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

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#19067439)
    It's a California law.

    Seems to me, though, that it's one of those laws that aren't really enforced except when local authorities are pressured. The linked interview also suggests there's some collusion between the local government and Scientology... claims of a falsified "Failure to Appear" warrant dated from 2000, illegally storing documents not entered in the dockets.
  • Re:Total BS! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:51AM (#19067569)
    Because liberals hate Cristianity. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AccUser ( 191555 ) <mhg.taose@co@uk> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @10:57AM (#19067695) Homepage
    Richard Dawkins is fscked if he ever goes to California then.
  • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:15AM (#19067979) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if the IRS requires strict book-keeping from faith-based non-profits. I sure hope they do.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hobo sapiens ( 893427 ) <ELIOT minus poet> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#19068111) Journal
    Don't stop there. I'd say that the leaders of most mainstream religions don't believe in God. Maybe at lower levels you find sincere people just trying to do some good, but I doubt you will find them at the higher echelons. I'd say they all enjoy the money and power over the people in what is largely a social engineering experiment.
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:31AM (#19068267)
    Well, one MAJOR difference (and I'm not of either of these religions) is that Christianity gladly and freely makes its gospels and religious texts available for you to read, such as Gideons in hotel rooms, plethoras of organizations willing to mail you free bibles, 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.

    Scientology, however, keeps its religious texts secret and hidden, and you are not allowed to view them until they deem you worthy. So if you decide to set off on the path of becoming a scientologist, 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 Scientology if you decide to leave the 'Church' then other Scientologists 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 Scientologists, this makes it even difficult to leave the Church.

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by denmarkw00t ( 892627 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:33AM (#19068303) Homepage Journal
    Strange that a state law can trump a Constitutional right, no?

    No. Well, I don't think its all that strange. In court, once this case were to reach a federal level things would probably be overturned, but if he doesn't appeal to a higher court then he's bound by California law.
  • by bloobloo ( 957543 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:43AM (#19068499) Homepage
    First they came for the neo-Nazis...
  • by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * <> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:49AM (#19068625) Homepage Journal

    Just have to wonder how on earth US government hasn't cracked on Scientology and hard.

    Wonder no more... []
  • Hard to say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paladinwannabe2 ( 889776 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:53AM (#19068681)
    My last two pastors were both stockbrokers who quit their jobs to preach full-time. They are both making far less money now than they did (One is even below the poverty line now). It's clear to me that they believe in what they are doing (which doesn't mean they are correct, it just means they think they are).

    Of course, it's obvious that some people are using Christianity as a tool to help themselves. Ted Haggard is a loser and a hypocrite, but he pales in comparison to some 'Christian' pastors who embezzeled, molested children, or ran lynch mobs. But there are people who can latch on to any cause (good or bad) and abuse that power for their own ends. Whether it's embezzeling money from the United Way or trolling on slashdot, some people are just bastards, and the larger the group you're looking at is the more of them you will find.
  • by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @11:54AM (#19068703)
    But it is not legal, when you buy Girl Scout cookies, to deduct the price as a contribution. Fees for goods or services are never tax deductible. You can't get around this by calling it a "contribution" if it's a fixed "contribution" for a particular good or service.

    Unless you're a Scientologist.

    This is the very ultra special tax break that Scientology members get - Fees for auditing, to the tune of (last I heard) $700/hour or so, are fully and completely tax deductible, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling that they were not. The IRS overruled the Supreme Court and said Scientology auditing fees were fully deductible in 1993.

    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.

  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:01PM (#19068855) Journal
    so, yeah, if evidence is your hallmark of a valid religion, i think both camps are in trouble.

    I think you are missing the point. I'm not here to say that everything in the Bible can be and has been proven as fact. I am saying that there is some fact in it. On the other hand, Dianetics is no more a religious text than The Hitchhikers Guide. The Bible at least deals with events accepted as historically accurate, even before they were "known" to be historical events.

    What does it take to qualify as a religion under your definition?
  • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:20PM (#19069209) Homepage
    I take it you have never read about Operation Snow White []?

    Basically, the Church of Scientology has a history of behavior that is questionable, but when you infiltrate government agencies like the IRS, well.... is it still a religion at that point? Or is it a cult? Or, hey, perhaps more like organized crime?
  • It's fair use, but I received a letter from the cult's lawyers for putting precisely that quote on my website. They don't sue to win, they sue to shut people up. []
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @12:54PM (#19069887) Journal

    Since Scientology and the Universal Life Church are actually what happened when Hubbard and Heinlein got into a competition to see who could invent the more popular religion. Hubbard won, but only because RAH's peaked first and he got freaked out by hippies making pilgrimages to his home.

    Personally I prefer Heinlein's, but to each his own. Grok?

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

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @01:19PM (#19070353) Homepage
    And a Lazarus answer to you is:Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth..

    As far as the original topic is concerned Lazarus also has to say:

    • Exact description of the event: It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.
    • A description of the underlying problem: History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
    • And a good summary of the correct approach: Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
  • how is that fair? (Score:3, Interesting)

    would you support it if the Catholic Church censored parts of the Bible from you? did you support it when fundamentalist radicals called for death because of cartoons of Muhammad?

    that's comparable to this scientology imbroglio with keith henson

    meanwhile, comparing the secret documents of a religion (now there's an oxymoron), or the secret documents of a cult (now that makes sense: command and control requires secrets), with the priavte documents of an individual does not hold water logically

    or rather

    individual != organization

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:33PM (#19071839)
    The cult has a long, long history of illegally harassing critics, to the point of planting fake bomb threats (Operation Snow White), and using the confessional records of its members to blackmail them into silence (documented at and the books by former members). They also succeeded in suing Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy with approximately 1500 distinct lawsuits: these are *not* safe people to fight.
  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:52PM (#19072147) Homepage
    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...

    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.

    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.

    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2007 @02:55PM (#19072201)
    So, why is this comment insightful?

    He is commenting on the rewrite of the "Xenu" thing, by doing a similar rewrite of my Christian Bible [] (yes, I'm paying to host that).

    Of course, the difference is that you or I can see the "original" King James Bible, whereas the Scien[ce fiction]toligsts' bible is verbotten to you or I. You has to pays yer moneys.

    Yes, it was a bit flamebaitish but it did illustrate his point very well. I'd have modded him as the other mods modded, despite the fact that I'm Christian.

    Real religious people aren't afraid of words (in fact real faith destroys all fears). It's a weak faith that can't stand up to mere words. If you're looking at a pebble it's pretty hard to convince you pebbles don't exist. When God has manifested Himself to you, it's likewise pretty damned hard for someone to shake your faith.

    If you don't believe in Africa you sound pretty foolish to someone who's been there, no matter how convincing your argument.
  • Re:Old news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Schemat1c ( 464768 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @03:12PM (#19072485) Homepage

    Plenty of them. Any member of the church I attend is entitled to an audited yearly finicial report stating how every last cent is spent(pastor's salary, building expenses etc). It is also followed up with an explanation and a Q&A session. I also get to vote for the board who in turn votes for the pastor.

    Any church that won't offer me that is one I won't set foot in.
    Or you could take responsibility for your own spirituality and quit looking for an organization that will be responsible for you. I have no interest in a god that needs paid mediators in order for me to have access.
  • by emjoi_gently ( 812227 ) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @08:05PM (#19076963)
    The idea of copyrighting their Secrets seems just bizarre.
    It's like some physicist copyrighting String Theory. If it's the way the Universe is constructed, then how can you claim ownership of the fact?

    Xenu exists, then he exists. He's not some some designed commercial property. (Which, of course, he is)

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982