Some good news emerged yesterday, Belgium’s federal public prosecutors have decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology, they will face charges in connection with extortion, fraud, illegal practice of medicine and violations of privacy legislation.
Federal public prosecutors want the church of Scientology to be condemned as a criminal organisation.
The decision follows years of investigation that was triggered by a complaint by the Labour Mediation Service in the Brussels Region. Labour mediators were unhappy with a number of labour contracts.
Prosecutors want to bring extortion and fraud charges against the Church of Scientology and get it convicted as a criminal organisation, but the Church also has its supporters like the former lawmaker Hugo Coveliers. He says the prosecution is “ridiculous”.
The matter ended up on the desk of examining magistrate Michel Claise, who ordered raids on Church of Scientology premises in 2008. During the raids police managed to seize a wealth of evidence.
The daily De Tijd claims that the Belgian judicial authorities are now seeking a strong condemnation that can serve as an international precedent. Several years ago the organisation was convicted in France on fraud charges.
The Church of Scientology has its European headquarters in Brussels. Its Belgian HQ is located in Mechelen. In Belgium the Church whose members internationally include the actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta is not recognised as a faith. Up to 500 people are believed to be active in the Church here.
This is not a first, back in 2009 a French court convicted the Church of Scientology and six of its members of organized fraud, and last February that conviction was upheld in an appeals court.
Ah but are these instances of a big bad state coming down hard on a group of harmless eccentrics who have a few odd beliefs, or is justified. OK, I’ll allow you to be the judge, so here is a quick summary of what they promote …
- We each have an inner thought unit called a thetan (apart from the babblings of con artist L Ron Hubbard the evidence for this is …. zero)
- An evil galactic ruler called Xenu is supposed to have banished these thetans to earth 75 Million years ago where they quickly took up residence in humans (apparently little details such as the lack of the existence of the human species at that time is not a problem for this claim)
- When we die, they claim that thetan’s just move on to the next body … yea right!, oh and given the way the population is increasing, where did all these extra thetans come from?
- These thetans are supposed to have God-like powers, …. but we have apparently forgotten all this … but with a bit of scientology “Auditing” that problem can be solved … (it only costs $1000 per hour over many years to walk this “Bridge to Total Freedom”) … and utilizes a mystical electronic device called an E-Meter
- Final goal is for you to become an “operating thetan”. That is supposed to mean that you become god-like and can control matter, space, time and life … (Little flaw … no scientologist has even demonstrated any such powers)
This group is not a collection of harmless nutters, there is indeed something far more sinister going on here, here is the reasoning that leads me to that conclusion …
- The entire setup is designed to suck as much money as possible out if its victims … the cost of going through the entire process is about $0.5 Million
- The E-Meter is not a recognize medical device
- In 1986 the US IRS pursued L Ron Hubbard for skimming £200 Million out of his own church, the only thing that prevented him doing jail time was his death. However, his wife and ten other top scientologists did do jail time.
- A well researched time magazine article, using details provided by insiders, alleged that they practised money laundering, harassment of any detractors, surveillance and bugging, lawsuits, threats and physical assaults … (it not only sounds very similar to organized crime … it is in essence a fully organized crime)
So is this latest legal prosecution of the Church of Scientology justified? Clearly yes, in fact I’d argue that they are not even a church. Sadly some nations do recognise them as a religion, but Canada and also the UK don’t.
They are not alone, since 1997 Germany has considered Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation’s constitution. It is seen as an unconstitutional sect and a new version of political extremism because there is “evidence for intentions agains the free democratic basic order”, so it is being carefully watched by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
France and Belgium have also not recognized Scientology as a religion, and no such recognition had been obtained in Ireland, Luxembourg, Israel, Greece or Mexico either.
Personally I suspect the only people actually happy that Scientology came along would be the Mormons because it pushes them down a notch to being the second weirdest.