People are fascinated by celebrities and rich people joining a cult that believes in aliens.
Australia’s charity regulator has been called on to investigate Scientology amid concerns it is abusing its not-for-profit status.
An investigation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald found the Church of Scientology had shifted tens of millions of dollars into Australia from offshore and is making significant tax-free profits. Australia, the investigation found, has become an international haven for the religion despite a sharp fall in its number of local adherents.
Greens treasury spokesman Nick McKim called on the regulator to investigate.
“There is a very clear case for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to review Scientology’s charity status,” Mr McKim said. “They should investigate whether Australia is being used as a tax haven for the organisation’s international revenue.”
An ACNC spokeswoman said due to provision in the laws it was unable to comment on the “particular circumstances of a charity.”
The spokeswoman, speaking in general terms, said charities can make a profit “but any profit must be used for its charitable purposes”.
“For example, a good reason to keep profits may be to save up for a new project, new infrastructure or a building, or to accumulate a reserve so it can continue to be sustainable,” the ACNC spokeswoman said.
“If an organisation continues to hold onto significant profits indefinitely, without using them for its charitable purpose, this may suggest that the organisation is not working solely towards its stated charitable purpose (and is not operating as a not-for-profit).”
The Age and Herald investigation, which is based on dozens of financial reports, indicates the Church of Scientology Australia – where it enjoys possibly its strongest legal protections anywhere in the world – made net profits of $65.4 million between 2013 and 2019. That is despite a sharply falling number of adherents.
You know when the media rolls out the Scientology truck, they’re desperate to have people talking about anything other than what is happening right in front of them.
People should really have labels for these stories that cycle through the news over decades, and are rolled out and hyped up on cue.
Instead of having names for these kinds of stories, however, people just go along with them.
“Oh yeah, hm, I wondered what the Scientologists were up to – great that the media is taking time to inform me!”
In reality, Tom Cruise deepfakes are a more interesting story than every Scientology story combined.
I guess the interesting angle on the CoS is that non-Jews attempted to create a Jew-like structure, and that is why it was painted so villainously, while much weirder, more dangerous evangelical cults – which were staunchly pro-Israel – got little notice in the media.
One time the Scientologists gave me a free spaghetti dinner late in the morning. No other cult did that much for me.