A French court has convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud, but stopped short of banning the group from operating in France. Two branches of the group's French operations and its leader in France have been fined, reports say. The case came after complaints from two women, one of whom said she was pressured into paying more than 20,000 euros (£18,100) for expensive products. France regards Scientology as a [b]sect[/b], not a [b]religion[/b].Aren't they the same thing :P
You have to hand it to the French. Sometimes Gallic, um, disdain for the rest of the world can actually be to the benefit of all.
As for the difference between a sect and a religion, it is to be found in the extent and severity of infighting its adherents engage in: When they start forming factions and baying for one another’s blood, it goes from being one sect to being two or more religions. As this hasn’t happened in scientology yet, it seems that the French have got it right…
i don’t understand how a woman can be stupid enough to spend so much money on such useless enterprises ‘because the church told her to’. and then the french courts use this woman’s stupidity to take the church to court? would it not be better if people were actually held accountable for their actions? pertaining to the church’s ‘manipulation’ AND the ‘victims’ idiocy? i think it becomes a dangerous game when official institutions such as a court become too involved in religious shenanegans. the courts should be protecting people from many things, but people should not rely on the courts to protect them from religious nuts and their so-called ‘pressure’ they put on their ‘followers’. these silly women CHOSE to convert to the religion in the first place.
A charge of fraud, which is what the French court contemplated and ruled on, implies that the alleged criminal act involved the premeditated extraction of money or other considerations under false pretences. The gullibility of those who were suckered is very much a tangential issue, one that does not mitigate the crime itself. “The victim asked for it” is hardly an adequate defence for a murder even if it was true. As a matter of fact, an argument could be made that those who were defrauded were victims owing to slightly diminished capacity in the first place, and therefore all the more deserving of the state’s protections.
But sure enough, in an ideal world where rationality holds sway, the CoS would be completely starving for members.