Walk down Hollywood Boulevard, and it’s likely you’ll have someone offer you a free “stress test.” If you’re a snarky millennial, you may recognize the attempt at Scientology proselytizing for what it is and respond that “South Park got to me first” or that you’ve made friends with your thetans. However, many unsuspecting, lost souls end up getting sucked into, what most of the sane world knows is, a dangerous cult.
A Dutch court ruled that Church of Scientology’s expensive “therapy sessions” and “educational” courses are clearly aimed at making a hefty profit and removed it from tax authority’s charity list
Although the Dutch court stopped short of calling the Church of Scientology a cult, they were pretty clear in their opinion of the organization. Basically, the court said that tax-exempt status was meant to be reserved for charities and that Scientology is clearly not a charity in any way, shape, or form. According to the NLTimes:
The court ruled that these courses cost significantly more than commercial educational institutions’ average school fees. “If providers on the secular education market had similar prices, prospective students would experience it as prices for top education by top teachers in prime locations.” The court finds the prices to be very commercial. According to the court, Scientology consciously seeks profits to fill its purse and was able to build “substantial wealth” like this.
The Church of Scientology has the right to appeal, and although it’s not clear if they will, the Church’s sue-happy history makes it seem pretty plausible. For now, the Church is crying and whining that it is the victim of “religious discrimination.”
Holland joins sane countries when denouncing Scientology, and the numbers alone should make the U.S. want to follow.
It is refreshing to see a country that recognizes that money-grubbing “religious” corporations shouldn’t be treated like organizations that actually help people. Holland is not alone is calling Scientology for what it is, though.
For example, Germany set up a “Scientology Task Force” over two decades ago to monitor activity, investigate allegations, assist members who left the Church, and discourage citizens from joining it in the first place. Both France and Israel have declared Scientology a cult. Ireland is one of several countries to have not ruled on the its religious status, but will also not grant it tax-exempt status.
Scientology did not begin as a tax-exempt organization in the United States, but after a long, nasty legal battle they bullied the IRS into submission. According to Fortune, the Church of Scientology would have to pay about $7.8 million annually in income taxes and $20 million in property taxes.
Watch a brief history of Scientology’s battle with the IRS starting at about 5:30 below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk6m6Tb6wJ4&w=560&h=315]
Featured image screen capture via YouTube.