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Censorship Government

AU Senator Calls Scientology a "Criminal Organization" 511

An anonymous reader passes along news that an Australian senator, Nick Xenophon, has denounced the Church of Scientology as "a criminal organization" from the floor of Parliament. "Senator Xenophon used a speech in Parliament last night to raise allegations of widespread criminal conduct within the church, saying he had received letters from former followers detailing claims of abuse, false imprisonment, and forced abortion. He says he has passed on the letters to the police and is calling for a Senate inquiry into the religion and its tax-exempt status." It wasn't that long ago that the CoS was calling for Net censorship in Australia; a month later the organization was convicted of fraud in France.
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AU Senator Calls Scientology a "Criminal Organization"

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  • by ( 1195047 ) <philip DOT paradis AT palegray DOT net> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:58AM (#30139838) Homepage Journal
    Senator Xenophon? He must be in the clutches of Xenu! Someone get me an e-meter, quick!
  • Something tells me he's a CoS plant, hmmmmm...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      nope, just an evangelical.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 )

        Nope, that's the other independant senator Steve Fielding from the Family First evangelicals.

        Nick Xenophon is from the 'No Pokies' party, and doesn't interfere his religion with his politics.

  • Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward


  • tax shelter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:01AM (#30139870) Journal

    I can't help but wonder if the COS would even exist without its tax exempt status. Sure the people up top would be doing well like any pyramid scheme but would there be such an incentive for new members to join without the tax exemption?

  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZDRuX ( 1010435 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:04AM (#30139886)
    To me, all religions are a scam. Some have been around longer than others and thus emanate a sense of legitimacy but they're mostly cults with a God that we offer our prayers and money to in return for a hope of a better life.

    Religions come and go, their Gods are offered gold, placed upon altars and have great building and churches erected in their names - and yet, people die of violence, starvation, and famine. Their Gods grow weak and frail, their subjects grow old and a new religion eventually emerges and takes its place as the new "true" religion. A sad cycle indeed.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by keeperofdakeys ( 1596273 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:17AM (#30139996)

      Religions give followers a sense of belonging and an answer to questions like who made the universe and what happens when I die. They also give a group of people a sense of belonging.
      It's just a pity when religions get in the way of our society (abortion, contraceptives and gay rights are good things) and when people take them too far (terrorism). Also when they exist solely for monetary gain.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ZDRuX ( 1010435 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:25AM (#30140042)
        I agree 100% with you. My mother is highly religious - but I wouldn't dare try and convince her of my views. My father recently died of cancer just a year ago, and she seems to find peace and some sort of comfort and hope when she goes to church and has a personal relationship with God - and if that makes her life easier to live in this tough time, I don't care if she prays to a rock.

        I understand the role that religion plays in some people's lives, and being agnostic or an atheist is not for everyone. It's just religion is usually imposed upon people at a young age where they don't have a choice or can't mount a logical defense against what they're being told so they take it as truth. I wish people were baptized at the age of 20 or so, and I bet we'd have a lot less followers.
        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zx75 ( 304335 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @10:20AM (#30142984) Homepage

          There are religions that don't accept members (through baptism) until they reach adulthood. They are called Anabaptists (many sects began during the Reformation because they believed that Martin Luther didn't address all their grievances with the Catholic Church).

          One of the more widespread of the Anabaptist sects are the Mennonites (of which I am one). I was baptized at the age of 26, because prior to then I didn't have a reason or desire to attend church. But, things happen, and I found a reason and a need in my life to be part of the church. It hasn't changed my belief structure (I still am agnostic/athiest) but that does not preclude the need for the belonging and philosophy of church. I may not believe there is a god, but a small hope that it might be true can give strength in trying times.

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:00AM (#30140280) Journal

      Most religions don't copyright their message and charge large sums to move up the hierarchy. Most religions attempt to spead their message to as many as possible. The COS has gone as far to copyright the message and sue those who infringe. The most famous case of this happened right here on Slashdot.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:48AM (#30140850) Journal

        Most religions don't copyright their message and charge large sums to move up the hierarchy.

        The Mormon Church also requires large sums of money from it's members (a large percentage of your earnings) as well as mandated service.

        I think you'll have trouble enshrining any law which will target one and not the other. I'm sure the CoS will open up their texts if substantial money is on the line.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @05:53AM (#30141356)

          At the height of its power the easiest way to get someone into a position of power within the various Christian churches in Europe was to cough up cash and the higher you wanted to go the bigger the donation. Rich families often did just that for their non first-born male children. For centuries the bible was not allowed to translated from Latin to limit who had access to it and keep the interpretations in the hands of the priests. Virtually the same thing as Scientology.

        • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @06:11AM (#30141448) Homepage Journal

          Yes, but you know that before you join.

          Anyone can find out exactly what the Mormon's believe, and they would be quite happy to explain it more fully if you are interested.

          The CoS wants you to pay first, before you decide whether what they believe is credible. Given what they belive there is a good reason for that....

    • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @05:58AM (#30141380)
      That would include the Zen masters that told people that the secret of the good life is to overcome your training, experience things for yourself and "just be natural"? Or the Hebrew prophets who told anyone who would listen that God was not interested in temples, altars and sacrifices, but wanted people to live ethically and at peace with their neighbours?

      The sad truth is that religions become centres of power, and centres of power attract criminals. It's interesting to see how even the green movement is being plagued with criminals selling people massively uneconomic wind and solar systems, because people's desire to do good often exceeds their ability to see through bullshit. But some religions - Zen, Quakers, Reform Judaism, the liberal wing of the Episcopalian Church - have proven very resistant to criminal infiltration. That's possibly because they attract mainly very educated people. To be blunt, one reason Scientology is so successful might be because it has targeted the rich and gullible.

  • Anyone else shocked that a failed entrepreneur discovers a religion that requires significant capital outlay from it's followers? either. Just google "e-meter"
  • by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:12AM (#30139942) Journal

    It wasn't that long ago that the CoS was calling for Net censorship in Australia; a month later the organization was convicted of fraud in France.

    So does the CoS have to call for Net censorship in Belgium before Australia can convict them of fraud?

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:17AM (#30139988) Journal

    That's fairly rare among politicians. Congratuations, Austraila!


  • Related? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:17AM (#30139990)

    Nick Xenophon is the only independenr of the Australian Senate. I wonder if that is related, as he doesnt have to please his party?

    • Re:Related? (Score:4, Informative)

      by keeperofdakeys ( 1596273 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:29AM (#30140074)

      He seems to support topics of this kind, like anti-gambling. Things that a lot of people in the community would want, but big guys - like corporations - wouldn't.

  • So ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by msp0 ( 551914 )
    Would that make Xenophon a Xenuphobe? ... to be fair, I got that line from Dominic Knight's Twitter feed :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:18AM (#30140000)

    We all know how Scientology works. If you don't, look it up.

    What method of assassination will Scientology take?

    1) Physical Assassination
    2) Assassination of Character and Reputation
    3) Assassination of Assets
    4) Assassination of Family Members
    5) Something Else
    6) All of the Above

    Really, don't expect this guy to be around much longer.

  • Have friends who are into scientology? Get them hooked on Scat-entology [] instead. I formed it from the words "Shit" and "To sell as a religion". The difference is I accidentally set the buy it now price at $0 and so it's free. I'll get it right next time.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:22AM (#30140026) Homepage

    Pretty OT here but with people making Xenu gags because of the name its worth point out that Xenophon's Conversations with Socrates [] is one of the few sources for views of the great Greek philosopher and orator.

    CoS are of course a shill, its not even a very clever shill, their "e-meters" are almost as dumb as the bullet proof pants that the Mormons try and pedal.

    Why should any religion get tax status? They aren't a charity, the money is primarily there to support their own organisation. They are selling a product called "salvation" and people are paying money in the belief they are getting something back.

    Socrates wasn't the biggest fan of religion either... question everything.

  • A word on Xenophon (Score:5, Informative)

    by RichPowers ( 998637 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:38AM (#30140146)

    Xenophon, for those unfamiliar, was an ancient Greek general best known for writing The Anabasis -- an account of the trials and adventures of The Ten Thousand, a group of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger. After he's killed in battle, the Greeks have to march back to Greece from deep within enemy territory. It's quite a thrilling tale with plenty of action and treachery. Surprised they haven't made a movie out of it a la 300.

    If I was Mr. Xenophon, I'd rather go up against the Persians than the Scientologists :D In any event, he has an awesome last name.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:20AM (#30140390)

      "Cyrus the younger" you say. This morning the spokesman and vice president of COS Australia was defending his religious organisation on the radio and other media. His name was... Cyrus, Cyrus Brooks. One day Senator Xenophon may give an account of the "trials and adventures of The Ten Thousand"s of scientologists in Australia. :)

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf ( 895604 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:49AM (#30140224)
    I can only hope this means no more promotional tours from John Travolta and Tom Cruise. That's a protest I can live with and love. Also, Jenna Elfman.
  • by Zarniwoop ( 25791 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:56AM (#30140260)

    "In November 2009, Xenophon labelled the Church of Scientology as a criminal organisation in a speech to the Senate. [42] This is clear evidence that he has very large testicles."

    I'm not in favor of vandalism, but LOL!

  • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:03AM (#30140304)

    Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister, has said he's concerned too, and wants to see the material before calling a full inquiry. []

    It's a sudden outbreak of common sense in the House in the Hill, that's for sure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by the_womble ( 580291 )

      May be they can apply that to internet censorship and treating refugees as criminals as well!

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:30AM (#30140460) Homepage Journal

    .....and I can tell you from personal experience that it really is pure concentrated evil.

    Scientology has gotten away with innumerable crimes over the years in part because the average person is incapable of imagining that anything can be so completely malign in its goals. The organization is completely sociopathic.

    They kicked me out because I wouldn't drink the koolaide.

    If you want to know more, I recommend you check out operation clambake (

    • by MoralHazard ( 447833 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:00AM (#30141962)

      How did you get involved, originally? My first guess (having known a few scientologists) is that your parents were/are members and you were raised in it. Second guess: One of the substance abuse programs. Third guess: One of their entrepreneurial outreach programs.

      Any hits? Just curious--I'm always happy to see somebody leave the CoS. it's a terrible, hurtful thing, and I've seen it ruin peoples' lives while making them feel it's their own fault.

      Also, out of curiosity, have you ever been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, or at least seen the symptoms in yourself?

      Personally, I think there's substantial co-morbidity between substance abuse problems and scientology for a very specific reason: Undiagnosed (or untreated) ADHD, mostly the "inattentive" kind (which is pretty substantially under-diagnosed, since the kids aren't unruly or acting out). It tends to breed feelings of worthlessness in afflicted adults, and opens up a lot of psychological vulnerabilities. Many suffers either self-medicate (hence the substance abuse issues), and/or get attracted to cults that promise direction, motivation, and self-improvement. Scientology, in particular, has substance-abuse outreach and treatment programs, which makes a handy recruiting strategy for the larger cult.

      Of all the scientologists I've met (~2 dozen), almost all of them seem like classic ADHD cases. That is partly based on observing behavior, and partly on what people have said about their life histories, and partly on what they say about their relatives (ADHD is highly inheritable). I've also met a lot (~100s) of 12-steppers (mostly AA)--the proportion of them showing ADHD symptoms or personal/family histories isn't quite as high, but it's still enormous, far more than the normal population.

      (Interesting side-note: According to my psychiatrist uncle (who performed a lot of criminal insanity consultations, and is borderline ADHD, himself), American prison populations also show substantial ADD/ADHD over-representation, possibly as high as 70-80% of all prison inmates. As an adult with ADHD, I have to suppress a chuckle at that little trifecta: Prison, addiction, or scientology--take your pick, kids, so many ways to ruin your life.)

      For the general Slashdot audience: If you or your family have symptoms of ADHD or inattentive (no-H) ADHD, I'd recommend reading Nancy and John Ratey's books, and then going to see a psychiatrist, in that order. Even if you decide not to try the drugs (which can be helpful, but aren't a magic cure by themselves), there is a LOT you can do to improve your life. It's cheaper than a cult, too.

      • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:33PM (#30145050) Journal

        How did you get involved, originally? My first guess (having known a few scientologists) is that your parents were/are members and you were raised in it. Second guess: One of the substance abuse programs. Third guess: One of their entrepreneurial outreach programs.

        My girlfriend recently graduated from college with degrees in communications and marketing. She was almost immediately contacted with a job offer, from a company that said they were public relations consultants. She went into the interview and there were ten other people there, also waiting. The person running the interview sat everyone down and gave them a form to fill out and sign before they started the interview process. One of the items on the form was a non-disclosure clause for everything in the interview, and another was a statement that L. Ron Hubbard's words were infallible. To which she had to agree in writing before she could get an interview. At which point she realized that she was being recruited to be a Scientologist recruiter. She walked out. But just so you know, that's one way Scientology gets new members: they hire people with degrees being convincing to go get more people.

  • Nooooo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:15AM (#30140686)
    Nooooo! Somebody please stop the Australians before the Americans wake up, or else Tom Cruise is going to jump up and down on the sofa again!
  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @04:54AM (#30141132) Journal
    It should have been dissolved in France but what happened instead is really shameful. The judge was probably going to order the dissolution of the scientology, considered culprit of being a criminal organization of fraudulent aim (that means that money was considered their driving motivation). But two weeks before the verdict (a perfect synchronization). Our parliament made a "mistake". Inside a huge corpus of law modification (aimed at simplifying the laws regarding buisnesses and companies), someone "inadvertently" put a law removing the dissolution as a possible verdict for fraud. Nobody was able to point out the person who put this amendment (how comes !?) and everybody said it was a mistake and they would correct it with a new law. Unfortunately, the verdict was due two weeks later and instead of dissolution, the scientology got a record fine.

    They are loosing adepts, but they still have people in the higher spheres...
  • by Loosifur ( 954968 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @09:17AM (#30142376)

    Whenever there's something about CoS it seems like there's a crowd of people who chime in with, "But ALL religions are corrupt, criminal, and commercial." Which inevitably leads to the conclusion that, if you happen to not have a problem with religion in general, you must accept anything which calls itself a religion, or become an atheist.

    Here's the problem. We'll put aside my Pollyanna-esque belief that most of the time religions really are about a genuine and sincere effort to understand the metaphysical aspects of existence. Yes, the Catholic church is responsible for suppression of science and learning, set up the "indulgence" system, and a host of other sins. Keep in mind, however, that the Catholic church was the last vestige of Roman-style socio-political organization after the fall of the empire. While the West dissolved, the Catholic church was the closest thing to a stable government that was able to provide legitimacy to regional and local rulers, preserve some measure of learning, and mitigate internal conflict. Not until the Treaty of Westphalia does the modern concept of the state enter into Western thinking, and that was well after the Inquisition's height. So, yes, the Catholic church has done some nasty things, but compare it to any other nation-state if you want an appropriate ethical comparison.

    CoS, on the other hand, actively seeks to defraud individuals through a deliberate pyramid-scheme. It is felonious by any legal standards, and does no charitable work to speak of. Churches, synagogues, and mosques routinely collect money from followers as a sign of devotion and as a means of maintaining themselves (literally, as in a "building fund").

    Some Slashdotters appear to be confused as to the concept of nonprofit. A nonprofit organization is allowed to raise money through sales and donations in order to pay it's employees and maintain itself; it only has to show that, at the end of the day, it doesn't have any money.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @10:28AM (#30143060) Journal

    Scientology is a criminal organization with a history of stalking and harassment, as well allegations of burglary, intimidation, kidnapping, bribery, attacks on the U.S. government (specifically the FBI), and murder both direct and through neglect.

    Scientology's own documents show they believe in terrorizing and murdering anyone who opposed them.

    It should be perfectly legal to use Scientology's own "auditing process R2-45" on every single member.

  • by okmijnuhb ( 575581 ) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:07PM (#30145558)

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.