Thursday, April 05, 2007

Scientology - Human Rights Victory in Europe

The European Court of Human Rights found unanimously today in favor of the Church of Scientology of Moscow, which upheld that the Church of Scientology had the right to be register as a religion in Moscow. They had registered in 1994, but a change in the law required the Church to file an application for re-registration, which was denied on spurious grounds.

Quoting from the Scientology Today website:

In Church of Scientology Moscow vs Russia (Application no. 18147/02), the Church of Scientology of the City of Moscow filed an application regarding the refusal of the Moscow department of Justice to re-register the Church as a religious organization. The Church of Scientology of Moscow was first registered in 1994. After a change in the law the Church filed an application for re-registration. The Church complained that the refusal of its application violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Elena Saycheva, spokesperson of the Church of Scientology of Moscow, praised the court's ruling saying, "This decision not only confirms the rights of churches of Scientology, but also sets another important precedent to protect the rights of all other religious communities in Europe."

This win will apply to all religious groups in Europe, not just to the Scientologists, which is very much in the favor of other persecuted groups in Europe: groups as diverse as Jehovah's Witnesses, other evangelical Christian sects, and wiccans will be able to cite this precedent.

The Church of Scientology has a reputation for being litigious. I'm actually kind of proud of that. The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, said this, which I've found to be true: "The price of freedom: constant alertness, constant willingness to fight back."

Few people remember that it was the Scientologists who mastered the art of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request back in the 1970's, and obtained numerous rulings under the Freedom of Information Act that upheld that the public (that's you, if you're an American) does have the right to know exactly what's in the files our government is keeping on you. The FOIA is not an idle promise, it's a guaranteed right of all Americans. It is that now because of all the work the Scientologists did to make it so.

Today, In Europe, the religious freedom of all Europeans is strengthened by this ruling.

Time to celebrate!

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