The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered France to pay four million euros to two small religious sects.
The Court ruled that taxing their donations was an infringement of religious freedom.
Both sects were set up by Gilbert Bourdin, who in 1969 also founded a tiny sect called Aumism. Bourdin claimed it was a synthesis of all religions, and said it would drive away “evil extra-terrestrial forces”.
The l’Association cultuelle du Temple Pyramide (Religious Association of the Pyramid Temple) was set up with the aim of constructing a temple — one of many temples and shrines at the “holy city” of Mandarom in the French Alps. The l’Association des chevaliers du Lotus d’or (Knights of the Golden Lotus) was dedicated to the practice of Aumism.
The court also ordered payment of 387,722 euros to the Eglise Evangelique Missionnaire (Evangelical Missionary Church) of Eric Salaûn.
According to the Court all three tax cases violated Article 9 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion).
(Article continues below this ad)
Taking a break?
Chamber judgements are not final.
Georgia investigates Narconon for Insurance Fraud
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said his office is investigating the Narconon ‘drug rehabilitation clinic’ — which has recently had its license revoked by the state — for possible insurance fraud.
The Scientology front group — whose treatment is based on the medical quackery promoted by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — stands accused of billing a patient’s insurer $166,275 for doctor visits that never occurred and treatment that was never provided, according to the mother of a recent client.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Narconon denies any wrongdoing and says it follows standard billing procedures for rehabilitation facilities.
Last April health officials in Canada shut down a Narconon center for ‘dangerous practices.’
Like the Church of Scientology itself, Narconon faces a constant stream of bad news.
The receipt for $34.93, included an automatic gratuity of 18% ($6.29).
The customer scratched out the tip, and wrote on the receipt, “I Give God 10% Why do you Get 18.” He added the word “pastor” above his signature.
The Consumerist says the original image, later replaced with an edited version, showed the customer’s full signature — which may encourage internet sleuths to try and identify him.
According to the bog the waitress says the customer than contact her Applebee’s location, demanding that everyone be fired, from the servers involved to the managers.
One pastor upset about ‘Appelbee’s pastor,’ so to speak, tipped his barista 50 percent today…
Exorcism-Gone-Wrong Trial Postponed
A local newspaper reported that the child died when they pinned her down with their bodies during a ritual which they believed would chase away evil spirits in the family.
Their trial, which was to take place this week, has been postponed to March 28 because the child’s mother, Lim She Lee, 35, is on maternity leave.
More than half of violent attacks in U.S. churches involve guns says church violence researcher Carl Chinn.
Frankly, we’d be surprised if the cult attempts another advertorial any time soon. Now if there only was a way to get the Scientology marketing department to stop wasting bits and bytes on that flood of press releases it publishes…
More details emerge about slavery cult
More details about the bizarre religious cult broken up by Mexican police last Saturday. The group is called “Defensores de Cristo” (“Defenders of Christ”). Its leader, Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba, considers himself the reincarnation of Jesus Christ — a claim he presents and attempts to prove on his website, amarjesuscristo.com. His Facebook page, titled ‘Cristo esta VIVO’ (Christ is alive) has garnered over 21,000 ‘likes.’
Myrna Garcia, coordinator for Red de Apoyo — a support network for cult victims — told CNN her group first received complaints about Gonzalez in December 2011. In February 2012, the group filed a complaint with authorities about the Defenders of Christ.
According to Garcia Gonzales de Arriba is “very dangerous because he manipulates the minds of people to satisfy his whims.” She says “He was able to convince them that they had to behave in certain ways to satisfy his economic and sexual needs.”
Garcia also said women were forced to have sex with men in the cult, and that they were beaten and forced to prostitute themselves. Authorities describe it as a form of human trafficking.
The sect recruited people by promising to alleviate emotional and physical problems, cure diseases with miracles, and guaranteeing eternal salvation.
God and Game Fixing
Just before Super Bowl XLVII, 3-in-10 27%) Americans, believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, according to the January Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute.
But a majority (53%) believe that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42% who disagree.
A pastor whose family was murdered in New Mexico belonged to Calvary Chapel — a large association of evangelical churches that, over the past few years has been plagued with accusations.
According to The Daily Beast, “Critics allege that Calvary leaders intervene in disputes, especially involving its financial assets, and then claim no affiliation when their underlings are accused of covering up misdeeds.”