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French Branch of Scientology Is Convicted of Fraud

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-getting-away-with-it dept.

Censorship 622

The trial we discussed this spring has come to a verdict, and reader lugannerd was one of several to note a milestone in the fight against the Church of Scientology. "The French branch of the Church of Scientology was convicted of fraud and fined nearly $900,000 on Tuesday by a Paris court. But the judges did not ban the church entirely, as the prosecution had demanded, saying that a change in the law prevented such an action for fraud. The church said it would appeal. The verdict was among the most important in several years to involve the controversial group, which is registered as a religion in the United States but has no similar legal protection in France. It is considered a sect here, and says it has some 45,000 adherents, out of some 12 million worldwide. It was the first time here that the church itself had been tried and convicted, as opposed to individual members."

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foist poist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887103)

Vive la France!

Wake me up when... (1, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887831)

...some country has the consistency to convict the churches of Christianity *and* Islam of fraud. Not to mention those selling crystals as "healing" devices, astrologers, palm "readers", and so on. Or to protect them all equally.

Scientology is no worse or better than either of them. At least it hasn't (yet) marched a bunch of its adherents into other countries, slaughtering "infidels", or set up any 800-year long inquisitions, or flown any aircraft into buildings, or burned any "witches." Though no doubt, give it time -- fanatics who base their thinking on superstitious bullshit almost always get around to such idiocy.

Societies should treat all superstitious nonsense the same way. So either prosecute 'em all, or leave em all alone. This "attack Scientology" business is inconsistent and hypocritical. Unless it leads to attacking the rest of them the same way... which trend isn't apparent at the moment.

Re:Wake me up when... (1, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887853)

By that logic you should also convict atheists. Many of its adherents have done evil things that make 9/11 look like a minor event.

who really won the trial? (5, Funny)

Z1NG (953122) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887111)

Another victory for Xenu!

Frack the Scilons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887115)

Anonyme fournit.

Fine? (4, Informative)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887127)

Well a 900k fine isn't going to be much. These guys have armies of members that fling money at that them. The best thing of this story is the bad press (though people say there is no such thing) given their army of lawyers I don't imagine this will ever hit main stream media, at least here in the states.

Re:Fine? (3, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887175)

I agree about the money portion, but it's already apparently hit the nytimes. Isn't that "main stream media in the states" ?

Re:Fine? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887673)

I agree about the money portion, but it's already apparently hit the nytimes. Isn't that "main stream media in the states" ?

It depends on whether you mean media that the majority considers a reliable source, or the media that considers itself the arbiters of what is news. If it is the former, then the answer is no, if it is the latter than the answer is a resounding yes.

Re:Fine? (2, Informative)

jythie (914043) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887747)

Well, it hit CNN and FoxNews, so that probably covers most Americans.

Re:Fine? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887761)

It has also hit Drudge via Breitbart, the new "Mainstream" media.

The thing I can't figure out is why this is on /. other than /.ers hate Scientology (and all religion).

When I saw this I filed it under "meh". The fine is puny and it won't change anything.

Money Supply (3, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887801)

I agree about the money portion

While that may be true outside France, inside France things are a little murkier. Now that they have been convicted of fraud they have to be careful since now a lot of the people who gave them money can probably get it back. Paying the fine might not be a problem but continuing to raise funds might.

Re:Money Supply (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887849)

> "The French branch of the Church of Scientology was convicted
> of fraud and fined nearly $900,000 on Tuesday by a Paris court.

Wow, that's about three full courses all the way through OT 9, as of 2006, about $380,000 for a full course.

Re:Fine? (0, Flamebait)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887915)

Sometimes you get the feeling that it's FOX that's the main stream media

Re:Fine? (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887279)

if something has hit slashdot, it wouldn't be all that surprising to hit bigger media

Re:Fine? (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887339)

How much is a whetstone bridg.. errr.. "Thetan Detector" reading going for nowadays? They'll just tell their culti.. err.. members that they all need to come in for a refresher scan at $100 a pop because this incident might have caused a Thetan eruption and Xenu might be now able to come out from behind the moon in his ship, so they have to monitor galvanic respons.. sorry.. THETAN levels more carefully for a while.

Re:Fine? (3, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887615)

Confirmed. An ex girlfriend on mine used to work at Wells Fargo Bank. The CO$ has literally dozens, if not hundreds, of individual accounts with more than several million deposited in each. I'll bet this is not their only back either. They have a shitload of cash for lawyering up.
        Must be nice to be able to lie to stupid people, in the name of an imagined deity, to confiscate their savings. I have a conscious and can't imagine the worthless people who can pull that off. All religions suck, especially the fake ones.

Re:Fine? (1)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887793)

Did she say how many accounts the Vatican has? :)
I'm betting they have 1000x the resources.

Re:Fine? (1, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887877)

All religions suck, especially the fake ones.

They're all fake.

Re:Fine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887943)


Well a 900k fine isn't going to be much. These guys have armies of members that fling money at that them.

Except that 4 officials from of the Church got suspended prison sentences. If there is another fraud scandal, they go directly to jail. And the justice probably won't be lenient for others,

Now that makes for interesting discussion in the "management" of the Scientology sect,

Convicted ? Yes, but... (2, Informative)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887129)

... The court also decided that the Scientology Sect^H^H^H^H Church is a 'legal' church, that should be allowed instead of banned in France.

Re:Convicted ? Yes, but... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887433)

It also became a legal church in Austria recently. Not sure what to think about that as I don't know what their business and intentions really are. But there are definitely similar sect-like cases (trouble getting out etc.) reported in Germany.

Re:Convicted ? Yes, but... (1, Flamebait)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887769)

Ever heard the stories of Catholics or Jehovah's Witnesses trying to leave? People sent to their house, ostracism etc.

Scientology may be bad but lets not forget a lot of the stunts they pull they learned from main stream religions.

Re:Convicted ? Yes, but... (1)

GQuon (643387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887771)

What? As far as I understand, this case wasn't about getting religious recognition - only about the alleged fraud of these two business entities and individuals.

Re:Convicted ? Yes, but... (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887901)

As far as I understand, this case wasn't about getting religious recognition

Yeah, well, close enough... From The Fine Article :

the judges did not ban the church entirely, as the prosecution had demanded, saying that a change in the law prevented such an action for fraud.

Re:Convicted ? Yes, but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887895)

The court found that the organization is legal, not that it's a legal church. The court made it clear if there's some similar case in the future, they are going to be banned.

The Ammunition for Both Sides (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887143)

A spokeswoman for the church, Agnès Bron, called the verdict "an Inquisition for modern times."

Help me out here, which Inquisition [wikipedia.org] are you trying to draw a parallel to?

In all of the most popular ones I think it was the several hundreds (possibly thousands) of individuals being persecuted for not believing Roman Catholicism (the popular religion). Crazy Catholic tribunals prosecuting people on arcane doctrine! Usually resulting in the end of their life or excommunication. Now the current situation is the government of France in a single instance finding the Church of Scientology guilty of fraud. Was there anything to do with religious doctrine in this case? Because I thought fraud was fraud whether you're the pope or Richard Dawkins! And the result is a paltry sum of $900,000 that is -- what? -- 1/7th of what it cost Tom Cruise to get to his last level of clairvoyance?

To reiterate, you're not being persecuted for your beliefs but instead your finances ... which sound more like extortion through coercion to me than anything else.

Go ahead and use this to try to appeal to people with a persecution complex. If they have one, they won't find more persecution anywhere else than your ranks. I'm glad that sane people -- when hassled by you -- can now be informed that your accounting practices in France have been legally decried as fraud!

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887241)

A spokeswoman for the church, Agnès Bron, called the verdict "an Inquisition for modern times."

Help me out here, which Inquisition [wikipedia.org] are you trying to draw a parallel to?

I don't know for sure, but I'm hoping it's this one [youtube.com] . What a show!

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887341)

No one expects the French Inquisition!

No, really. No one at all. Complete surprise.

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (0, Flamebait)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887473)

It's OK: the chief weapon of the French Inquisition is surrendering.

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887497)

Our chief weapon is fear. Fear and surprise.

And a two dollar fine.

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (1)

KriticKill (1502071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887723)

Offtopic: Actually in regards to certain groups, or time periods the French versions of the inquisition were incredibly brutal. Just ask Jacques de Molay. Anyway, I'd whole heartedly agree with banning Scientology; not because of their ridiculous 'beliefs', but because they're a dangerous cult with a long history of fraud, conspiracy, and extortion, as well as abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of members, with no indication of stopping. Scientology is not actually a religion; its a criminal organization, and such deserves none of the protection given to religion, nor any of the respect. (I might be inclined to be a little more friendly with the Freezoners, but seriously, fuck the CoS)

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887735)

"How is the trial coming on?"
"We surrendered."
"So you lost?"
"No, we won."
"How that?"
"Well, the accused was prepared to handle everything, except for us to surrender."

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887409)

That's what they get for making testable predictions. That's also why they're not a religion.

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887463)

An interesting datum: most of the veredicts of the inquisition did not end in death for the condemned. It ended in their torture and a sentence of life as slaves.

Re:The Ammunition for Both Sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887639)

Crazy Catholic tribunals prosecuting people on arcane doctrine! Usually resulting in the end of their life or excommunication.

Kinda sounds like the modern day legal system here in the USA.
Lawyers are the new priesthood and it is assumed that the lay person can't understand the arcane doctrine of the law without one.

Revoke The Tax-Free Status Of The Catholic Church (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887163)

The Roman Catholic Church is one of the world's largest real estate companies [wordpress.com] and source of crazy statements by The Pope.

Yours In Petrograd,
K. Trout

Re:Revoke The Tax-Free Status Of The Catholic Chur (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887657)

"The Roman Catholic Church is one of the world's largest real estate companies and source of crazy statements by The Pope."

2 items:
1) your link points to a site regarding the LDS church, aka the Mormons which, last I checked, have nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church
2) A lot of what churches do is legal under another part of the code cited.

Re:Revoke The Tax-Free Status Of The Catholic Chur (1)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887903)

Neither of these points make the original irrelevant.
They operate like a business, owning land, stock, collecting money for services etc. They make a profit on a lot of these activities just like a business, why shouldn't they pay taxes like everyone else? They have their own COUNTRY [wikipedia.org] , don't tell me the can't get some favorable tax laws there :)

Re:Revoke The Tax-Free Status Of The Catholic Chur (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887919)

Don't discriminate. Revoke the tax-exempt status of ALL churches. The tax exemption was part of a Faustian bargain between church and state; the church was supposed to take care of social services for the poor, and in return tithes weren't taxed. The churches long ago abrogated that responsibility and turned responsibility for the social "safety net" over to the state -- and yet they still retain their tax-exempt status?!? WTF?!? Here in Beaverton, the Catholic Church owns hundreds of acres of prime real estate, and yet they have the gall to insist that people suing them get nothing because they declared bankruptcy and their church rules state that church property cannot be taken away in a lawsuit -- as if their church laws trump the government laws?!? WTF?!? Make non-profits pay the same real estate taxes as everyone else, so that the free market can actually work to put underused properties to their best use.

slashdot caved (0)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887165)

If you weren't around, a few years ago, Taco caved in and released the info behind /. posters that Scientology came asking for. They are incessant, aggressive, and well-funded. If you want to post your OT III+ info, you may want to put it elsewhere.

Re:slashdot caved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887233)

the scientology cave was high profile, as was the microsoft cave, but slashdot regularly gets dmca noticies and regularly deletes posts.

Re:slashdot caved (3, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887271)

Are you sure you remember the incident correctly? All I remember is that the OT3 post was deleted, only to be followed by hundreds of others in the comments section of the announcement and dozens of links to it elsewhere.

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/03/16/1256226 [slashdot.org]

Re:slashdot caved (2, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887543)

"They are incessant, aggressive, and well-funded."

Perhaps RMS could make a deal with them. Imagine if "free" software became part of Scientology's dogma!

Censorship? (4, Insightful)

thepooh81 (1606041) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887187)

I don't know why this is considered censorship. They brought the case before a judge who made a legal decision which can be appealed (and is).

France did not ban the organization from the country (although it seems as though they wanted to). Had they done that then I could understand the censorship tag, but really... Being tried for a crime in this case does not mean censorship.

Re:Censorship? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887751)

I don't know why this is considered censorship. They brought the case before a judge who made a legal decision which can be appealed (and is).

France did not ban the organization from the country (although it seems as though they wanted to). Had they done that then I could understand the censorship tag, but really... Being tried for a crime in this case does not mean censorship.

In the US, $cientology gained its recognition as a "religion" through its members filing numerous lawsuits against the IRS in all fifty states, bugging government offices, stealing files, etc... . There is a secret agreement between $cientology and the IRS that hasn't been released to the public. [cmu.edu] (It has since been leaked [cmu.edu] , but never formally released.)

Essentially, $cientologists get to deduct the costs of their "courses" from their taxes. No other religious group in the US gets to do this. (see Sklar v. IRS)

The French BRANCH, eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887201)

So we have successfully chopped a branch off the TREE of Scientology? Should we continue to ROOT out more or should we LEAF it alone and look at other places to STEM our anger?

Re:The French BRANCH, eh? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887283)

Nah. Just burn it.

Re:The French BRANCH, eh? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887393)

Blast them from outer orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

Re:The French BRANCH, eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887467)

So we have successfully chopped a branch off the TREE of Scientology? Should we continue to ROOT out more or should we LEAF it alone and look at other places to STEM our anger?

It's o.k., their BARK is louder than their bite.

NOT (-1, Troll)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887203)

news for nerds. barely stuff that matters.

Re:NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887689)

of course it matters! the penguin cult might be next!!!!!

Its over 9000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887243)

thousaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnndddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111

Why don't they go after the catholic church? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887245)

Talk about fraud.

At least the scientologists got some vitamins which puts them ahead of the catholics.

And have you tried those cookies that other fraud church gives out. Bland bland bland.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887335)

At least in the catholic church you can learn about the Holy Ghost without "donating" a lifetime of earnings.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887451)

the Holy Ghost? Is that the outfit Charlie Brown wears in the "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" TV Special?

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887453)

no, just 10%

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887485)

Perhaps you're thinking of the Mormons. Catholics are too cheap to tithe 10%.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887889)

"tithe" means 10%. If it's not 10% then it's not really a tithe at all.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887495)

And you won't have to worry about audit process R2-45 [wikipedia.org] should you decide to leave.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (0, Redundant)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887973)

Only because Catholics had hundreds of years to loot and pillage across Europe and the Middle East to accumulate their wealth. You don't need as much in the way of donations when you own more than any mega corp and just accumulate interest to fund yourself.

Also the only church with their own country.

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (1)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887369)

Cant say that I have, I am not a member of that sect either....

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (-1, Troll)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887471)

Well, sure, the Scientologists try to take all your money, but the Catholic priests bugger little boys. All things considered, which is more harmful to society?

Hey, if you don't like the taste of the body of Christ and the blood of Christ, then you can just go to hell!

Re:Why don't they go after the catholic church? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887759)

"And have you tried those cookies that other fraud church gives out. Bland bland bland."

Yeah, but you get wine. True, it's basically a watered down Manischewitz, but it IS alcoholic, and they serve it to kids. In public. How cool is that!

xavs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887289)

Very interesting post!!! And great blog, by the way!!!

Have you ever checked cofacio.com? Great stuff, check out my post or their website!!!

www.xaviworld82.com

Now show some balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887327)

Let's see the French courts go after Islam.

Re:Now show some balls (1)

NivekEnterprises (309259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887861)

Aren't they trying [ptinews.com] ?

the one true church .. (0, Offtopic)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887423)

Of course there is only the one true Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [venganza.org] ..

Re:the one true church .. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887847)

And don't forget -- teh Spagettios are EVAL abominations!

It had to be France... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887441)

There are things for which the positivist, almost socialist state works wonderfully. This is one of those things. I say yay to the French and if in this instance you guys are thinking of bringing your old friend Ms. Guillotine out for a ride, I wouldn't cry a single tear.

Re:It had to be France... (4, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887737)

You have a point there actually. 2 things seem to be at the forefront of the news these days:

(1) The rise of radical fundmentalist religious groups. Scientologists are the worst of the worst here (kinda - they're greedy rather than crazy in that I don't believe for a second that most people involved at top believe what they're saying), but the crazy fundamentalists of Christianity, Islam, and other off-shoot cults (Lord Our Righteousness Church anyone?) are equally scary. These people are on a dead-end path to nowhere. If they take control of the global mindset then technological progress will halt and we'll plunge back into another dark age.

(2) Rise of China and it's power.

#2 is a scary though, but truthfully, it has SOME comfort because thought a totalitarian regime is the anti-thesis of what I as an American believe in, I also know that regarding situation #1, China won't put up with that shit. If Scientology had started in China this problem would have been solved and over with DECADES ago.

Basically I HOPE that our system works and prevails against this growing issue, but if we fail I'd prefer a secular Communist Dictatorship over an equally oppressive Theocracy.

I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (5, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887513)

Obviously Scientology is a laughable pile of dog shit, but how is it any worse than any of the other superstitious cults out there, like Christianity or Islam?

If you're going to make it a crime to pressure people into giving money to a cult based on a bunch of idiotic stories, you might as well start with the older ones.

Look at Mormons. They shun their own family if they don't buy into their crap. Threatening to make you effectively dead to your whole (brainwashed) family - that's not extortion? Catholicism has excommunication, same idea.

Christians used "God" as an excuse to perpetrate some of the worst *atrocities* in history. The Crusades. Manifest Destiny. George Bush. The list goes on.

In the scheme of things, bilking retarded celebrities out of their "hard"-earned cash just doesn't seem that bad to me. Frankly, I find it amusing. Scientology is the Stephen Colbert of religion. Their own founder made it so ridiculously outlandish that only a total idiot would actually believe in it. I'm sure L. Ron would laugh his ass off if he knew how much money Tom Cruise had forked over to his church.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887605)

Obviously Scientology is a laughable pile of dog shit, but how is it any worse than any of the other superstitious cults out there, like Christianity or Islam?

Major differences with Scientology:

1. It does not have a thousands-year history of people believing it

2. It is a single centralized organization instead of a widespread population with sects and branches

3. The individuals controlling that single centralized organization today have a long history of criminal activity, as did just about everyone who ever had a position of power in that organization

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887665)

Look up evangelical leaders. Most of them get busted snorting coke off their gay hooker's ass. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Haggard [wikipedia.org]

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887717)

3. The individuals controlling that single centralized organization today have a long history of criminal activity, as did just about everyone who ever had a position of power in that organization

The same thing can be said of the catholic church.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887623)

The significant difference is that we know [faqs.org] that the Co$ was started with express intention of fleecing money from its drones. With the others, we just have to use common sense to infer it.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887703)

Nice, If it helps I was going to say it if you hadn't beaten me to it. Christianity has been fucking with progress taking money and killing people way longer than Scientology and it certainly affects my daily life more.

I like the Colbert link.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887719)

I'm sure L. Ron would laugh his ass off

Actually, L. Ron Hubbard *is* laughing his ass off, because as you are probably very well aware of, he never actually died but merely advanced to a higher state of being.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (2, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887733)

Apparently some Scientologists (or other religious conservatives) have infiltrated Slashdot and want to censor my above post..

For the 15,000,000th time, "Troll" and "Flamebait" are not synonyms for "disagree and wish to censor."

To the moderators who marked my post down: Fuck you. Go worship your stupid fucking alien/zombie magic savior. News flash: He's not coming back for you. Fucktards.

Now THAT is flamebait. Try to remember the difference.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887909)

It's a troll because you dragged your anti-religious agenda against a variety of unrelated other religious organizations into the matter. If we had an article about "terrible bug in Cisco routers almost broke the Internet" (like we did a few months back) and someone used it as an excuse to say "Microsoft is crappy, and PHP sucks" then you'd see an analogous phenomenon.

We know you hate religion. We don't care. Thank you.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (4, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887959)

Look at the first sentance of your original post:

Obviously Scientology is a laughable pile of dog shit, but how is it any worse than any of the other superstitious cults out there, like Christianity or Islam?

While you might follow up with good points later on in the post, that first line is flamebait. Try removing all of the "emotional" wording from your post and just supply the information. It's not what you say as much as how you say it. You worded thing in a flamebait manor.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887755)

Look at Mormons. They shun their own family if they don't buy into their crap. Threatening to make you effectively dead to your whole (brainwashed) family - that's not extortion? Catholicism has excommunication, same idea.

Nonsense. Mormons are quite free and able to interact with people who "don't buy into their crap." I say it's actually their defining characteristic when compared to other loony cults. Excommunication is reserved for cardinal sins, not merely associating with people who don't buy your crap. Not to mention that excommunication is not the tool of control that it was during the middle ages.

Finally, there are a few reasons why Scientology is far more dangerous than today's mainstream Abrahamic religions, Hinduism or any other organized religion. There is the US vs Them mentality that pervades the organization, the complete disregard for laws in their pursuit of their enemies and the practical enslavement of the low-rung members. In other words, the reason that Scientology is dangerous is that it is as loony as the fringe suicide cults that have always existed, and it is as large as many respectable religious organizations. With the former comes extreme (and deadly) actions, with the second comes power to carry out the extreme actions in great numbers and under cover.

Hubbard might have laughed at all the money Cruise has forked over, but he would be laughing on his yacht while figuring out how to extract more money.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (-1, Redundant)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887937)

Nonsense. Mormons are quite free and able to interact with people who "don't buy into their crap." I say it's actually their defining characteristic when compared to other loony cults. Excommunication is reserved for cardinal sins, not merely associating with people who don't buy your crap. Not to mention that excommunication is not the tool of control that it was during the middle ages.

You missed what I said. I'm talking about their behavior toward FORMER mormons, not NON-mormons.
Watch Religulous. Any FORMER mormon who leaves the church will be prevented from seeing his family and friends again. Anyone current mormon who breaks the rules and speaks to a FORMER mormon risks the same. When you get done watching Religulous, go work on your reading comprehension.

Finally, there are a few reasons why Scientology is far more dangerous than today's mainstream Abrahamic religions, Hinduism or any other organized religion.

OK, I'm listening.

There is the US vs Them mentality that pervades the organization,

LOL?

the complete disregard for laws in their pursuit of their enemies and the practical enslavement of the low-rung members.

Seriously? Ever heard of black people? Ever heard of native americans? Ever read a fucking history book?? "Oh, but that was a hundred years ago". Yeah, and look around. How different are things? Go walk through a ghetto and see what Christianity did for black people.

FACT: America exists because of slavery and genocide that was sold to the populace under the cloak of religion. See, e.g. manifest destiny.
Check out this website and educate yourself on the "followers of Christ" and their role in slavery:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_slav.htm [religioustolerance.org]

Did you hear about the "Justice" in LA who refused to marry the inter-racial couple?
Guess what religion he is?

The pope is a former nazi FFS..

In other words, the reason that Scientology is dangerous is that it is as loony as the fringe suicide cults that have always existed, and it is as large as many respectable religious organizations. With the former comes extreme (and deadly) actions, with the second comes power to carry out the extreme actions in great numbers and under cover.

For every vague accusation you can make against Scientology, without naming any particular member, I can make a thousand against Christianity or any other "major" religion. For the simple reason that they have existed longer.

Hubbard might have laughed at all the money Cruise has forked over, but he would be laughing on his yacht while figuring out how to extract more money.

And the Pope has an entire city to do the same.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_iLS--EW8Tto/Sd7Gb_z2FNI/AAAAAAAAALQ/S3hytwvVspI/s400/the+vatican.jpg [blogspot.com]

What's your point?

My point is clear: A cult is a cult.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (5, Interesting)

geekpowa (916089) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887763)

I am an atheist. I have many friends and family (including my wife) who subscribe to one of the many Christian variants. Also friends and colleagues who are Hindu, Sikh, Islam etc etc.

Once upon a time I had lots of close friends who are now Scientologists. They actively, passionately, and publicly hate me and consider me to be a deeply immoral person. A SP in their own language.

The gulf between your 'typical' Scientologist and how they view the world and other mainstream faiths is in my own very direct experience, is an extra-ordinary gulf.

You can trot out the religious atrocities of the past, but your typical theist today is as likely as a non theist to be a decent, social, community minded person. Scientology followers, by virtue of their extremist and uncompromising doctrine, are very much an anti social vector, and the only community they respect is their own Scientology community. As for your uninformed comments about only 'retards' being attracted to Scientology - cults like Scientology are actually quite nuanced and sophisticated in their recruitment - and attracting educated white collar folk is their bread and butter. Read this book if you have the inclination. A piece of blue sky [cmu.edu]

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887825)

Christians used "God" as an excuse to perpetrate some of the worst *atrocities* in history. The Crusades.

Don't know much about history, do you? The Crusades were in response to hundreds of years of Muslim invasions. The Middle East (which was Christian) was conquered by Muslims in the 7th Century AD. The Muslims invaded Europe in 711AD and sacked Rome in 846AD. Europe's Dark Age was dark because of Muslim slave raids destroyed Europe economy. You might want to read a biography of Miguel Cervantes (the author of Don Quixote)....he was held as a slave by Muslims for 5 years.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887875)

I tend to agree with you, but I'm not quite sure how you they were able to prove fraud. If they made specific claims in regards to what the purification and vitamins would do you for, that's one thing. But if it's just a bunch of marketing speak then how exactly was fraud proven? If I claim to have a rock that keeps ghosts away, how can you disprove that? There weren't enough details in the NY Times article, so maybe specific disprovable claims were made; if that's the case, I'm fine with that. Otherwise, I think it's going down a slippery slope just to punish a few assholes.

Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887913)

Look at Mormons. They shun their own family if they don't buy into their crap.

Just for the record, while that may happen in some cases, Mormons are encouraged by their leaders to maintain positive relationships with family members that choose not to join or to leave the church. The idea there is that if you actually care about people (not just fake it), then maybe you can make their lives better, regardless of their religious or personal choices.

Lumping all religions together as "laughable pile[s] of dog shit" does not reflect logic or reasoning. If your conclusion that they are all wrong is logical or well reasoned, then please share your reasoning. Smart people will listen to your arguments, though they may point out holes in them. No reasonable person will be won over by being mocked.

12 million worldwide? probably less than 1 Mil... (5, Informative)

aapold (753705) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887531)

See discussion on their numbers at adherents.com [adherents.com] , a site whose main purpose is to track # of adherents to specific religions world wide, where they discuss why scientology isn't on their default charts. The discussion mentions "8 million", which at the time was the number often found in the media, that number is now apparently often 12 million. But the source of this number is the Church of Scientology itself. From this analysis, they conclude the # of Scientologists claimed by the CoS is "the total number of people who have participated in Church of Scientology activities since the inception of the church."

Let's get this out of the way first. (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887575)

> > > > > > > Scilon Troll: "Hey, it's no sillier than $mainstreamReligion"
> > > > > > Fundamentalist Religious Dupe #1: "No it's not, our $mainstreamReligion is holy, space aliens are weird."
> > > > > Fundamentalist Atheist Dupe #1: "You silly $mainstreamReligionist! Both your belief systems are bogus!"
> > > > Moderate Atheist Dupe #2: "Yeah, all religions are the same."
> > Trolly Atheist Dupe #3: "Yeah, we should tax 'em all!"
> Paranoid Religious Dupe #3: "No way, I'd rather just let the Scilons keep on doing what they're doing... Relijus Freedumb!!!"

And then the Scilon troll reports back to the mothership: "False equivalence has been established. Everyone's bickering about whose religion is weirder, and all the moderates have agreed that our beliefs are as legitimate a religion as everyone else. Now we can claim religious persecution when speaking to religious audiences, and that we're being attacked by fanatics when we speak to non-religious audiences. Mission Accomplished!"

This isn't about whether Jesus or Xenu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster is weirder. Or about the relative atrocities of Crusades, the RPF, or not serving meatballs with spaghetti.

It's about one specific organization, and its track record of using litigation as a tool to silence dissent. Sonny Bono, Scientologist and Senator, not only supported the Mickey Mouse Protection Act [wikipedia.org] which extended copyright terms to 75 years plus the life of the creator, he got the damn bill named after itself. When the DMCA [wikipedia.org] was passed in 1998, guess was among the first first lawsuit [com.com] under its provisions just a few months later? Hint: It's the same organization that attacked Slashdot [slashdot.org] itself in 2001 and Google [chillingeffects.org] in 2002.

It's not about space aliens, UFOs shaped like DC-8s, or volcanoes. It's about one organization's multi-decade track record of attacks on the Internet [wikipedia.org] . That - and nothing else - is why it's News For Nerds, and Stuff That Matters.

Of course, by the time I've typed this, we'll have already gone through 100 posts of "No, your religion is weirder!" "No, all religions are silly", and Scilon trolls sitting back and smiling gleefully as they watch yet another message board thread fall for the distraction tactic, and this post all pointless.

(Yep, the Cult has already compared it to the Spanish Inquisition. For something nobody's supposed to expect, I'm not at all surprised the cult spokesperson has already started to draw comparisons to the Spanish Inquisition, especially in a historically-Catholic country, and right on time, two attempts to distract us by advocating taxation of the Catholic Church shows up here...)

But it felt good to rant for a bit.

Re:Let's get this out of the way first. (0, Offtopic)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887777)

I wish I had points for you. Well said.

You bring up a good point (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887803)

When do all of L Ron Hubbard's writings pass into the public domain, at which point the CoS can no longer sue for copyright infringement anyone who posts their "religious texts" on the net, thereby cutting off their cash flow from charging hundreds of dollars for copies of said texts. Yes, CoS would be in favor of copyright extension, wouldn't they?

Re:Let's get this out of the way first. (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887893)

"Sonny Bono, Scientologist and Senator, not only supported the Mickey Mouse Protection Act which extended copyright terms to 75 years plus the life of the creator, he got the damn bill named after itself. "

A quibble - Sonny Bono was dead (skiing accident) when the law was passed. They named it after him in memorial.

That doesn't make it a good law, or him a good legislator, but it is the truth.

GEORGE BUSH (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887687)

I knew it would not be long before a Slashtard waxed on Bush- "Christians used "God" as an excuse to perpetrate some of the worst *atrocities* in history. The Crusades. Manifest Destiny. George Bush."

      In comparison to your beloved Barack, Bush is a fucking genius and not a marxist socialist who thinks he is smart enough to fool all, only some who would probably like a one way ride on a DC8.

As for Scientology in contrast to Catholicism or Islam etc.m at least these religions were based on events and persons known to have existed with some ackowledgement as to how embellishment may color the belief today, maybe, but Scientology, there is not a fucking lick of evidence regarding anything those tools believe.

If you appear at the gates of heaven and are solicited for a "donation", cut his fucking throat and run but for gods sakes dont post it on /.!

In a related story... (1)

shacky003 (1595307) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887691)

Someone from atop a French building turned on a large searchlight that blasted an image of a fighter jet into the air...

Just minutes later bad 80's music was heard all over the city as Top Guns' Maverick showed up to save the day..

They have copyrighted the judgement (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#29887785)

The scientologists have copy righted the judgement in USA and you are going to receive a DMCA take down notice soon.

fir5T (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29887855)

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