Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme Scientology: England Criminalizes Criticism of the Church of Scientology

488px-scientology_symbolsvgEngland flagEngland’s Crown Prosecution Service will now criminally charge people who say bad things about Scientology, which is viewed by some people as a dangerous cult. Anyone can be arrested if they ‘abuse’ or ‘threaten’ the Church of Scientology under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

This announcement follows the arrest of a 15-year-old teen who called Scientology a cult outside of its headquarters in London last summer.

Not only is this move part of a worldwide movement to criminalize criticism of religion, it is another sign of the rapid decline of free speech rights and civil liberties in England, here and here and here.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme Scientology: England Criminalizes Criticism of the Church of Scientology

  1. Scientology is very bad juju, I have a friend that started practicing it about 12 years ago he is now divorced & broke. Philosophy of life has consequences, I would run from that one like the proverbial gingerbread man.

  2. Crown Prosecution Service = Religious police
    Religious police = Chaos
    Chaos = Divine order

    Do the religion police set their tasers on redeem?

  3. I don’t think the govt. has any business declaring that one set of unprovable propositions may not be called a religion, while the set of groups claiming more socially accepted unprovable propositions may be called one. From the article:

    “As far back as July 1968, it was described in Parliament by a Government Minister as an organisation that has ‘authoritarian principles and practices’ that are a ‘potential menace to the personality and wellbeing of those so deluded as to become its followers’.”

    This description may just as well apply to Islam and Catholocism as seen in several recent posts. It can also describe protestant mega/minichurches along with Mormanism which excommunicates people for daring to challege the hierarchy. It could pretty much fit just about any group that calls itself a religion in this and other nations. Other than animism, authoritarian pracitices that harm the personality and wellbeing of members, has and continues, to occur regularly in relgious groups. This is not to deny the good that may come from any of these groups. It is to point out that the govt. has no business choosing among relgions/cults. What the govt. should do is allow for people who have been harmed by any religion/cult, to seek justice in the courts. So for example, when the TX? courts refused to allow a person harmed during an involuntary exorcism to seek redress for kidnapping and injuries, the court is saying that religions do not need to follow civil law. This is dangerous. Actions are either legal or they are not. If they take place under the guise of religion that should be no sheild.

    As to not speaking ill of religion (I’ll see most of the people here in jail!) this is absolutely unacceptable. Religion is not logically in any different category of ideas from any other set of ideas. It is one of the power centers, constantly misused in every nation to control the population, especially when acting in concert with the govt. This is quite true in the US as it is true of other nations. We need only look at history and trans-cultural evidence. The consistent results of the mixing of the govt. and religion is always extreme disaster. Religion has been the basis for justifying the repressing and even killing of individuals and whole communities. It has been the basis of the control and abuse of women and children. It has been the basis of wars. If there is any set of ideas that cries out for a good criticism, religious ideas would be it. State laws forbidding people to speak truthfully about religions are an anathma to any free society.

    As to the UK police state, what I’ve found interesting lately is they are actually challenging this in the UK. Our populace seems far more likely to passively accept the obvious police state which we now live under. I’m not certain why this difference exists, but I wish Americans would really start to object to our own police state.

  4. Jill,

    “Our populace seems far more likely to passively accept the obvious police state which we now live under. I’m not certain why this difference exists, but I wish Americans would really start to object to our own police state.”

    I do not share your perspective. Can we agree to this definition of a police state?

    A state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.
    The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic.

    Yes we live in a dynamic nation/world. No, not all the laws in this country are enforced equally, the same with prison sentences administered by the courts. There are many inequities and short comings to be over come. I have not experienced repressive control of politicians over the population, and you know we survived Blago in Illinois. I completely agree the BushCo destruction must be attended to. And necessary steps implemented so that they can never reoccur. Count me in as an activist for change.

  5. Hello CCD,

    What you are describing is one form a police state may take, a very blatant form that few would deny. Unfortunately there are others. Here’s a little bit of copy and a link to people protesting the “database police state” in the UK. In the US we have this same problem. Our communications, medical records, banking transactions etc. are all intercepted and stored. There is surrveillance of groups who are not plotting against the govt. but who instead seek to change policies of the govt. through peacful means. Our police forces have been uparmoured to the point that there is not that much difference between their equipment and that of the military (in fact they train at Blackwater in many of the same techniques). In addition, we have a military unit stationed in the US to “quell civil unrest”. The president still has the power to legally detain, on his say so, anyone, to include US citizens, that he deems a terror suspect. The right of habeous corpus is not the law of this land. Our president has reserved the right to engage in renditions. Our prisoners at Gitmo and Bagram are lacking basic legal rights. I could go on but I think these things should be enough to give every citizen pause. I would call this a type of police state, one that many of us just aren’t aware of, or have very little awarness of. It slips under the radar unless you are in a group that is a victim of it. It can for now, be shoved aside in many people’s mind. I live in an area where people are directly effected by the police state. There is a large Muslim community here and I have seen people’s homes and charity offices broken into with business and personal records taken. Formerly, these actions would have been in violation of the 4th ammendment. There have been urban warfare trials in my downtown. People in the sister peace movement to ours were shown in documents accidently released by the FBI to have been under surveillance. The database link ups are coming together in ways that make everyone’s movements available to the military/law enforcement “fusion centers”. The DNA data collection base grows larger by the year. So yes, I would call these actions of a police state.

    Here’s clips from an article in The Guardian:

    “We are getting on the way to becoming a police state and the surest thing I do know is that by the time we are sure we are, then it will be too late.”

    “Most of this is hidden from public view,” said Alan Rusbridger

    London Evening Standard journalist Andrew Gilligan said the planned database would bring an end to privacy and with it “an end of journalism”. He pointed out that in the whole case around the illegal shooting to death by police of Brazilian student Jean Charles de Menezes, the only arrest was that of a journalist who revealed that police statements of the event were untrue.

    The Convention on Modern Liberty, sponsored by the Rowntree Trusts, openDemocracy, Liberty, NO2ID and the Guardian, was launched as an umbrella campaign last month under the statement of purpose: “A call to all concerned with attacks on our fundamental rights and freedoms under pressure from counter-terrorism, financial breakdown and the database state.”

    Yesterday’s gathering was by far the largest civil liberties convention ever held in Britain and it was held a day after a leading UN human rights investigator attacked Britain for “undermining” the rights of its citizens. In an advance copy of a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Martin Scheinin said so-called ‘data mining’ blurred the boundary between the targeted observation of suspects and mass surveillance.

    Scheinin, the UN’s independent investigator on human rights in the fight against terrorism, also questioned the use of spy software that analyses people’s internet postings to create profiles of terrorists.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/01/civil-liberties-conference

  6. CCD and Jill,
    It is possible to argue that we have a double secret probation police state. When police can harm innocents without recourse and when we can be spied on without a warrant, that is not freedom. When there is a military unit for domestic unrest that Jill referred to, is that Freedom? While I may not agree that we have a full blown police state, there are aspects that do make one wonder how far away we are.

  7. rafflaw,

    That’s a good way of putting it with, this one difference to me at least. You know that we had a dictatorship for the past 8 years as the few memos that were released showed us. The police state was in force but it had selective victims. David Cole was one of the first people to point out that the govt. went after immigrants and other groups of people that didn’t have much power in society. They selectively used the OPEN full faith and credit of the US dictatorship on some US citizens, even wealthy individuals, but the power remained, to many citizens, in secret.
    The power of the police state is here and now. It’s just not being used on every person because there isn’t a need to do that as of yet. But if the govt. wants to go after you, all the tools are in place. We see examples of govt. abuse of power in the blog posts and I have personally witnessed the open exercise of the full faith and credit of the state.

    That’s my experience anyway.

    I hadn’t said this lately, but wanted you to know I’d been thinking about your little grandchild and hoping all is great fun for him!

  8. Jill,

    Thank you for your informative response. It’s a damn good thing for me grades aren’t assigned. I’m behind on the reading and writing too.

    “I would call this a type of police state.”
    Yes I will agree to that.

    “There is surveillance of groups who are not plotting against the govt. but who instead seek to change policies of the govt. through peaceful means.”
    Yes the NSA can and will do whatever they think they need to. Laws and ethics do not slow them down.

    “Police forces have been up armored to the point that there is not that much difference between their equipment and that of the military.”
    Yes the war on drugs has led the police to repeatedly procure heavier fire power. In these past few weeks I have learned a significant amount about the failed Reagan policies, war on drugs and their effect on our free society.

    “Communications, medical records, banking transactions etc. are all intercepted and stored.”
    Yes NSA is capable.

    “The right of habeas corpus is not the law of this land. Our president has reserved the right to engage in renditions.”
    Ugly but true, ouch!

    “Military unit stationed in the US to “quell civil unrest”
    Yes, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat began serving in the U.S. October 1, 2008, for 12 months. The 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
    The Posse Comitatus Act has been under assault since 9/11/2001.

    Rafflaw lends his steady insight, “While I may not agree that we have a full blown police state, there are aspects that do make one wonder how far away we are.”

    “Thank God we have a government.” Yes it’s a fixer upper, but yes indeed.

  9. CCD,

    Thank you for looking all that information up and considering what I said. That means a lot to me and I appreciate the level of integrity you showed by doing it.

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