Regional court in Moscow bans Scientology books as extremist literature; cult not banned

Religion News Blog — A regional court in Moscow has upheld a lower court decision made in June 2011, declaring books published by the Church of Scientology to be extremist literature and banning publication or distribution of books from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

The decision does not ban the controversial cult.

Russia’s TV Novosti explains

In Russia, current legislation makes a unified verdict on Scientology unlikely.

“The Russian law on extremism means that court cases are held where the literature or a branch of an organization is found, but not where it originated from,” Pavel Chikov, a human rights lawyer, told TV Rain “which means that different courts come to different verdicts and there is no clear legal status for Scientology and its literature that applies throughout the country.”

The station says

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The court ruling states that Scientology texts “foster the creation of an isolated social group, whose members are taught to precisely carry out commands, many of which are aimed at confronting the outside world.”

An expert opinion accepted by the judges also accused Scientology of spreading hate speech towards specific social groups. This may be a reference to Scientology classifying certain individuals – whose crime is sometimes no more than doubting the veracity of this religion – as incurably evil “Suppressive Persons”. […]

This marks another chapter in the long-running battle between Scientologists and the Russian legal system.

Dating from 1996, various regional Russian courts have refused to recognize Scientology as an established religion, accused it of being a money-extorting cult, or branded its books extremist.

Scientologists have always fought back vigorously, winning a decision at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2009, which fined Russia 20,000 euro for repeatedly failing to register a Scientology cell in the Siberian city of Surgut as a religious organization.

As recently as March 19, a court in the Russian region of Tatarstan dismissed a very similar extremist literature case passed on from a lower court, after a Scientologist appeal.

Tony Ortega, who has been holding Scientology’s feet to the fire at The Village Voice, comments

Can someone please explain to me, why are the Russians so stupid?

There are only a very tiny number of Scientologists in the world — our best estimate is about 40,000 actual participating, active church members planetwide — and the vast, vast majority of human beings will never be tempted by L. Ron Hubbard’s siren song.

Why is that? Well, as Vice magazine’s Blake Butler pointed out this week, even a cursory glance through Hubbard’s masterwork, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, will always leave most people running for the hills… […]

If the Russians really wanted to scare people away from Scientology, the last thing they should do is ban these books. Instead, they should be promoting them.

Scientology is, at best, a pseudoscience based on the quackery promoted by L. Ron Hubbard — a failed science fiction writer who also had a hard time telling truth and fantasy apart, particularly when it came to reporting his own accomplishments.

Scientology’s much reported hate- and harassment activities — including its cult-like separation of friends and family members — also sprouted from Hubbard’s unethical directives.

Research resources on Scientology
Research resources on L. Ron Hubbard

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014