No, you read that right. I’m so speechless that the only thing I can add is, “It’s not a cult. It’s a ranch and it’s our home.” Snip:
A teenager is facing prosecution for using the word “cult” to describe the Church of Scientology.
The unnamed 15-year-old was served the summons by City of London police when he took part in a peaceful demonstration opposite the London headquarters of the controversial religion.
Officers confiscated a placard with the word “cult” on it from the youth, who is under 18, and a case file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.
A date has not yet been set for him to appear in court.
The decision to issue the summons has angered human rights activists and support groups for the victims of cults.
The incident happened during a protest against the Church of Scientology on May 10. Demonstrators from the anti-Scientology group, Anonymous, who were outside the church’s £23m headquarters near St Paul’s cathedral, were banned by police from describing Scientology as a cult by police because it was “abusive and insulting”. (…) Link.
Update 05.23: The courts decided that boy will avoid prosecution! Turns out, the high courts had already called the Church of Scientology a cult on the record, and they think — unlike the CoS — that the boy was expressing his opinion, prompting his mother to proclaim it a “victory for free speech.” Two salient bits from the piece include “Police said they had “strongly advised” him to stop displaying the sign but he refused, citing a high court judgment from 1984 in which the organisation was described as a cult.” Why would London police be, er, policing public speech about the CoS? The article goes on to reveal, “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. The City of London chief superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for “raising the spiritual wealth of society” during the opening of its headquarters in 2006.”