Scientology Facing Murky Future in France

by whereami 2 Replies latest jw friends

  • whereami

    This email is making the rounds in J Dub land. How ironic.

  • Hope4Others

    Doesn't this sound

    thinking for themselves and do whatever their guru tells them to do,"

    Jenna Miscavige Hill gives her account of her life growing up in Scientology,

    a niece of Church of Scientology worldwide leader David Miscavige tells

    how she became disillusioned with the Church, and why she finally decided to leave.

    Too bad that wasn't a video would have been super interesting....

    That was a very interesting article.....


  • blondie

    Didn't France pursue the WTS regarding nonpayment of "taxes" which was a $50 million bill hanging over the WTS head? Last I heard it was being heard before the EU Court and had not been resolved. Will France then have a stronger position against the WTS with the "murky future" of Scientology?

    Insight on the News > August 10, 1998

    Jehovah's witnesses fight taxes in France

    Larry Witham

    The French government has put a lien on all Witnesses property despite that members of the church have performed mission work in France for nearly 100 years.

    The millenarian Jehovah's Witnesses, founded in Pittsburgh in 1872, are protesting a decision by the French Tax Authority that asserts the 220,000-member organization is not a religion and thus owes $50 million in back taxes.

    "Various French authorities said we are not a real religion because we are a dangerous sect" says Judah B. Schroeder of the Brooklyn headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. "Their intent seems to be to break us financially and stop our work in France."

    The tax decision came quietly in May and followed an 18-month audit of donations given to the group from 1993 through 1996. Church officials estimate average giving per month in France at about $4 per member, producing A $10 million budget per year. In recent years, they say, much of that funding went to relief and mission work in Africa, particularly in refugee camps in Rwanda.

    But the Witnesses, criticized by antisect organizations in France, were ruled ineligible for a church exemption and given a 60 percent tax rate, which amounted to $25 million. The sum was doubled by penalties and interest.

    "It's shocking that money I gave to my church is now being taxed," said French member Simone Liebster in a statement circulated by the church. "I gave that money for God's work, not for the government."

    The church recently went public with the dispute after negotiations failed and the French government put a lien on the Jehovah's Witnesses' building complex in Louviers, a city northwest of Paris. It includes a printing and shipping facility, a meeting house, a residence for volunteer workers and an office building.

    "We were still attempting to see if the government would rescind the ruling," says Schroeder. He and other church officials lodged protests with the French Embassy in Washington and the State Department. In Paris, religious-freedom advocates from the Witnesses and other groups in 15 nations of the European Union gathered at the Esplanade of Human Rights to appeal the action and warn against a trend they say threatens minority religions.

    France initiated a government-funded investigation of sects after the 1994 and 1995 suicides and murders by Solar Temple members in that country, Switzerland and Canada. The resulting 126-page report claims that 173 sects, Baptists among them, have "dangerous characteristics." It estimates total sect membership at 160,000.

    The Witnesses are France's third-largest Christian-related group after the Protestant reformed churches. Muslims are the second-largest religious body. France is 82 percent Roman Catholic.

    The Watch Tower group arrived in France in 1900 and formed its first national association in Paris in 1919. Today it is called the French Association of Jehovah's Witnesses. The name "Jehovah" was adopted by the world movement at a convention in 1931, and today it claims nearly 15 million members, mostly outside North America and Europe.

    The group believes in the imminent return of Christ. The Witnesses have been active proselytizers and conscientious objectors from military service, especially in the United States and England during World War II. Many of them went to Nazi death camps in Germany for not joining Hitler's army or were deported from Nazi-occupied France.

    In the United States, their street evangelism and refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance -- they withhold allegiance from all earthly authorities -- led to Supreme Court rulings protecting individual religious liberty.

    COPYRIGHT 1998 News World Communications, Inc.
    COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Share this