French Court Finds Church of Scientology Guilty of Fraud

France fines for fraud

Tom Cruise, famous Scientologist. Image from Flickr.

Tom Cruise, famous Scientologist. Image from Flickr.

The French government has never recognized the Church of Scientology as a religion. It has always viewed it as a “sect” or simply a commercial operation. Now, after two women filed complaints against the Church of Scientology, the French court has said the Church of Scientology is guilty of fraud.

Now, several French Church of Scientology leaders and two branches of operation in France have been fined. Prosecutors also asked that the Church of Scientology operations in France be dissolved.

Church of Scientology not banned … yet

BBC News reports that the court stopped short of banning Church of Scientology operations from the country. However, BBC also reports that a ban on the Church of Scientology is still possible, though it does not say where it got that information. France has always taken a stance on the Church of Scientology, saying it was only out for quick cash and has never been a legitimate religion. BBC News says:

Unlike the US, France has always refused to recognize Scientology as a religion, arguing that it is a purely commercial operation designed to make as much money as it can at the expense of often vulnerable victims, the BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby reports from Paris.

Church of Scientology has more troubles

In the U.S., a Hollywood connection has yet again brought the Church of Scientology to the forefront of the media. The director of the Oscar-winning film “Crash” has left the Church of Scientology after 35 years. Paul Haggis says his reason for leaving the church  is its stance against gay marriage and its position on gay rights.

Paul Haggis wrote a letter to the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre, saying he could no longer be part of an organization that tolerates “gay-bashing.” The Church of Scientology officially supported the Proposition 8 ban in California, which made it illegal for same-sex couple to marry after the supreme court declared it legal.

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