I keep promising to turn the scathing bovine eye of The Cow onto Scientology at some point but whenever attempt to pick up my quill on that particular subject my brain just turns to custard. It should be just like shooting fish in a barrel, but heck, it’s such a small barrel and there are so many big fish and if I wanted to do something futile and time-wasting I could just go play another level of BioShock and have a LOT more fun …

Anyways, Atlas Cerise brings my attention to this story in the Guardian about some recent antics involving the Church* of Scientology. To synopsize: a young man picketing the CoS headquarters in London as part of a peaceful demonstration by the anti-Scientology group Anonymous was arrested and is facing prosecution for calling Scientology a ‘cult’.

Let me make it quite clear what’s happening here, because it’s way more scary than the usual dumbo stuff that the Scientologists themselves manage to concoct: the CoS itself is not bringing this accusation against the teenager responsible; it’s the City of London Police who have charged the boy. He was told by an officer that the word ‘cult’ was ‘abusive and insulting’ and that he could not carry a placard which read ‘Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.’

This is how the Ask Oxford online dictionary defines the word ‘cult’:

cult • noun 1 a system of religious worship directed towards a particular figure or object. 2 a small religious group regarded as strange or as imposing excessive control over members. 3 something popular or fashionable among a particular section of society.

Hands up who thinks the Bill are going to pull this one off?

What’s deeply worrying is that the best proper accusation that the UK Law can bring against this boy would appear to be that he was airing an opinion. If that kind of thing is encouraged, then Scientologists and all the other loonies like them will get a free ticket to legitimacy.

If you’re not scared about that, you should be.

UPDATE: Well, I don’t know why it surprises me to find out† that, in fact, it seems that the CoS was involved in the above incident. Not directly, but certainly implicitly. It turns out that for some time now the City of London Police have been, shall we say, receptive to offers of entertainment and donations from L. Ron’s flock. It appears that the laws under which the young man I mentioned above were detained are almost never actually acted upon, except, perhaps when you have friends in the right places.

Let there be no mistake: Dotty belief combined with money & influence always equals setbacks for the human species. Just look at the havoc the Catholic Church has managed in its time.


*Even though I am in no way religiously inclined, something really grates on me having to refer to these loons as a ‘church’. They are no more a church than the entire fandom of Dungeons & Dragons is a church, only a lot less rooted in reality.

†Thanks to the Skeptical Rogues.