“I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.”A relatively innocuous statement, wouldn't you say? And when you consider the history of the Church of Scientology (just have a look at some of our past pieces on them here, here and here), you might be tempted to observe that a) "stupid" doesn't really cover the half of it, and b) a Welsh councillor making a quip about them on Twitter ought to the least of their worries.
After posting this initial message, and another one on discovering that a Scientology Twitter account had started "following" him – “Just realised the Scientologists are following me. Quick everyone, pretend you’re out” – Dixon presumably thought no more of it and carried on looking for the wedding ring.
What he almost certainly didn't anticipate was that six months down the line, in December last year, the Church of Scientology would make a complaint against him to Wales' public services watchdog. Dixon is now facing a disciplinary hearing and, according to this report on Wales Online, the watchdog said he "is likely to have breached the code of conduct for local authority members". A date has yet to be set for the hearing and Dixon has said he will not comment until proceedings are complete.
This story is a worrying reminder of the Church of Scientology's determination to pursue its critics whenever possible, no matter how trivial the "offence" committed against it. It has prompted a show of support for Dixon on Twitter, where many users are currently attempting (successfully, at the time of writing) to make the tag "#StupidScientology" into a "trending topic" which, for those of you who are (for better or worse) unversed in Twitter-speak, would mean it would be one of the most talked about subjects on the site in the UK today. If you're a Twitter user, why not go and take a look?
[The photo used here is one I took across the road from the Scientology centre on Tottenham Court Road when I visited a protest by "Anonymous" there in 2008]