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Could Belgium Bring Down Scientology?


Society & Culture  (tags: world, rights, Scientology, ethics, news, law, government, politics, religion, society, family, culture )

Cal
- 725 days ago - news.yahoo.com
After a years long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the ill



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Comments

Alexa R. (330)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 8:23 am
About time ...!

I do hope Israel follows Belgium's lead and criminalise Co$ in Israel ..

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Multiple reports and the group's legal history point to one key factor here: The Belgian government won't charge Scientology for being a cult — authorities are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization. Which is a new twist, as most of the group's many court battles over the years have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion. Scientology's well-funded legal team won very expensive cases against Time in 1991 and the Cult Awareness Network in 1996, but the Belgian authorities have been battling Scientologists since 2007, when the country tried to label the group with cult status in a move that even received blowback from the U.S. State Department.

RELATED: In Los Angeles Less PBS, More Scientology

The Church of Scientology houses its European headquarters in Brussels, so a ban in Belgian could be crippling to the group — and authorities there seem to know it. One of the more similar recent cases against came in 2009, when the French chapter of Scientology was convicted of fraud by a Paris court and fined nearly $900,000. "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," reported The New York Times's Steven Erlanger. So the French chapter got saved by a legal wrinkle, but the Belgian prosecutors don't appear to be backing down.

RELATED: Los Angeles Scientology-for-PBS Switch Is Official

Neither the federal prosecution nor the Church of Scientology have not made public comments since word of the impending charges surfaced early Friday.
 

Sue H. (7)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 8:47 am
Good on Brussels!
 

pam w. (191)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 9:47 am
This is ESPECIALLY interesting in a culture which is so exceedingly "politically correct."

GOOD FOR THEM!
 

Bernard Cronyn (31)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 9:56 am
refreshing!) look at the facts. “Worldwide, some observers believe a reasonable estimate of Scientology's core practicing membership ranges between 100,000 and 200,000, mostly in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number of American Scientologists had dropped to 25,000.” Not exactly millions or billions involved. So far in favour of Scientology compared to other ideologies it appears to be not very exciting. Scientology has never: (1) Started wars or Jihads or crusades (2) Produced suicide bombers blowing up trains, buses, planes buildings or people (3) Issued threats or fatwas concerning criticism (4) Killed or threatened with death apostates from Scientology (5) Organised riots and murders because someone made a film about Scientology (6) Organised riots and murders because someone burned a Scientology book.
This appears to be about limiting religious competition to those religions the pathetic Belgian government either approves of or by whom they are intimidated. Just in passing; what is the difference between a religion and a cult? Well a cult is merely a religion that lacks political and financial muscle.
 

Bernard Cronyn (31)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 9:57 am
I am no supporter of this or any other ideology whatever but let us for a change (would that not be refreshing!) look at the facts. “Worldwide, some observers believe a reasonable estimate of Scientology's core practicing membership ranges between 100,000 and 200,000, mostly in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number of American Scientologists had dropped to 25,000.” Not exactly millions or billions involved. So far in favour of Scientology compared to other ideologies it appears to be not very exciting. Scientology has never: (1) Started wars or Jihads or crusades (2) Produced suicide bombers blowing up trains, buses, planes buildings or people (3) Issued threats or fatwas concerning criticism (4) Killed or threatened with death apostates from Scientology (5) Organised riots and murders because someone made a film about Scientology (6) Organised riots and murders because someone burned a Scientology book.
This appears to be about limiting religious competition to those religions the pathetic Belgian government either approves of or by whom they are intimidated. Just in passing; what is the difference between a religion and a cult? Well a cult is merely a religion that lacks political and financial muscle.
 

Alexa R. (330)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 10:31 am
Please read this for an undressing of Co$:

Co$

More Personal stories, many from ex-OSA members talking about the harassment and "dead agenting" (dead agenting) activities they performed against critics and ex members on behalf of the Church.

It is no Sunday school picnic, Bernard!
 

Allan Yorkowitz (448)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 12:23 pm
As a thread of contribution, John Travolta's teenage son would have not died two years ago if the Travolta's sought immediate medical attention for him. If Travolta truly believed in Scientology, he would have not called an ambulance when it was too late.
 

Beth S. (334)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 1:53 pm
I wouldn't mind. I understand that they're dangerous, but it's true, Bernard, they're nowhere as dangerous as Islam.
 

Jennifer C. (169)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 7:32 pm
Thanks.
 

D D. (102)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 11:32 pm
That's interesting, thanks.
 

Carol Dreeszen (362)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 11:46 pm
WOW!! Never knew they were this deep into crap like this!! Tom Cruise is also with this cult!
 

Robert O. (12)
Monday December 31, 2012, 12:13 am
Thanks Cal.
 

Jessica S. (122)
Monday December 31, 2012, 2:08 am
For some reason the link won't work for m; I googled it though. Thanks for sharing!
 

Gloria picchetti (300)
Monday December 31, 2012, 3:22 am
It does not bother me if scientology runs into the ground.
 

John B. (122)
Monday December 31, 2012, 4:04 am
Thanks Cal for the post. The link didn't work for me so I searched Yahoo and read it. Good read and kudos to Belgium. Read and noted
 

Lindsay Kemp (1)
Monday December 31, 2012, 5:28 am
Thanks for sharing
 

Hayley C. (7)
Monday December 31, 2012, 8:03 am
Good to hear.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday December 31, 2012, 8:15 am
Let's hope so. Too bad we couldn't blanket all of these cults and religions together at the same time.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Monday December 31, 2012, 9:15 am
Looking forward to it.
 

BG Callahan (0)
Monday December 31, 2012, 3:46 pm
Having met science fiction authors who were alive when L. Ron Hubbard was starting his career, hearing their anecdotes about him--I realized religions don't just grow on trees or spring magically from the loins of some Deity, they are deliberately constructed by mere mortals, often with devious motives. I'm sorry that this is true, but too many exploiters in my lifetime have concocted too many rip-offs of this nature. One of my closest friends was mugged/murdered because the Scientologists made her live in a rotten neighborhood in DC; they stole her life. Yes, she was vulnerable to exploitation, had freedom of choice, yes we should have dissuaded her...but we didn't see it coming until it was too late and she was sucked in, bankrupted, enslaved. She seemed much too smart for that, and that is why we didn't realize what was going on. These groups are insidious that way!!!
 

janet f. (31)
Monday December 31, 2012, 4:41 pm
I think Belgium has much bigger problems with Islam.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday December 31, 2012, 6:06 pm
if its not based on love its not true religion.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday December 31, 2012, 8:03 pm
It's about time somebody caught up with that star-studded criminal organization!
 

Hilary S. (45)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 1:03 am
shame they aren't on the tail of growing islamic influence over there.
still, scientology has been around for a long time - may take as long again for them to wake up and act against their country's growing population of islamic fundamentalists.
 

Anita R. (2)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 2:20 am
I agree with BG Callihan. I knew a girl in her teens when I was about the same age, who voluntarily moved into a foster home in a different municipality because her mother had gotten into Scientology and was seriously trying to warp the girl's mind. The girl's father was unable to get her mother away from Scientology, but was supportive of his daughter moving into the foster home to escape Scientology's efforts, through the mother, to brainwash the girl.
 

Bernard Cronyn (31)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 2:25 am
If one looks back at the origins of a whole host of religions from the last couple of centuries there is a commonality in them all. Enter an “enlightened” individual who claims a personal hot connection to some invisible powerful being or “fount of esoteric knowledge”. This “guru” will have the gift of the gab and the persuasive qualities of a good salesman. He or she may or may not also add weight to their recruitment campaign by writing a “divinely inspired Life Instruction Manual” of some sort. Methodism, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Children of God, Scientology, Hari Krishna’s, endless flavours of Apostolic and Baptist and Quaker - the list goes on and on proving that for every sad lost soul out there lies a whole world of possible redemption options! There is a story that Ron Hubbard whined to a friend about how much work there is in writing science fiction books. It is said that his friend jokingly suggested he started a religion as there was far less work involved and far more money. In a country where I used to live there is a man who started one of the biggest and best funded non-denominational churches in that part of the world. He used to run a gym. His friend from high school told me that this man actually told him that he went into religion as “the earnings were better and the work was less.” Once a religion has been around long enough and its origins are shrouded in the mists of time, its succeeding leaders can slowly re-invent whatever mythology that satisfies their own lust for power allowing them to control 1000’s of the gullible. There is a fine dividing line between religion and political ideology and they can easily become one (Islam a good example). Marxism has virtually become a religion and has followed along other ideologies splitting into various off-shoots. There is some evidence to indicate that Buddha had no ambitions to become “divine” or even start a religion – his modern followers disagree! In order for any ideology, sect or religion (whatever terminology seems appropriate) to grow and flourish it requires above all, a significant number of true believers; no believers = no religion! The only belief system that should be taught from birth is the one of learning to take responsibility for one’s own actions combined with applying logic (otherwise known as common sense) to problems and not choosing the lazy option learned from one of the many “Life Instruction Manuals” or from the lips of some “Guru”!
 

Anthony Hilbert (6)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 4:31 am
Buddha would have been horrified by the mythology that treats him as a god. Jesus told his followers not to call him "Son of God." The Koran says to be tolerant of other faiths. It doesn't matter how good and honest the founder of a religion is, just the fact that it's an organised religion will corrupt the teachings.

Of course, when the founder is a professional fraud like Hubbard, it's doomed from the start.
 

Alexa R. (330)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 4:54 am
Anthony Hilbert (6)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 4:31 am

Of course, when the founder is a professional fraud like Hubbard, it's doomed from the start.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just for the sake of clarity - the doom is on those who fall into Co$'s clutches, Hubbard himself died a millionaire in old age.
 

Pat A. (116)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:18 am
Good to know - thanks Cal!
 

Karen Martinez (18)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:52 am
Couldn't access the article via the link, but love the comments! When 'churches' exploit those involved with them for money and don't give back to those who need help, then those 'churches' need to be shut down.
 

bob m. (32)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 1:30 pm


Avast me hearties!.. now who be the parrot chained to the shoulder and who be the captain I asks.
Black bead in all his "finery" had naught on these goodly poli ticions ..argh har.........!
We sails tomorrow fir Tripoli. on the holds of slavers bound fer hades....
 

bob m. (32)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 1:38 pm


Hi Anthony.... 1st JOHN 2: 22.. pretty well defines islam as the house of antichrist... ....the words of Jesus ... "IN MY FATHERS HOUSE...pretty.much put your assertions to naught..
 

faith v. (13)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 2:36 pm
Why can't I access this site?
 

Suzanne L. (141)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 2:55 pm
Fascinating. Scientology had a run at Canada back in the 1970's and died a fairly quick death due to lack of interest.
 

Alexa R. (330)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 2:59 pm
Read it here

 

Carrie B. (318)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 6:23 pm
Link didn't work for me either, but sounds like a great plan!
 

Mitchell D. (132)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 7:04 pm
My hat is off to belgium, and my hopes are with them on this.
Scientology is utter horsepoo; started by L. ron Hubbard, a formwer science fiction writer, who was told by a friend, while they werer drinking in a bar, "you could start a religion , with this." L.Ron ran with the idea, and the same sort of peopple who believed in the ending of the world inOct. 1844 (The MIllerites), May 21,2011, and then, of course, the Mayan rumor-on-steroids, bought into it. It all probably made Hubbard a very wealthy man,, while it has probably ruined many lives.
 

Nancy Black (304)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 7:12 pm
Noted, tweeted, read, tweeted, and shared. I doubt if Belgium will bring down Scientology, but I don't care if it does or not. I firmly believe in different strokes for different folks; that includes religion. It's not my business because I am not being forced or my family or friends aren't being forced to become a member. I am Catholic; lots of people don't like Catholics. I remember the concern when JFK ran for President. Many people dislike Muslims, Mormons, religious right groups, Jews, and Atheists. I don't dislike someone for his/her religious or sexual orientation; I don't dislike someone for his/her race or nationality. I dislike people who have no regard for life, animal or human rights, the envionment, freedom or equality.
 

Roger M. (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 12:26 am
We can only hope.
 

Louise D. (38)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:10 am
At some point, enough disbelief piles up and you go from well, religion is weird to "oh, come on, I could *crap* a better religion than this. As for Scientology it looks like Ron L Hubbard took a lot of laxatives just to pass the crap they have out either that or they managed to get a hell of a lot of bat shit probably before Michele Bachman and the others took the rest of the bat shit. Still, this ruling should set the ball rolling.
 

Melania Padilla (185)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 4:12 pm
Good! Thanks for posting, sharing this!!
 

Arwen Woods (207)
Friday March 29, 2013, 3:53 pm
Noted, thanks. Go Belgium!
 
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