[reprint from Evening Independent Editorial image]
Scientology isn't 'just another church'
Evening Independent Editorial / ISSUE: Scientology's New Claim
Spiro Agnew just another lawyer.
In Clearwater, Scientology operatives say they only want to be neighbors. Residents can be forgiven if they are more than a bit leery of such gratuitous claims. Clearwater residents, who have been remarkably tolerant of Scientology's headquarters, know the organization is anything but just another church. No other Pinellas religious organization has such a record:
• Criminality among leaders. In 1979 and 1980, nine Scientology leaders were found guilty of obstruction of justice in the burglary, bugging and planting of agents in US government offices. The third wife of Scientology founder L.Ron Hubbard, Mary Sue, was among those convicted. Hubbard remains reclusive and has not answered several court summonses. Courts have been asked to declare him dead and have refused.
• Dirty tricks. Scientology has engaged in a series of ruses and schemes in the country and elsewhere. It used nefarious tactics against former mayor, Gabe Cazares. It sought to entrap federal judge Ben Krentzman. It hired private investigators to pose as European investors and lured some Clearwater officials onto a yacht to discuss a phony proposal to invest in the city's downtown.
• Prone to lawsuits. History will surely find Scientology the most litigious group ever to pretend to be a religion. Often it sues its critics promptly, and thereby discourages further criticism.
• Front organizations. Several outfits have been created under various names to promote Scientology services. Recognized churches provide ministries and proudly use their real names in delivering the services. Scientology uses cover names as it misrepresents the fronts' real purpose, the recruitment of new members.
• Secret operations. Its records remain secret, it's leader's [Hubbard] whereabouts secret, it's tactics secret. Scientology deals in stealth.
• Unrecognized religious status [as of date of printing] The US Tax Court in September 1984 ruled that the California Church of Scientology was not tax exempt " because it operated for a substantial commercial purpose and because its net earnings benefit L.Ron Hubbard."
Earlier in 1984, an English justice, Sir John Latey, ruled that Scientology " is corrupt because it is bad on lies and deceit ... It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices ... dangerous because it is out to capture people (and) for those of us old enough to remember, it is grimly reminiscent of the rantings and bullyings of Hitler and his henchmen."
• Commercial nature. The US Tax Court noted Scientology's "highly commercial nature, it's high annual profits and its substantial, undedicated cash reserves." The same court found that "one of its articulated goals was to make money." The first tenet of the church's "Governing Policy of Finance" formulated in 1972 was: "A. MAKE MONEY."
Last month, Scientology pleaded for protections in a court on the basis that its teachings were secret under the US Trade Secrets Act, set up to protect businesses. A federal district court ruled that Scientology's secrets are the same as a private company's secrets.
But the organization is embarked on a new campaign, flush from the overturning of a $39-million fraud judgment against it in another suit. We shall all hear more of the claim that Scientology is just another church. We dare not accept it.
Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida
Neil Skene, Editor / Michael Richardson, A.Editor / John Costa, M.Editor
LMT: Mike McClaughry Ex-GO on Scientology's Fair Game Policy
Mike McClaughry' blog ~ There is a missing segment of my video interviews that I did at the Lisa McPherson Trust (discussing Scientology's intelligence service, the Guardians Office or GO). I retrieved the missing segment from the Internet Archive, and uploaded it to my youtube account. I also discuss the Fair Game practice of the Church of Scientology in this segment I uploaded.