Australian $cientologists call for censorship

Last year the Australian Human Rights Commission called for submissions for their “Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st century project.” Among the 1937 responses was one from the Church of Scientology (PDF download), who spotted the opportunity to call for drastic across-the-board censorship laws to protect them from criticism and scrutiny.

Their recommendations are summarised at the end of the document:

Recommendation 1: The implementation of Criminal and Civil Restrictions on Religious Vilification.
Recommendation 2: Restriction on Anonymity on acts of Religious Vilification:
2.1 Websites created with primary purpose of inciting religious vilification shall be removed or their access to the Australian public restricted.
2.2 Creators of websites whose primary purpose is the incitement of religious vilification shall be prevented from concealing their identity.
Recommendation 3: Restriction on Religious Misinformation and Misrepresentation known or reasonably known to be untruthful in the Media
Recommendation 4: Include a form of Bill or Charter of Rights into the Australian Constitution, which prevents the Commonwealth from making any law, which ‘directly, indirectly or incidentally’ prohibits the free exercise of religion to the extent of such prohibition

That last recommendation is about protecting the Co$ from taxation and immigration restrictions on their members.

It looks like Anonymous has got them on the run!

6 Responses to “Australian $cientologists call for censorship”

  1. barriejohn says:

    I think they might well have blown their foot off completely with Recommendation 3! “Restriction on Religious Misinformation and Misrepresentation known or reasonably known to be untruthful…” Doesn’t that pretty well sum up all this Old Mother Hubbard crap?

  2. Robert says:

    English PEN had to run a campaiagn against similar laws back in 2005. Check our web pages on ‘Free Expression is No Offence’ for an explanation of the campaign.

    • Monitor says:

      (Clicking on the “Free Expression is No Offence”‘ banner in the sidebar here should take you straight there)

  3. j.r. says:

    I wonder how religion would be defined, and whether other activities should be protected from vilification. For instance, I wonder how the “church” of scientology would feel about a law protecting psychiatry from vilification.

    • barriejohn says:

      Perhaps it would be only fair to offer such protection to religion. After all, according to certain “learned gentlemen” it is not lawful to criticize homoeopathy, as we have already seen!

  4. Stonyground says:

    Barriejohn is spot on with his observation on recommendation 3. A rule like that would effectively be a ban on propagating any religion that contains known falsehoods, which I think would be just about all of them.