Monday, December 15, 2008

Scientologist Tom Cruise looks younger

I wondered what happened to Cruise? Is is love? Is it a lot of work?

In today's Today show with Matt Lauer, where talked about his upcoming movie Valkyrie and Scientology, he looked 10 years younger!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scientology Churches in France Cycle Against Drugs

Members of Scientology churches and missions in France are serious about bringing an end to substance abuse in their country.

Spurred on by a recent report of a three percent drop in cannabis use among young adults in France, a group of Scientologists in Paris and Marseilles spent their weekend encouraging young people to say no to drugs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Scoop: Anonymous member to stay away from Scientology

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0810/S00535.htm

October 24, 2008

"Anonymous" Attacker Of The Church Of Scientology Given A One-Year Stay Away Order

BOSTON - A Woburn, Massachusetts man was ordered to stay away from the Church of Scientology of Boston for one year after admitting he disrupted religious services there in February 2008.

In the Boston Municipal Court, Gregg Housh, 32, admitted to facts sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt on charges of disturbing the peace and disturbing religious services for leading a February 10, 2008 disturbance at the Boston Church of Scientology. Housh's case was continued for one year, the terms of which include a court order to stay away from the Church of Scientology of Boston's locations in the Back Bay and the South End.

Housh is the self-proclaimed leader of the Boston cell of an underground cyber-terrorist group called Anonymous. He is the second member of Anonymous to face criminal charges in the past week for acts committed against a Scientology Church. On Friday October 17th, The U.S. Department of Justice announced the filing of federal criminal charges against New Jersey Anonymous member Dmitriy Guzner related to the January, 2008 attempted destruction of websites owned by the Church of Scientology. Guzner has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges that could send him to prison for ten years.

At the October 21 hearing, Boston Municipal Court Judge Thomas C. Horgan warned Housh that if he violates any of the terms of his probation he could face one year in the House of Correction.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scientologists are winning!

I love creative people, and especially creative Scientologists! And somehow I took the ones at the Scientology Mission in Palo Alto in my heart. They continue telling the world what Scientology really is and what it does for people, every day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Scientology Technology, Improving Family Relationships

In 1976 when he launched the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program, L. Ron Hubbard wrote, "If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a VOLUNTEER MINISTER and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance."

And just how they accomplish this is through the use of Scientology technology that gives people the tools they need to do well in life and help others do so too.

With booklets based on the Scientology Handbook, and courses designed to train people in the skills covered in each booklet, Scientology Volunteer Ministers are helping people every day in towns and cities all over the world.

Here is just one story, from a man who changed his whole way of dealing with his son from what he learned on three of these courses with the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Asian Goodwill Tour in Kin Men.

"In the past, my standard of handling my son was to make him 'listen' and put pressure on him if he wouldn't. But the more I'd pressure him to listen, the less he'd listen. Then I did three courses: the 'Children Course,' 'Components of Understanding,' and the 'Cause of Suppression.' I know now how to grant him the right to be the way he is and guide him gently and then build agreement with him.

"I believe, with the guidelines from Scientology, our lives will be less trouble.

"A lot of religions in this world are built on forgiving our mistakes and sins, But Scientology technology can be applied in life easily and then you learn the most important thing — to do the right thing."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scientology and Dianetics Help in variuos ways

Here is another example about the strength of Scientology and Dianetics:


Found on the site of the SoMa Scientology Center.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Scientology Blog: Pepper Willis desribes her Scientology experience

"All I can say is WOW! If you’ve ever wondered about that unexplored territory “half an inch back of our foreheads” these books have the answers. I’ve taken some psychology courses in high school and college that were required, and I was able to spit the answers that the prof’s wanted out on tests, but I never really understood what was up with the mind. I mean, really, what makes one person in a train wreck come out a “Normal” person while another becomes a raving “Psychotic”? And what exactly are the definitions of normal and psychotic anyway? There were never any really satisfying answers in my textbooks or from my teachers. It seemed like no wonder to me why the mentally ill didn’t get better when dealing with psychiatry as a whole when even the most basic terms were only vaguely defined, if they were defined at all. Another thing my profs were famous for was the sort of condescending “pat on the head” attitude whenever I had a question starting with “why” or “how”. Then would come the inevitable “it’s over your head, you’ll never understand, but of course I understand so you should just do as I say” speech. In the end, I had concluded that they must not have known any more about the subject than I did, and gave up.

Then, about 6 years later or so, my husband and I got into Scientology. I read some of the books, out of order, and in the pre-Golden-Age-of-Knowledge formats, and I was still kind of confused, but I felt like I knew more. I did some of the courses in the Volunteer Minister’s lineup, and that data really helped. It was workable. My husband was on staff at the Church of Scientology Twin Cities Day organization for about 2 and 1/2 years, and that was really nice. We moved back to his hometown after our daughter was born, and didn’t really do any more with it for about 2 years.

Then, last summer, The Basics were released.

We couldn’t swing getting the whole linup at once right then, so we got Dianetics:The Modern Science of Mental Health, the Dianetics Lectures and Demonstrations cd’s and the DMSMH extension course. I started the course right away when I got home, and IT WASN’T THE SAME BOOK! I’m sure it wasn’t. I had read Dianetics when we started out in Scientology, and there was stuff in this book that I had never encountered before! The publishers went back to the author, L.Ron Hubbard’s original notes and manuscripts and put the book back together exactly the way Mr. Hubbard wanted it. Whole chapters that were missing are now included, and they make a world of difference. Just reading the Synopsis was a revalation. I had mind blowing, life altering cognitions during every chapter, and I came away with the knowledge and confidence that I can give anyone whom I can communicate with a Dianetics auditing session and make a positive change in that person’s life. I was never that certain before.

And as for defining terms–well, Ron was a master. Every time a new term was introduced it was defined very exactly. And in addition to that, the publishers have added a glossery of words, terms and phrases at the back of the book that is so complete, I never even had to crack a dictionery to find out what things like ergs and ohms were. And get this, Normal, Neurotic, and Psychotic are all clearly defined for the first time ever! I understand them now, and I know what to do about them, too.

We got the rest of our Basics by November of ‘07, and now I’m on the Technique 88 lectures, which are about halfway through the lineup. I definately recommend getting the full set, and start studying right away. If you can’t get to an Org for the full Books and Lectures course, there’s an extension course available for almost all of the books. That’s what I’m doing, since our Org is a 5 hour drive away, and boy! do you learn a lot! In Dianetics, I learned what a Reactive Mind is, and what to do about it. In Science of Survival, I learned what the Tone Scale is, and how to use it to predict human behavior and how to best audit someone. In Self Analysis, I have a truly valuable tool for moving from sadness, anger, antagonism and boredom up to cheerfulness. Advanced Procedure and Axioms helps you understand and use new techniques in auditing, as well as the fundamental laws of life. And the Handbook for Preclears takes you on a journey through your own mind. And to top it all off, the lectures that accompany the books are just like having LRH sitting right there in your living room giving you a personal tutoring session in how to use his Technology of the Mind.

I can’t wait to see what the next half has in store for me.

Love,

Pepper

Friday, August 8, 2008

Old: Church of Scientology Launches Video Channel

Article found on PCMag.com

The Church of Scientology hasn't had the greatest track record in the world of Web video lately. Take, for example, the leaked Tom Cruise video that the church forced YouTube to pull, claiming that it was a violation of copyright. So what's an oft-maligned religion to do in the face of strengthening protest? Fight fire with fire, of course. Buzz up!on Yahoo!

The church announced on Monday the launch of a new online video portal at its Scientology.org Web site. The portal contains 82 videos tallying nearly 3 hours worth of content, "provid[ing] an overview of the basic beliefs and practices of the religion, as well as information on the many humanitarian programs sponsored by the Church--programs addressing drug abuse, illiteracy, human rights and disaster relief," according to a release issued this morning.

The videos are available to the general public and attempt to answer the question, "What is Scientology?" In light of recent celebrity shenanigans, that question is no doubt getting tossed around a lot more these days. Anyone with a few hours to kill who's already burned through GodTube's content should have a fun afternoon ahead of them.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Found: Scientology Parishioner Blog, Pasadena/CA

What is a Scientology Birth?

I noticed that some people are searching online to find information about a Scientology birth. Actually it’s not a Scientology birth - it’s a Dianetics birth.

L.Ron Hubbard wrote the book Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950. The book is about how past incidents that contain pain, and any degree of unconciousness, can affect us in the present. This could be as small as stubbing your toe or as big as an almost fatal car accident. What Mr Hubbard discovered was that the words said while a person is hurt, ill or otherwise not fully conscious, can affect them later.

How does this work? If you’ve seen a hypnotist then you’ve seen this at work. What is said to people while hypnotized can be reactivated when they’re awake and they don’t even remember it. Next thing they’re feeling hot, itching, or in pain - and it’s just from a command said while they were ‘unconscious.’

And the fact is that words said when you are ill, injured or in pain can have a similar effect. Birth is one such incident. Any woman who has given birth knows that there is pain involved. And I’m sure you can imagine it’s quite stressful for the baby too. It’s being shoved and pushed out into the world. Often when they arrive the first thing they experience is a slap on the rear end. There are people talking in the room while all this is happening. Sometimes labor can go on for hours.

birthin a hospitalImage: Found Photos

Preventing any later problems that could be caused by noises and words during the birth is the basis of what is called a ‘Scientology Birth”.

Here is what Mr. Hubbard says:

The mother, then, should be very gentle on herself during pregnancy and those around her should be informed of the necessity for silence after any jar or injury. Say nothing around a woman who has been struck or jarred in any way. Maintain silence in the presence of birth. It is a remarkable fact, and a scientific fact, that the healthiest children come from the happiest mothers.

And that’s all it is. We strive to give birth in a quiet, calm atmosphere, so that mother and baby will have no ill effects from the birth experience. Some families choose a home birth and others prefer to go to the hospital. But we do like to have the room quiet and calm.

More stuff at the Pasadena Parishioner Blog

Thursday, July 17, 2008

L. Ron Hubbard: First Biography Video



The Church of Scientology published a new biographical video about its founder.

L. Ron Hubbard
as a man who maintained that to know life, one must live life. He lived life from the top down and the bottom up. He saw much suffering and wisdom, and worked for a quarter of a century to bridge the gap between East and West and between science and religion. L. Ron Hubbard has inspired a religious movement spanning all continents and cultures which now includes over 7,500 Churches, Mission and Groups in over 165 countries.

In an effort to meet the unprecedented public and online demand for more information on Scientology, and to answer the question—"What is Scientology?"— the Church of Scientology International has been engaged in a continual pro-active on-line campaign to provide accurate information to inform the general public of Scientology's beliefs and practices.

Its newest addition has been brought to the public on the Scientology Video Channel and the Scientology public information channel on Youtube.com/churchofscientology

Monday, July 14, 2008

An Introduction to Scientology

Millions of people are searching the Net for information about the Scientology religion and more new people walked into Scientology churches in the year just past than at any time in history.

Most of them are seeking answers to questions such as: What is Scientology? What is the Mind? Why is Man on this planet? What is his purpose here? How did L. Ron Hubbard come to make these discoveries? What kind of man was L. Ron Hubbard?

Of course, the best answers to these questions would come from Mr. Hubbard himself.

What exactly would he say in response to the question, "Tell us, Mr. Hubbard, what is Scientology? How would you describe it?"

And now, thanks to cutting edge technology and 20,000 hours of the most exacting and precision work, it is possible to get the answer to those questions — directly from L. Ron Hubbard — with the announcement on New Years Eve 2007 of the release of the only filmed interview ever recorded of L. Ron Hubbard, completely restored and available on DVD in 50 languages.

The announcement of the release of this product came at an event held in Los Angeles, California on the 27th of December 2006. The entire New Years 2007 event was then edited, translated and shipped to Scientology churches and missions on 5 continents, in time for Scientologists in nearly every Scientology church on Earth to watch it on New Years Eve.

But as much a feat as that was, it was nothing compared to the work that went into restoring An Introduction to Scientology — a TV interview filmed 40 years ago for Rhodesian television.

The restauration work presented enormous challenges, especially because those working on it were not satisfied with simply colorizing the film. To make it possible for anyone to experience what it was like to see and listen to L. Ron Hubbard, they were determined to reproduce the exact hair color and skin tones, the qualities of the cloth, the furniture, the light in the room. In short the standard they set was that anyone watching this new DVD would be able to experience what it was like to be right there with Mr. Hubbard.

And then they took it even further, seeing to it that sections of the film that where incorrectly recorded — where it was not properly framed or the camera was jostled — were corrected, so the errors in the original film would not distract the viewer. They even had to contend with damaged footage and torn film.

And the result is a film of astonishing quality where anyone can get the full benefit of hearing and seeing L. Ron Hubbard answer the most commonly-asked questions about Scientology and how he came to discover it.

To learn more about the film or order your copy online, visit http://www.scientology.org/interview

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Human Rights Advocate Describes African Leadership Project

Source: American Chronicle

Tim Bowles, the Director of International Development of Youth for Human Rights International, recently returned from West Africa where he is working to implement sweeping human rights reforms. Below are excerpts from an interview of Tim by the Scientology Press Office.

I have held an abiding interest in assisting people in the most challenging areas of the world since my college days in the 1960s. I met Youth for Human Rights International President, Mary Shuttleworth, in early 2005 and agreed to volunteer on a few youth training projects. Traveling to assist the group with a regional conference in Ghana that year, I saw the need for broad human rights education in that region and this program developed from that realization.

Africa represents the worst and the best in humanity. West Africa particularly is the site of some of the most infamous atrocities since the close of World War II. Yet, for all the invitations the populace has had to descend into unrelenting hatred and retribution, I have found Africans intensely ready and willing to work for and secure survival for themselves, their communities and the continent's population as a whole.

While their desire and demand for change is obvious, they face enormous challenges. With all their natural resources, will the people of Africa be able to acquire the know-how they need to capitalize on them? Will they harness the greatest resource they have—the youth of their countries—through effective education programs? Will they be able to create and sustain the ethical, competent leadership and organization they need to actually pull out of the dwindling spiral of polarization, violence and destruction?

During my first visit in 2005 I was privileged to meet a group of committed African human rights activists. Together, we have been developing a West Africa leadership campaign dedicated not just to inspiring youth through human rights awareness but to training and equipping young people with the leadership tools necessary to play key roles in creating and sustaining just and prosperous societies in Africa over the coming critical decades.

Starting in March this year we began running a six-month-long youth leadership pilot project in the nations of Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The project is our first step in enabling young, able African men and women to make human rights a reality in their communities. By also involving prominent local proponents of human rights as speakers and instructors, we are training high school students on leadership, organization and human rights advocacy and connecting them with leaders who can greatly assist them in accomplishing their purposes. The competition involves 30 students in each country, divided into two teams of 15 each, who are creating public awareness campaigns on human rights abuses. They are documenting their work in writing and with photography and video footage. The competitions in each country will culminate in August, 2008 with large, public events, where the teams of young people will present the results of their work with the help and support of local leaders, educators and the press.

I created this project based on what I learned through five recent trips I made to the region between July, 2005 and July, 2007. With these tours, and the able help of my African program directors Sammy Jacobs Abbey in Ghana and Joseph Jay Yarsiah in Liberia, we significantly increased student community activism and won expanding support from government, civil society and media for the implementation of human rights education.

What we hope to gain from this six-month human rights project is major, long-term support for the establishment of this African leadership campaign as an innovative and product-oriented initiative to be implemented throughout the continent.

This is our second year of competitions in each of these three countries. We have been able to reach thousands of young people across the region and inspire humanitarian purposes and diligence in them to an extent we never imagined.

There is not a single young person with whom we are working in Sierra Leone and Liberia who has not been deeply affected by the bloody struggles only recently concluded there. And they see that human rights education is vital to bringing an end to the destruction they have experienced.

As one young participant put it, "Sincerely speaking I now understand my rights and how to protect those rights. As a leader I promise to teach anyone his or her rights and to make human rights expand in the world, especially in Sierra Leone."

Strong leaders dedicated to tolerance, peace and real justice are the key to transforming the prevailing despair into overriding confidence and development in these countries.

Whether we're talking about populations emerging from genocide and civil conflict such as in Liberia or Sierra Leone, or peoples simply being empowered to reach out and help themselves as in Ghana, the most important human right is education. And this is true in Europe, the United States and anywhere on Earth where people are oppressed and need tools to improve their lives. Having the opportunity and ability to learn is fundamental to constructing and sustaining a future worth living in. The education and training of young leaders based on human rights values is of course key to this. The young people with whom we are working see this, and many have chosen to research and do presentations on education rights as their topic in the competitions.

When I first went to West Africa I was troubled and almost embarrassed about being with people, particularly in the refugee camps, who have so little resources and often so little hope. How could I, one individual, help so many people in such desperate circumstances? But it is now clear to me how profoundly we are bettering the lives of the young people we reach and through their work we are bettering the lives of whole populations now and in the decades to come.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers South East Asia Goodwill Tour in the City of Cebu in the Philippines

The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas in Cebu in the Philippines teamed up with the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Southeast Asian Goodwill Tour last month to launch a program to help the residents of the island cope with the problems they face in life and deal with disaster.

A long narrow island 225 km (140 mi) long, and surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, Cebu is not only a center of trade, education and industry, it is also the oldest city in the Philippines.

Led by Taiwanese Scientologist Lu-Ying Yu and Filipina Scientology Minister, Rebecca Vinaviles, the Goodwill Tour has been conducting free life-improvement seminars throughout the city.

One example of the work they are doing is the training they gave to local policemen. With their responsibility to keep the peace and maintain order police have to confront some of the most dangerous and abhorrent elements of society. It is also the police who are usually the first to respond in times of disaster and emergency. With this kind of stress, police burnout is a common problem in cities all over the world.

The Volunteer Ministers addressed this with a series of seminars to 41 Cebu police, to help the officers tackle those factors they find most difficult in their jobs. As police are frequently faced with violence from unresolved and mounting friction among individuals or groups, the first seminar was "How to Resolve Conflicts," based on the Scientology Handbook, the text of which is taken from the writings of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Because they often have to deal with people who are belligerent, confused or overwhelmed, establishing communication with victims and suspects alike is a skill police urgently need to have. So, the next workshop covered the basic elements of communication, with examples taken from real-life situations to help the policemen apply this technology to the situations they confront on a daily basis.

The following day, the tour held a completely different kind of workshop to parents in a rough Cebu neighborhood who are concerned about their children and how to make sure they steer clear of crime and drugs.

While delivering seminars and workshops, the volunteers also provided one-on-one help to anyone who came to the bright yellow tent they pitched in prominent locations around the city.

In cities all over the world, people are faced with problems for which they have no effective solutions. In establishing the Volunteer Ministers program 30 years ago, L. Ron Hubbard wrote: "...if one is going to find fault with something, it implies that he wishes to do something about it and would if he could." The Scientology Volunteer Ministers Southeast Asian Goodwill Tour are providing the people of the Philippines with the knowledge they need to change those things they don´t agree with, and create a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.

New website about Dianetics!

Accidents, injuries and psychosomatic illnesses, and sets forth effective handlings for these conditions. Further research into the spiritual aspects of Dianetics led to the discovery of Scientology.”

This is shown in a new website at dianetics.org. With the great new graphics and interaction the site gives you a feel like playing a computer game…! Fun to watch and informative as well.

The New Dianetics Website

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Publication: Religious Recognition of the Church of Scientology in Europe


Courts have determined that Scientology must be treated the same as other religions throughout Europe, including decisions concerning Scientology rendered by the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission on Human Rights which establish binding precedent in all 46 European countries that have signed and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition to the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission on Human Rights decisions, Scientology has also been recognized as a religion through numerous judicial and administrative rulings in many European countries. Finally Scientology has been recognized and registered as a religion in many countries that have a religious registry.

Sweden
Scientology has been fully and officially recognized as a religion and has also been granted full tax exemption in Sweden. On November 23, 1999, tax authorities in Stockholm granted the Church of Scientology status as a religious organization exempt from tax after determining that the Church pursues a religious purpose as required under the law. On March 13, 2000, the National Judicial Board for Public Lands & Funds (National Administration of Religions) registered the Church of Scientology Sweden as a religious community and two months later granted Scientology ministers the right to perform marriages with legal validity, thereby fully recognizing Scientology as a religion for all of Sweden. In a four-page statement issued at the time of registration, the National Judicial Board outlined the religious character, permanence and organization of the Church of Scientology and concluded that Scientology fully meets the criteria for recognition as a religion.

Portugal
The Church of Scientology of Portugal was registered as a non­profit, religious association on April 7, 1988 by the Ministry of Justice. As such, the Church of Scientology of Portugal is recognized as a religious organization and fully tax-exempt.

Hungary
The 1990 Hungarian "Law on the Freedom of Conscience" regulates the activities and benefits enjoyed by religious communities and establishes criteria for attaining the status of a religious organization. The Church of Scientology of Hungary was officially registered as a religious organization under the Law on the Freedom of Conscience in 1991. As a result of this religious recognition, each new Church of Scientology opened in Hungary is recognized as an independent religious organization under the Hungarian Mother Church.

Austria
In a decision dated August 1, 1995, the Administrative Court of Vienna ruled that "in addition to the fact that after several decades of thorough investigations, Scientology has been granted the status of a bona fide religion and charitable organization by the IRS, less than two years ago in the United States, the country with the greatest number of Churches of Scientology, sufficient evidences was also given by [the Church] to convince us that the Church of Scientology of Austria was a religion". The Court went on to note the religious nature of the Church's services, which the Court characterized as "religious acts in accordance with the religious identity of the Church of Scientology itself, which appears obvious in the statutes of the organization". In 1996, the Austrian Constitutional Court, in the case Re Fabio Rasp which concerned parental custody rights of a Scientologist, determined that any attempt to treat Scientology differently from other religions "is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and is therefore in violation of the law."(1). (1) In Re Fabio Rasp 2 Ob 2192/96h (23 August 1996)

European Court of Human Rights and European Commission on
Human Rights Decisions recognizing the Scientology Religious Bona fides

The European Court of Human Rights issued a unanimous landmark decision on 5th April 2007 in favor of the Scientology religion, upholding the religious freedom of Scientologists and their religious associations throughout the forty-six nations that have signed and ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950. By ruling in favor of the Church of Scientology, the Court reaffirmed an important issue that the Russian Federation has committed itself to uphold, namely the right to religious freedom for not only Scientologists but members of all religions throughout Europe.

The Human Rights Court in the case entitled Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia (application no. 18147/02), overturned the Moscow City government's refusal to register the Church of Scientology of Moscow as a religious organization. By way of background, the Moscow Church was officially registered as a religious community in 1994, but was denied re-registration under a 1997 law restricting registration of religious organizations, despite several court rulings finding that the Church fully qualified for registration under that law.

The Court found that "the reasons invoked by the Moscow Justice Department and endorsed by the Moscow courts to deny re-registration of the applicant branch had no legal basis, it can be inferred that, in denying registration to the Church of Scientology of Moscow, the Moscow authorities did not act in good faith and neglected their duty of neutrality and impartiality vis-à-vis the applicant's religious community. In the light of the foregoing, the Court considers that the interference with the applicant's right to freedom of religion and association was not justified. There has therefore been a violation of Article 11 of the Convention read in the light of Article 9."

This case is extremely significant because it confirms that the European Court of Human Rights considers that the Church of Scientology, like other faiths in the European Community, is a bona fide religious organization entitled to the same rights under the European Convention on Human Rights as any other religious organization under the Convention.

This is not the first time that the Strasbourg organs have recognized the right of a Church of Scientology to exercise the right to freedom of religion for itself and on behalf of its members. The Church of Scientology has previously been before the European Commission on Human Rights in a case that decided that a Church could represent its members to assert their religious rights under Article 9. See, X and Church of Scientology v. Sweden (16 DR 109 [Ecom HR 1979]). The Commission concluded that the Church of Scientology, as "a Church body is capable of possessing and exercising the rights contained in Article 9(1) in its own capacity as a representative of its members." Implicit in this is the corollary conclusion that Scientology is a bona fide religion.

Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia reaffirms and definitively establishes what human rights experts, academics and a numerous national courts have already found: that Scientology is a bona fide religion and the Church of Scientology is a "religious community" entitled to the full panoply of human rights and religious freedom rights that flow to such organizations. Any attempt by governments to treat a Church of Scientology differently cannot withstand scrutiny.

Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia stands as a landmark decision affecting freedom of religion across Europe, as the decision will impact religious rights in all states subject to the European Court of Human Rights.

European Parliament

Answer given by Mr. Vitorino on behalf of the Commission (written question: E-0775/04) - (29 April 2004)

The Commission is not aware of the facts invoked by the Honorable MEP. As regards the refusal of entry visa on their territory imposed by the German authorities to the head of the Unification Church Mr. Moon and to his wife, the Commission underlines that, on the basis of the provisions concerning the issuing of uniform visas valid for the territory of the member countries of the Schengen agreement, every Member State examines the visa demand based on a number of criteria indicated in the common consular instruction. However, the decision to issue or to refuse such visa remains within the appreciation of each member state. The common consular instruction does not impose to the Member States the obligation to justify possible visa refusal.

In the opinion of the Commission, the questions regarding the status of the Church of Scientology and other religious communities in Germany fall within the "Declaration regarding the status of churches and non-confessional organizations", annexed to the Amsterdam Treaty, according to which "The Union respects and does not prejudice the status enjoyed upon the national law by the Churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States. The Union respects also the status of the philosophical and non-confessional organizations". By the way, the Commission is not competent to intervene with regard to possible violations of fundamental rights and particularly the freedom of religion, except when these are coming within the scope of the Community law and its implementation.

To this end, as in all other Member States, since 2 December 2003 Germany is obliged to apply the directive 2000/78/EC which prohibits the discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, with regard to employment and work. (footnote: Official Journal L 303, 2.12.2003). In the framework of examining the implementation by the Member States of the above-mentioned directive, the Commission has sent to Germany a warning letter concerning the non-communication of the transposition measures adopted by this country.

Finally, it has to be reminded that if a person considers his fundamental rights violated, he has the possibility to make a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights, after exhausting the domestic procedures.

Germany
The German Courts have recognized Scientology's religious bona fides in over 40 cases.

On 12 December 2003, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Baden-Württemberg determined that the Church of Scientology Stuttgart is a religious organization protected under the German Constitution. The Administrative Court of Appeal also found no evidence whatsoever to support the government's allegation concerning commercial activity.

The Court held that "on the basis of recent scientific examinations that deal with the aims of the Scientology organization, there are no tangible indications that support the allegation that the teachings of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard are used as mere pretence for a commercial activity."

Likewise, in November 1997, the German Federal Supreme Administrative Court issued a landmark ruling that the services of Scientology are spiritual in nature and do not have a commercial basis. The case concerned Baden-Württemberg's attempt to have a Scientology mission de-registered on the grounds that it was in violation of its statutes and engaged in commercial, not religious activity. The government subsequently withdrew its case and, on the court's order, paid the Church's costs. In October 2002, the Federal Labor Court ruled that staff members who work in a Church of Scientology are motivated by idealistic and spiritual aims. In reaching its decision, the Court relied on the landmark, 1997 decision by the German Federal Supreme Administrative Court finding that Scientology's religious practices are intended for spiritual gain and serve a religious purpose.

Also in October 2002, in a precedent-setting decision that the government decided not to appeal, the German Federal Tax Court in Cologne ruled that two Church of Scientology corporations headquartered in Los Angeles are exempt from tax in Germany. Ruling that these organizations qualify under the 1989 Income Tax Treaty between the United States and Germany, the Court overturned the German Federal Tax Office's May 1996 denial of their exemption applications.

Following the Tax Court ruling, in January 2003, the Federal Finance Office in Germany: 1) issued letters granting tax exemption to SMI with respect to payments of license fees to Scientology Missions International from thee Scientology Missions of Karlsruhe, Ulm, Wiesbaden and Göppingen.; and 2) issued letters granting tax exemption to the Church of Scientology International (CSI), the Mother Church of the Scientology religion, with respect to license payments it receives from nine Churches of Scientology in Germany.

On March 23, 2004, the Church of Scientology Düsseldorf received official registration as an idealistic association from the District Court Düsseldorf. In June 2004, the Hamburg State Administrative Court of Appeal determined that actions taken by the Hamburg government to discriminate against a Scientologist interfered with her right to religious freedom protected by Article 4 of the German Constitution. The Court's decision represents a clear affirmation of the religious rights of members of the Church of Scientology: "Thus it has been established that the plaintiff not only professes alone for herself a personal, individual, religious or philosophic belief, but shares this in community with others and thereby obtains the protection of Article 4 [freedom of religion or belief] of the Constitution."

Italy
The Church of Scientology has been recognized as a religion in numerous judicial and administrative decisions in Italy and is universally regarded as a religion in this country. Most significantly, the Italian Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the religiosity of Scientology. The Italian Supreme Court issued a decision in October 1997 regarding Scientology that is now recognized as the leading European judicial precedent regarding the definition of religion.

The Court thoroughly analyzed the criteria for determining religion, concluding that Scientology is a bona fide religion whose activities, "without exception, [are] characteristic of all religious movements." In reaching this determination regarding Scientology's bona fides, the Court rejected the definition of religion applied below in the case by the Court of Appeals because it was drawn from Judeo-Christian concepts: "a system of doctrines centered on the assumption of the existence of a Supreme Being, who had a direct relationship with men and whom they must obey and revere." The Court found "[s]uch a definition of religion, in itself partial since derived - as asserted - exclusively from religions stemming from the Bible, is illegal under many viewpoints; it is based on philosophical and socio-historical assumptions that are incorrect." Moreover, the Supreme Court noted that the lower court also erred because the definition used to exclude Scientology also excludes Buddhism, Taoism or any "polytheistic, shamanistic or animistic religions."

The Italian Supreme Court also issued a decision in October 2000 in a case concerning income tax liability for the Church of Scientology of Milano in which it referred to and relied on the "numerous and by now prevailing" body of jurisprudence finding that Scientology is a religion.

The Supreme Court also criticized the lower Court for failing to take into consideration that the Church is fully tax exempt in the United States and has been found to be a religion by many experts in the field. The Supreme Court further noted that Scientology is considered to be a religious organization not only in English-speaking nations, but also in other countries of the European Community.

In December 1997, the executive branch of the government also recognized the religiosity of Scientology when the Minister of Finance exempted Churches of Scientology from tax procedures and assessments, classifying the churches as "religious and non-profit associations." The Church, the Minister's decree noted, has "as its only aim, support for the dissemination of the religion of Scientology."

This represents another European Union executive branch finding that the Church of Scientology fulfils a religious purpose as required by Article 3.2 of the Religious Liberty Law.

Croatia
Croatia is not in the European Union but does have a religious registry system. In December 2003, the Church of Scientology of Croatia was registered as a religious community in Croatia and the Church of Scientology Mission of Zagreb was registered as a local religious organization under the central Church.

Slovenia
Religious communities in Slovenia must register with the Government's Office for Religious Communities to practice in that country. Registration entitles such religious groups to certain tax benefits. The Church of Scientology was recognized as a religious community by the Government of the Slovenian Republic Office for the Religious Communities in 1995, with all of the attend­ant rights and privileges.

Recognitions in other European Countries

In a number of other European Union countries, Scientology is still in the missionary stage with either no formal organizations yet established or new missions that have not yet sought religious registration or other forms of religious recognition. This includes such countries as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ireland. In other countries, such as Greece, Belgium, and France, the Church's organizations are established as religious organizations and operate as such, though this status has not been formally accepted by these countries.

Church of Scientology
Its status in the rest of the world, declared by governments and courts

Religious Recognition of the Church of Scientology in the United States of America
Following a two-year examination of unprecedented scope and depth, encompassing all the Church's worldwide operations, and review of every single allegation made by Church apostates and other critics, the US Tax Authority IRS issued ruling letters on October 1, 1993 recognizing the tax-exempt religious and charitable status of the Church of Scientology International, the Mother Church of the Scientology religion, and 150 affiliated churches, missions and social betterment organizations - all Scientology-related entities in the U.S. and many non-U.S. entities as well. In this exacting review, conducted under the supervision of the most senior officials over exempt organizations in the government, the IRS concluded that the Church is operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes.

In issuing its favorable exemption rulings, the IRS necessarily determined that: 1) Scientology is a bona fide religion; 2) the Churches of Scientology and their related charitable and educational institutions are operated exclusively for recognized religious purposes; 3) the Churches of Scientology and their related charitable and educational institutions operate for the benefit of the public interest rather than the interests of private individuals; and 4) no part of the net earnings of these Churches of Scientology and their related charitable and educational institutions inures for the benefit of any individual or non-charitable entity.

The IRS reached its considered and unqualified opinion that the Churches are tax exempt only after conducting the most extensive and detailed exemption examination in its history.
Indeed, the examination was so extensive that the administrative record of these proceedings comprises approximately twelve linear feet. The extensive examination by the IRS included numerous queries into the corporate and financial structure of the Church of Scientology ecclesiastical hierarchy, the religious services ministered to parishioners, the organization, administration and governance of individual Churches, the receipt and disbursement of donations, compensation to ecclesiastical executives and others, and many other matters.

This examination also included the review of balance sheets, bank statements, cancelled checks and similar financial information. In addition to reviewing responses to specific questions, the IRS also conducted on-site examinations of facilities of various Scientology Churches and Scientology organizations, examined hundreds of boxes of their financial records, and thoroughly reviewed their activities. All IRS concerns were fully satisfied by this extensive and rigorous review process. Otherwise, exemption would never have occurred.

The IRS specifically examined details about the Church's fundraising practices relating both to the proselytizing practices of the Church and its policies relating to contributions for services. The IRS has confirmed that they would not have made favorable determinations if they had found that (i) the Church impermissibly served private interests; (ii) it had violated a fundamental public policy. The determinations by the IRS included the finding that the Church of Scientology meets the definition of a "Church" as well as a charitable religious organization.

In the United States, Scientology is officially recognized as a religion throughout the United States government. Ministers of the religion are entitled to minister immigration status by State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) decisions finding that Scientology is a bona fide religion. As noted in a 1996 State Department record released pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, the United States government's position is that the Church of Scientology is as much a Church "as the Catholic Church or any other commonly recognized church".

The State Department's human rights reports each year express concern when there is discrimination against the Scientology religion. The State Department has expressed concern regarding religious discrimination directed at the Scientology religion and Scientologists in certain European countries in human rights reports over the last 12 years.

Venezuela
On March 22, 1996, the Dianetics Association of Caracas was recognized as a tax exempt religious association. The Church of Scientology of Venezuela has been registered as a religious association by the Ministry of Justice since February 1, 1999.

Ecuador
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Ecuador in 1997.

Costa Rica
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Costa Rica in 1991.

Brazil
In September 2004, the Church of Scientology Mission of Brazil was registered by the Ministry of Justice in Brazil as a religious association.

Philippines
Scientology was recognized as a religion in the Philippines in 2003.

India
Scientology was recognized as a religion in India in 2003.

Australia
The Church of Scientology is fully recognized as a bona fide charitable religious organization under Australian Law. In October of 1983, the Australian High Court ruled that Scientology is a religion and "[t]he conclusion that [the Church] is a religious institution entitled to the tax exemption is irresistible." The High Court reached this conclusion on the basis of an evaluation of the definition of religion that encompassed the teachings of all faiths generally accorded religious status. This was an expansion of the previous definition of religion in English law that had restricted religiosity to a narrow Judeo-Christian concept and which excluded the majority of worshipers in the world.

The High Court decision is now recognized as the seminal decision on the definition of religion and on tax exemption in Australia. In fact, the Inquiry into the Definition of Charities and Related Organizations conducted by the Australian government cites this case as "the most significant Australian authority on the question of what constitutes a religion…. The High Court found Scientology to be a religion. On the question of the current approach to the meaning of religion, the Scientology case provides the best elucidation…."

This case is recognized internationally as a leading case on religion. In February 2005, the English Lords of Appeal issued a judgment in Secretary of State for Education and Employment and others (Respondents) ex parte Williamson (Appellant) and others in which the Court referred to the Australian High Court Scientology decision as "illuminating" on the issue of the definition of religion, noting that "the trend of authority (unsurprisingly in an age of increasingly multi-cultural societies and increasing respect for human rights) is towards a "newer, more expansive, reading" of religion (Wilson and Deane JJ in the Church of the New Faith case [Church of Scientology case] at p174, commenting on a similar trend in United States jurisprudence)".

New Zealand
On December 24, 2002, New Zealand Inland Revenue agreed with and adopted the rationale in the Scientology Australian High Court decision to recognize the Church of Scientology of Auckland as a charitable religious corporation and that Scientology is a religion operating for the public benefit. The government determined that the Church of Scientology "meets the requirement of being exclusively charitable in nature by advancing religion", and meets the requirement of being for the benefit of the public."

South Africa
The post-apartheid government of South Africa recognized Scientology as a religion in 2000. In that year, the Home Office approved Scientology Ministers to engage in civilly binding marriages, the mechanism for religious recognition in that country. In 2007 the South African Revenue Service declared the church as tax exempt.

Canada
The Churches of Scientology are exempt from property tax as religious organizations in Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. The Church of Scientology of Montreal and the Church of Scientology of Quebec have been registered in the province of Quebec as religious organizations since December 21, 1993. Since the mid-1990s, the provinces of Alberta and Ontario have recognized the religiosity of Scientology churches and their ministers for purposes of celebrating marriages ac­cording to the Marriage Act.

Kazakhstan
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Kazakhstan in 2000.

Krygyzstan
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Krygyzstan in 2001.

Taiwan
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Taiwan in 2003.

Nepal
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Nepal in 2004.

Tanzania
Scientology was recognized as a religion in Tanzania in 2004.

Sri Lanka
The Church of Scientology was registered as a religion in Sri Lanka in 2006.

Religious Bona fides

In addition to the official recognitions of the Church of Scientology, many leading academics specialized in the field of religion, philosophy, sociology and theology have studied Scientology and come to the undeniable conclusion that it is not only a bona fide religion but has a relevant place in our society today. "L. Ron Hubbard and Scientologists extend the use of instruments of rationality in the service of a mystical path, a self-transformation and a transformation of the world. It is probably for that reason that it appears unique among the religions." Régis Dericquebourg, Professor, Sociology of Religion, University of Lille III, Lille, France.

"It is clear to me that Scientology is a bona fide religion and should be considered as such."
Bryan Wilson, Reader Emeritus in Sociology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

"In the light of this review of Scientology in relation to the elements of the modern scientific definition of religion, it is apparent that Scientology is a religion."
M. Darrol Bryant, Professor of Religion and Culture at Renison College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

"My conclusion is that Scientology, whilst clearly differing from the majority of Christian churches, denominations and sects in beliefs, practices and organizational structures, nevertheless satisfies the criteria conventionally applied by social scientists in distinguishing between religion and non-religion."
James A. Beckford, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, England.