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In April 2007, in the case entitled Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the rights of all Scientologists to practice their religion free from government interference or harassment. This ruling applies to all 47 Member States of the Council of Europe, including France.

In this landmark case, the European Court of Human Rights made it clear that, while religious freedom is a matter of individual conscience, it also protects and includes freedom to manifest one's religion through worship, teaching, practice and observance in community with others. These standards include respect for freedom of religion and belief and the rights of members of any faith to assemble to practice freely their religion.

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Unfortunately, France has fallen short of these religious freedom standards. Instead, French authorities have continued their campaign against religious freedom for all – the recent improper leaking of judicial information to the press is the latest example.

This constitutes a violation of the Church’s right to the presumption of innocence and violates the strict rules mandating secrecy of instruction. Due to the utter lack of substance behind this 10-year “investigation”, the government is reduced to raising its hollow charges through the press rather than through the Rule of Law in court. We are confident that these actions will never withstand scrutiny in an objective court of law.

The unlawful leaking of information is nothing less than harassment as well as a violation of the right to due process and a fair trial guaranteed by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Church of Scientology has been recognized by dozens of courts and administrative agencies all over the world.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954. Today there are nearly 8,000 Scientology churches, missions and groups in more than 160 countries. The Church is enjoying an unprecedented expansion as it engages in an international program to acquire new places of worship and community outreach centers for its Churches in major cities around the world, such as Madrid, London, Berlin and Copenhagen.

These actions by French authorities will not deter its expansion.

Rev. Yvette Shank, National President
Church of Scientology

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Tax Exemption
By Josh Hopewell on October 3,2008

A tax-exempt status does not make one a religion. 

Scientologists do not go to church, they go to Scientology Centres.

Scientologists do not pray, they use e-meters (basically an ohmmeter) for stress tests.

They do not have ministers trained in religious knowledge, they have people called ministers that are trained to use e-meters.

They do not have religious scriptures - they have books like Dianetics that they sell for profit.

What France is doing is what Germany is doing ... Pointing out that Scientology is not a religion, but a profitable cult with dangerous members.

Freedom of religion is not freedom to do whatever you want.
By Anon411 on October 3,2008

I do not have a problem with people practicing or worshiping as they please unless that practice interferes with my civil rights. Scientology, by virtue of its belief in world conquest and domination (a sacrament that is signed and attested to by all members of Scientology at ALL levels.) is not compatible with western society and probably no other. Hubbard’s essay, Keeping Scientology Working (please Google this) is the dark core of their beliefs. It states that Hubbard’s teachings are absolute and supersede all governments, all other religions and all laws. It states that ALL members of Scientology must do whatever it takes to spread Scientology across the globe and to do this with a singular purpose, putting down any dissent and not tolerating any debate. It states that democracy is a failure and that only Hubbard’s rules will lead humanity to salvation.

This is not just a funny little religion, the people who spend their life savings for Hubbard’s salvation believe in the tenants of Keeping Scientology Working  with every fiber of their  being. If there is a dark beating heart of Scientology, Keeping Scientology Working is very close to it.

"Rights" for Scientology are only one way
By Bill on October 3,2008

When Scientology complains about "rights" they only recognize rights for them.  According to Scientology, non-Scientologists have no rights.

Scientology must have the freedom to say anything they please about anyone, but Scientology critics must not speak.

People must have the freedom to become Scientologists, but no one may leave Scientology.

Scientology must have the power to suppress any and all information about Scientology they desire, but they must also be able to release information about others without restrictions.

The Church of Scientology is extremely hypocritical when it comes to "rights".  They must have everything, but non-Scientologists have no rights at all.  That's the Scientology rules.  That's the world that Scientology is working to create.

No thanks!  Sorry Ms. Shank, and all Scientologists, you have to live in this world, under the real world's rule of law.  If you don't like the consequences  -- stop breaking the law!


By anon491 on October 3,2008

What about the right to protest against Scientology without  Scientology interference or harassment ?

Reality bites back
By EastAnon on October 3,2008

Dear Ms. Shank,

Thank you for your very informative article. There is no doubt everybody is entitled to their religion. There is not a single country in Europe that denies anybody this right.

Freedom of religion does not equal freedom to do as you please under the guise of religion. Not one single religion has the freedom to commit crimes. Scientology is no exception.

The problem with Scientology is that it denies basic human rights to its members and its critics. France is not the only country that is becoming aware of this. Germany, Russia, Israel, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are looking into the practices of Scientology. Even within the USA Scientology is under investigation by the FBI and at least one other government agency.

What you call 'leaking' information is nothing more then the government giving access to information. This happens everywhere. It is very unfortunate for Scientology that this includes the scriptures you would very much like to keep secret, like the Fishman affidavit that describes OT3, and other materials. But Scientology is not above the law. Sueing critics and ex-members also means giving evidence to the court of their perceived crimes. This evidence becomes public record.

You might try to keep litigation to a minimum. This would be a 180 degree change within Scientology, but it can be done. The Freezone has the same basic beliefs as Scientology, yet i have not heard of any courtcase initiated by them. With Scientology, the number of courtcases exceeds the number of members your 'church' has.

One of the basic beliefs of Scientology is 'clearing the planet'. This means building a society according to your perceived perfect image. In trying this, basic rights of others who happen to disagree with this image are denied, and members are used as slaves to reach this goal. You can not deny others their basic human rights because your image of a perfect society collides with reality.

Maybe that is the reason that the expansion Down Under (ANZO) has come to a screeching halt and your Org there is running on empty. Maybe it is also the reason for the number of critics and ex-members growing day by day.

I understand my criticism might be perceived as harsh. But 'good roads, fair weather' is not always the solution. Welcome to the 'wog'world.



Ironic, no?
By Ausnony on October 3,2008

Apologies for the lack of french here, my lack of fluency in french would probably make eyes bleed.

It's interesting that Ms Shank would claim that her 'church's freedoms were being impinged, especially with the way the 'Church' of scientology Canada has acted in the past against its critics, a prime example being their actions against.Professor Stephen A. Kent  of the University of Alberta.

More information about this can be found at

Everyone should enjoy the right of being able to make an informed choice, Scientology's PR and Smear campaigns make it very hard to do so.

By the Canadian census there are 1500 Scientologists here. I don't see expansion.
By Gary the Groundhog on October 2,2008

I don't think the people of France really care what you believe. It is something about Lord Xenu blowing up the space souls 75 million years ago and them sticking to peoples bodies and causing all their problems, isn't it. The French are going after you for swindling and it is high time the government of Canada did too!

A transparent piece of spin.
By Pierre Bardot on October 2,2008

The fact that a nasty commercial scam poses as a religion doesn't  entitle it immunity from criticism.   It harms all religion that this scam poses as a religion. 

How does this relate to the Fraudulent Actions the church has taken in France?
By Markus Andras on October 2,2008

Fraud is not Religious Freedom!

Hiding behind the guise of religion does not give the "Church" the right to commit felony fraud against it's members and other members of the community it participates in.

Scienotology is a Cult
By Jiman on October 2,2008

Church of Scientology is a Cult, and nothing else BUT a cult.

Members of this cult are trapped within their walls, and unable to free themselves.


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