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Church of Scientology Proposes Net Censorship In Australia 464

Posted by timothy
from the all-they-want-is-a-little-sanity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Submitted by the Australian branch of Scientology to the local Human Rights Commission is a proposal to eliminate anonymity on the net and the removal of critical websites (MS Word document). The submission is listed as #1931 at this page at the Australian Human Rights Commission." (Read on below for some of the details of what the Scientologists propose.)
"SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS: Recommendation 1: The implementation of Criminal and Civil Restrictions on Religious Vilification. Recommendation 2: Restriction on Anonymity on acts of Religious Vilification: 2.1 Websites created with primary purpose of inciting religious vilification shall be removed or their access to the Australian public restricted. 2.2 Creators of websites whose primary purpose is the incitement of religious vilification shall be prevented from concealing their identity. Recommendation 3: Restriction on Religious Misinformation and Misrepresentation known or reasonably known to be untruthful in the Media Recommendation 4: Include a form of Bill or Charter of Rights into the Australian Constitution, which prevents the Commonwealth from making any law, which 'directly, indirectly or incidentally' prohibits the free exercise of religion to the extent of such prohibition."
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Church of Scientology Proposes Net Censorship In Australia

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  • So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:52AM (#29338815)

    Are there any Scientologists in the Australian govt? And does this just happen to coincide with Tom's recent visit down-under?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dintech (998802)

      An anonymous reader writes

      Those guys never give up. :)

      • Re:So.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:19AM (#29338959) Homepage Journal

        Hrmm, what needs to happen, is Anonymous needs to declare itself a religion, then this horrid battle by the Co$ to suppress and vilify them could be stopped!

        • I think I have a better idea that would involve fewer new cults:
          Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Denizens of the Internet Propose Church of Scientology Shut Up And Go Away

        • Re:So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Narpak (961733) on Monday September 07, 2009 @10:43AM (#29340741)

          The implementation of Criminal and Civil Restrictions on Religious Vilification.

          Isn't the catch here that it would prohibit religions claiming they are the "true faith" and that all other faiths are heretical or blasphemous and thus vilifying religions other than their own? That being said I am all in favour of criticism of religions, if they want to believe they better suck it up and turn the other cheek or whatever. The freedom to express your opinion should be valued higher than the feelings of touchy religious people. Religions or religious institutions deserve no special privileges at all, and no special protection under the law.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I am a practicing Christian I am in agreement that criticism of religion is important. If Jesus the Chippy was proved not to be the Son of God, then I would like to know now so I can become a Buddhist/atheist/pastafarian quick smart. In addition the ability to promote my views is also one I value. If you don't like my views, you are entitled to stop listening or even to reply with your points of conjecture. The CoS recommendations would limit this for me. I would not be able to be convinced by cunning

    • Re:So.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday September 07, 2009 @01:00PM (#29342363) Homepage Journal

      I have no idea - but anything associated with the CoS HAS to be bad. Really, what has that "church" contributed to anyone outside of the upper echelons of the "church"???

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AmigaMMC (1103025)
      I love this one

      -

      >3: Restriction on Religious Misinformation and Misrepresentation known or reasonably known to be untruthful

      -

      Does that include the fact that their own beliefs are based on lies to extort money from weak people who cannot think for themselves?

  • As an Australian (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The head of the Galactic Federation (76 planets around larger
    stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 years ago, very
    space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet,
    178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to
    be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-Bomb on the
    principal volcanos (Incident II) and then the Pacific area ones
    were take

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:59AM (#29338853)

      (As an American.) Wow, that is very space opera-ish. It sounds like the fevered mumblings of a burnt-out science fiction author who has indulged in too much alcohol and too many prescription painkillers. Can you identify the source and describe what it has to do with this post?

    • and... (Score:2, Redundant)

      by MRe_nl (306212)

      "The time has come," the Walrus said,
      "To talk of many things:
      Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
      Of cabbages--and kings--
      And why the sea is boiling hot--
      And whether pigs have wings."

    • Uninformative "typo" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:30AM (#29339033)
      >"The "freewheel" (auto-running on and on) lasts too long, becomes a nigger then dies."

      Mods, you've just blown a point on some GNAA flamebait.
      For the real version of "Understanding Scientology" by Margery Wakefield, see http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/wakefield/us-07.html [cmu.edu]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:53AM (#29338821)

    Scientology is a dangerous cult

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:59AM (#29338859)

      It's banned in some European countries, too. In the rest, it's not a religion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by noundi (1044080)

        It's banned in some European countries, too. In the rest, it's not a religion.

        I can't help but feel that it's a matter of time. But really I don't see the difference between diluted Christians/Jews/Muslims/Buddhists/Hinduists and Scientologists. It is truly egocentric to think that Aliens planting life on earth is more absurd than an invisible man in the sky. And by egocentric I mean that the invisble man theory is so permeated into the western culture that people tend to ignore how crazy it actually sounds.

        • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Monday September 07, 2009 @10:40AM (#29340713) Homepage

          But really I don't see the difference between diluted Christians/Jews/Muslims/Buddhists/Hinduists and Scientologists.

          The difference between a religion and a cult is not particularly clear, but as a rule of thumb, normal religions don't cut people off from the world and cults do. I suspect that a lot of religions started out as cults and then went through a crucial stage of reconnecting with the world, which smoothed off some of the loopiness, but it seems that a majority of cults don't do that and instead collapse inwards (sometimes with attendant tragedy, alas). What's curious about Scientology is that they've been stuck at the stage between opening out and collapsing for quite a while and it's not clear which way the collective will of the faithful is going to go: if they open up (so becoming less obnoxious to everyone else) then they'll become a regular religion, but if they keep closed then they'll eventually implode.

          It's up to them to pick which path to take. The rest of us can't take it for them; we can just force them to choose. (Now that they don't fill my letterbox with paper spam, I'm militantly indifferent as to what that choice is; they're not my religion.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Keen Anthony (762006)

            Technically, the only difference between a religion and a cult is the legitimization of the cult by a majority of non-believers or recognition by government. All religions began as cults, Christianity especially. But the FBI defines a cult differently in terms of the groups activities, particularly the role of a cult leader. As you mentioned, cults tend to cut their members off from mainstream society. That is one of the litmus tests the FBI has for deciding whether a group is a cult. Also, not all cults ar

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:14AM (#29341147)

          It has nothing to do with their beliefs. It has to do with their practices. When someone joins the Church of Scientology, it is church rhetoric to alienate people from their old lives. That's classic cult behavior.

          Compare that to joining your local Church or Mosque or Temple. You can come in for a session if you want, and leave too. You can join and then keep living your life otherwise the exact same.

          Sure there are cult-esque sects of common religions, but as a whole they aren't very dangerous. Scientology has destroyed families.

          • by Golddess (1361003) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:28AM (#29341301)
            Mod parent up.

            While obvious troll is obvious (GP, not the AC I'm responding to), it's important to always remember (and remind others) that it's never been about allowing all other religions to believe what they want while persecuting just Scientology for its beliefs, but rather has always been about Scientology's tactics towards members, former members, and anyone else who opposes such tactics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by orzetto (545509)

        It is a religion. That's what is evil about it.

        I don't see how believing that "a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree" is any saner than the Xenu story.

        The dangerous part about Scientology is that they are still in the early stages

        • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday September 07, 2009 @09:48AM (#29340207) Homepage

          Scientology is a cult because not merely because they're "in the early stages of religion" but because they actively seek out new members with misleading tactics ("free stress test" outside the subway station downtown), to materially and forcefully disconnect those who join from the wider world around them (we approve where you can live, where you can work, and don't talk to anyone who is remotely antagonistic just shun them totally), psychoanalyze them for blackmail material and neuroses they can exploit ("auditing"), and harass and intimidate critics and those who leave the religion. They're a dangerous cult because they employ lawyers - often lots of lawyers - to attack these critics.

          With regards to Christianity, the early years of the Christian church didn't really present the option for "to live by the Bible" for a few decades (it had to be written and collated), nor were Christians noted for any amount of raping/killing/enslaving until some decent-sized kingdoms decided to be Christian in their off-hours (and continued to wage war on their fellow man from time to time).

          As for the sanity of Christianity -- do note that the Orthodox/Catholic/certain-Anglicans believe it's not "symbolically" eating his flesh, it's really eating his flesh (just presented as bread so that people don't totally gross out). Of course, these same groups largely don't regard the Bible as tantamount to their religion: their religion is a tradition, one which happens to maintain a certain reasonably-important book (the Bible), and therefore they are capable of being more rational about things without being "hypocrites".

          And finally, who here really doubts that there is some impulse to evil present in the souls (or hearts/minds if you prefer) of all men?

          • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday September 07, 2009 @10:23AM (#29340529)

            Don't forget that scientology started out with claims to be a "science of the mind", and applied for "religion" status with the IRS partly for tax reasons, and partly to protect themselves from being sued to pieces for their claimed miracle cures being not only fraudulent but downright dangerous. (The FDA banned them making medical claims for auditing and their fasting programs: they now instead solicit "testimonials" which the FDA does not automatically ban, as not being medical claims.) It was a very sudden switchover, and many younger members probably don't realize why and how it happened.

            Selective memory is a common trait of cults and the nastier political movements: it's a human trait, as well, but the extent of it in a cult that does hypnotic sessions with a lie detector and which "reveals your past lives" and teaches you to control the re-incarnated space aliens that are really your thoughts and body (known as "thetans") has a lot of leverage over basically brainwashed people to reprogram with all sorts of strange ideas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/dm-yscohb/

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sg_oneill (159032)

      not only that, but this sort of shit makes it harder for people who IRL actually are invested in genuine work to fight REAL hate crimes and religious and racial intolerance.

      Sorry scientologists, we don't despise your members and we don't even despise your silly beliefs, we despise the evil things your organisation does to critics, ex members and dissenters.

  • Figures... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by durin (72931) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:54AM (#29338825)

    Scientologists have never been too fond of freedom of speech. Hurts their profit margins.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:55AM (#29338831)
    I don't see why Scientology is interested in the matter. It's not as if they're a religion. They haven't even suggested the protection of pyramid schemes.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:11AM (#29338923)

      Now, now. Scientology isn't a pyramid scheme. Even though they share a few traits like the ones on the top getting rich while the ones at the bottom pay for it.

      Their marketing scheme has more in common with what in German speaking countries is known as a "Kaffeefahrt". The business scheme works like this: You get some snail spam where you're told you won some nice prize (a new TV or something) and a bus trip to some godforsaken place. If you're gullible (and usually, old) enough to fall for it, you're loaded on a bus and shipped off to some inn there, where you will endure a sales presentation lasting no less than 4-5 hours, with the unspoken (or often spoken) threat that we're not going home 'til enough people bought the junk offered. Your big prize is usually some piece of junk as well, there are some (more or less serious) lists circulating the internet what those grand prizes really are. Example: A "candlelight dinner"? Right. 2 candles, 2 noodle cups.

  • Critical? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MistrX (1566617) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:56AM (#29338835)
    Do they define 'critical' as every website that speaks negatively about Scientology? By the way: There goes Slashdots anonymous features!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jaysyn (203771)
      No, there goes Slashdot in Australia.  We don't care about your crazy laws anymore than you care about ours.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:57AM (#29338841)

    Well, I'm not accusing the Co$ of anything, but if I was a group that uses heavy peer pressure and the fact that as a group I have vastly more resources than any individual, monetary and time-wise, I'd certainly want anonymity stripped away so I know which individuals I'd have to silence to send out a message to other individuals.

    I just wish they'd do something like this in Europe. It would do a huge service towards net anonymity, considering how many governments react to pretty much anything the Cult spews.

  • Good luck mate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @06:58AM (#29338847)

    Australia is probably the absolute worst place for them to push this. 30% to 40% of the population is non-religious, and our mindset is one of "suck it up" with respect to shit like this. This reeks of bully boy tactics and that doesn't sit well with Aussies.

    Anyway I doubt it'd pass the Senate for other reasons. Between the Greens, Family First, Liberal, and Labour, 3 of those are strong Christian parties, and the other is strongly secular and radically opposed to censorship.

    • Re:Good luck mate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by acb (2797) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:05AM (#29338893) Homepage

      Though Labor and the religiots are committed to forcing through a national censorship infrastructure. If that's in place, expanding what is restricted is a matter of mere administrative fiat, no troublesome democratic debate required.

      Thankfully, the firewall plan seems to have trouble getting the numbers in the Senate, and the fiasco of the recent technical trials (deemed a "success" by the government with no actual objective criteria having been cited and scant detail) is unlikely to help. Hearing that Tom Cruise's crazy friends want to use it to stamp out criticism of them probably won't be any more helpful.

    • I'm hoping it would get Midnight Oil back together, go to the Scientology HQ, and sing in front of the building like they did for Exxon. Of course, there would have to be some sort of connection with the environment [wikipedia.org] for them to take notice or maybe not. Anything to get them recording again.
      • by acb (2797)

        Peter Garrett is too busy defending uranium mining as the Australian government's Environment minister.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MrKaos (858439)

          Peter Garrett is too busy defending uranium mining as the Australian government's Environment minister.

          A form of uranium mining that is illegal in the US and Russia. After everything he said - Unbe-fucking-leivable

  • It's time they channelled Xenu and got him to finish the job!
  • Dangerous reading. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom@g m a i l .com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:04AM (#29338889) Homepage Journal

    Anyone reading Scientology material becomes pretty much immune against their brainwash. Its more like a very badly written sci-fi novel than anything else. Letting people read it in a safe enviroment makes recruting more cultists so much harder.

    The only way to get rid of stupid cults like Scientology, Christianity and the like is to expose them freely and put them against real knowledge and science. Religion has no place in a modern society.

    • by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:29AM (#29339017)

      You were doing fine until you veered into haterland by including Christianity "and the like".

      History is replete with examples of people converted to Christianity simply by reading the Bible on their own without outside influence.
      (simply Google "Converts to Christianity" You will find many converted simply by gaining access to a Bible written in their language.)

      Judaism and Islam have similar examples.

      Scientology has none. This is one of the hallmarks of a true cult; They win no converts outside of their brainwashing, and their "scriptures" are nonsense to anyone outside the group.

      While some atheists might describe some mainstream religious texts as "nonsense", the vast majority of people, regardless of their belief, would not.

      Stop being a hater miffo.swe. You are free to believe or not as you wish. But don't go lumping the major religions in with cults like Scientology

      • by IrquiM (471313) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:46AM (#29339133) Homepage

        I went the other way... I read the bible and became a non-christian! I've also got the Koran and the Torah in my collection, and I'm not Muslim nor Jew.

      • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom@g m a i l .com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:46AM (#29339139) Homepage Journal

        "Stop being a hater miffo.swe. You are free to believe or not as you wish. But don't go lumping the major religions in with cults like Scientology"

        I dare to lump all the major religions in with scientology. Christianity beat Scientology any day if you look at it historically. A more brutal conversion than the one from hedonism to christianity is hard to find. Cult is a bit too nice of a wording for how most of our religions have come to be. You carry on closing your eyes and dont whatever you do read any history.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by martas (1439879)
        why the fuck is this post Funny? do slashdotters smoke that much weed?
      • by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:18AM (#29339403)
        A religion is only a cult that's had more time to gather in more suckers. Every religion starts as a cult. They all have funny rituals as ways to worship their chosen invisible man. The major world religions all started at a time when mankind knew little science, so the stories and explanations about the world around them as told by preachers sounded believable enough to stick with.

        The problem any new cult has today is that science has provided a lot of answers which contradict the religious versions, and of course religion being "the word of God" it can't be revised. Modern cults like Scientology are all fighting against a modern backdrop that people have long seen through the bullshit the major religions spew out in an effort to control their sheep, as well as a million and one documentaries and fictional stories about cults, scams and rackets.

        In other words they came late to the party, all the gullible people are taken and all they have left are those who pour scorn or ridicule over their claims.

        Religions or their underdeveloped little brothers the Cults all have one aim, control. They seek to be the gatekeeper between their God and the believer. They manipulate people's emotions to get and maintain that control. They claim to offer spiritual and therefor unverifiable rewards to those who allow themselves to be controlled, and punish those who seek to either disrupt that control, or seek to escape it. All religions and cults have illogical "truths" told in fictional stories a 5 year old could write better with less plot holes. All religions entrench the leadership in unchallengeable potions.

        What many seem to forget is belief in God, is different from considering oneself part of any religion or cult. Many people have seen the damage religion and it's followers have done to the planet and it's inhabitants and can't bare to be associated with it. That does not stop them believing in God. They can see religion for what it is, a man made manipulative organization using an unverifiable connection to God as the hook which amounts to "do what we say, in return we'll ask God to help you out, we have a direct line to him you know. We can't of course teach you how to do that for yourself as we're his special ones."

        A couple of quotes spring to mind:

        "God, please protect me from your followers"
        "Every day more and more people are giving up religion and returning to God"
        • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:46AM (#29339651)

          If the dead could sue, a lot of churches would be broke for settlements due to false advertising and selling a faulty product.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)

          A couple of quotes spring to mind:

          "God, please protect me from your followers"
          "Every day more and more people are giving up religion and returning to God"

          I prefer this version:
          "I have no problem with God. It's his fan club I can't stand"

      • by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:24AM (#29339461) Journal

        While some atheists might describe some mainstream religious texts as "nonsense", the vast majority of people, regardless of their belief, would not.

        Argumentum ad populum. Would Scientology be true, if lots more people believed it?

        And actually, you're wrong anyway - since there are several different religions with inconsistent views, religious people would still view other religions as wrong (often with a greater zeal than any atheist - e.g., Christians who preach that non-Christians will go to hell), and therefore any given religion still has a majority who don't believe in it. So for example, there may be about 2 billion Christians, but the "vast majority" still don't believe in Christianity.

        But yes, I do agree with you - the only difference between cults and religions are how many people believe in it.

        But don't go lumping the major religions in with cults like Scientology

        In the context of laws like this, trying to argue against it by saying Scientology isn't a religion is a dangerous tactic - it means the law is still considered justified for religions. I think it's a bad law all round.

      • by Astronomerguy (1541977) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:27AM (#29339501)
        Whatever. More often than not people throughout history converted because the church was the biggest employer, controlled whatever education was available, and had a really nasty enforcement arm. Religions are merely cults that managed to last a long time. I've also read the Koran and the Bible and felt no overpowering rush to convert - quite the opposite actually. I heartily agree with Richard Dawkins' analysis of religions and share his contempt for them. He summed up the "god" of the Old Testament succinctly: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." I recommend his book "The God Delusion", Ibn Waraq's "Why I am not a Muslim", and Christopher Hitchen's "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" if you're interested in clear and reasoned analysis of just why religion/cults are dangerous hypocritical bullshit organizations.
      • by moz25 (262020) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:38AM (#29339597) Homepage

        Ehhh, I strongly take issue with your "stop being a hater" comment.

        Have you ever considered that people may have very ethical reasons for strongly disliking religion? I for one strongly reject the concept that religions teach you that it doesn't matter how good or how ethical of a person you are: if you don't follow that religion, you will be punished in one way or another for eternity.

        How can any thinking person accept that possibilities exist for violent criminals to go to Heaven, while the door is shut to completely harmless people who happened to either not be religious or follow the wrong religion.

        And how can any one not be troubled by "gods" who go out of their way to be completely undetectable by any other means than our imagination?

        I also reject the way religion is being taught in churches: it's one-way communication with endless repetition of a very small set of events that supposedly took place and that would NOT pass scrutiny in this day and age. Immaculate conception, uh-huh. How about a DNA test first? :-)

        While I respect the right of people to follow nonsense, there is really no other word than "nonsense" to accurately describe death-denialism tripe.

        That being said, Scientology is not like a regular religion at all. Simply put, it's the most expensive sci-fi book in the world, and not even a very good one at that.

      • by dargaud (518470) <[ten.duagradg] [ta] [2todhsals]> on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:40AM (#29339607) Homepage

        History is replete with examples of people converted to Christianity simply by reading the Bible on their own without outside influence.

        Without outside influence ?!? I call bullshit on that. There HAS to be peer pressure involved in order for somebody to believe that a burning bush can talk, a horse can fly or similar ridiculous inventions. Not having somebody watching over your shoulder with a stick is not necessary if the reward is joining a group that eats better, or knowing they won't kill you when the next wave of pogroms will start.

        There are far more people who convert the other way, they force-read their bible all their childhood, sick from some of its content, and as soon as they are adults they feel free to give it up. Otherwise there wouldn't be any atheist around, now would they ?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Well... no.

      The ideas and principles that most religions are based on are sound and sane. When you look at the ideals of a few world religions (christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, hinduism...), you'll notice that they all somehow focus on an attempt to get society to work well together. They all follow a more or less common moral standard: Don't steal. Don't kill. Don't lie. Try to live a "good" life and do "good" things. They promise rewards in the afterlife for this, which might be a bit too mystical f

      • by clickety6 (141178) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:27AM (#29339493)

        The ideas and principles that most religions are based on are sound and sane.

        No they aren't. The ideas are pretty much all in fantasy land - dead people coming to back life, all-knowing, all-seeing mega-beings demanding we worship them, miracles being performed, etc., etc. etc. No sound or sane ideas there.

        And principles...


        When you look at the ideals of a few world religions (christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, hinduism...), you'll notice that they all somehow focus on an attempt to get society to work well together. They all follow a more or less common moral standard: Don't steal. Don't kill. Don't lie. Try to live a "good" life and do "good" things. They promise rewards in the afterlife for this, which might be a bit too mystical for the secular mind of this time, but in general the intention behind it isn't so bad.

        Nope, don't see that at all. For a start you're picking only them more moderate philosophies from the religious books and ignoring all the other, more extreme items - killing witches, killing adulterers, killing homosexuals, killing non-believers, etc. etc. ... and those are just the teachings of the bible. Religions are there to concentrate power in the hands of a few individuals and keep the masses in their place whether they be cults or major religions. They'll sell them to you as way to live your life better but that's not what they were created for...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Keen Anthony (762006)

        Much of that was said with a wink and a whisper. Don't steal from fellow believers. Don't kill fellow believers. Try to live the good life (within the societal norms as established in this religion). You could kill a non-believer. You could kill a thousand non-believers. I don't think it's unfair to say that religion was created primarily as a mechanism for social control. When you have ten thousand people, and you want them to do your bidding in that day and age, mysticism is pretty much the only instrumen

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jimicus (737525)

      The only way to get rid of stupid cults like Scientology, Christianity and the like is to expose them freely and put them against real knowledge and science. Religion has no place in a modern society.

      Indeed.

      While we're at it, we should do the same thing with people who prefer emacs over vi, Windows fanboys and anyone with a particular liking for certain shades of purple.

  • (MS Word document) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Santzes (756183) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:07AM (#29338905) Homepage
    If you publish proposals like this as a MS Word document, you should be censored from the internet.
  • by puroresu (1585025) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:08AM (#29338911)
    Why do they need to be so litigious? Why can't they just zap critical web sites out of existence with their super high level thetan powers?
  • by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Monday September 07, 2009 @07:23AM (#29338989)
    "If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion." ~ L. Ron Hubbard
  • If this were to go through, it seems to me like recomendation number three could come back to bite them. Either by being prosecuted for knowingly lying about their religion, or by being reguire to proove that some-ones claim is untruthful
  • I say pass it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by divisionbyzero (300681) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:03AM (#29339291)

    And then immediately pass a law that says Scientology is not a religion.

  • by pla (258480) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:16AM (#29339371) Journal
    ...Because these all involve "Religious vilification".

    Unless we all lost our minds and considered Scientology as some sort of religion, rather than a group of Heinlein fanboys who took it waaaaaay too far, none of these would benefit them.

    So, nothing to see here, just another Modest Proposal to keep the Kids(tm) safe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:26AM (#29339487)

    Recommendation 1: Make it illegal to make fun of us so that we have legal grounds to sue.

    Recommendation 2: Eliminate Anonymity on the internet so that we know who we can sue.

    Recommendation 3: Stop letting the media make fun of us or we will sue.

    Recommendation 4: Make a law so that you can not tax us when we sue.

    Everybody should be posting on this article Anonymously by the way

  • by careysb (566113) on Monday September 07, 2009 @08:45AM (#29339641)
    I noticed that the document against anonymity was written anonymously. (Names, people. I need names!)
  • Dear scifitologists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Monday September 07, 2009 @09:46AM (#29340197)
    Dear scifitologists,

    You are free to be morons. Just like I am free to say you are morons.

    Thank you.

  • Repeat from 1995 (Score:3, Informative)

    by hessian (467078) on Monday September 07, 2009 @10:38AM (#29340685) Homepage Journal

    Remember ARSbomb [faqs.org]?

    Scientology flooded USENET to keep their documents from being distributed.

    However, as someone who believes in freedom, I think we're going to have to extend it to nutty cults. After all, we extend freedom to secular cults who believe 9-11 was an inside job, or that natural selection doesn't exist among humans.

    We need to respect that Scientology is a choice, these people aren't morons, and while we (I, at least) disagree with their choice, it's their right.

    People have the right to do things we/I think are insane, in other words.

  • by golodh (893453) on Monday September 07, 2009 @01:04PM (#29342399)
    First of all the Scientology sect has a long, ugly, and above all well-documented history of harassment, intimidation, and legal chicanery. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishman_Affidavit, http://www.cesnur.org/testi/se_scientology.htm [cesnur.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karin_Spaink#Scientology [wikipedia.org], http://www.religionnewsblog.com/23160/james-orrington [religionnewsblog.com]). The Scientology sect is held in Germany to be aimed at taking advantage of vulnerable individuals (http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2009/03/german-court-orders-berlins-anti.html). It is also in the business of selling its "religious" material, and makes strenuous efforts to keep such material from being publicly available (see e.g. their way of forcing Slasdot to remove material http://slashdot.org/articles/01/03/16/1256226_F.shtml [slashdot.org])

    With legal chicanery I mean e.g. leveling a barrage of nuisance lawsuits at an opponent with the objective of bankrupting the victim by forcing him to expend ruinous sums on legal counsel, or alternatively by securing unfounded convictions against the victim where he has been unable to mount an adequate legal defense (See e.g. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/Declaration/exhibg.html [cmu.edu]).

    An additional form of chicanery is to drop charges against a victim who does mount an adequate defense in order to avoid unfavorable precedents from being set against the sect (see http://www.rechtspraak.nl/Gerechten/HogeRaad/Actualiteiten/Hoge+Raad+verwerpt+het+cassatieberoep+in+de+zaak+Scientology+providers+en+Spaink.htm [rechtspraak.nl] (in Dutch)).

    Of course the wave of counter-harassment and even threats (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Chanology [wikipedia.org]) goes too far. But what the Cult now pleads for is to introduce a totally ambiguous definition of "Websites created with primary purpose of inciting religious vilification" (read: "anybody who says something to the effect that the Scientology sect is a nasty, dangerous, for-profit outfit") and strip those of anonymity or even the right to exist at all. In plain text: anyone who writes anything against the Scientology cult will now be exposed to harassment lawsuits, career wrecking, and intimidation (see the Fishman affidavit in one of the links above).

    The full text of the "recommendations" I reproduce below:

    SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

    Recommendation 1: The implementation of Criminal and Civil Restrictions on Religious Vilification.

    Recommendation 2: Restriction on Anonymity on acts of Religious Vilification:

    2.1 Websites created with primary purpose of inciting religious vilification shall be removed or their access to the Australian public restricted.

    2.2 Creators of websites whose primary purpose is the incitement of religious vilification shall be prevented from concealing their identity.

    Recommendation 3: Restriction on Religious Misinformation and Misrepresentation known or reasonably known to be untruthful in the Media

    Recommendation 4: Include a form of Bill or Charter of Rights into the Australian Constitution, which prevents the Commonwealth from making any law, which 'directly, indirectly or incidentally' prohibits the free exercise of religion to the extent of such prohibition

    What part of this looks as if it provides any safeguards against the most appalling abuse? Where are the checks and balances? Who determines what is "misinformation", or "incitement of religious vilification"? Would quoting court documents that state the Scientology sect pr

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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