Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
There is perhaps few crazier ideas than that of an evil alien imprisoning alien souls over 70+ million years ago. And yet, not only does this pernicious nonsense thrive, people give actual credence to this folderol.
UK supreme court judges have cleared the way for Scientology to be accepted as a religion and for its members to marry in their own church.
Louisa Hodkin, 25, a Scientologist from East Grinstead, Sussex, won a legal battle overturning a ruling by a high court judge who had said that services run by the Church of Scientology did not amount to acts of worship.
In a judgment published on Wednesday, the court ruled that a Scientology chapel in central London was a "place of meeting for religious worship" and that it would be "discriminatory and unjust" if followers were unable to marry using their own religious service.
Hodkin said afterwards: "I am really excited. I'm really glad we are finally being treated equally and can now get married in our church." She hoped to marry her fiancé, Allesandro Calcioli, within a few months, though they had not yet set a date. Calcioli said he was "ecstatic".
Hodkin's solicitor, Paul Hewitt, a partner at the law firm Withers, said the judgment was "a victory for the equal treatments of religions in the modern world".
He added: "It always felt wrong that Louisa was denied the simple right, afforded to members of other religions, to enjoy a legal marriage ceremony in her own church."
The ruling overturns a reading of the law from a 1970 court of appeal case, Segerdal, which upheld the refusal of the registrar general to register the Church of Scientology chapel in East Grinstead as a place of meeting for religious worship.
In that 1970s ruling, the judge, Lord Denning, said he did not find reverence or veneration of God or a supreme being in the creed of the church of Scientology, adding "there may be a belief in a spirit of man, but there is no belief in a spirit of God".
But Lord Toulson, in a written judgment on the latest case, heard by the supreme court in July and agreed by three other judges, suggested religion should not be confined to beliefs that recognized a supreme deity. Such a position would otherwise exclude Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Theosophy and part of Hinduism; and Jains, Thesophists and Buddhists, among others, had got registered places of worship in Britain.
The court had heard evidence that Scientologists did believe in a supreme being of a kind "but of an abstract and impersonal nature", said Toulson.
Ideas about the nature of god were "the stuff of theological debate", he said, but neither the registrar general nor the courts should become drawn into such territory when deciding whether premises qualified as a place of meeting for religious worship.
Toulson said: "I would describe religion in summary as a spiritual or non-secular belief system, held by a group of adherents, which claims to explain mankind's place in the universe and relationship with the infinite, and to teach its adherents how they are to live their lives in conformity with the spiritual understanding associated with the belief system.
"By spiritual or non-secular I mean a belief system which goes beyond that which can be perceived by the senses or ascertained by the application of science.
"Such a belief system may or may not involve belief in a supreme being, but it does involve a belief that there is more to be understood about mankind's nature and relationship to the universe than can be gained from the senses or from science. I emphasize that this is intended to be a description and not a definitive formula."
The judge said of the approach he had taken with regard to the meaning of religion that the evidence was "amply sufficient to show that Scientology is within it".
The government signaled that the judgment could fuel a political row now there was the prospect of the Church of Scientology avoiding business rates.
The local government minister, Brandon Lewis, said his department would be taking legal advice. Lewis said: "I am very concerned about this ruling, and its implication for business rates. In the face of concerns raised by Conservatives in opposition, Labour ministers told parliament during the passage of the equalities bill that Scientology would continue to fall outside the religious exemption for business rates.
"Now we discover Scientology may be eligible for rate relief and that the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill, all thanks to Harriet Harman and Labour's flawed laws. Hard-pressed taxpayers will wonder why Scientology premises should now be given tax cuts when local firms have to pay their fair share."
Should the Scientologists get a fair shake? Of course they should. They should pay taxes, like all pseudo-philosophical nonsenses. And they should pay for their own lawsuits, costs, and all other resources they waste on crap like this.
‘Acts of worship’? Acts of lunatics, more like.
How two people go about getting married is nobody’s business but the couple’s.
Respecting someone’s right to an opinion doesn’t extend respect to the opinion itself.
So in short, I respect their rights to have an opinion, but an evil alien overlord? Having evolved from clams? Pandering to a terrible writer’s bad fiction? Please.
Those opinions deserve nothing but ridicule.
Embedded for your enjoyment, a nice montage little clip from YouTube:
Till the next post then.