Can a Church forbid Religious Practice?
An excellent post on The Scientology Forum from an anonymous participant. It deserves to be posted also here:
Let’s see how this rolls out:
LRH compiles, organizes and discovers a great many principles of existence, which ultimately result in the principle that you are an immortal spirit. It therefore lands up in the land of spiritual principles, for those who seek spiritual knowledge.
Then auditing processes are developed to reveal the potentialities of an immortal spirit. These are spiritual practices, and in our society they are classified as religious practices.
Circa 1965 the auditing processes are “standardized” so they can be easily taught, propagated and quality assured.
Sometime in the late 60s and throughout the 70s, the effort becomes ensuring that the organizations set up to teach these religious practices will be able to survive and continue to offer these religious practices.
Part of ensuring that survival is attempting to control it all so it can be made to survive and propagate.
Establishing the Church as a Church becomes paramount.
Trademarks, copyrights and service marks are registered in an effort to prevent “improper” use.
The process of re-inventing LRH begins. He is now a saint. All efforts to disclose unsaintly behavior are met with extreme sanctions of disconnection, attacks, and vilification.
The process of re-inventing the materials of Scientology begin. They become “scripture” and “holy writ” of the Church of Scientology, to be zealously guarded and ferociously taken from the hands of those who don’t get with the sanctification program.
Howls of protest from old timers who were rebels, through and through and through. Banned and forbidden from using the religious practices of Scientology, the auditing processes.
STOP RIGHT THERE.
The current Church of Scientology uses trademarks, service marks and copyrights laws to stop people from practicing their own religion?
The current Church of Scientology uses the legal remedies of commerce to stop people from practicing their own religion.
Simple. The individuals who seek to practice their own religion outside of orthodoxy do not have enough wherewithal to fight a prolonged court battle to protect their own constitutional right to practice their own religion. That is the sole barrier. Having enough money to take the fight far enough to establish that the Church of Scientology cannot use commercial law to prevent people from practicing their own religion and that religion IS Scientology.
When it comes right down to it, I think the real question is going to be: can the Church of Scientology really use the law to prevent people from practicing their own religion? Can they really use the laws of commerce to prevent people from auditing each other for free or for exchange?
Can they really stop people from saying they are Scientologists because they are not members of the Church?
Can they really stop people from auditing each other for free or for exchange because they are not members of the Church?
Can they really enforce that people do not communicate when it violates the spiritual teachings of the power and importance of communication?
Can they really claim to be acting in the public interests when they seek to do any of the above?
Can they really walk this line of being a hybrid organization – not quite a religion and not quite a commercial activity?
Those are my half formed thoughts. What do you think?
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