I read today that James Higgs in United Kingdom has created a petition calling on the British Government to not accept Scientology as a religion in the UK.
Gods know that I’m no fan of the Scientologists, but my thoughts on them are for another posting.
For today, my thoughts are that, no matter how much I may dislike the Scientologists, this is a bad thing and scares me. And it should scare all pagans as well as those who practice religions or hold beliefs that are in the numerical minority or are generally considered out of the mainstream.
Clearly, this petition, like so many other bad ideas for laws, is borne out of the best of intentions (generally at least). The key thing, though, that makes this scary is the simple fact that it’s not seeking to use the coercive force of the Government to protect citizens from the specific actions of other parties. Rather, this is seeking to ban a group based on its beliefs. From the petition:
Without compromise to freedom of thought or expression, the teachings and beliefs of Scientology, Dianetics and science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard must never be legally be accepted as a religion – regardless of any recent EU decision to the contrary.
We consider the ‘Church’ of Scientology is an exclusive business venture that by prohibiting access to scientifically-proven psychiatric therapy and medicine is effectively enslaving its believers.
That is a frightful thing in no small part because it is seeking to protect people from a religion. By what criteria? Does someone who is polyamorus in part because of their pagan beliefs need to be protected from the perceived risks of multi-partner relationships by banning paganism?
I understand the good intentions but this isn’t the way to solve this problem. This is building a tool that can one day be used against others.
I truly hope this doesn’t pass. For all of us, really.