Scientology arrest makes a mockery of the law

May 23, 2008 update: Schoolboy avoids prosecution for branding Scientology a cult

A teenager who was facing legal action for calling the Church of Scientology a “cult” has today been told he will not be taken to court.

The Crown Prosecution Service ruled the word was neither “abusive or insulting” to the church and no further action would be taken against the boy.
– Source: The Guardian, May 23, 2008

The teenage boy facing prosecution for holding a placard saying that scientology is a “cult” serves to demonstrate the ridiculous mess that the Government has made of its attempts to protect religious observance in law.

This nameless boy has been served with a summons under section five of the Public Order Act, which seeks to restrict signs that might be considered “threatening, abusive or insulting.” Meanwhile, we have a Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which passed into law in 2006 with the express purpose of making it an offence to incite hatred on religious grounds.

By co-incidence, it was in 2006 that militant Muslims demonstrated at the Danish Embassy in London over the publication in Denmark of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Their placards variously read “Slay/Annihilate/Butcher/Massacre/Behead€¦those who insult Islam.”

I am unaware of any charges that were brought against the bearers of these placards under either the Public Order Act or, more pertinently, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act. That’s because the provisions of the legislation are almost meaningless in action. [Actually, see: 4 men sentenced to prison for Muhammad cartoon protest in LondonRNB]

But if the law is an ass, those who enforce it are whipped mules. The police in these circumstances are too inclined to side with the bullies. The violent Islamists outside the Danish Embassy were protected; far easier to feel the collar of a teenage boy with a harmless slogan. The bullies in the latter incident are those who worship their own lifestyle at the Church of Scientology.

Theirs is not the brutish violence of the Islamists. The Scientologists mess with people’s minds. That’s why the BBC’s John Sweeney memorably lost it on air, while shooting a documentary on them. The pity is that they now seem to have warped the minds of the City of London Police.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 22, 2008.
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