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Scientology Convicted of Fraud in France

A Paris court has convicted the “Church” of Scientology of fraud and has fined it over half a million Euros, though the court didn’t go so far as to shut it down and ban it from operating in France. The case has been under investigation for more than a decade, it seems.

Unlike the United States, France doesn’t recognize Scientology as a religion, but classifies it as a “sect.” Some other European countries classify it as a cult, which is probably more appropriate. Interestingly, according to this MSNBC article

Belgium, Germany and other European countries have been criticized by the U.S. State Department for labeling Scientology as a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

Score negative one for the U.S. State Department.

Though the Paris court couldn’t ban the Church of Scientology from practicing in the country due to a legal amendment that had been enacted shortly before the trial began, there is still hope for a ban because the amendment in question has been changed. This trial is complete, but any further charges brought against Scientology could possibly result in a ban.

Of course, Eric Roux, the Scientology legal representative (from the French Celebrity Center), says the “church” will appeal the decision and stated, “Religious freedom is in danger in this country.” However, I don’t think Mr. Roux understands one of the basic tenants of religious freedom.

You have to be a religion.

2 Comments

  1. H says:

    I think a case could be made for all religions to be frauds. They make promises and claims that they cannot deliver and cannot justify and take in billions. Sounds like fraud to me.

    1. Dan says:

      I agree. Though sometimes Scientology seems to be particularly wacky, it really isn’t any more “out there” than more traditional religions… all of which make unsubstantiated claims.

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