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-Moscow: Police Raid Church of Scientology–Should We Care?

by Dr. D ~ October 8th, 2011

Cover of "What Is Scientology?"

                     (Cover of What Is Scientology?)

Police began a a raid and a search of  the Church of Scientology offices in Moscow, Russia on Thursday Oct.6. According to the Russian news agency Interfax:

The search could be part of a criminal investigation by the Moscow region’s Investigative Committee into the distribution of scientology literature of the extremist nature, the source said.

“Experts have made the conclusion that founder of Scientology Ron Hubbard’s books and booklets aim to form an isolated social group, whose members are trained to perform their functions impeccably and most of whom are in a struggle with the rest of the world.”

In June, a court in a Moscow banned several books by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard as dangerous. At the time the court ruled that “What is Scientology?” and other L. Ron Hubbard books “contain calls for extremist activities.”

It is not clear why the police raided the Church and officials have not been forthcoming with the purpose or parameters of their investigation.

Response: Should we care? After all Scientology is a ‘non-Christian cult’ and not exactly a mainline church. In fact some doubt that it should be classified as a ‘church’ or religion at all. 

Yes, we should.

Freedom of religion in Russia is tenuous at best. Today they are coming for the scientologists and tomorrow it might be the Mormons. We might even be tempted to say ‘good rid ends.’ But where does it stop and where is the protection for churches that may be somewhat out of the ‘Orthodox’ mainstream in Russia? As it stands several charismatic churches in Russia have run into legal difficulties getting official government recognition.

The fact is that ‘freedom of religion ‘ and the relationship between churches and state is still in flux and far from being clearly defined in Russia. This gives legal authorities room to act or react according to their own views or opinions.  The ‘take down’ of the Scientology offices may set a dangerous precedence for minority religions in Russia.            *Top

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