A.r.s Week in Review - 6/22/2003
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 10
6/22/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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Week in Review is archived at:
> ClearwaterLetters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on June 17th and June
20th addressed a recent editorial, the issue of Scientology's dominance in
Clearwater, Florida and its expansion into nearby Tampa neighborhood Ybor
"I know well the history of Scientology in this community, especially the
'shenanigans,' as you put it, that occurred more than two decades ago.
There is no doubt that during that period there was legitimate reason to
question the motives of some members of this church. Even its current
members and leaders will acknowledge those past mistakes made by former
leaders who were purged because of their actions.
"My relationship with individual members of the Church of Scientology
grows out of many years of friendship and observing the good things they
have done for my hometown of Clearwater. I see positive improvements in a
downtown that was suffering. I see new stores, retail activities, coffee
shops and arts events where there were none. I see an honest effort to
reach out to people in my community, not for nefarious purposes but out of
a genuine love for this city and a desire to be part of its future. It
amazes me that you cannot see those same changes that so many people in
Clearwater have seen in the Church of Scientology's effort to undo the
damage of 30 years ago when it first arrived here.
"Especially disappointing to me, as someone who has been in the public eye
for more than 20 years and who is a big believer in the media's important
role in our community, is the threatening tone of the editorial. Instead
of making a reasoned argument in the marketplace of ideas, your editorial
resorted to calling out individuals such as myself by name and threatening
their political futures should they continue to treat Scientologists as
even possibly productive members of society. - Mary Repper, Clearwater
"I want to thank you for your excellent editorial on Scientology. As a
former 20-year member, who was not aware of the continual pattern of
illegal/unethical covert activities practiced by this so-called church
while he was in the group, I commend you for exposing the true nature of
this cult. Scientology's recent attempt to clean up its image is like
Osama bin Laden getting a haircut and a shave, and has the same purpose:
to disguise what it really is. - Peter Alexander, Tampa
"Your recent articles on the opening of the Scientology Life Improvement
Center in Ybor City created a controversy about complaints that are not
even specified, allegedly concerning Scientologists inviting the public to
the center. The Church of Scientology is opening a new and beautiful
center in a restored historic building where anyone can walk in and find
out about Scientology for themselves.
"The Scientology Life Improvement Center in Ybor City is open for anyone
to come in and find out for themselves about Scientology. We have had a
wonderful reception from our neighbors. We are there to help people and
the community to thrive, prosper and achieve better conditions in life. -
Ana Tirabassi, Church of Scientology, Tampa
"This organization is not a church, but a cult. It is built on falsehoods
and stands on sinking sand. The citizens do not want this cult in our
community and by the organization's own research find that it is
considered a detestable organization, which is unfortunately located on
our mist. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the words used to identify
this group were 'cult,' 'scam,' 'crooks,' 'despicable,' 'lost souls and
"Scientologists are blaming the Times for the negative responses. They
blame everybody but themselves for their own failings. Remember when they
first came into Clearwater? They came under the disguise of United
Churches. If this is a church, why do they use falsehoods and devious
tactics? They have loaded upon the citizens of this community their tax
burden because they are hiding under the name 'church.' Churches do not
sue about everything and everybody that may offend them. All this cult is
about is money, money, money. - Ken Peters, Clearwater
"Clearwater has become synonymous with Scientology, a goal that the
organization deliberately set out to achieve when it sneaked into town
under the assumed name 'United Churches of Florida' and promptly tried to
frame and eliminate Gabe Cazares, then-mayor of Clearwater. Just how
synonymous Clearwater is with Scientology is something that most of the
St. Petersburg Times' readers are probably not aware of unless they read
national news. Horribly, if you visit the Web site Encyclopedia.com and
enter 'Scientology' in the search request, Clearwater is offered as one of
the four encyclopedia entries.
"In a fairly recent court case in the county, a judge reviewed
documentation covering the more than 100 video cameras Scientology has set
up to watch and record vehicle and pedestrian traffic in downtown
Clearwater. The judge turned to the Scientology lawyers and rhetorically
asked them, 'I just don't get it. When is the invasion coming?' The fact
is Scientology's invasion was a success. The city of Clearwater lost. -
Fredric L. Rice, Glendora, California"
> Tom CruiseMSNBC reported on June 19th that Tom Cruise has been talking to U.S.
administration officials about education and Scientology issues.
"The Church of Scientology's Top Gun has been lobbying the White House.
Tom Cruise has been meeting with officials from the Department of
Education and lawmakers at the White House, reports the Washington Post,
and a source says he believes that Cruise is hoping to get government
funding for the church.
"'Tom is a big believer in the teaching tools of Scientology and has
spoken in the past about how it cured his dyslexia,' says alternative
religion expert Rick Ross. 'It looks to me like he is seeking federal
funds for Scientology schools under President Bush's Faith-Based
"Ross also says that Cruise is appealing to the Bush administration to
pressure some European countries to ease up on their anti-Scientology
policies - just as John Travolta lobbied the Clinton administration.
"'Tom met at the Department of Education because he has always been
passionate about education and wanted to meet the Secretary [of
Education],' a spokeswoman for the actor told The Scoop. 'And, in a
separate meeting, he met with a few White House officials to discuss his
concern about the state of human rights in the world today, especially
religious intolerance in parts of Western Europe.'"
From the New York Daily News on June 22nd:
"Tom Cruise wants to get your children off drugs. We're talking about
medications doctors prescribe to help them conquer learning disabilities
such as hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. Last week, Cruise
went to Washington to push one of the key causes of his Church of
"'There's a bill that just passed the House that makes it unlawful for
schools and doctors to coerce children to get on drugs,' he told us
Thursday night at a benefit for MENTOR, the school charity that honored
him for his work with tutoring programs. 'We have some serious problems
with education. I know a lot about it. There are 8 million kids that are
being medicated with educational medication.
"A few days before, Cruise, who has credited Scientology with helping him
overcome dyslexia, lobbied for his position at a lunch with Education
Secretary Rod Paige in Washington. Cruise, who previously was a Bill
Clinton supporter, may have been lobbying the White House for the funding
of Scientology programs through President Bush's faith-based initiatives
program, according to some familiar with the organization."
> NarcononThe North County Times reported on June 17th that a new Narconon facility
has opened in the San Diego, California area.
"Narconon Southern California recently opened its second rehabilitation
center near Warner Springs. Narconon is a 35-year-old nonprofit drug
rehabilitation and education organization providing residential
"Performing the official ribbon cutting ceremony are, Don McKinney from
U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa's office; Clark Carr, president of Narconon
International; Tommy Thompson from State Assemblyman Ray Haynes' office;
Gerry Marshall, president of Narconon Southern California Inc; John Allan,
chief of the Sunshine Summit Volunteer Fire Department; and David
Worthington, executive director of Narconon San Diego."
> In MemoriamFormer Scientologist Robert Vaughn Young passed away on June 15th after a
long battle with prostate cancer. From his wife, Caren Cohen Young:
"Robert died at 1:10 pm on Sunday, June 15, 2003. It was a couple of
hours after his son, who spent the night with him, left to return to
California. I was at his side, holding Robert's hand in mine. He was in no
pain, resting calmly and peacefully until his last breath. Robert will be
cremated in accordance with his wishes, and his ashes will be scattered
over water. Robert loved Vashon Island and Puget Sound and had fond
memories of the sailing scene around San Diego.
"Robert asked that in lieu of flowers or other memorials, tax deductible
donations be made to Phoenix5 so that the work can continue. There are
instructions as to how to support Phoenix5 at
http://www.phoenix5.org/Phoenix5/support.html. I will continue to maintain
the Phoenix5 website in accordance with Robert's wishes as I have computer
expertise to do so.
"Robert found fulfillment and joy in helping all those in the prostate
cancer community. My life and I'm sure many others' are richer because of
his life and his work. I want to thank the many of you who have written
to me in these past weeks while Robert was ill. There were so many heart
warming emails that I wasn't able to respond to them all personally."