John Sweeney pledges Scientology debate if elected to Parliament

Journalist and Scientology public enemy number one John Sweeney is standing in the upcoming general election and has vowed to “hold a debate condemning the Church’s abuse of young and vulnerable people in the UK and around the world” if elected.

Earlier this week, Sweeney was announced as the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate for Sutton Coldfield in the general election scheduled for 4th July. He tells us “For far too long, Britain’s political establishment has given the Church of Scientology an easy ride. It is a church that blackmails and brainwashes its young adepts. Its Hollywood stars are treated like gods rather than ambassadors for a kind of mafia organisation that wears the mask of religion.”

In his 2013 book, ‘The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology’, Sweeney explains “I have been shelled, shot at, bombed, arrested, threatened and a Serb devotee of Slobodan Misolevic once stuck two sticks of dynamite up my nose. But never, ever, in all my times in all those wars have I felt under such harrowing psychological pressure as I did inside the brainwashing section of the Church of Scientology’s exhibition ‘Psychiatry: The Industry of Death’.”

Speaking to Scientology Business, Sweeney pledged “If elected, I would hold a debate condemning the Church’s abuse of young and vulnerable people in the UK and around the world.”

Pressure is mounting against Scientology in the UK. In February, HM Revenue & Customs Chief Executive Jim Harra responded to calls for an investigation into Scientology’s UK finances after former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott wrote to him citing their “history of fraudulent activity internationally”.

Scientology has previously faced government scrutiny, with a 1975 report produced under Prime Minister Harold Wilson concluding “The Church of Scientology does not merely persuade people to part with their money. It is a harmful movement with an evil reputation”. Visa restrictions were placed on Scientologists visiting the UK, however these were eventually lifted and last year Scientology were awarded visa-sponsoring status after its buildings were designated “places of public religious worship” in a 2023 tax ruling.

According to former Church of Scientology spokesperson Mike Rinder, John Sweeney’s election as a Member of Parliament “would be a nightmare for David Miscavige”. He tells us: “Someone who understands the reality of scientology, in a position of power and authority, is, to use their term, “total entheta.“ How wonderfully ironic it would be for a declared suppressive person to be elected to a national parliamentary position when the cult has been unable to get any scientologist elected anywhere even on a local level.”


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Alexander Barnes-Ross

Scientology Business provides analysis and commentary on the Church of Scientology's corporate structure, business operations and functions in the United Kingdom and Europe. The website looks at Scientology's shell companies, financial records and maps the web of international corporate entities responsible for their UK and European activities.

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