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British court rejects Scientologists' chapel

Title: British court rejects Scientologists' chapel
Date: Saturday, 15 November 1969
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Main source: link (45 KiB)

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LONDON (AP) — The High Court rejected Friday an application by Scientologists in Britain to set up a legally recognized chapel for their cult.

Justice John Percy Ashworth said in the Queen's Bench Divisional Court: "While Scientology may be wholly admirable I find it difficult to reach the conclusion that it is a religion."

"The idea presented to my mind is of an organization serving as a meeting point or clearing house for persons of all religious beliefs through which people may better appreciate their spiritual character," the justice said.

The judge ruled that the Church of Scientology chapel at the cult's headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, was not a place of worship.

The Scientologists made their application, because under British law if more than 20 persons assemble to worship, the meeting place must be registered with the registrar-general.

Scientology calls itself "the largest mental health organization in the world" and "a practical religious philosophy interested in ability and increasing it . . . the most vital philosophic movement on the planet . . . the freeing of the soul of wisdom." It claims to have millions of members around the world.