[Translation and comments as posted to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup. Links inserted by Religion News Blog.]
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 21:05:05 -0500
From: “Piltdown Man”
This is an article from the Belgian daily De Standaard for July 20, 2005.
It can be found at
The most interesting bit of news in it is that it seems that finally, *finally*, those raids that took place back in 1999 might lead to an actual trial in the near future.
I append the original article in Dutch for archival purposes, here’s my translation (additions between  are mine):
DOOR REMAINS CLOSED FOR CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
Ministry of Justice turns down recognition as a religion
The Scientology movement will not be officially recognised as a religion in Belgium, and consequently won’t be receiving any subsidies. The Church of Scientology had applied for official recognition with the Ministry of Justice, but minister Laurette Onkelinx (PS [French-speaking Socialist party]) “refused all contact” since it is a cult, and one against which a criminal investigation for fraud is pending.
Belgium officially recognises six religions: Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, the (Greek-)Orthodox Church, Judaism and Islam. Besides those, organised secular humanism is also subsidised by the Ministry of Justice. [Here De Standaard shows its ultra-Catholic roots, by separating humanism from the “real” religions. It’s subsidised in exactly
the same way as the others.]
Three other religions recently applied for similar recognition: Buddhism, the Armenian church (which is currently considered part of the Orthodox church), as well as Scientology. This organisation counts many followers in the US, among them the movie actor Tom Cruise.
In Denmark, for instance, Scientology is a recognised religion. [Why, of all countries in the world, they picked Denmark for a comparison, I don’t know, and I don’t know either if it’s true or not. Very few countries share Belgium’s absurd concept of “officially recognised and subsidised religions”.] But in our country, the door remains closed.
“I refused any meeting with them”, Onkelinx said during a press briefing yesterday. “First of all because a parliamentary commision of enquiry has described Scientology as a cult. Secondly because there is a judicial investigation of this organisation ongoing in Brussels.”
That investigation for fraud has now been concluded. A referral to criminal court is likely to follow in the next few months.
The ministry of Justice is favourably inclined towards the requests of the Armenian church and of Buddhism, although in the case of Buddhism additional talks will be needed, since it doesn’t have an organisational
[The next paragraph is very strange: they somehow missed out three zeros in the amounts of money mentioned, making millions of euros into thousands. I’m correcting.]
The ministry of Justice spends about 100 million euro on the six recognised religions and humanism, most of it going to Roman Catholicism (74 million), followed by Humanism (9.4 million), Islam (6 million) and Protestantism (3.2 million). [All more-or-less mainstream protestant denominations with a presence in Belgium cooperate in something called the United Protestant
Church of Belgium, which isn’t really a proper church but an administrative vehicle to divide these subsidies among the member churches.]
Onkelinx added that the new Muslim executive [that’s the elected body set up to receive the subsidies for Islam] will probably be in place by late September. The candidates are currently being screened by State Security. The government is intent on preventing extremist Muslims from infiltrating the executive.