Friday, August 18, 2006
Scientology tax victory in UK
The Telegraph reported a Scientology tax victory in UK - where Scientologists have been being discriminated against since the 60's. I'm in it. I'm telling you right here and now, I'm a Scientologist. It's my religion, not a hobby. I've been a practicing minister since 1976, performing funeral services and the occasional wedding, and ministering to others in our community. We have churches all over England, the US, and the world, for that matter. That should be all that's needed to prove it to anyone that it's a religion. It should be tax-exempt if other religions are tax exempt -- else it is just discrimination based on some sort of favoritism. Should a Shinto temple have tax exemption? What about a Buddhist monastery? A mosque? A Christian Science reading room? A non-denominational backwoods Christian church with only 10 members, meeting in someone's trailer? A Hopi tribal congregation? Absolutely, to all. That's the only view that makes any sense if you're giving tax exemption for being a religious institution. Now the VAT Tribunal has ruled that UK Revenue & Customs has to pay at least £4.1m in past payments to the Church of Scientology of England. This is very good news for all those who have had taxes collected by an "inept and inadequate" Revenue & Customs, which has clearly overstepped its bounds since that first, obviously mistaken ruling nearly 30 years ago that Scientologists had to pay VAT, while the other churches in England didn't. It's our money, they've held it for far too long, and I, for one, am glad that we have it back where it will do some good, funding projects to increase literacy in England, to help get people off drugs, and to educate people about morality.