UK Police Warn that “Scientology is a Cult” Signs are Illegal

Took Advice from Crown Prosecution Service

UK anarchist newsletter SchNEWS reports on an anti-Scientology protest at the Church’s centre in the City of London:

At 11.20, two [City of London police] officers approached one 15-year-old who was wearing a huge-nosed mask and holding a sign saying “Scientology is not a religion – it is a dangerous cult”. He was handed a pre-printed warning by a WPC stating, “The sign you are displaying commits an offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. you are strongly advised to remove the sign with immediate effect”.

…Police were clearly out to protect CoS’s reputation with one officer telling us, “Our solicitors at the Crown Prosecution Service have advised us that any signs saying ‘Scientology is a cult’ could be deemed offensive.” He added “They are being treated as a religious organisation for the purposes of today”.

Of course, offering the police advice about public criticism of religion is not something in which the Crown Prosecution Service has shown much competence: just days ago it was announced that the CPS and the West Midlands Police had issued an apology and paid damages to the makers of a Channel 4 documentary on Islamic fundamentalism in the UK; the CPS had advised the West Midlands Police to complain about the programme to UK television regulator Ofcom on the (bogus) grounds that the documentary-makers had edited footage of ranting Islamists in a way that created a “distorted” negative impression.

The protestor concerned, who goes by the name of “The Epic Nose Guy”, was issued with a court summons, as he explains here:

SchNEWS adds:

In October, a £24 million Scientology centre opened in the heart of London’s Square Mile…Up to 20 officers in the City of London Police – from constables to superintendents – have accepted hospitality worth thousands from CoS, including invites to a £500-a-head charity dinner where the guest of honour was Tom Cruise. One senior police officer appeared in a Church of Scientology video and another, Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley, spoke at the opening of the new “mission” saying the cult was “raising the spiritual wealth of society”.

I blogged on this here.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, the Scientology PR machine tries to win over some protestors in its usual slick manner:

2 Responses

  1. The Toronto video was more than a gaff by a Scientologist. It was the President of Scientology Canada making what at minimum is an acknowledgement of the cult’s ability to track down its critics – y’know, as if maybe it had experience in this sort of thing…; furthermore, the President’s (Yvette Shank) statements could be taken as an implicit threat.

  2. […] conundrum: I reported this a few days ago, quoting SchNEWS: At 11.20, two [City of London police] officers approached one […]

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