- Russell Blackford
- Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).
Monday, May 03, 2010
The 1983 scientology case
I'm rereading/studying this famous High Court case from 1983 as research for The Book. At issue was whether Scientology is a religion, which meant that the judges had to grapple with the question: "What is a religion, for the purposes of the law?" Though three separate judgments were published, they are not wildly incompatible with each other. It's more a difference of emphasis. The analyses of the judges are well worth reading. All held that Scientology is a religion, contrary to the views of some other courts, but it's not so much the result that's useful now as the reasoning along the way. Justice Murphy's judgment is especially good (Edit: though maybe a bit too broad and pragmatic in how he eventually defines a religion).