Scientology worship * Twitter Your Way to Paradise * Islamophobia

bullet If you have followed Religion News Blog for any length of time you know that we consider the so-called ‘Church of Scientology’ to be nothing more than a commercial enterprise that acts like a hate group and masquerades as a religion.

In our informed opinion, Scientology is a ruthless cult that pays lip-service to such popular causes as human rights and anti-drug education, while destroying lives and relationships.

So we pay close attention to the cult’s manifold efforts to try and gain a measure of legitimacy in various countries that — rightly, we believe — don’t buy into much of what Scientology claims to be and promote.

Currently, Supreme Court Judges in the UK are debating whether or not services in the Church of Scientology should be considered religious worship.

The Independent reports

The discussion in the highest court is the culmination of one couple’s five year legal battle to marry in a Scientology chapel in London. Louisa Hodkin, 24, first took the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths to court in 2008 after they said she could not marry her fiancé there because it was not a place of worship.

A decision in yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing was delayed so that the Registrar had time to send in further evidence on whether it should have been deciding at all what constituted a religious ceremony. A ruling is now not expected until October, after the summer break.

Another look at the case is provided by The Guardian, which notes that

The appeal is of wider significance since Scientologists have applied for certification at other premises in England that they claim are used for religious worship.

bullet The Southern Poverty Law Center, a human rights organization known for tracking and reporting on hate groups, has in recent years started to throw its weight around in areas that not everyone believes are covered by its brief.

The Washington Post says

On Friday (July 19) the New Jersey Superior Court will hear arguments in the lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center against the group Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing.

The complaint says the Jersey City-based JONAH’s practices violate the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by falsely promising that it can help clients change their sexuality from gay to straight.

The paper notes that the suit comes one month after the Christian “ex-gay” advocacy group Exodus International announced it would be closing its doors — and that

The lawsuit comes against a larger backdrop of growing acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, and admissions by ex-gay leaders that their movement is flawed.

In fact, Exodus International President Alan Chambers announced that he is launching a new organization whose goals “are to reduce fear and come alongside churches to become safe (and) welcoming communities.”

See also: Some Christians shift on gays

bullet Paradise is not just a few mouse click away, a senior Vatican official warns. That said, Catholics who follow Pope Francis’ tweets are now offered indulgences — which reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.

In the Middle Ages unscrupulous church leaders sold such indulgences for large sums of money, but nowadays one can earn them by performing tasks such as climbing the Sacred Steps in Rome.

The practice — which has no biblical basis whatsoever — is a reminder that while many consider the Catholic Church to be a Christian denomination, many others believe it to be theologically a cult of Christianity.

bullet June 2013 was not a good month for religious tolerance, says Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.

Vicious sectarianism is not solely afflicting Muslim countries — witness the attacks by monk-led Buddhists on Myanmar’s Rohingya minority and the growing Islamophobia in Europe. But the trend is particularly prevalent — and alarming — in the Muslim world, affecting areas where people have lived together for centuries. The violence is tearing communities apart and fueling political instability and horrific rights abuses. And authoritarian governments are using it as a reason to resist popular demands for political rights.

bulletIncidentally: Not addressed (and indeed seldom acknowledged) is that so-called Islamophobia in most cases is a direct response to the intolerant and violent nature of Islam.

The Quran refers to non-Muslims as, among other references, pigs and apes. And one only has to follow the news to know that Islam is a religion that does not play nice.

bullet Speaking of Islam-inspired intolerance: the Taliban is a collection of despicable creatures who all seem to suffer from mental illness and religious insanity.

What else can explain their penchant for violence in the name of their particular brand of Islam — which, fortunately, is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims.

A senior leader of this groups of criminals has indirectly sent a letter to schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head last year by Taliban gunmen.

The leader does not apologize for the attack, nor does he condemn it. Instead he claims Malala was targeted because she campaigned to “malign [the Taliban's] efforts to establish the Islamic system”.

No one in his right mind can tolerate that kind of criminal nonsense.

bullet Here’s our favorite headline of the day: Beat Islamic fundamentalism by studying Henry V

More headlines for your consideration:

bullet And finally… having mentioned ‘religious insanity’ a while back, we take note of another kind of idiocy: Freedom from Religion Foundation objects to Star of David in Holocaust memorial.

That’s too sad for words.

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