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5 hours ago
updated 8:03 a.m. ET, Tues., Oct . 27, 2009
PARIS - A Paris court on Tuesday convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than half a million euros — but stopped short of banning the group as requested by prosecutors.
The group's French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.
The court convicted the Church of Scientology's French office, its library and six of its leaders of fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used "commercial harassment" against recruits.
Another organization concerned with enforcement of human rights is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE is an inter-governmental body which consists of more than 50 European countries, as well as the United States and Canada.
The OSCE has developed a series of treaties which have recognized the vital need for infusing human rights principles into agreements considered essential to resolving conflicts.
The Church of Scientology International’s Human Rights Office in Brussels is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) with the OSCE. Its staff regularly participate in human rights sessions organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE and other intergovernmental bodies and also organize regular roundtables and conferences on human rights themes.
I'm apparently the only one who saw just perhaps the faintest glimmer of Maher's opinion beginning to "evolve" in a postive way on this matter.
I miss all of you.
I just saw an eight-month-old boy who got two vaccines then lost his language, motor skills, reaction to his own name and responsiveness to his 3 year old sister. This all happened three hours after a DPT/HIB combination. All previous observation and video of this little boy is normal. Lots of great video of a vibrant, talkative happy baby.
He has autism now. No proof, but the temporal proximity of the regression to his vaccines is daunting to those of us who would like more rigorous proof rather than just a collection of hundreds of pieces of anecdotal evidence. Tempting to assume causation even if only this one case/child.
Just thought you'd want to know. I usually see these kids in my office months or years after the event the parents think caused the problems. I have read hundreds of emails and spoken to thousands of parents who are certain that vaccines triggered or mightily contributed to their children's autism.
Not this time: This family came to my office just days after the vaccines, distraught that he was no longer talking,smiling, acknowledging his sister or his mom and dad and was flapping his hands a lot.
What do you think?
Posted by: Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP | April 27, 2009 3:44 AM
On a related note, Bill Maher was one of the presenters for best documentary, and what did he do? Plugged his movie, Religulous, while moaning over the fact that it was not nominated. Bad form, Bill, very bad form. Maybe it just wasn't good enough.Damn, PZ is a fast judge of character. I can see everything he saw now, but I missed most of it the first time through.
I did finally see Religulous a few days ago, and I confess to being a bit disappointed. It consisted of a series of short interviews with, for instance, truckers at a truck stop chapel, Catholic priests, an "ex-gay" minister, a Muslim rapper, etc., and it was all capped with excellent and scathing monologue that strongly criticized religion. Don't get me wrong, it was good, and there were some funny bits, but something nagged at me throughout, and only when I saw the conclusion did I realize what it was.
Maher cheated. He had a clear idea of what his opinion was, but he wasn't sharing it with the people he was interviewing. They were left to flounder and make poor arguments in part because there are no good arguments for religion, but also because they were left in the dark about what they were arguing against. It may be funny, but it's no fair; contrast that with the Dawkins' documentaries on religion, which are less funny, but more honest, because the people on camera know (or should know) exactly what they are wrestling with.
A better Religulous would have recorded the closing monolog first, and sent that to each of the potential interviewees with a note saying, "Here's my position. Are you willing to argue against it on camera?" That would have made for a much more interesting movie, and Maher would have had to break a sweat to address criticisms…and it would probably be less funny. There's a reason Maher wasn't nominated for an Oscar, and I think it's because his documentary took no risks, and didn't probe very deeply.