Russian judge shuts down scientology

Not all groups who claim to be “a religion” are, in fact, a religion. But that isn’t the point.
I don’t know Russian law but, if it is anything like U.S. law, the “recognition” isn’t about beliefs but is about allowing tax relief for groups that provide a public benefit.
And many religions help the poor and needy, help those who are troubled.
Scientology does NOT help the poor. Scientology does NOT help the needy. Scientology does NOT help anyone unless they can charge a lot of money - and then the “help” isn’t too helpful.
While I think Scientologists should be free to practice their “technology”, they do not deserve tax breaks because they provide no public benefit.


Much as I hate Scientology, this is just the Russian Orthodox church flexing its muscles. Just like what they did to Pussy Riot. And just like what they did to enact homophobic legislation.

Narrowly, in this case, they’ve done the right thing, but for the wrong reason, to satisfy the wrong people.


Fucking good. Literally no “religion” should be able to trademark their faith as trade secrets.

Methodists or Zen Buddhists would not ever find themselves in this pickle, however similar creepy Christian sects might. This is also not a problem whatsoever.


The problem is, the court is just doing whatever the Orthodox Church tells them to do. It’s not really about targeting specifically harmful or creepy religions, nor frauds, so much as the Orthodox Church deciding the Scientology’s become too much of a rival ideology, and asking the courts to outlaw it.


“Rival ideology”!
Not hardly. Scientology is a failed and failing organization. It truly is not the tiniest blip on any religion’s radar. It appears they have, at best, a few dozen “adherents” in all of Russia. Worldwide their numbers have become so tiny they are included in “other” in any religious survey.


Scientology is a harmful sect and gets away with human rights abuses in the US due to lobbying, infiltration, and blackmail.

I will and do express concern if faiths receive the same treatment. But I have no concerns with religion-as-business being made to choose one or the other.

And again, this will never happen in the US because even religious speech is monetary in nature.

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I agree that Scientology is harmful and shouldn’t be allowed to still be scamming people. I just think that the venue seems illegitimate. And that’s probably my biggest problem.

If this were a story out of the US and it was the FFRF or ACLU or the SPLC or something bringing the case I’d probably just have said “about damn time”.

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But in the United States, we largely avoid this as a test because we don’t want the government defining religion too narrowly for various historical reasons. The power to tax is traditionally the power to control or suppress as well, which is why religions aren’t taxed too.

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You’re focusing too narrowly on “Scientology is bad” instead of looking at the broader issues of what’s going on in Russia with civil rights. Yes, I think everyone here agrees Scientology is a shit religion and or evil mind control cult but we shouldn’t be cheering this decision too much. The Russians have been suppressing other, much more innocuous groups, as well.


Didn’t you read what I wrote? In the U.S. tax breaks are based on non-profit and public benefit determination. In both cases Scientology fails spectacularly.

If the test were similar in Russia, Scientology would fail there as well.

Ok? And?

My concern is the ongoing suppression of the rights of Russian citizens.

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No, I was focusing on your claim that Scientology was a threat to the Orthodox Church. That’s laughable.

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I didn’t claim it was a threat to the Orthodox Church. Try again.

The Russian Orthodox church thinks other religions are threats and immoral and works, fist in glove, to have the Russian government suppress all rivals that it can. It’s done it to mainline Protestant Christian denominations in years past.


Right? I’m not too keen on government deciding what is and is not a religion. So what if “Scientology” is trademarked? That’s like arguing that Catholicism isn’t a religion because they have copyrighted materials. There are more than a few religions where the toil and contributions of others contribute to the lavish lifestyle of religious leaders. And it is a friggin religion. People don’t adhere to Scientology because they don’t believe in the mumbo-jumbo.

I would very much like to see the about-face Atheists make when courts point out, rightly, that they’re not a religion, and therefore not entitled to religious protections. Because more likely than not, that’s how it’s going to go down when you enthusiastically support the arm of the State coming down on Groups You Don’t Like®. I have news for you: From someone else’s perspective, you belong to that group.


Probably not the best hook to hang that protest on. You might best pick another.

There are tons of criminal charges that could be (and have been) brought against the Church of Scientology that have nothing to do with “rights of Russian citizens”. Protecting Russian citizens from scams and fraud is a good thing.

As for religious freedom - the “Scientology Freezone” is operating just fine in Russia. It’s still useless, but doesn’t come with the fraud and crimes of the Church of Scientology.

So, because you found out that the victim is an unsympathetic scumbag, you don’t care about suppression of his rights? Ooooookaaaay.

I really don’t care about your personal issues with Scientology, since I’m not their fan or supporter.

So, wouldn’t that apply to Russian Orthodoxy and all religions as well?


Read what I wrote. Scientology is still fine, just the “Church of Scientology” was banned. Reading comprehension…

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“Catholicism is still fine, just the ‘Roman Catholic Church’ was banned.”

Again, I care about Russian civil rights and freedom of religion. I don’t care how ugly the religion in question is on this issue unless we’re discussing the banning of all religion, including the Russian Orthodox Church, like the Soviets tried to do. That was a human rights win, right?

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Next week, we can discuss the banning of Sunni Islam in Europe and America as a social good, right?

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A convicted criminal organization was banned but the other organization practicing the same beliefs is untouched. That, of course, is BAD. Because the criminal organization called itself a “religion” no matter what they actually are, no matter what crimes, they MUST be protected.

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