Security and Duty of Protection

Church of Scientology and 128 of its members v Sweden (decision), 14 July 1980 [ECtHR]

Case no 8282/78

5. The Commission is not of the opinion that a particular creed or confession can derive from the concept of freedom of religion a right to be free from criticism. Nevertheless the Commission does not exclude the possibility of criticism or 'agitation' against a church or religious group reaching such a level that it might endanger freedom of religion and where a tolerance of such behaviour by the authorities could engage State responsibility. However, the Commission does not consider that such an issue arises on the facts of the present case. In reaching this conclusion it notes that the remarks reported in the newspaper article were made in the course of an academic lecture by a professor of theology and not in a context which could render the remarks inflammatory. Moreover, it has not been shown that either the Church of Scientology or its members have been prevented in any way as a consequence of these published remarks from "manifesting their beliefs" in the ways enumerated by this provision .

6. Accordingly, this complaint must be rejected as manifestly ill-founded under Article 27 (2) of the Convention. 

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