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Surprise Arrest For Online Scientology Critic 954

destinyland writes "An online critic of Scientology was confronted at a routine hearing Tuesday with surprise arrest warrants and thrown into jail. Six years as a fugitive ended in February. (After picketing a Scientology complex in 2000 over the unexplained death of a woman there, he'd been arrested for 'threatening a religion' over a Usenet joke about 'Tom Cruise Missiles.') But 64-year-old Keith Henson had been out on bail, and was even scheduled to address the European Space Agency conference on Space Elevators. He's a co-founder of the Space Colony movement, and one of the original researchers at Texas Instruments. In this interview he discusses both space-based solar energy and his war with the Scientologists — just a few days before he was arrested."
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Surprise Arrest For Online Scientology Critic

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  • How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:41AM (#19067377)
    ...can you be arrested for 'threatening a religion' ?!

    Threatening a person, yeah, but a religion? If I express a wish that Christianity or Islam die out can I be arrested? What happened to America's much touted freedom of speech?
  • I blame the voters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert the Turtle ( 1073828 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:42AM (#19067393)
    If you all insist on voting for people because of their religious affiliations (and indeed, expressly WOULDN'T vote for atheists) then what did you expect? Vote for religious people, and they protect religious ideas. No matter how perverse they are. To allow you to deride Scientology would risk allowing you to deride born again christians or catholics.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:43AM (#19067415) Homepage Journal

    Why is it okay for a religion to threaten me with hell, but not okay for me to openly state that I'm trying to bring down a religion? Isn't it my state-given right to work to destroy unfavorable institutions so long as I work within the confines of the law?

    A law against "threatening" a religion is a violation of my right to freedom of speech.

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:44AM (#19067431) Homepage Journal
    Especially when most of the mainstream religions seem to have explicit "all the other religions are crap" clauses somewhere in their bylaws.
  • Total BS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#19067435) Journal
    As a Christian, I don't like seeing people criticize my religion, but I certainly don't want them arrested for it! WTF makes scientology so damn important? The same could be said for Islam. Why is throwing a koran in the toilet a hate crime, but dumping a cross in a jar of urine not?

    I don't want to see people arrested for criticizing Christianity and I sure as hell don't want to see people jailed for criticizing other religions either! Why is the free speech of non-Christians important than that of Christians??
  • by u-bend ( 1095729 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#19067445) Homepage Journal
    Not knowing all the particulars of the supposed threat he was posing to the religion, it strikes me as odd that this can cause him so much trouble with the law. If he had been criticizing Catholicism as vocally for instance, would the same have happened? So remind me which elements of free speech we're not supposed to exercise anymore? We're not allowed to criticize Scientology, certain liberal agendas, certain conservative agendas, what else?
  • Brave people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:47AM (#19067475)
    After reading that I'm surprised anyone dared to post anything in case they ended up in jail. Crazy, just crazy. Land of the free. Umm yeah.
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:49AM (#19067517) Journal
    Is Henson the only person to ever have this happen to them? Has anyone had the same treatment for speaking out against christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, etc?

    If so, who was it and what happened to them? If not, why?

    How long until people wake up and realize that scientology is not a religion but a dangerous, money-grubbing, control-freak cult/business?

    Name one other religion that refuses to open its documents so someone can look at them WITHOUT you having to pay to see them.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:50AM (#19067527) Journal
    The Scientology issue aside, since even the submission can't get the actual charge correct -- why is the European Space Agency requesting guidance from an enthusiast/crackpot with no relevant technical expertise?
  • Re:Remember (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:51AM (#19067557)
    Sadly, we are starting to expect it now. And I mean that in the least threatening way possible.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:55AM (#19067649) Journal
    I think this guy went about this in a very offensive way which lead to trouble. His posts were (in court of law []) to have said things like

    Scientology is a business, and an unethical business at that. It is run by dishonorable men and women, and I will see it in ruins. Ahh, I love the smell of gun powder drifting on the morning breeze.
    Now, I don't think they ever proved he said that and what concerns me is that, though I'm not a lawyer, postings on the internet are very hard to authenticate. I don't think that this could be submitted as evidence in a court of law unless there was a hard link between the post, the time of the post and the defendent.

    If you want to "ruin Scientology," don't approach it like that. Don't align yourself with anyone that might make you an easier target for their lawyers. Ask questions. Investigate yourself. Don't do anything mildly against the law. Present your findings to newspapers or publish them online, but do not turn to violent attitudes. If you expect to be taken seriously about it, don't joke about it and don't joke about things that people might take the wrong way.

    These people have a lot of money and a lot of lawyers, you have to be smart and careful and cautious if you want to expose them for what you believe they are.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:55AM (#19067651) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't the thing you're threatening have to be an actual religion, not just some made-up bullshit about space aliens who fly around in 747s, too?
  • Re:Total BS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starX ( 306011 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:56AM (#19067673) Homepage
    Because the crucifix in the jar of urine was art, and the Koran in the toilet was torture. If you put a Koran in a toilet in the middle of a museum, it would be art, and therefore okay.

    I want to start an off topic discussion with you (seriously, I'm not trolling). Have you played Bible Fight at, and if so, what do you think? Grievous insult to the Christian faith? Over the top satire? Humorous satire? Not especially playable? I'm just curious.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:57AM (#19067697) Homepage Journal
    Mod parent up!

    How very insightful of you. Why should there be a problem with it? If I say I'm working to defeat the Neo-Nazi movement, it would seem no one would care but the Neo-Nazis and most folks would cheer me on. It wouldn't seem likely a judge would have me arrested, either. But as soon as I say I'm working to bring down Scientology, I'm 'threatening a religion'? As long as I work within the confines of the law, I should have the right to say what I want against any institution. That's why the Framers wrote the 1st Amendment -- because bad institutions should be openly criticized.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:58AM (#19067701) Journal
    And the whole thing about zombie jesus and his invisible sky daddy isn't just some made-up bullshit? Seriously, what's the difference?
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:00AM (#19067737) Journal
    As a religious person, it's a REALLY dumb law...

    I mean seriously, we're getting to the point now where even doing something that could possibly be maybe related to a threat against a person/place/idea is a criminal offense. If you can be thrown in jail for picketing a group, especially if you have a good reason, then you have lost way too much freedom. I mean, if someone came and picketed my church I'd probably be more curious to hear their side of the story than wanting them thrown in jail.

    Ugh...whatever happened to the place where you could jokingly punch your friend in the shoulder in school and say "I'm gonna kill you for that" then go off and demonstrate peacefully about something you care about and the police wouldn't care a bit?
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:03AM (#19067797)
    Well, most religions don't require you to pay to learn the religious texts. Donations and the like are "heavily encouraged" but not required.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:04AM (#19067807) Journal

    Isn't it my state-given right to work to destroy unfavorable institutions
    The state cannot grant rights; it can only restrict them. To say that any right is granted at the pleasure of the state is a recipe for disaster.

    As to whether that law restricts your free speech, the claim is that "hate speech" is not protected by the Constitution, particularly when it interferes with the right of others to worship freely. The logic is that allowing people to threaten religions is implicit State approval of those threats.

    I believe Scientology abuses the law; but I also believe the law is necessary to protect people's right to worship freely.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordaximus ( 566304 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:04AM (#19067813)
    Strange that a state law can trump a Constitutional right, no?
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by philwx ( 789834 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:06AM (#19067841)
    I think what he means is, the leaders of Scientology probably do not even believe what they are preaching themselves, but are merely basking in the control and power it gives them. This would make it a different motivation, to say the least, than someone who genuinely thought they were trying to save your soul.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:09AM (#19067881) Journal
    think what he means is, the leaders of Scientology probably do not even believe what they are preaching themselves

    And Ted Haggard [] does?
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:09AM (#19067891)
    Not knowing all the particulars of the supposed threat he was posing to the religion,

    The threat he posed was to expose their idiotic (and expensive) teachings, their lies and to illustrate what a malignant mind control cult they really are. This made him their enemy and they have been hounding him with nuisance lawsuits ever since. Unfortunately for him he made some throwaway remark on a usenet forum about aiming a missile at their HQ and they somehow managed to get him prosecuted for making terrorist threats as well as interfering with a religion.

    His unrelating persecution by scientologists to silence and even jail the guy show who the terrorists really are.

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:12AM (#19067931) Homepage Journal
    you beat enemies of free speech: religious fundamentalists, retarded ip laws, oppressive governments, etc. with more free speech

    the only reason anyone would oppose free speech is if what they have to say would suffer if it had more scrutiny

    scientologists have legions of zombie lawyers attacking anyone who infringes on their "intellectual property" and "religious principles" simply because if that crap got out in more general circulation, they would be revealed as the fascist ufo wackjobs they are

    same with oppressive governments, same with ip lawyer whores

    and so, in the spirit of the recent dmca take down notice on digg for a stupid numer [], i would like to serve and support keith and attack the immoral, yet somehow, incredibly, legal basis for arresting him by serving his cause: posting stuff the church of scientology does not want posted

    the digg number fiasco prompted wordwide press coverage. this should to:

    it is the exact same issue []

    expand the digg number revolution folks. use everything that was used in the digg number fiasco and make it used again. weidl it as a weapon agains tthose who wish to censor in the name of fascist religious fundamentalism and corporate greed. let this revolution continue! let them fear us, not us fear them!

    i will respond to this comment with another comment with text the church of scientology does not want known

    slashdot may get attacked by me doing this, slashdot has been forced to remove comments before []. i may be attacked too. i don't care, because i know i am in the right, and i know this is important, and i know i have support

    the proper response to my post of the sensitive scientology information? post it some more yourself. post it and post it some more.

    post it more, post it more, post it more. post it everywhere. post it a million times

    scientology has legions of aggressive fanatical laywers, but we, who love free speech are yet legion more

    i support free speech, do you? did the recent imbroglio over that stupid number on digg stoke your righteous indignation at censorship in the name of corporate idiocy? well this man was just arrested in the name of religious fundamentalism. you should be stoked at this too. it is the exact same thing. let's make the revolution over the digg number a permanent fixture on the internet. let's band together and in the same of social justice fight these censoring fascist assholes

    the proper response to keith being arrested is bomb post every and all sensitive church of scientology material any of us can find. the more the material makes those fascist assholes squeal, the more it should be disseminated. digg, slashdot, fark, every and all sites you can find. bomb post away, bomb away, bomb away

    this is important folks. if a man can be arrested for making a dumb joke on a newsgroup, any of us can. so all of us should band together and prove the futility of what scientology thinks they are doing: when someone is arrested for simply criticizing their stupid church then us on the internet will respond by hurting them where they hurt the most: the mass public airing of that which they deem so personal and sensitive

    dear church of scientology and your legal whores: fuck you you fascist censoring pricks

    this is war

    fire away
  • by aztec rain god ( 827341 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:12AM (#19067933)
    How big does a cult have to get before it molts into a religion? It seems to me like size is the only difference.
  • by xENoLocO ( 773565 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:12AM (#19067935) Homepage
    I'd mod you up if I could.

    Along the same lines... (speaking generally, not to you in specific) As a human, you have rights. The constitution was created to guarantee your rights are not trampled on. The constitution does not grant anything, it protects right you alredy had from being violated by a government.

    Believe it or not, this country was founded upon the experience of people who were ruled by fundamentally corrupt governments. Over the years they've found ways to constrict how the constitution defends your rights... and that's why we have the sad state we're in today.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcgf ( 688310 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:20AM (#19068055)

    The same law would apply to someone with a Nazi arm band protesting out side a synagogue with sign saying "Dirty Jews killed Jesus!". And I for one would be hard pressed to shed a tear if some was arrested for that.

    I would be upset though I wouldn't shed a tear. If the person was just standing there with a sign not hurting anyone, he should be able to.

  • Re:Total BS! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#19068087)

    Why is throwing a koran in the toilet a hate crime, but dumping a cross in a jar of urine not?

    Frankly, I don't think either are particularly damaging. They're just things. As a Christian, my faith is not based on earthly things.

    So I'm curious why you brought it up. Was it somehow important to you? Why?
  • by myth24601 ( 893486 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:26AM (#19068175)
    "After that you are supposed to telepathically communicate with these body thetans to make them go away. "

    What happens to the thetans? Where do they go?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:26AM (#19068183)
    The #1 identifier of religion is that it is forbidden to laugh at certain things. And if it is forbidden to laugh at something, "unenlightened" empirical inquiry will also be forbidden.

    Religion means that some hairless monkeys take themselves seriously, puff themselves up, and. above all else, stifle themselves so as not to burst out laughing at themselves.

    From what I've read about Scientology, those people take themselves seriously. Consequently, Scientologists want to forbid all Scientology-related laughter. Therefore, Scientology is a religion.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:27AM (#19068191) Journal
    And the whole thing about zombie Jesus and his invisible sky daddy isn't just some made-up bullshit? Seriously, what's the difference?

    Are you comparing Christianity to Scientology? Here are a few other difference you may not be aware of:

    Christianity has a historical significance. Romans really did crucify people using crosses. King Herod really did exist. Other examples form HERE []

    The inscription on the Moabite Stone, for example, provides disinterested, nonbiblical confirmation that king Mesha of the Moabites, mentioned in 2 Kings 3:4-27, was probably an actual historical character. The Black Obelisk provides a record of the payment of tribute to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III by Jehu, king of the Israelites (2 Kings 9-10; 2 Chron. 22:7-9). Likewise, the Babylonian Chronicle attests to the historicity of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his conquest of Jerusalem as recorded in 2 Kings 25. Other examples could be cited, but these are sufficient to show that archaeology has corroborated some information in the Bible.
    Of course, there is really no scientific evidence of anything in the Bible, no more than say proof that George Washington was president? However, to compare the Bible with Dianetics is a bit of a joke. Is there any historical evidence of ancient, interplanetary 747's around? If not, then there is more archaeological and historic evidence backing the Bible than scientology.

  • by ubuwalker31 ( 1009137 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:28AM (#19068207)
    Look, I am sorry, but if you are charged with a crime, you show up in court, and plead your case. Any judge with half his brain tied behind his back would have recognized this guys actions as free speech, and tossed his arrest. Then, he would have had a great civil rights suit against the police officers and the city for violation of his rights. But no...what this guy does is he flees the USA, because he thinks the scientologists are out to get him: "I couldn't be employed while I was trying to hide out from them. They have agents inside the IRS, so when you use your social security number, they just pull it and come and get you." I mean, come on, this guy is a complete nut job...give me a break. IHMO, he should be punished for not subjecting himself to the lawful authority of the court...but not punished for telling it like it is about the cult of Xenu.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:30AM (#19068231) Homepage Journal
    Well for one the law isn't about deriding a religion it is about "Interfering with a Religion".
    Second freedom of religion is protected. People have the right to worship how they please. This law isn't to prevent you from making comments about a religion but to protect peoples right to believe as they choose.
    I don't like Scientology but they have a right to their beliefs just as much as you do. Even if their beliefs where the result of a bet with Asimov about creating a religion.

    I have to give them some credit. Recruiting celebrities is brilliant. Scientology is all about how great and powerful you really are and how things of this world hold you back. I can see how that can be very attractive to a certain personality type. Then you have the people that wish to be like celebrities following them plus all the great pr you get from them. Of course I expect no more spiritual, moral, and political guidance from an actor or rock-star than I do my plumber I find it all very silly but way too many people do fall for it.

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:30AM (#19068233) Homepage
    While as a hack he is second rate, as a religious inventor he has demonstrated us his prowess. The idea to use a DIY lie detector as a primary religious object is awesome. No wonder it is the religion with the least number of defectors.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:30AM (#19068239)
    I think the problem is strictly limited to scientology and islam. Mocking or saying anything inappropriate about any other religion is still 100% legal and acceptable.
  • Old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h2g2bob ( 948006 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:37AM (#19068393) Homepage
    Scientology just follows in a long tradition:
    * Believe us or we'll set the spanish inquisition on you - Christianity
    * Believe us or when you die you'll be in perpetual torment - Islam
    * Believe us or we'll sue you to hell - Scientology
  • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:41AM (#19068467) Homepage Journal
    and the judge didn't allow him to introduce the bulk of his evidence ... he fled and claimed political asylum in Canada before sentencing ....I suspect you're wrong about the amount of the judge's brain tied behind his back. Keith may be a bid odd, but he's not crazy - he realized he'd been railroaded by political pressure on the local DA - it's a small town in the desert dominated by a Scientology compound - the locals hate them and if Keith had been allowed to put the fact that it was Scientology he was picketing (rather than making it sound like a real church) the jury would have acquitted him
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:41AM (#19068477)
    Threatening involves, at least according to our law books, the ability to actually realize what you suggest to do, usually to the disadvantage of another. When I threaten to kill you, I suggest that I will put what's in my power behind bringing you from life to death, which is, usually, within my powers.

    How do you "threaten" an idea? How do you "kill" an idea? That's impossible.

    I can see, though, that people who try to wage a war against ideas (like terrorism, or like drugs) do actually believe they can kill an idea. But a religion?

    To kill a religion, you'd either have to kill every single person whose faith is in this religion, or you have to convince everyone who believes that his religion is wrong. Now, the former is by its very definition impossible. Ya know, there was a nation about 60 years ago whose plan was exactly that. It costed millions of lives, but it did certainly not destroy the religion.

    And for the latter, it would require your faithful followers to shrug off their faith. And if you're threatend by THAT ... Well, then how much faith do you have in your own religion?
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jesterpilot ( 906386 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:43AM (#19068511) Homepage
    However, to compare the Bible with Dianetics is a bit of a joke. Is there any historical evidence of ancient, interplanetary 747's around?

    Exactly the same amount of evidence as there is for a gigantic wooden ship floating around an earth completely covered with water. Or Nefilim roaming the earth, or people rising from their graves, or Herodes killing every young boy.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:44AM (#19068523)
    So what you are saying the Bible is just an old newspaper that has gotten some facts wrong just like modern news agencies do.

    I can live with that.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lastchance_000 ( 847415 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:44AM (#19068533)
    Don't discount the ability of people to delude themselves, especially when there's a huge paycheck attached.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrpeebles ( 853978 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:46AM (#19068553)
    Comparing Chistianity to Scientology is like comparing Aristotle (who's science was wrong) to that voice that uses genetic technobabble to narrate the beginning of Heroes (its science is wrong too.) Christianity has had the great geniuses of the Western world contributing to it over last 2000 years, and it based on the Hebrew Bible, a great work as literature. It may or may not be wrong, but it has important, or at least sophisticated, things to say. Scientology has Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and is based on Dianetics []. (I haven't read Dianetics, but I have seen the film version of Battlefield Earth, and that is enough for me.)
  • by aztec rain god ( 827341 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:49AM (#19068607)
    I think you're basically making my point: that there is no fundamental difference in the structure, just the size. Just because Catholic schools are hookin' em young doesn't mean it's not brainwashing. I think a better way of defining things is that a cult is a young religion, a religion is an old cult.
  • by Deinhard ( 644412 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:49AM (#19068621)
    When you read the entire version it sounds just as insane!
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:51AM (#19068643)
    He didn't prevent people from practicing their religion. I don't see how you can claim that picketing a "church" somehow violates freedom of religion. You have a right to hold and practice religious beliefs, but you don't have a right to never have your religious beliefs challenged or insulted.

    Your right to religion doesn't give you a right to silence all speech related to said religion. Free speech is important.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Guuge ( 719028 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:54AM (#19068695)

    No, both Scientology and Christianity have nonsensical mythologies. (It's not politically correct to say that, but it is true to the best of my knowledge.) There is no evidence of alien space ships. There is also no evidence of angels, demons, or gods.

    There certainly was a Roman Empire. They did crucify people. There was probably a Jesus. But, there is also no dispute that L. Ron Hubbard really existed. None of that has any bearing on whether the magical stuff really happened.

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:55AM (#19068731) Homepage Journal
    A guy with a Nazi armband and a sign offensive to those in the synagogue does not violate their rights in any way, nor does it prevent them from exercising their religious freedom. They're free to practice their religion, not free not to have to look at a sign they don't agree with, not even free not to be insulted. It's not a matter of balancing rights -- as long as the picketer is behaving in a civil manner and not inciting violence or other criminal behavior, he should be free to express whatever view he likes in any public place.
  • by vrimj ( 750402 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:04PM (#19068905)
    Flag Burning, "Fuck the Draft", First admendment law is not based off of inoffensive actions.

    Speech that is not "thretening" generally needs no protection.

    This is an idenfifyable group, but it not a small one so I doubt the exception for threating speech would apply.

    The thing is, unconstitional laws happen, that is what courts are for, to make them go away.

    This is not how I would choose to do battle with an orgnization I opposed, but it is not illegamitate.

    Saying "be nice" undermines the key issue, that sometimes it will be nessacry to not be nice. That is why we protect people who aren't. It is hard to tell, contempriously, who is right.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:07PM (#19068965) Homepage Journal
    DMCA take down? So is this a religion or a business?

    If its a religion i say they forfit their IP rights. If they are a business, they need to forfit any benefits they get claiming as such.

    Shouldnt be able to have it both ways, regardless of how silly they are ultimately, this 'dual protection' really should stop.
  • by phunctor ( 964194 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:17PM (#19069167)
    "I have to say that there is also the Freedom of Religion in the US. People have the right to worship as they choose without being harassed."

    Somebody peacefully expressing ideas you disagree with is not "harrassment", although you may "feel harrassed". Get over it.

    Do you really want to have the feelings of group X given the force of law and enforced against you, someday soon? (If you're conservative, let X === liberals, and vice-versa...)

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    The right not to have Congress pass laws establishing or prohibititing religion has got nothing to do with how you feel about picketers outside your church. The first amendment constrains *Congress*, not the people.

    Further, it seems to me that if I have the right to picket BoomBoomGenocide Corp, I have the right to picket even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, let alone Scientology. Wouldn't ruling otherwise constitute an "establishment" of religion?

    IANAL, and if that matters, let's get us some torches and pitchforks...

    Have *you* been touched by His Noodly Appendage?
  • Re:Old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wiseman1024 ( 993899 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:18PM (#19069177)
    FYI, the inquisition was an European-wide phenomena, not just Spanish. Most assassinations were committed in Germany, by a ratio of 100 to 1 compared to Spain.

    Anyways, Scientology just does things the American way: lawyers and lawware.
  • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:22PM (#19069257) Homepage
    Actually, yes, it's much less plausible, considering that the founder of the CoS was a mediocre sci-fi writer.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Weasel ( 166333 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:29PM (#19069397) Homepage
    I don't know who originally posted this but it is the best explanation I've read.

    Cult: small unpopular religeon
    Religeon: A large popular cult

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by philwx ( 789834 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:33PM (#19069487)
    (Reposted due to horrible formatting)

    The difference is (drumroll): One is a cult, the other is not. As a scientific community, you should not be wishy washy about your definitions.They should be clear and differences discernible.

    So you say, what is the difference between a cult and a religion? I'm glad you asked that. Rule of thumb: Religion - You can leave it. Cults - You can't leave it. If you ever find you cannot leave a religion without some kind of threat, or repercussion (beyond the supernatural); then it is in fact a cult.

    Another difference is the impetus. Religions will (in general) be concerned with your spiritual well being as their motivation for existing. While with cults they are only interested in how they can control you and grow in power from controlling people. There are varying degrees of borderline situations (jehovahs witness, mormons) where there is pressure not to leave and social consequences for doing so (though none that are illegal); there are sects like Waco that would qualify as a cult. But these are a small subset. Overall you simply cannot call Christianity a cult, because you can leave it.

    Cults and religions share one thing in common, belief in supernatural things that cannot be validated scientifically. However, assuming slashdot is a scientific community, since when does one thing in common imply equality? Take my brother, an agnostic. We used to go to church growing up, Christian church. He does not go anymore. He has not received threatening phonecalls, nor has his image been "black balled", nor has anyone from the church ever said anything to him, at all. Therefore, the Christian church I went to growing up, was not in fact, a cult. Just using this single counter example, you cannot say that all Christians faiths are a cult. There is really only a small subset of them qualify as such, when you look at the types that compose the largest popular religions.

    Muslims? They're on their own here, classify them as you may; as long as you consider the guidelines above. But you can't say Christians are, for the above reasons. If you require additional proof, I'll go to church one Sunday, and stop going for 6 months. Oh wait I've done this already.

    Notice I did not say that Christianity is provable, I said it's not a cult. Please don't twist my words because I've made a good point. The debate lives on, but you no longer have the "cult" rhetoric to use.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:34PM (#19069495)
    L. Ron Hubbard really existed.

    DC-10 aircraft exist.

    There are other planets in the universe, even in our own galaxy.

    Hydrogen bombs and volcanoes exist.

    What never happened are the fantastical events linking them all together as described by the Church of Scientology.

    Similarly, the Bible mentions all kinds of stuff that existed (ancient cities, a few historical figures [of which Jesus is probably not one]) and links them together with fictional stories. It's just been around for a lot longer, that's all. But at one time, Christianity was freshly invented too.
  • by paladinwannabe2 ( 889776 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:36PM (#19069535)
    Atheists range from the "Everyone who believes something different than me is an idiot" crowd to the "People who believe something different are probably wrong, but most of them are nice people I respect" crowd. Unsurprisingly, the same came be said of Christians...
  • Re:Old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:36PM (#19069547) Homepage Journal

    This isn't just the mode of religions. Governing regimes practice it, too.

    As to Scientology being a religion, I think that's a very broad definition of Religion - it's a pyramid scheme and cult rolled up into one.

  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:54PM (#19069883)
    Nice troll, there. Seriously nice. Well crafted, insidiously linking Islam to something else entirely, the whole deal. Fantastic stuff.

    Scientology pushed for charges to be made against Keith. This isn't about Islam, or multiculturalism (as much as that word clearly hurts you), but about Scientology's doctrine of using the law to harass critics, even without a conviction, to silence or discredit them. If what you said was true - that multiculturalism is to blame - then the multicultural places around the world would be having the exact same problems as are being discussed here. As they're not, your trollish behaviour is nicely outed for us all to see.

    9/10 for the post, though. Seriously good.
  • As opposed to, say, the belief 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...
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Speedracer1870 ( 1041248 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:06PM (#19070103)
    There are many rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We DO NOT, however, have the right not to be offended. Taking harsh action against someone who offends you without actually preventing you from exercising your protected rights is akin to violently hitting a guy who calls you a "stupid head." The reaction only proves he was right. --- I may not agree with what you say, but I'm willing to die to protect your right to say it.
  • if Keith had been allowed to put the fact that it was Scientology he was picketing (rather than making it sound like a real church) the jury would have acquitted him

    This implies that its acceptable to picket Scientogoly(a fake church) while it is wrong to picket a "real" church, ie real as in christian? Just what kind of bigoted ridiculousness is this, no matter what church it is, it is acceptable(ie constitutionaly protected) to picket and protest its presence.

  • Re:Old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnsonjii ( 1080641 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:19PM (#19070357)

    Believe us or we'll set the spanish inquisition on you - Christianity
    The Spanish Inquisition was a very small part of Christian history where politically motivated people did what they wanted and called it Christianity. The fact is: the teachings of Christianity expressly forbid the actions of the Inquisition. All throughout history people have hijacked popular causes for their own ends.
  • Re:Old news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:25PM (#19070453) Journal

    And other religions aren't pyramid schemes and cults?

    I have no lost love for organized religion but name me another one that charges you money to learn the church doctrine. And I'm not talking about a collection plate. Name another religion that was started by a guy that came out and said "Starting my own religion would be a good way to make money".

    If the Catholic Church operated like Scientology they would have a copyrighted version of the bible and charge you money to read it.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:27PM (#19070487) Journal

    is it still a religion at that point? Or is it a cult? Or, hey, perhaps more like organized crime?
    Or perhaps all three? The Catholic Church, during certain periods of history, could easily have fallen under the modern definition of organized crime. The same is true for many religions, such as certain sects of Mormonism.

    The question is where (and how!) do you separate an organized crime syndicate from a religion? Is the crime syndicate equivalent to religious organization, or is it comprised of individuals within, but separate from, the organization?

    The only way to answer that is to have knowledge of the organization, which is why I suspect Scientology clamps down so hard on public availability of their written materials.
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:29PM (#19070541)
    I don't get it either. We are Constitutionally guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to protest has long been protected. No individual or organization has the right to not be offended. Shouldn't his action have been protected under the First Amendment? I would personally have looked into having my accuser prosecuted for violation of my civil rights.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:29PM (#19070545)
    "However some protesters can be be threatening to people..."
    If they're making threats that's a crime, call the police.

    "...and stiflings to their spirituality."
    Oh, honestly, that's grade A bullshit. A religion founded by a guy nailed to a cross, which had a formative period of persecution by the Roman empire* and you're bothered by a placard? If a piece of cardboard causes you spiritual trouble you just plain aren't a christian.

    *Assuming you're some kind of christian, if not then obviously I retract my statement.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hrtserpent6 ( 806666 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:30PM (#19070555)

    Well, one MAJOR difference (and I'm not of either of these vendors) is that OSS gladly and freely makes its gospels and religious texts available for you to read, such as The Cathedral and the Bazaar, plethoras of organizations willing to mail you free software, etc. Of course these organizations have their own reasons for doing this beyond pure altruism, such as hoping you'll convert, and either donate money or services back to them.

    Microsoft, however, keeps its religious texts secret and hidden, and you are not allowed to view them until you buy the product. So if you decide to set off on the path of becoming a Microsoftie, you have no idea what beliefs you're ultimately going to be expected to hold until you've already spent considerable time and money to make it to high-enough level to be justified to view those texts. And at that point you've invested enough time and money that you won't want to back out, etc. I also think that in Microsoft if you decide to leave the 'Church' then other MCSEs are required to shun you. And considering that one needs to invest years to advance to the higher levels and that a significant fraction of their friends will be vendor-locked, this makes it even difficult to leave the Church of Microsoft."

    Now does it make sense? Scientology is obviously closed-source.
  • by HelloKitty ( 71619 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:42PM (#19070779) Homepage
    so the real question is how do we get california to abolish this "law", which is clearly unconstitutional.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:46PM (#19070855) Journal

    Now, you may well ask, how come the IRS has the authority to overrule the Supreme Court? That is an extremely good question that I would really, really love to see answered.

    IRS == Treasury Department == Executive Branch.

    Supreme Court == Judicial Branch.

    Didn't you know that the Executive Branch now supercedes the other two branches?
  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:47PM (#19070899)

    And god created the universe in seven days. How is that any *LESS* insane.
    Generally, only the really conservative religious people still believe that the world was created in six Earth solar days. Most reasonable people interpret "day" as something like "era", as in the saying "back in my day". Not to mention the fact that the sun doesn't show up until the fourth day.
  • Re:Old news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:55PM (#19071125) Homepage
    Some atheists are kinda militant, but if it keeps that "intelligent design" bullshit out of science classrooms, I'm all for it. We've progressed past religion dictating education (they called it the Dark Ages for a reason, kids). Discuss it in theology, discuss it in other classes, but it has no place in a science book or classroom, because it's not science. But the ten commandments in a city park? Meh. No big deal, as long as the taxpayers didn't pay for it, and aren't paying for the upkeep, and I could theoretically fund a statue of Baron d'Holbach with a plaque saying "There is no God" in the same way. What is that, I can't? Guess there's still disparity then.
  • L. Ron Hubbard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:57PM (#19071155) Homepage Journal
    L. Ron Hubbard was mostly likely insane, I'm not a psychologist, but I have spent much time helping mentally ill people recover, I think he was Schitzophrenic. Paranoid delusions, delusions of power, fear of psych meds... Why would he hate Psychatry so very much, unless he had contact with them? One disturbing thing I've seen is that Scientology activly recruits from mental hospitals!

      Schitzophrenia has two sides, sometimes you feel terrible, like the entire world hates you; sometimes you feel like a god, immortal and wonderful. and when you are in each state, you can't even conceive the other one. I've seen people off their meds go from laughing giddy, to believing that they have never been happy in the space of 15 seconds.

      If you take your meds, you lose the Highs, but also the Lows. because you lose the Highs, and are having paranoid delusions, it's common to think that the medications are bad, and the doctors are trying to poison you. (a belief of L. Ron's) Because of the auditory hallucinations, you may think your body is occupied by multiple entities (a belief of L. Ron's), and come up with a bizzarre world-view that attempts to explain the world that you are perceiving (Scientology or TimeCube)

      One possible trait of Schitzophrenia is a difficulty producing 'normal' emotional responses, aka 'Flat Affect'. people with this symptom may appear emotionless, and disinterested (like the VT shooter, as he was decribed before the shootings). My personal thought is that someone with this symptom, if they are very smart, may be forced to 'fake' emotions in order to interact with others. this self-training from a young age could make someone a VERY good actor, as they have essentially acted their entire life. I suspect that Tom Cruise and possibly John Travola may be in this situation. Unfortunetly as they aged they may have started showing other signs of Schizophreneia, were urged to take medication, rebelled, and then joined a cult that supported their decision... Think about Tom on Oprah and a 'giddy high'. I think Tom Cruise is intelligent, and a great actor, but without meds he may get progressivly less sane.

      No matter how smart you are, with a mental disorder warping your perceptions and emotions, eventually something bad may occur by doing something that seems entirely appropriate at the time. If your 'Angel' is telling you that someone is trying to kill you, and your angel is never wrong, shouldn't you attack them in self defense first? If your uncle has lung cancer, and you can 'see' where it is, shouldn't you take a kitchen knife and cut it out? A good friend of mine came to these conclusions, fortunetly nothing seriously wrong happened, and he's now on medications instead of prison for attempted murder, or worse. (like the VT shootings, where my conclusion is the guy went insane, and detached from society... without support of others he rereated into paranoid delusions that ended in a pre-emptive attack, which in his mind was fully justified)

      Unfortunetly, it's difficult to seperate 'Mental Illness', from 'Religion'. So some mentally ill states have gained some protections under the law; I've read that in the Soviet Union, when they were being critisized for imprisioning to many people for disagreeing with the Party, they redefined mental illness so that disagreeing with the Party could result in your being declared mentally ill, and being locked up in a hospital; because any 'sane' person agrees with the Party. As much as the idea amuses me, I don't think voting republican should be grounds for be declared legally insane.

      Scientology, However, is not just using the law as a Shield, they are using it as a Weapon, and abusing the process. This is entirely wrong, and needs to be stopped. Like false rape accusations damage the chances of real justice for real victims; if Scientology keeps abusing their position as a 'religion' it will harm other genuine religions.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zenaku ( 821866 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:27PM (#19071733)
    If the Bible told of Jesus driving around in a Volkswagen, I'd consider it bullshit as well.

    Why, exactly? The bible tells of Jesus healing the sick with his touch, raising the dead, replicating bread and fish, changing water into wine, predicting the future, and rising from the grave. Is traveling in time or creating a Volkswagen beyond his omnipotent abilities? And that's just the New Testament -- in the old you get talking animals, world wide floods, giants, pillars of salt, rivers turning to blood. . . .

    Why would this thing, a Volkswagen, be the final straw that makes the story ridiculous? When it comes to every other logical impossibility in the bible, God's omnipotent magic is explanation enough for you, but somehow a Volkswagen is beyond the pale -- what makes it different?
  • by HungSoLow ( 809760 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:33PM (#19071843)
    Organizations are, in general, always susceptible to organized crime. You place a few people in position of power, and as we all know, power corrupts. It doesn't matter what organization you consider, be they religious, charities, corporations, government, cult, education, the list goes on.... They are all susceptible to corruption and hence crime because of the fundamental nature of human beings. I dont think you can name a single well-known organization in history of humankind that has been free of corruption, and dare I say, free of atrocities (measured through human suffering).
  • Re:Old news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:35PM (#19071875) Journal

    I hate to make digs at the Roman Catholic Church, but once upon a time, it was against Church rules for laymen to read the Bible. Only the Priests could do so.

    Fair enough, but as I said in another post of mine, I don't think that past excesses or abuses by modern religions justify the practices of Scientology. We should oppose their actions regardless of what other religions have done in the past.

  • by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:36PM (#19071903)
    This implies that its acceptable to picket Scientogoly(a fake church) while it is wrong to picket a "real" church, ie real as in christian? Just what kind of bigoted ridiculousness is this, no matter what church it is, it is acceptable(ie constitutionaly protected) to picket and protest its presence.

    Just because you call something a religion doesn't mean it is. Scientology is a money-making scam, nothing more. That is not to say that there aren't any believers, but every scam has its believers.

    But, yes, fake religions, real religions, real presidents, it doesn't matter, you should be allowed to protest it unless you are being a danger to the public safety (which this guy wasn't). For a nation that protects freedom of faith to such a degree the US is pretty poor at protecting freedom of protesting/speech.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:50PM (#19072117) Journal
    You aren't really comparing the ancient practices of one religion with the current practices of another,... are you?
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @03:08PM (#19072375) Journal
    Our constitutional protections don't help much when the court is subverted by a criminal organization with a lot of money to spend on subverting the process. Read about the case, and brace yourself for what you'll find out about how a court can be corrupted in a small town.


  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @03:15PM (#19072533) Homepage
    Just because you call something a religion doesn't mean it is

    OK, so what does make something a religon? What's the definition? I'm not disagreeing with you that Scientology is at best rather absurd, but I don't see any clear way of distinguishing it from other more conventional religions other than by number of belivers or age - neither of which seem fair ways to judge legitimacy to me.
  • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @03:36PM (#19073009) Homepage

    I'd go so far as to say Atheism should be considered a religion in it's own right. Atheists believe there is no God despite the fact that there is no direct evidence to support this belief, just as Christians (and various other religions) believe there is a God even though there is no direct evidence to support the belief.
    Umm, no. Lack of something is the default. If you cannot prove god, then it's most reasonable to say there is no god. No "believe in lack of god". If you don't apply this reasoning, things get really, really strange. Can you prove the Borg aren't out there getting ready to attack us? Then I guess we need to start building up weapons... see?

    As a scientist, with no evidence either way I can accept that there may or may not be a God - I don't hold a strong belief one way or the other. Remember the basic scientific principles - a lack of evidence cannot disprove a theory.
    Nether does it prove one, and the default state is "not true".

    In any case, the problems caused by religion are usually not caused by the religion itself, but by the closed minds of the religion's followers. As far as I'm concerned, people can believe whatever they want to believe so long as they don't feel the need to impose their beliefs on other people.
    The problem is religion tends to bring in the weak-minded whom need it, and will then assume YOU need it as well, or that you are working with Satan.

    I am against religion like I am against adults talking to imaginary friends; they are about the same thing, anyway.
  • Re:Total BS! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by starX ( 306011 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @04:51PM (#19074365) Homepage
    So half the Muslim world would want to kill me, how's that any different from half the Muslim world wanting to kill me for being an American?

    No, I agree, there is a huge double standard, but I think it's not a good thing. Christianity itself is of course the dominant religion in the west, and I think it's fair to say that rejections of the signs of Christianity tend to be more equated with a rejection of the values of the old establishment (i.e. one's parents) than of the values of Christianity itself. Christianity is not the problem, the way that Christianity was practiced, and thus the way in which it came to be perceived, is the problem.

    That doesn't make it right that Islamic fanatics suddenly feel they have the right to kill me, but here again is the issue behind the issue: what proportion of American Muslims do you think would be signing up for a fatwa against an artist? I think you'll find that the number would be inversely proportionate to the same percentage of, say, Iranian, or Saudi Muslims willing to do the same. It's not a matter of the religion itself being the inspiration for the anti social behavior, but rather the religion provides a catalyst.

    The Scientologists, on the other hand, have to justify themselves as a religion. They've convinced a few people, but they behave a lot more like a well organized cult running a good con game based on a badly written science fiction role playing game than they do a religion. I think that people would understand the true motivations of the "church" of Scientology a lot better if they changed their name to an acronym ending in AA.
  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @05:49PM (#19075257) Journal
    Do you believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns []?

    If not, clearly you are a member of the Disbelievers In Invisible Pink Unicorns religion. You are probably also a member of the My Car is Not Going To Be Hit By A Diamond-Encrusted Meteorite On The Way To Work Tomorrow religion.

    Trust me, we're sick to the back teeth of the "Atheism is a religion too" argument.

    All religions I've come across have (in my estimation) such a low probability of being true that the only logical response is to live my life on the assumption they are false. Therefore I am an Atheist.

    (P.S. I'm also a scientist.)

  • Re:Old news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rgbscan ( 321794 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @05:55PM (#19075381) Homepage
    Actually there is a relevant quote on this from the May 1980 reader's digest... Hubbard - "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @06:02PM (#19075479) Journal
    Exactly. Unlike most countries, the US constructs its government with the Constitution, which creates a government, giving it explicit powers (not "rights"), and none others.

    The Bill of Rights was fought over by two factions. Both agreed on the rights therein, but one didn't want it for fear that, by listing them, future politicians would try to pretend those, and only those, were the rights protected. The other side felt it was needed for fear of encroachment by future politicians who would try to pretend, in the absence of any listing, that they didn't exist.

    In the end, both were right. And that's truly sad.

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @06:22PM (#19075767)
    You may have noticed that Magneto eventually *lost* his campaign?

    The world needs heroes. Mr. Henson seems to be one of them. I admire his courage, and those of people who speak out and act against fraud, corruption, theft, abuse, or murder. I also admire, respect, and support those who do so gracefully and within the rule of law: such people make better neighbors and colleagues for the long term. Mr. Henson's arrest for peaceful protest is, frankly, the result of lawyers who spend too much time being paid too much money to game the system and wear other people out.

    The fight of Scientology on the Internet is particularly instructive: their attempts to censor traffic, and the spam with which they tried to flood traffic, have helped make ISP's think about how to avoid both censorship and denial of service attacks in ways that protect against other abusers. Like a really nasty case of chickenpox, the experience in the childhood of the net helped strengthen our defenses against a far more dangerous infection later.
  • > Shouldn't his action have been protected under the First Amendment?

    Eh? What's that? Sounds like some antiquated 19th Century notion. Now we have Hate Crimes laws, Campaign Finace laws, attempts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, etc. Congress shall make no law..... just a fairy story, was never really there ya know. Anybody who says otherwise is just a dirty doubleplus ungood traitor.

    Seriously, this crap is the end product of political correctness. Once we crossed the threshold into "Crime Think" it was only a matter of time before everybody could point to a situation where their ox was getting gored. Yea you might think it is just grand when you are wielding the sword to shut up somebody YOU don't want to listen to or some obnoxious protester who is really pissing you off, but sooner or later it gets wielded by somebody ya don't like and THEN you get all pissy. Sorry citizen, the time to have fought this war was when it was first getting started. Congress shall make NO law was a defensible line in the sand, Congress shall make no law that I don't like is a fight you will never win.
  • by Jonti ( 795505 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:31AM (#19079601)
    "the Romans really did require everyone to return to the town of their birth to be taxed around 5 B.C." Nah. There's no evidence the Romans were that stupid, none at all. Or perhaps you can provide a link for this nugget of religiously believed disinformation? What would be the point of counting people where they were born rather than where they are now? And how would you know people went to the right place anyway? Why does only *one* of the four gospels mention it? It would have caused massive disruption for no good reason. And such a bizarre and irrational act would have left loads of traces in the Roman civil records and other literature. There are none.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson