Church of Scientology launches marriage rights bid

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Anonymous, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. The Internet Member

    Yes, onward with the public benefit meme. That's the discussion we want the media to focus upon: public benefit.
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  2. RolandRB Member

    It matters not one hoot. Now, all that is needed is for a pastor to claim that all the premises of the cult are a place of religious worship and they get 100% property tax relief. Not 80% mandatory non-domestic rates relief as in being a charity. 100% not 80%. Why would they need to be a charity having won this?
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  3. Anonymous Member

    Yep. Pack your bags. Close the website, CoS has won.

    The game.
  4. RolandRB Member

    Looking back, we didn't really stand a chance. Wogs versus Homo Novis wielding the Tech(tm). It could only end one way.
  5. Friendly reminder that tax-dodging is a hot topic right now. If the cult try and lever this into additional exemptions, the PR shitstorm will hurt them far more than any money they save.

    QVS is already being propped up by subsidy from Int Management; that extra £500k isn't going into UK Cult coffers, it's going straight back uplines into a pot marked "Future Payout Fund for Mosey Rathbun"
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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Anonymous: Scientology's Recognition as Religion Helps the 'Cult's Craving for Legitimacy' | IBTimes UK

    By David Gilbert


    One of the most vociferous opponents of the Church of Scientology in recent years has been Anonymous, the amorphous online collective, whose Project Chanology protest movement has been running since January 2008.

    Cult craves legitimacy

    Speaking with IBTimes UK a member of the group based in the UK said the ruling this week was bad news:

    "The Supreme Court has got it very wrong, and in some ways this is very bad news. The cult craves legitimacy; it makes it easier to trick people into joining, and opens doors for them to infiltrate other institutions such as schools and prisons."

    Scientology rose to prominence in recent years through high profile celebrity memebers such as Tom Cruise but Anonymous has been campaigning against what it describes as a "cult" becasue of "control over members, the pressure on members to give increasingly large sums of money, the psychological and physical abuse, the splitting apart of families, the child labour and the hard, underpaid labour."

    Anonymous is holding a protest march in Manchester this Sunday against Scientology, which will see members of the online activist group march on the Scientology centre in Deansgate, with protest marches in other cities also now mooted.

    Tax breaks

    The Anonymous spokesperson pointed out the possibility that the Church of Scientology - which is said to have amassed over $1bn in cash - will be able to now claim more tax breaks "on top of their current UK business rates relief."

    The spokesperson claims the Church of Scientology already registers in the UK as a South Australian charity for tax purposes.

    Scientology is already recognised as a tax-exempt religion in the US, Italy, South Africa, Australia and Sweden.

    Anonymous believes the authorities in Belgium may have the right approach when it comes to dealing with Scientology:

    "Federal prosecutors in Belgium intend to prosecute the 'Church of Scientology' as a criminal organisation. We'd say that this is the correct approach."
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  7. commisiar Member

  8. DeathHamster Member

    Bzzzt! It's not a charity in South Australia.

    Bah, a Facebook comments section.
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  9. muldrake Member

    So what do you see when you watch your opponent hit running flush cards to crack your aces? I see the hand of Satan in that shit.
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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology marriage in England — the local view

    By Tony Ortega

    We’ve heard from several folks who felt that our assessment (here, second item) of the recent legal decision about Scientology marriage in England did not have nearly enough panic and gloom. Well, perhaps we have downplayed some of the church’s nefarious plans in this well-plotted strategy. For a local view, we turned to an old time Scientology critic and someone we admire a lot, Hartley Patterson. He sent us these thoughts.

    Continued here:
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  11. muldrake Member

    Cool! Haven't seen Hartley around in a while, although I linked his site the other day. (

    Excellent, drama-free (unlike me) OG critic.

    Also, his legal analysis of the case in question is pretty much accurate. Frankly, Lord Denning's decision was silly, but you don't just overrule Lord Denning. I'd compare it, for a silliness example from the United States, to Oliver Wendell Holmes's execrable shouting fire in a crowded theater dicta, except nowhere near as important.

    The idea that to qualify as a religion requires worshipping some personal deity, like a big bearded guy in the sky, is ridiculous. Apply that across the board and many forms of Buddhism have no religious rights.

    NOT to compare Scientology to Buddhism in any other sense than not worshipping a deity and LRH being a lardass who kind of looked like Buddha if you looked at him cross-eyed and you were on drugs at the time.

    Edited to add an apology for editing my own post four times in a row for no good reason.
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  12. DeathHamster Member

    Scientology's "But the Buddhists" card has seen a lot of play over the years. It's a pity that there's no counter card for it, like "Unlike the Buddhists, you don't pray", "Unlike the Buddhists, your ceremonies are mostly fake for show".
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  13. Sekee Member

    There’s money in marriage, particularly where immigration is concerned.
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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Some reader responses were published today:

    Time to abolish the perks of religious status | The Guardian
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  15. fishypants Moderator

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  16. DeathHamster Member

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  17. RolandRB Member

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  18. muldrake Member

    I generally agree with this concept, but not just as some way to punish religion itself by overly-euphoric atheists.

    I have thought for a long time there should be tax exemptions (or even outright tax credits) for any entity that successfully performs services ordinarily performed by the government or considered charitable. (A tax exemption means you don't have to pay tax on that money and a tax credit means doing it actually counts toward paying your taxes.)

    I honestly don't care whether, say, famine relief for some disaster in Africa or elsewhere comes from some Catholic charity or goddamn Microsoft, or even, if Hell froze over, if the Church of Scientology itself actually did something charitable. So if, say, Microsoft, decided to spend half its profits doing a better job of providing social welfare than the government, it should get a tax credit for relieving the burden on other taxpayers.

    It is the charitable activity itself that should be tax exempt, not just that it is done by some organization that has wangled itself a declaration that it is a "religion." Fine with me if Scientology is a religion with the primary scripture to "MAKE MONEY. MAKE MORE MONEY. MAKE OTHERS PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY." <-- ACTUAL SCIENTOLOGY "SCRIPTURE" BY THEIR OWN DEFINITION

    But is there any good reason such purely selfish activity that benefits society sort of like lung cancer benefits its host should be exempt from paying taxes? That strikes me as absolute insanity.
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  19. Anonymous Member

    3 words: Public. Benefit. Test.

    Here in the US, we need one.

    Furthermore, ALL tax-exempt organizations should be required to file the exact same IRS paperwork with no breaks granted to religious organization over secular non-profit organizations. That way the public benefit of all money making activities is fully disclosed.

    If only some really smart lawfag would draft an IRS petition stating this in simply terms that could be put up on and spread around like a venereal disease. (hint hint)
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  20. muldrake Member

    The Scientology case (Hernandez v. Commissioner) went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that what Scientology does is not tax-exempt.

    Then the IRS basically overruled the Supreme Court and gave them tax-exempt status anyway.

    How this is legal, I don't know. It is legal, apparently, just because they got away with it.
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  21. Anonymous Member

    It probably wouldn't survive a legal challenge. However, people who have tried to challenge it have lacked standing to actually do so.
  22. muldrake Member

    That kind of is surviving a legal challenge. That's what's actually going on, and nobody in the world has standing to challenge it, according to our current bizarre definition of "standing." TY SCALIA!
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  23. One of the major tenets of Buddhism is compassion for all life. I think that alone makes Ron's Maitreya/Song of Asia nonsense a moot point at best and a tasteless mockery at worst.
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  24. The Internet Member

    My tinfoily hypothesis: the Scientologists got their friends in the CIA to tell the IRS that the clams were doing useful top secret things for the US, such as Stargate, training spies and soldiers in advanced interrogation techniques, and using celebrities to gain access to powerful people. That stopped the IRS crackdown. Moreover the entire discussion became a matter of National Security and thus hidden from the public.

    The more I learn about some of these CIA operatives, the more I think they might actually be this stupid --e.g., Leroy Fletcher Prouty.
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  25. ''Scientology pronounces you man and wife until disconnection do you part.''
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  26. RolandRB Member

    ^^ 'Scientology pronounces you man and wife until thou art ordered to disconnect.'

    I will have to work on that marriage bit. I am sure the following can be improved upon.

    First, [marriage] was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
    Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

  27. muldrake Member

    Well, when I hear some of the more ridiculous things the NSA is doing with their unlimited power, I imagine some young employee basically pitching ideas to their boss like "I want to sit around playing World of Warcraft all day, and also, there's this thing called /b/ and I think trolling it whenever I'm not playing WoW would be a great way to catch terrorists."

    Your tax dollars at work.
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  28. Anonymous Member

    Scientology is now a "valid" religion? Meh, this just highlights the fact that there's no such thing. Religion is not definable. Sure those with sufficient money, power, guns and terror can do the defining for everybody else, but that doesn't make it right.
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  29. RightOn Member

    ah yes but it has to be defined or recognized (which ever you prefer) because of TAXES. Since everyone has to file, there has to be a list of those who don't have to pay.
    Without a definition, then the churches (cough) would not be tax exempt.
    yeah it all sucks.
    and yeah I think all religions should have to pay taxes regardless if they actually give any public benefit or not.
    And in the case of the COS. They most certainly DO NOT. But they get around it by doing some sort of PR charitable crap which make people think they are being charitable. But charity is "out exchange" according to Hubbard and so it would be against Source and the tech to be charitable without getting back something in return. And that is where their charitable shenanigans go right down the dumper.
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  30. DeathHamster Member

    An Indy who was denied the same break might have standing, but they'd probably make the judges cry by asking for the same deal rather than revoking Scientology's agreement, as the Sklars tried.

    Still, it would be good to drag the IRS into court to defend the agreement and hold their feet to the fire, maybe even pull the secret agreement into the light. And the public blowback couldn't hurt.
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  31. Anonymous Member

    It may be tinfoily but there are some weird places where all that shit dovetails. The 'Dear Alice' drills, etc. It hasn't failed to escape my notice that over the years certain cults have been left to prosper, while others have been cracked down on. Scientology is one, another is the Moonies whose connections with Korean intelligence and the Bush family are documented. Even if they aren't field laboratories for mind control, their cult structure provides a mechanism for getting people to just about any country they could desire and we do know that Hubbard liked to brag about having been naval intelligence and was writing helpful letters to all sorts of government people especially in the early years.

    It is certainly not tin foil in the least to note that the government to this day seems very reluctant to approach the subject, no matter how many casualties the church racks up in it's wake, especially when so many other cults have had to establish their headquarters (like children of god) outside the US where the abuses are not as visible. Scientology is being given a pass. We do know the IRS possibly caved due to blackmail (who gave them the docs?) and 'services rendered' of some kind doesn't seem too far-fetched either, especially moving people around clandestinely with religious worker visas.
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  32. The Internet Member

    I remember reading some speculation about Scientology running an entrapment operation against the IRS commissioner at the time, Fred Goldberg, who was allegedly seduced by a rent boy. But that might all be bullshit because I never saw anything that looked remotely like dox.

    Now is the time, I think, to collect evidence of red flags related to our intelligence services, organize the information into some non tl;dr format, and then write to our senators and representatives with WTF? letters. Shit is weird in there and we need to find out why. The rest of the world needs us to do this as well, because we're the militarized "America, fuck yeah!" nation with shiny tactical nukes we've never even taken the plastic wrap off yet.

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  33. Quentinanon Member

    I don't think your speculation has any basis in fact. The 1993 IRS decision came about from influence on Bill Clinton using John Travolta, John Cole and Greta van Susteren. The interrogation methods used by U.S. military and intelligence organisations are far superior to the security checking methods used by the cult.
    BTW, I find it interesting that Mike Rinder has not discussed the details of the influence operation against Bill Clinton. Very, very interesting.
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  34. The Internet Member

    Of course the CIA can do things the cult cannot --e.g., waterboarding and beating the shit out of prisoners when no one is looking. But there's a Pain-Drug-Hypnosis and a "Let's implant some engrams and control some minds" flavor to the way those CIA people seem to think.

    This PDH stuff may not seem unexpected to you. But it is not actually science. It looks more like LRH inspired "mind control" to me.

    The CIA/NSA spent a lot of money on that program studying ways to use psychic powers to kill goats. How much more evidence do we need that these people are living in some kind of altered reality bubble?
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  35. muldrake Member

    The most likely avenue for such an action is a FOIA suit. This requires first making a FOIA request, then when it is denied (as it has been in the past), file an administrative appeal within the agency. Then, if that fails, file an actual FOIA suit.

    However, the denial will be based on fairly explicit regulations exempting "private" taxpayer information from disclosure, as it has been in the past. These regulations have also been upheld in the case of 501(c)(3) organizations. Essentially, the argument that these regulations are wrong is a public policy argument. The argument would be that the policies underlying exempting taxpayer information from disclosure under FOIA are inconsistent with the manner in which a 501(c)(3) organization is ordinarily required to disclose much more information to the public than other taxpayers, such as making its Form 990 public as well as making other reports.

    The difference, though, is that filing the Form 990 is an explicit requirement under law, while disclosing other information is not. If it looked like you might win a suit like this, I would bet you'd attract a swarm of amicus briefs from other 501(c)(3)s that might be affected, and of course, Scientology would try to scare up some such entities.

    Then, finally, there's the issue of how to pay for all this litigation. FOIA has fee-shifting, but it is generally only triggered when the agency's denial of a FOIA was objectively unreasonable. Frankly, if the IRS were to deny a FOIA request, based on current law as it stands (largely in the D.C. Circuit), they would not be acting unreasonably, and even if the plaintiff prevailed, the plaintiff would probably not be entitled to fees. So this money would be strictly out of the pocket of the plaintiff.

    And to translate a bit from lawyer-gibberish, a "public policy" argument is essentially an argument that rarely prevails unless the law is unclear, and it's basically an argument that it would be a good idea for the court to rule the way you want. A trial court is almost never going to buy this argument. Not until you get to an appeals court will such an argument generally even stand a chance. And here the law (specifically the CFRs related to the IRS and its FOIA obligations) is pretty explicitly against the finding a plaintiff would want.

    So you have the double-whammy of basically having a weak argument, having the case law against you, and having to rely on that weak argument to overcome the presumption that an agency's regulations about matters within its jurisdiction (i.e. its written regulations in this case) are valid unless "capricious and arbitrary" or some other similar standard difficult to overcome.

    I'd suggest anyone doing this file in some oddball jurisdiction where they live that is not the D.C. Circuit and hope to convince a judge to ignore D.C. Circuit precedent. It's technically not binding on any other circuit. However, considering the vast majority of FOIA cases take place in the D.C. Circuit, as that is the location of most relevant federal agencies, most other circuits are going to tend to view its precedents as highly persuasive.

    Another possibility is that there might actually be some kind of a policy shift in the IRS and that they might, at some date, actually be receptive to a FOIA. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

    ETA: And just to make it really explicit what the public policy argument would sound like in this case to a panel of appeals court judges:

    Judge: So, can you cite any laws that support your argument?
    Me: No. In fact, the regulations say the exact opposite of what I want you to find.
    Judge: So, can you cite any cases to support your argument?
    Me: No. In fact, all the cases are against me. This exact issue has been repeatedly decided exactly opposite to how I want you to find it.
    Judge: So, can you cite anything at all as to why I should rule in your favor?
    Me: Well, I think it would be a good idea (best sad puppy dog eyes ever).
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  36. Quentinanon Member

    Hubbard's engram theory, like the early psycho-traumatic theories of the 1940's and 50's, has been discredited. No engrams factually exist. How we frame and process experience determines how we respond. Those who we regard as authorities influence our thoughts and responses. It would surprise me if CIA/NSA gave Hubbard's fabrications any credibility.
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  37. Anonymous Member

    Or until one of you lands in the hole.
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  38. muldrake Member

    Not sure if they do now, but there was certainly a project using LRH's bullshit in an attempt to study remote viewing. Specifically the Stargate Project.

    All of this is absolute crap, but our so-called "intelligence" agencies dumped loads of money into it.
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  39. The Internet Member

    I know, right? Because that would be cray-cray.

    Surely the eyes and ears of the mightiest nation on the planet are far too clever to fall for pseudoscience.

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  40. The Internet Member

    Oops, my bad. Turns out the CIA hired a con artist to design their detainee interrogation program. It wasn't Hubbard, however, as Hubbard is no longer with us..

    Doesn't look like a Scientologist, but does appear to postulate knowledge and likely creates new and better realities.
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