Tag Archives | Scientology

Celebrities Lead Charge Against Scientology

Peter Beaumont in London, Toni O'Loughlin in Sydney, and Paul Harris in New York report for the Guardian:
The security at the red-brick and glass-walled horseshoe of the John Joseph Moakley courthouse on Boston's waterfront was unusually tight. Anybody who was not a member of the city's bar association was swept with a search wand. Photo IDs were checked. Mobile phones were taken from guests, who included the Hollywood star Tom Cruise. The occasion was a memorial service for Scientology's top legal adviser for a quarter of a century, Earle Cooley. The controversial head of Scientology worldwide, David Miscavige, delivered the eulogy, thanking his late friend for his contribution to the neo-religion during his career, much of which was spent pursuing journalists and former members who spoke out against it. Miscavige may since have wondered privately what Cooley would have made of the events of last week. Scientology, founded in 1953 by the late science fiction pulp novelist, serial fantasist and inveterate self-publicist L Ron Hubbard, is under fire again across the globe, following years of struggle to be recognised – with some success – as a legitimate church. The church has just been denounced in the strongest possible terms in the Australian parliament. Prime minister Kevin Rudd has expressed his concern over allegations of "a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality" and is contemplating a parliamentary inquiry. The organisation is under police investigation...
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Concern at Magazine Over Sale to Scientologists

From the New York Times (see this earlier post on disinfo.com linking to the St. Petersburg Times expose and video referred to below):

Over the last several months, The St. Petersburg Times published a series of scathing articles on the Church of Scientology under the rubric “The Truth Rundown.” In 1980, the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation of the church’s inner workings.

Coverage of Scientology has long been an important story for The St. Petersburg Times, given that the organization’s headquarters is located in nearby Clearwater, Fla.

So it came as a bit of a shock when, on Friday, the newspaper’s management announced that it would sell one of its sibling publications to a California media company whose top management are Scientologists, The New York Times’s Tim Arango writes.

Governing magazine, which is based in Washington and for 23 years has covered the workings of local and state governments across the country, will be sold to e.Republic, whose founder and other top executives are Scientologists.

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Church of Scientology Accused Of Torture And Forced Abortions

Sophie Tedmanson in Sydney reports for the Times:
The Church of Scientology faces the prospect of a police investigation in Australia after being accused of torture and embezzlement and of forcing employees to have abortions. Nick Xenophon, an independent senator, presented letters to the Australian Parliament from seven former Scientologists which he said showed that the secretive church was a front for physical violence, intimidation and blackmail. “I am deeply concerned about this organisation and the devastating impact it can have on its followers,” he told the Australian Senate in Canberra. He called for a Senate inquiry...
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Scientology Employees Forced To Watch Tom Cruise Videos

Just when you think Scientology can't get more bat-shit crazy, it does ... the gift that keeps on giving. It would be more fun to be a Scientologist if the Tom Cruise videos were like this: On RadarOnline:
Having left Scientology after more than 15-years Marc Headley is lifting the lid on the bizarre religion in his explosive new book Blown for Good. And in an exclusive interview with RadarOnline.com, the author is speaking out about his experiences at the, much talked about, compound. "Everyone there thought Tom Cruise was just brilliant," said Headley, who left nearly five years ago. "Absolutely all the employees looked up to him. "They think he is an exhilaration, which is very high up on what they call the 'tone scale'...
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The Crazy Dianetics & Scientology Holiday Catalog!

Girl blog Jezebel has come up with a great find! Make sure to click through the gallery to view “gotta see it to believe it” gifts such as a collection of 18 Nigerian goatskin-bound books of The Basics for $2,000 and a $4,650 E-Meter (in a wide range of colors, shown at right):

A million thank yous to the reader who mailed me the Dianetics & Scientology Holiday catalog! With so much crazytown inside, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

While Scientology has been going through tough times lately — a French court convicted the church of fraud and Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis resigned publicly — spokesperson Tommy Davis says the church is flourishing: assets and property holdings have doubled over the past five years. Is some of that cash from the catalog sales? Maybe!

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Mad Scientologists Caught in a Web of Their Own Making

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Draw near, infidels, for these are dark days for the Knights of Hubbard. Do not despair entirely – the Church of Scientology remains rich, has excellent lawyers and, according to the International Scientology News, ”every minute of every hour, someone reaches for L. Ron Hubbard technology … simply because they know Tom Cruise is a Scientologist”.

So unless the world’s supply of fools is melting away, they can hold off trying to lure disaffected Kabbalists into their cultish communion. And yet, it has not been the best of weeks for our operating thetans. In France, Scientology was found guilty of defrauding followers after a judge effectively debunked the idea of the church’s trusty E-meter, a crude polygraph used to encourage Scientologists to purchase everything from books to extreme sauna courses.

In Los Angeles, the Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis cut his ties with Scientology in protest at what he branded their tolerance of homophobia, adding that the church’s claim it does not tell people to ”disconnect” from unsupportive family members was untrue – his wife had been ordered to do so.

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Cult Busters: How Governments Decide Whether a Religion is Real or Not

From Slate:

A French court fined the Church of Scientology $888,000 on Tuesday after a couple claimed they’d been manipulated into buying between $30,000 and $73,000 worth of church products. The verdict is “a historical turning point for the fight against cult abuses,” said the leader of France’s “government cult-fighting unit.” How does this special cult-busting unit distinguish between cults and bona fide religions?

Vaguely. French law doesn’t define the term “cult.” Rather, it uses the expression “cultlike movements” to describe groups that demand unreasonable financial contributions, encourage nonparticipation in elections, promote anti-social behavior, or cut members off from their families. It’s easier to target bad behavior, the thinking goes, than to get into a semantic debate over what is and isn’t a cult. The French government has, however, tried to define the term in the past. In 1995, a special parliamentary commission compiled a list of 10 cultish characteristics, including the indoctrination of children, a mentally unstable membership, and the attempt to infiltrate public institutions.

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Open Season for Scientology Bashing

Now it’s Salon’s turn to whale on Scientology (more please mainstream media, you have a lot of catching up to do):

When Paul Haggis, the writer of “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” kicked his faith to the curb after 35 years, he did so as only an Oscar-winning scribe could: with a badass screed. His resignation letter, dated Aug. 19, emerged on ex-Scientologist Mark Rathburn’s blog yesterday and promptly went viral.

In his letter, Haggis explains, “for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego. Their public sponsorship of Proposition 8, a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California — rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state — shames us.” Though the Church claims not to dictate personal sexual practices and has several openly gay members, it’s perhaps no coincidence that Scientology also has a reputation as Hollywood’s biggest closet, with gay rumors persistently dogging famous members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

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Church of Scientology Convicted of Fraud in France

The AP is reporting another example of the ‘Church’ of Scientology finally coming in for the critical attention it deserves but that the media has been afraid of for fear of costly litigation:

A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday but stopped short of banning the group as prosecutors had demanded.

The group’s French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.

The court convicted the Church of Scientology’s French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used “commercial harassment” against recruits.

The group was fined euro400,000 ($600,000) and the library euro200,000. Four of the leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. The other two were given fines of euro1,000 and euro2,000.

However, the court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling that it would be likely to continue its activities anyway “outside any legal framework.”

Prosecutors had urged that the group be dissolved in France and fined euro2 million ($3 million).

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The Mainstream Media Plucks Up Courage and Pulls Back the Veil From the ‘Church’ of Scientology

The mainstream media, led by the broadcast networks, have been notoriously reluctant to air any negative news or views regarding the 'Church' of Scientology, largely due to that organization's penchant for costly litigation intended to financially drain critics so thoroughly that any thought of following in their footsteps is squashed by network lawyers before any brave young producer or journalist can finish the idea. Perhaps the wind has changed, however, with an in depth investigation by ABC News' well-respected show Nightline, which has a variety of reports about Scientology here, as well as a lengthy 'Inside Scientology' video report from Martin Bashir (click that link to go to the full ABC News video site; the YouTube clips below are partial):
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