Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

British Government rejects Scientology petition - again

Temple of Xenu | 17.06.2008 17:08 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham | London

Earlier this year, a petition was submitted to the British government calling for an investigation into links between UK Police and the Church of Scientology, a notorious international cult with an array of front groups at its disposal. The petition was dismissed out of hand, with a quote from a representative not even involved with the forces in question.

More recently, a second petition was submitted, this one calling for the British government to refrain from granting the Church of Scientology religious (and therefore tax-exempt) status. Today Number 10 issued its response. Take a guess what it was.

Readers may remember a case, earlier this year, in which a petition presented to the Government regarding Scientology was rejected. That petition concerned reports that police forces in the UK had co-operated with the Church of Scientology, and in particular Narconon (Scientology's drug "rehabilitation" front group). The petition's text itself referenced an article in the Times but did not specify any particular police force; the Times article itself referred to the London Metopolitan Police. Yet, the government's response included a quote only from the City of London Police - the subject of neither the article nor the petition - and concluded with the rather dismissive comment that "You will see, therefore, that there are in fact no ‘links’ that need to be severed." See previous Indymedia coverage ( ) for more info.

A second petition ( ), also made through the online petition section at, stated the following:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Refuse any application submitted by the 'Church' of Scientology for recognition as a Religious Organisation."

Details of Petition:

"Without compromise to freedom of thought or expression, the teachings and beliefs of Scientology, Dianetics and science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard must never be legally be accepted as a religion - regardless of any recent EU decision to the contrary. We consider the 'Church' of Scientology is an exclusive business venture that by prohibiting access to scientifically-proven psychiatric therapy and medicine is effectively enslaving its believers."

The government's response is as follows:
"In our approach to religious groups, the Government must seek to balance its responsibility to protect vulnerable individuals with the UK's long held commitment to freedom of worship and belief.

"The Government does not consider that it would be feasible or appropriate to introduce specific legislation or regulation of religious groups, their activities or their beliefs. There would be considerable difficulty in drawing up legislation in a way that did not interfere with the individual's right to choose their beliefs and lifestyles so long as they do no harm to others. There is also no obvious way in which legislation could deal with cases where adults participate in activities of religious organisations entirely voluntarily."

It should be noted, however, that the British government has already made a judgement in this regard - while not referenced in the petition itself, the Charities Commission's 1999 report ( ) into whether or not the Church of Scientology should be considered a charitable organisation for tax purposes looked extensively into the issue of whether or not the CoS should be considered an organisation "established for the charitable purpose of the advancement of religion". They decided against this, although the CoS was later able to get some tax exemption by being registered in South Australia, where it is considered a charity, and taking advantage of reciprocal tax agreements between the two countries.

This petition, then, was effectively asking the UK government to stick to its current position in spite of agreements in EU courts - a point entirely ignored in the response (although to be fair, also in the petition itself.)

Furthermore, the closing sentence - in particular, the phrase "as long as they do not harm others," raised a few eyebrows around the Temple dinner table. Can't help but wonder if Bonnie Woods ( ) or Paul Bracchi ( ) would agree that the Church of Scientology is as harmless as all that...

Temple of Xenu
- Homepage:


further info

18.06.2008 00:09

Further information can of course be found at, and if you can stomach the 4chan approach to activism at



Hide the following comment

Be nice to the 4chans...

18.06.2008 16:06 soon as Wise Beard Man pointed out their 'tactics' might be counter-productive to people who've been working on this for a while, they ditched the prank-calls and black faxes and stuck to demos.

Whatever your thought on the chans in general, you can't knock the way Anonymous has been able to organise without any identities and coordinate some worldwide protests.

I reckon the government will stay well away from this unless they are forced to judge an application for charitable status or some such. The govt won't promise to decide either way until they have no other choice. You might get further with a petition specifically addressing Narconon and approaching it as a matter of effective spending (Narconon obviously isn't effective).

MonkeyBot 5000