Submission from the Church of Scientology
1. I present this submission as the Public
Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology in the United Kingdom.
They are grateful for the invitation to provide evidence on these
2. Our Founder, L Ron Hubbard, wrote:
"Tolerance is a good cornerstone on which
to build human relationships. When one views the slaughter and
suffering caused by religious intolerance throughout all the history
of man and into modern times, one can see that intolerance is
a very non-survival activity.
Religious tolerance does not mean one cannot
express his own beliefs. It does mean that seeking to undermine
or attack the religious faith and beliefs of another has always
been a short road to trouble. . .
Any advice one might give another on this subject
is safest when it simply asserts the right to believe as one chooses.
One is at liberty to hold up his own beliefs for acceptance. One
is at risk when he seeks to assault the beliefs of others, much
more so when he attacks and seeks to harm others because of their
3. Recently our Church in East Grinstead
Sussex hosted an interfaith conference which was attended by the
followers of many different denominations. The theme of the conference
was: "Filling the Moral Vacuum", and what became very
quickly apparent was that all of the religions attending essentially
shared the same core moral values, which included the need to
respect the religious beliefs of others. Towards the end of the
conference we held a multi-denominational service which included
contributions from ministers of many different religions; these
included an Anglican, a Buddhist, a Catholic, a Hindu, a Jainist,
a Jew, Muslims, a Pentecostal, a Scientologist, Sikhs and a Zoroastrian.
What was striking about this service was that although there were
many different religions, and references to many different religious
works, in many different languages, the essence of what each was
saying was fundamentally very similar. Man has a spiritual nature,
and it is the pursuit of spiritual goals that is the route to
true happiness and freedom.
4. From our experience then, religious intolerance
is created in the main by the misrepresentation of the beliefs
and practices of others. This is true to such an extent that if
you could at a stroke eliminate the deliberate misrepresentation
of others' beliefs and practices, you would all but eliminate
religious intolerance, and all of the problems associated with
5. The purpose of the criminal law is to
protect peoples' rights and freedoms. The principle rights and
freedoms are set out in the European Convention on Human Rights
and other international human rights conventions. Where a right
or freedom is harmed, such as the right to life, the right to
own property, the right to communicate the law steps in. The right
to believe and to worship freely are such fundamental rights,
and the purpose of the law in this area should be the purpose
of the law in any other area, which is to ensure that the rights
can be exercised without harm.
6. In relation to the law of blasphemy,
the point is not to protect God from harm. After all who can harm
God? The purpose is rather to enable the peaceful practice of
religion to occur free from insult or attack. The law of blasphemy
can be modernised and extended to all religions if one looks to
7. The difficulty with trying to formulate
a definition for an offence of incitement to religious hatred
is that one does not want to curtail the expression of ideas and
opinions. One therefore, it seems to us, has to focus on intention.
And it should not be forgotten that much protection is already
offered by the existing criminal law and that duplication of this
protection is unnecessary.
8. In the light of the foregoing we would
suggest that the law should prohibit:
(a) Actions designed to disrupt or interfere
with religious worship and practices.
(b) The deliberate or reckless misrepresentation
of another's religious beliefs with the intention that another
should believe that misrepresentation, where the misrepresentation,
if believed, would damage the reputation of followers of the religious
9. The advantage of formulations along these
lines is that they provide a reasonable balance between the right
of free expression and the right to believe and worship freely.
19 July 2002