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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

O They Will Know We Are Scientologists By…

posted by on September 4 at 11:34 AM

…our inability to bamboozle Europeans.

A Belgian prosecutor on Tuesday recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization. Scientology said it would fight the criminal charges recommended by investigating prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen, who said that up to 12 unidentified people should face charges.

Van Espen’s probe also concluded that Scientology’s Brussels-based Europe office and its Belgian missions conducted unlawful practices in medicine, violated privacy laws and used illegal business contracts, said Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman at the Federal Prosecutors Office.

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First the Scientologists, then the Jedi.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | September 4, 2007 11:53 AM

It's rather nice when the legal system goes after Scientologists, considering how much they've used SLAPP suits, and just generally harassed people.

Posted by Gitai | September 4, 2007 12:13 PM

Belgium is awesome. It's about time for Scientology to be accountable for its acts.

Posted by clarity | September 4, 2007 12:21 PM

Amens! Co$ must burn burn burn. The only reason they have been successful here is because they amassed a large enough fortune quickly enough that they could, by bits and pieces, buy off the government.

Posted by christopher | September 4, 2007 12:33 PM

Their LA Church is called the "Scientology Celebrity Centre." Why advertise that your church is exclusive and you're in it for the money?

Posted by Marianam | September 4, 2007 12:48 PM

Does it really say "Centre"? What the fuck is that about?

Posted by Dougsf | September 4, 2007 1:09 PM

I hate those motherfucking Co$ bastards. During lunch they sit in Westlake Center and offer free "Stress Tests" to get people roped in to their sick mind games. It's terrible.

If anyone has any questions about what it's really all about check out Lots of amazing (and sad!) interviews from ex-Co$ cult members.

Posted by ThetanLover | September 4, 2007 1:31 PM

I've been a Scientologist for over 20 years. It's been a positive influence in my life and the lives of my family and friends.

It seems to me that most people posting here don't really know what Scientology is all about, aside from the tabloids and hateblogs.

Scientologist and proud of it

Posted by Greg | September 4, 2007 1:55 PM

Is Time magazine a tabloid? Rolling Stone also did a very good story on Scientology.

Posted by Dougsf | September 4, 2007 2:16 PM

Good job to Belgium for calling the Church of Scientology on its bullshit. Not because I think Xenu and the thetans and the nuclear-powered DC-10s and all the rest are a crock of shit (though I certainly do), but because the Scientologists use some very shady deals and dirty tricks to separate believers from their money.

Posted by Greg | September 4, 2007 2:40 PM

Greg @ 8 - I read the Rolling Stone article about Scientology about a year ago, and it's difficult not to be skeptical. It is one of the few religions (Jehovah's Witnesses are the only others that immediately come to mind) that are highly exclusive, only allowing their own inside, as opposed to most other churches/temples/mosques that allow anyone to come to their services and are happy to let you know all about their religion.

Plus, the blatant catering to celebrities (and their $$$), even naming their church for them, strikes me as very odd.

Posted by Mariana | September 4, 2007 2:54 PM

Of course Greg @ #8's signature line was supposed to read, "Brain Dead Walking Zombie And Proud Of It". Easy slip to make.

Posted by Wowza | September 4, 2007 3:18 PM

Not to mention encouraging really bad actors. NOW THAT IS A CRIME.

Posted by -B- | September 4, 2007 6:17 PM

Someone explain to me why Scientology deserves more ridicule than LDS, Catholicism, Baptists, Islam... or Pastafarianism for that matter? They are all equally spurious, aggressive proselytizers who demand tithing (except Pastafarianism--His noodlely appendage requires no tithe).

Posted by Sam | September 4, 2007 8:07 PM

Belgium is very Catholic - aside from its socialist govt.

If I remember correctly - in fact - the Catholic church is the STATE religion and receives major subsidy from the central govt.

If this is still true, this could just be an attack on something new, and get some prosecuter in good with the local Pope clique.

Just my cursory look at Scientology made me snicker - but, as already posted there are hundreds and more, sects/cults/mass systems about the same.

Moonies anyone - Snake handling - Voodo as in the model culture of modern Hati, hah - And the good old Catholic Church is pretty strange aside the costumes, incense, chants and flesh eating ....

just saying ...

Posted by Millay | September 5, 2007 3:07 AM

How many other religions require that you fork over tens of thousands of dollars before you can read their texts?

Posted by Aexia | September 5, 2007 9:16 AM

It's not the wackiness of Scientology's texts that gets them in hot water - there's a fair amount of pluralism in every religion (most Catholics don't adhere to revelations, most Mormon's probably don't believe Jesus will be returning their City of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, and I imagine many Scientologists are happy to ignore the derivative, b-grade sci-fi that makes up much of there official texts... I hope) - it's the cult's structure that demands money well beyond a tithe, and more closely resembles a pyramid scheme, and who's officials have been involved acts of extreme coercion like hypnosis, kidnapping, and manipulation of the mentally ill.

Posted by Dougsf | September 5, 2007 12:34 PM

@14 Because Scientology says that you can't advance spiritually unless you pay, pay, pay. Say what you will about even the Catholic Church, but any donations requested are meant to be within your means, and are just that, donations, not fees. You just won't find a Catholic priest who says, "Well, your baptism will be $3000, first holy communion goes up to $10,000, confirmation will be $25,000, and last rites will require a $100,000 bequest in your will."

Posted by Gitai | September 5, 2007 2:39 PM

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