The Dutch government issued a strong rebuke to the Church of Scientology by removing its charitable status. A court in Hague revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status, saying that it is no longer considered an eligible institution. Instead, it says the practices and prices channel that of a for-profit operation, this according to a Blue Bell Digital news report. Officials for the Church call the action discriminatory against its religious practices.
Officials ruled that courses and therapy sessions offered by the Scientology Church do not fall in line with what makes up a not-for-profit organization. It’s unclear what litmus test or methodologies were used in determining the status of the organization, but sources say the court believes the costs and practices are aimed at turning profits.
— Robert Hammond (@roberthammond) October 25, 2015
The Computer Science Department & Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University describes Scientology as a cult religion steeped in secrecy, saying it is vengeful like a mafia-style organization. Like, many other critics, the school believes Scientologists use tactics of mind manipulation, high-sales pressure and other means of social control.
In a stunning interview with ABC’s 20/20, ex-Scientology adherent Leah Remini referenced Tom Cruise as a primary reason she severed ties with the church in 2013, according to Daily Mail.
“Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself…you are evil,” she said.
The former King of Queens TV personality is releasing a new book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, that is a look into the inner-workings and secrets of the Church where she was a member for 30 years. When Leah decided to cut ties, she was allegedly blacklisted by the Church and other fellow Scientologists — including her close friend, Kirstie Alley, who called her a “bigot,” among other choice words. Remini said when she inquired about certain aspects of the Church, she was sanctioned, and pretty soon, she realized she had to leave — for the sake of her daughter.
The Scientology headquarters for the United Kingdom is located in East Grinstead. The Dutch judicial system probed the financial dealings of the church and learned of significant price disparities with courses offered to adherents. The religion is very rigorous and requires members to study using a multiplicity of course materials, based on founder L. Ron Hubbard’s principals of Dianetics. Results of the investigation showed that the prices ranged in the thousands of pounds. The NL Times weighed in on the blow to the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status.
— brent bambury (@notrexmurphy) May 8, 2015
“The court ruled that these courses cost much more than commercial educational institutions’ average school fees. ‘If providers on the secular education market had similar prices, prospective students would experience it as prices for top education by top teachers in prime locations.’ The court finds the prices to be very commercial. According to the court, Scientology consciously seeks profits to fill its purse and was able to build substantial wealth like this.'”
Some users on Twitter hailed the actions from the Dutch authorities and suggested that the United States should follow suit. It’s unclear if the Internal Revenue Service, which is the governing body in such actions stateside, will pursue a revision to the institution’s tax-exempt status.
Undoubtedly, any possible action would be an extreme undertaking due to the group’s influence and membership, which includes Alley and other A-listers like John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston. As Leah said, any attack on a member is an attack on the Church and vice versa.
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