Church of Scientology launches marriage rights bid

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Anonymous, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    A rare “win” for Scientology – Supreme Court | UK Human Rights Blog


    Reasoning behind the judgment

    (references in square brackets are to paragraphs in the judgment)

    The Registrar General has a decision-making function in recording premises as “places of meeting for religious worship” [26, 66f]. Historically, such recording had originally been instituted to enable some non-conformist churches to avoid criminal penalties directed at non-Church of England worship [70]. As a result, recording under those statutes was simply an administrative matter [71]. However, the PWRA had significantly changed the language and purpose of the requirement [75]. Properly construed, s. 2 PWRA gives the Registrar General a discretion to record, essentially for three reasons. Firstly, this is the natural meaning of the language used [76]. Secondly, this is consistent with the Registrar General’s other functions under PWRA, which give her decision-making functions in relation to the renewal or cessation of use of recorded premises [77-79]. Thirdly, by the time that PWRA was enacted, the purpose of recording had altered: certification no longer only gave protection from criminal liability but also gave access to a number of privileges [79-82].

    In considering whether the appellants’ church qualified for such recording, the first substantive question was whether Scientology was properly to be regarded as a religion. The interpretation of “religious worship” in Segerdal carried within it an implicit theistic definition of religion: what the Court of Appeal required was reverence for God [31]. There has never been a universal legal definition of religion in English law, given the variety of world religions, changes in society, and the different legal contexts in which the issues arise. It was necessary for PWRA to be interpreted in accordance with contemporary understanding of religion [32-34]. Two judgments from other common law countries, one from the US Court of Appeals and one from the High Court of Australia, shed useful light on the issue [35-49].

    The High Court correctly decided that Scientology was a religion [50]. Religion should not be confined to faiths involving a supreme deity, since to do so would exclude Buddhism, Jainism, and others [51]. Moreover, it would involve the court in difficult theological territory: Scientologists do believe in a supreme deity, but one of abstract and impersonal nature [52]. It is not appropriate for the Registrar General or the courts to determine questions such as whether this belief constitutes a religion [53]. In a different context, the Charities Act 2006 states that “religion” includes religions not involving belief in a god [54-55].

    Religion could summarily be described as a belief system going beyond sensory perception or scientific data, 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 [57]. On this approach to religion, Scientology was clearly a religion [60]. The question that followed was whether the appellants’ church was a “place of meeting for religious worship”.

    “Religious worship” includes “religious services” as well as the Segerdal concept of veneration or adoration of a deity [61-62]. This accords with the purpose of the statute: the authorisation to marry in conformity with one’s faith should not depend on fine theological or liturgical niceties as to how believers see and express their relationship with the infinite [63]. Since marriages on non-registered premises could not involve any form of “religious service”, if Scientologists were unable to marry in their church they could not have a legal marriage in accordance with their faith [64]. Since the Church of Scientology held religious services, it follows that its church is a “place of meeting for religious worship”, and the Registrar General is ordered to record it as such [65].
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  2. RolandRB Member

    ^^ same goes for satanistic wedding ceremonies, I guess.
  3. wolfbane Member

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  4. Anonymous Member

    Basically now, any organisation which says it's a religion, is a religion.
  5. RolandRB Member

    Can you have religious services in a supermarket?
  6. wolfbane Member

    I for one have a religious experience in the supermarket every time I discover a new flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
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  7. Anonymous Member

    I don't see why not, if you call it a church with a really good gift shop.

    I'm sure the Apple Shops are preparing the altar-piece of St Steve right now.
  8. RolandRB Member

    For me, a supermarket is God the Allgiver and I see it as my religious duty to go shop there. When I buy something I am giving a prayer. It brings me closer to God the Allgiver and I gain a greater understanding of Him and the meaning of Life and the Universe.
  9. PresidentShaw Member

    Sure why not, people should marry however they want
  10. Anonymous Member

    Congratulations, your supermarket is now tax-exempt.
  11. RolandRB Member

    Cheers. And just to make it look genuine (not that it needs it) I will have somebody dressed as an archbishop gliding around on a supermarket trolley hidden under his frock, giving a benediction to all the sh^H^Hworshippers.
  12. Anonymous Member

    feel free if you want an excuse to wear a dress and ride in a shopping trolley, but unnecessary according to this judgement
  13. RolandRB Member

    Ask the store assistant, and it will be shown unto you. Seek bargains, and ye shall find them. Buy knock down goods and bargains will be open to you.
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  14. muldrake Member

    As much as I hate it being Scientology that got a ruling like this, I have to agree with the ruling itself.

    So the Jedis can marry people now, too!
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  15. RolandRB Member

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  16. DeathHamster Member

    I suppose that there's no minimum requirement for how often services are held or attendance.
  17. RolandRB Member

    When Hell's Angels gather, can they claim it is to do worship? If so then their clubhouse can be business rates free.
  18. RolandRB Member

    When I go shopping in a supermarket, it is a religious ceremony for me. If enough of us say so then a supermarket should be business rates exempt as a place of religious worship (or non-worship).
  19. RolandRB Member

    What about a poker club? That should be tax free "You see sir, when I look at the Ace, it reminds me that there is but one God, and the deuce, reminds me that the bible is divided into two parts, the old and the new testament. When I see the trey, I think of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. And when I see the four,I think of the four Evangelists who preached the Gospel There was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. " etc.
  20. RolandRB Member

    I wonder how many people in the UK are going to write to their MP about this. A total of none, I would guess, unless I write one myself.
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  21. Anonymous Member

    I sincerely hope you are wrong RolandRB :(
  22. So this was a Supreme Court Ruling.

    Against the wishes of Xenu, Supreem Rooolah?

    MPs and legalfags and Anons are raeging over this.

    This shit ain't over, it's just beginning.
  23. blownforgood Member

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  24. RolandRB Member

    This is all about getting tax rebates or total tax exemption and nothing more. Now they have this judgment, the applications for having 100% of their premises registered as a place of worship will go in and it now can not be refused. They will get more than half a million pounds a year in tax rebates out of this. They will have the money to throw about to advertise themselves. They will say that their religion is a recognised religion in the UK and they will get many new members as a result. Then they will open newer and larger premises and they too will be places of worship and totally tax exempt. The Church of Scientology will scam millions off the British taxpayer.

    And get this ..... even if it is well known that their religion is a scam, all they need to do to get a 100% property tax rebate is for their parishioners to write in and say that they gather there to do worship and then the place gets de-registered for local tax purposes and becomes tax free. This is even if the whole country regards it as a scam.

    Saint Hill manor in East Grinstead with all its surrounding grounds will be next. That should save them an extra 150K GBP a year.
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  25. DeathHamster Member

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  26. RolandRB Member

  27. RolandRB Member

    The Church can now openly kill people and still get 100% property tax exemption. All it needs for that 100% exemption is for them to claim their whole premises is a place of religious worship backed by the testaments of its parishioners if needs be (though it will never be asked for). They they can carry on scheduling people for the Lisa McPherson Rundown, in Clearwater, Florida, when their own members see through the scam and start asking some serious questions (like I did).

    They have been given a licence to make money and a licence to kill in the UK. Same as for the US.

    This is how the law stands in the UK except now this Supreme Court decision means that an application will not be contested.

    It also means that Church of England premises can no longer expect preferential treatment as that would be religious discrimination. If we change the law to tax Scientology then we would have to tax our parish churches and cathedrals as well.
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  28. RolandRB Member

    Dear Stella,
    I note the decision of Britain's Supreme Court, handed down on 11 December 2013, to recognise Scientology as a religion in England and Wales and thus allow a marriage to go ahead in a Scientology chapel in London. The consequences of this seem to be that any organisation with a vaguely religious orientation can now register itself as a place of religious worship and so make their premises entirely exempt from property taxes. And that this shortfall in income to central government will have to be compensated for with higher taxes to businesses and the British taxpayer. I do not welcome the idea of taxpayers' money being diverted to this Church of Scientology at the expense of poor and old people being able to pay for food and heating, for unemployed people to receive benefits and for sick people to receive treatment.
    I want to make it clear, that as a British citizen, this situation is totally unacceptable. It is one thing to not show discrimination between religions and another thing to give the same rights to a socially obnoxious group that does public harm, albeit with religious claims, as other existing religions that do good. Since Scientology has now entered the mix with all other religions in the UK then this must raise the question as to whether the religions of the UK are collectively deserving of tax advantages. Maybe, with Scientology joining in this mix, they should all pay 10% tax on their takings/donations, including the established religion of this country, the Church of England. Of course, such a tax would force many parish churches and cathedrals across the land to close and as such would not be acceptable to the British public. Therefore, the only option left that I can think of is to legislate against such socially obnoxious groups so as to prevent them claiming tax rebates.
    There needs to be a law introduced such that religions that exists in the UK, but are not of public benefit, are refused tax rebates on the basis that they fail to make a positive contribution to society. This would not involve discriminating between religions on religious grounds but rather on public benefit grounds such that even if Satanism acted in such a way that it conferred public benefit then it should be deserving of tax rebates whereas obnoxious religious groups, such as Scientology, did not.
    Please urge the government to take rapid and decisive action on this issue. This matter is an affront to British citizens and British taxpayers.

    Yours sincerely,
    Roland Rashleigh-Berry
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  29. RolandRB Member

    ^^ OSA still hasn't worked out who I am. :p
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  30. Anonymous Member

    I'm sure it will. :(
  31. Anonymous Member

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  32. RolandRB Member

  33. Anonymous Member

    So now the other members of the church who wish to get married may do so. Gee, this should make a huge impact on membership. Seriously, this is a non event. They may see it as a win, but it truly does not change much as far as recruiting and retention go. Besides, who has money for a wedding when there is GATII to buy?
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  34. Anonymous Member

    The point isn't the wedding. The wedding was just an excuse to get this to court.

    The point is that Scientology premises are now recognised as places of worship -- i.e. the same as a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

    The advantages for Scientology are:

    1) Public relations. This is pretty close to the "religious recongnition" that they'd like but that doesn't exist under UK law.

    2) Tax. Public places of worship are exempt from business rates. As in, they don't have to pay property tax. The property tax on Scientology buildings - particularly Stain Hill and Queen Victoria Stree - is substantial.
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  35. Anonymous Member

    Of course, but this does not undo all of the bad public relations issues they've had. I really don't see this as a game changer for them.
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  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    Marc Headley on the BBC as the UK goes nuts about Scientology marriage

    By Tony Ortega

    As we mentioned yesterday, a lawsuit about Scientology marriage in England that we’ve been watching ended up with a decision we’d been expecting. Overturning archaic (and stupid) English marriage laws, a pair of 25-year-olds will be able to get married at a Scientology org.

    We got a call yesterday from a BBC producer who seemed to know almost nothing about Scientology, and we tried to explain what we’ve written before, that this was mostly a clever ploy by very canny members of prominent Scientology families that were taking advantage of a weak and outdated law to garner Scientology some good publicity. Was it something we said? They never got back to us. Fortunately, they did invite Marc Headley to be on their show, and he was great.

    Continued here:
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  37. RolandRB Member

    ^^ it was nothing to do with being able to hold weddings. It was all to do with getting their premises classified as a place of religious worship which is all to do with getting 100% property tax relief for all their premises in the UK. Worth half a million pounds a year to them.
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  38. RolandRB Member

    Saving half a million quid a year is a game changer for them.
  39. The Wrong Guy Member

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