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Court Passes on Scientology Libel Case

AP, Oct. 1, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011001/pl/scotus_scientology_1.html Off-site Link


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WASHINGTON (AP) - Ten years after Time magazine ran an award-winning article portraying the Church of Scientology as a greedy cult, the Supreme CourtOff-site Link refused Monday to consider reinstating the church's libel case.

Time Warner Inc. had steadfastly defended the 10-page article and said it refused to be ''intimidated by the church's apparently limitless legal resources.''

The church contended that the writer was biased and only interviewed critics.
(...)

The May 1991 article entitled, Scientology: The Cult of Greed,''Off-site Link said that the so-called religion is ''really a ruthless global scam.''

Time said the cover story was awarded the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and financial journalism, the Worth Bingham Prize and the Conscience in Media Awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

The church had said the story had multiple defamatory comments.
(...)

A judge had dismissedOff-site Link the lawsuit and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruledOff-site Link that Time was not guilty of writing the report with actual malice, which is the standard for libel cases involving public groups or people.

The church told the Supreme Court that the rulings ''rather than encouraging the search for truth, provide a safe harbor for biased journalism.''

The case is Church of Scientology International v. Time Warner Inc., 00-1683Off-site Link.
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Commentary:
The Church of Scientology is a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion, and that increasingly acts like a hate group. Scientology has a long history of hate and harassment activities, which are condoned in the cult's own ''scriptures.'' (See, for example, its ''dead agenting'' and ''fair game'' policies). This is why Apologetics Index classifies the organization as a hate group.

The publisher of Apologetics Index / Religion News Report agrees with the German government's view of Scientology:

The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany's democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization's activities in the United States.
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