Above: Church of Scientology in Amsterdam (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Sterilgutassistentin)
A court in the Hague revoked Scientology’s status as a “public welfare institution” this week – and the tax exemption that goes with it.
Janine Pieters, reporting in the NL Times, said the court has ruled that sales of Scientology’s courses and therapy sessions are aimed at profit-making and that it does not therefore belong on the tax authorities charity list.
Scientology, which has its UK HQ in East Grinstead, is a belief system invented by pulp fiction writer L Ron Hubbard who claimed human beings need to be “cleared” of the invisible spirits of thetans who were blown up in a nuclear explosion on earth by the evil dictator Xenu 75 millions years ago.
To rid themselves of these thetans Scientology offers its adherents courses and “auditing” which cost thousands of pounds.
But the Dutch court found the courses cost considerably more than those offered by secular commercial institutions, equating the cost to prices students would expect to pay for “top education from top teachers in prime locations” reports Pieters.
The organisation can appeal against the Dutch decision, but it is not yet clear whether it will.
In the meantime, a Scientology spokesman called the ruling “discrimination based on religious beliefs”.