Ok Scientology fans, as if we haven’t heard enough about our favorite church this year…
On May tenth, Anonymous, a group that protests the Church Of Scientology, was conducting another protest in front of the Church’s costly headquarters in London. Among the hundreds in attendance, a 15 year old boy was holding a sign that read ‘Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.’ Very soon after he arrived with the sign a police officer told him that he was not allowed to use the word “cult” and that he was to remove the sign. He ignored the police and soon after he was read section 5 of the Public Order Act by a policewoman.
Part of the Act states:
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he: (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior, or disorderly behavior, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
In the same Act it is written that:
This offence has the following statutory defenses: (1) The defendant had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be alarmed of distressed by his action. (2) The defendant was in a dwelling and had no reason to believe that his behavior would be seen or heard by any person outside any dwelling. (3) The conduct was reasonable.
He told the officer that in 1984 a high court ruling from Mr. Justice Latey described the Church of Scientology as a “cult” which was “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”. You would figure this would explain and validate his usage of the word. After his discussion with the cop he was given a court summons and she removed his sign. Apparently he was not the only person to be asked to remove a sign by police. Talk about a distinct lack of free speech…why would the police be paying so much attention to a peaceful protest?
To my knowledge, No violence or outrageous behavior was reported from this or any other protests organized by Anonymous. What I do find very telling is the fact that more than 20 of London’s police were discovered to have taken gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology. Not a bad take for stripping a few youthful protesters of their hurtful and mean signs. From what I read, breaking this law can put you in the slammer for 6 months but I don’t think it’s likely the boy will see jail time.
So what we have here are possible signs of corruption in the London police force and free speech on the ropes. Thanks L. Ron! �