On October 27, 2009, French court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud.

French Celebrity Centre spokesman Eric Roux was quoted as saying:

Religious freedom is in danger in this country.

[Ref.: “Scientologists convicted of fraud,” BBC]

The problem with Mr. Roux’s statement is that he seems to think that fraudulent conduct under the guise of religion should be protected. France showed us today that there is no such thing as religious freedom to defraud people.

France is not alone in ruling that churches are not protected from unlawful conduct. The U.S. Supreme Court also said so in a judgment in 1988, as reported in the L.A. Times in an article titled “Church Can Be Sued on Recruiting – Beliefs Protected but Not Conduct, Justices Rule”:

The court majority, in an opinion by Justice Stanley Mosk, said that while religious beliefs were entitled to full protection, religiously motivated conduct was subject to restriction by the state.

There was no constitutional barrier to a fraud suit “for deceiving non-members into subjecting themselves, without their knowledge or consent, to coercive persuasion,” Mosk said.

Allowing such suits would not intrude on the beliefs of church members, Mosk said, and would pose only a “marginal” burden on religiously motivated recruiting practices.

One of the problem with Scientology, is that the teachings condone fraud. Here is a typical example, an excerpt taken from a Scientology information letter by L. Ron Hubbard (thus, considered scriptures by Scientologists), in which Hubbard essentially tells followers to lie to potential recruits:

[…]

Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., Ph.D., a nuclear physicist, Scientology has demonstrably achieved this long-sought goal. Doctor Hubbard, educated in advanced physics and higher mathematics […]

The first science to determine the basic cause of disease.

The first science to contain exact technology to routinely alleviate physical illnesses with completely predictable success.

[…]

[Ref.: HCO INFORMATION LETTER OF 14 APRIL 1961]

Of course, L. Ron Hubbard was not a “nuclear physicist,” nor a “C.E.,” and neither a “doctor.” He actually flunked university with very poor grades in science, mathematics. Scientology is not a “science,” and neither can it “alleviate physical illnesses.” The above statements are all fraudulent. And yet, they are still used by the Church of Scientology as a recruitment tool.

The Church of Scientology will not openly discuss its core beliefs, but will have no qualms in making false claims in order to get people to buy its materials and sign-up for courses. It certainly fully deserves this latest conviction in France.

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