will still take it up the ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469233)

Oh yes, just walk around any mall in the Tampa bay area, and you'll see these creeps trying to sucker idiots into their cult. But hey, it's a "religion" (i.e. utter bullshit), and they get tax breaks and have all but killed Clearwater city now it's the scientology city. Mmmm mmm, split my American wussy ring-piece!

arguments (2, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 7 years ago | (#20469249)

There are certain arguments that no one ever wins. Examples of such arguments are: Religion, Politics, Sexuality and the Infallibility of Cowboy Neal.

If you have a religious zealot who thinks what he is doing is "God's work", I doubt anyone would be successful convincing him otherwise.

Apply that same logic to the Church of Scientology. Here we have nutjobs who believe that space aliens are the cause of all the problems in the world today. If people are believing such nonsense, what else are they capable of believing?

This coming down on Scientology thing for doing business as usual won't stop their practices. It will just drive it underground in Belgium or spur international outrage over those "poor Belgian Scientologists".

Re:arguments (1)

ardor (673957) | about 7 years ago | (#20469367)

If people are believing such nonsense, what else are they capable of believing?

Sir, this statement made my day. Absolutely brilliant.

belgium and freedom of religion (0, Troll)

sdedeo (683762) | about 7 years ago | (#20469299)

I'm certaintly not a fan of the CoS (please don't kill me), but Belgium is known for its heavy-handed treatment of religious minorities. Opus Dei [wikipedia.org] , a Catholic sect, for example, has had continuous run-ins with the "cult" classification. I don't have much of an opinion on Opus Dei (a friend of mine in Belgium roomed with an Opus Dei member though, and thought they were fine.) But this kind of religious censorship and persecution wouldn't fly in the United States, and I'm glad.

Of course one reason it wouldn't fly in the States is that Scalia [wikipedia.org] is a member of Opus Dei! But that's another story...

Re:belgium and freedom of religion (5, Interesting)

lbbros (900904) | about 7 years ago | (#20469363)

I'm a Catholic but I deeply dislike the Opus Dei. I happened to be in a school where most staff had unofficial connections with them, and it was hardly bearable, mostly due to their overzealous and fanatical views on religious and related matters.

nitpicking (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 7 years ago | (#20469347)

Other European countries such as Germany have problems with Scientology, but in the US it is officially recognized as a religion.
Germany has a special take on the question but in some European countries (well, at least in France but I doubt it is the only one). The state guarantees the religious freedom and does not maintain a list of official religion. And last time I checked, being a religion or a spiritual movement wasn't an excuse for not paying taxes on incomes.

more on Belgian religious intolerance (1, Insightful)

sdedeo (683762) | about 7 years ago | (#20469353)

Here's a full list [religioustolerance.org] of religious groups considered "cults" by the Belgian government. It includes Quakers (I am one), the Amish, 7th Day Adventists, Hasidic Jews, and others. Before you cheer their attitude to the Scientologists, consider the collateral damage.

Re:more on Belgian religious intolerance (2, Informative)

Arcturax (454188) | about 7 years ago | (#20469603)

That is a $cientology front site you posted. They even use the same stupid font for their logo as all their other sites do.

Re:more on Belgian religious intolerance (1)

sdedeo (683762) | about 7 years ago | (#20469689)

I didn't know/see that, but are you disputing the article's claims? They seem pretty verifiable, I mean either the Belgian parliment did or did not do this.

And indeed, a quick google [google.com] pulls up that that there is indeed a "Belgian Parliamentary Commission on Cults". Here's a story that's neither Scientology-published nor a simple reprint of their article: 21 Evangelical Denominations Labeled as Cults in Belgium [strategicnetwork.org] . The article comes from Compass Direct [compassdirect.org] , which seems to be a religious organization as well. I mean, you can refuse to care, but as they say "they came for the random relgious groups, and I did not object, because I was not a member of a random religious group.".

In LA, it's legal, and the sheriff is one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469371)

Not only is this "church" legal in the US, the sheriff of the largest county in the state is a Scientologist. Sheriff Baca [cmu.edu] is able to get county money diverted.

And he issues CCW permits to prominent gun-banning Scientologists such as Sylvester Stallone [riflegear.com] . Wonderful.

Scientology is NOT a religion! (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | about 7 years ago | (#20469387)

Scientology is NOT a religion!

They believe that absurd fictional super-powered entities are controlling our lives.
They indoctrinate their believers to give up their common sense and rely on the group for 'truth'. They suck money out of their victims and they prosecute anyone who opposes their growth!
How dare they try to be considered a religion!

Umm.. wait a minute.. never mind...

Re:Scientology is NOT a religion! (1)

This_Is_My_Happening (1151393) | about 7 years ago | (#20469517)

They believe that absurd fictional super-powered entities are controlling our lives.
Oh-ho-ho. You just wait until Xenu escapes from his intergalactic prison and comes back to Teegeeack with a fleet of DC-8 spaceplanes. Then you'll be sorry, unbeliever!

Another thing you didn't know about Scientology (1)

xelph (542741) | about 7 years ago | (#20469429)

This is a closely guarded secret that I shall reveal to you now that ... NOOOOOOO!!! :::THUD::: Aaaaaaa... :::sound of dying Pac-Man:::

Scientology is so 20th century (5, Funny)

Arcturax (454188) | about 7 years ago | (#20469483)

No you want a REAL religion, you should be subscribing to Sciencolonogy.

It's the hottest new religion and all the big name Hollywood stars are taking part!

You see, 1,000,000 Jillion years ago, the evil alien overlord Xanus ruled the galaxy and a horrible plague of dysentery broke out among all of the populated planets. To eradicate the plague, he rounded up all sufferers of the plague and piled them into huge toilet bowl shaped vessels (see the Ori from Stargate, they stole the design from us and we will sue in internet court!!) and then dumped them into a huge septic tank he dug here on Earth. They died a horrible death in that pit and their souls came out and now cling to everyone elses souls on earth are all backed up leaving our spirits all gassy and bloated.

But have no fear... Sciencolonogy is here!

With our cutting edge soul plunging tech we can easily measure the brain to bowel flow of the bodies energies. By reading the life changing book Diarrhetics, written by our esteemed founder Elron Chubbard, you will learn how we can help you plunge your soul clear of these obstructive souls and allow your energies to flow freely. For a small fee of course. Your initiation will come with the first five pages of the book free and a free half roll of our patented toilet paper. If you run out, the free pages of the book should tide you over until you can get to one of our study centers to buy some more. Our study centers are fully stocked with everything you need, including newpapers, magazines and books, all for a nominal fee. Act now because we are having a special deal! You can get one hour in a stall with a door for the price of the ones that come without! Hurry, this offer won't last!

Uh, what? (1)

DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) | about 7 years ago | (#20469591)

How does the U.S. "officially recognize" Scientology as a religion when the First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ..."?

Just because the IRS chooses not to contest their tax return (after fighting [xenu.net] them for decades) does NOT mean they are officially recognized. That's like saying I'm officially recognized as drug free just because the cops could never convict me of drug possession and gave up trying.

They're lunatics. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20469607)

I mean, look at this crap:

1. Check for any BTs (E-meter, theta perceptics, intention, pressure areas, telepathy is HOW) on and in:

      1. Body surface (WHERE)
      2. Body inside
      3. In thetan's space (Approx. 40' X 60')
      4. On thetan

2. Run Incident 2, then Incident 1, until BT(s) have gone and are released. Then, check for additional Incidents 1's and 2's until dry (on the meter).

3. Return to Step 2, to find new ones to run. Use ruds while running if necessary. There is an effort to stop and hurry on Incident 1.

4. When complete, exact date and run both of the incidents on self.

5. If a bog, do Millazo Pack. Write down some 'mutual associations'. Re each one on this list, FIND THE INCIDENT THAT MADE THEM ONE, and run that. Then, run OT III, Incident 2 and 1 after that cluster is broken up. Occasionally, BTs will have an incident that made them one other then Incident 2, thus this action. ...
It just keeps going on like that. I hope they get sued for every penny they're worth.

Church of Scientology reponds (1)

MECC (8478) | about 7 years ago | (#20469635)

By decreeing that no Belgium will ever be allowed to be 'cleared'. Belgiums win.
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