Blogs > Liberty and Power > Free Speech Shredded by Brits: Teenager Prosecuted for Calling Scientology a Cult

May 22, 2008 2:44 pm


Free Speech Shredded by Brits: Teenager Prosecuted for Calling Scientology a Cult



Mark Brady has noted the anti-liberty trend in Britain. He could have added this to the list.

A teenager in London received a summons under the Public Order Act. His alleged crime was to call the Church of Scientology a" cult."

Hat tip Jacob Sullum.


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Mark Brady - 5/24/2008

The Guardian updates the story here.

The Crown Prosecution Service has ruled that calling the Church of Scientology a "cult" is neither "abusive or insulting" to the church. Consequently no further action will be taken against the unnamed sixteen-year-old boy. Earlier he had faced prosecution for his placard, but he had not been prosecuted.

Although it's certainly alarming that the police would consider bringing charges in this case, readers should understand they were interpreting the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 that criminalized the incitement of religious hatred, and that Act needs to be repealed.

One final observation. As the Guardian points out, "Two years ago, the City of London police attracted criticism when it emerged more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology."