Nick Xenophon busts some Scientology assPosted: November 19, 2009
Independent senator Nick Xenophon has been all over the news in the last couple of days regarding opinions he voiced in parliament on Tuesday about the Church of Scientology. If you are interested, the entire speech can be found online in the Senate Hansard here.
Xenophon may in fact be entirely justified in his criticisms of the church, I don’t know, but I do think he has chosen a soft target in the Scientologists. Most Aussies already know Scientologists are just plain bonkers, and do a hell of a lot of crazy stuff in the name of their religion. Many of the points he’s raised could apply to any of the organised religions that are prominent in Australian society. He talks of abuse, cover-ups, fraud and rape…he could have been talking about the Catholic church!
What Xenophon was trying to hammer home was that the Church of Scientology should not enjoy the tax-exempt status it currently holds in Australia. Indeed, a number of countries including, but not limited to, Canada, Ireland, UK, Switzerland and Belgium all deny Scientology recognition as a religion, and the tax-exempt status that goes with it. But why single out Scientology? No religion should be exempt from taxes. Churches and religions are a burden on the Australian taxpayer and must be held accountable, and contribute to society in the same way that individuals, businesses and organisations must.
I’d like to finish with this wonderful quote from Xenophon: “What you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave.” I wonder if he’d apply the same tenet to the more powerful and mainstream religions that have so much influence over our law-makers?