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A.r.s Week in Review - 4/29/2001

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 2 4/29/2001 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2001 Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2001
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 2
      4/29/2001
      by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2001

      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
      also available on Yahoo. Email weekinreview-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or
      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at
      http://avantgo.com/channels/_add_channel.pl?cha_id=2900

      Week in Review is archived at:
      http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/
      http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html
      http://www.uni-bonn.de/~uzs1dc/scientology/wir.html
      http://www.religio.de/publik/arsfaq.html

      #####

      > Australia

      James Guest, a former member of the Australian Parliament wrote an
      editorial in The Age on April 24th on religious tolerance.

      "All who admire the lead that Jews have given in sticking up for underdogs
      over the past 50 years will be disappointed by the low-grade arguments
      deployed by the executive director of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation
      Commission, Danny Ben-Moshe, to support the Bracks Government's proposed
      Racial and Religious Tolerance Bill.

      "Ben-Moshe insouciantly side-steps the problem that buried the bill 10
      years ago when it was first proposed. He highlights that problem when he
      says that 'racial vilification involves targeting someone purely because
      of their race or religion'. Race equals religion? Really?

      "Vilifying people for their religion has had a bad history. But there is
      this big difference: some 'religions' deserve to be vilified. The
      proposed bill doesn't define religion. Anything goes. In the 1983
      Scientologists' tax case, the High Court made clear it wasn't going to
      provide a restrictive definition of 'religion' if parliament failed to.
      The proposed legislation would stop you calling a bunch of crooks 'a bunch
      of crooks'.

      "In the mid-1960s Mr Justice Anderson's inquiry took a long look at L. Ron
      Hubbard's business enterprise, once Dianetics but by then Scientology, and
      found it to be so noxious that the Victorian Parliament passed the
      Psychological Practices Act to deal with it. It then became the Church of
      Scientology and got its tax exemption.

      "Anguished parents of a child attracted to a religious sect might find
      little comfort in the assurance that they can be let off if their
      offensive statements are held to have been made 'reasonably for any
      genuine purpose in the public interest.'"

      Message-ID: <9c6flo$7ni@...>

      #####

      > Beck

      Music star Beck has become a Scientologist, according to the New York Post
      on April 29th.

      "Pals of the grungy rocker say Beck was introduced to Scientology by his
      bass player, Justin Meldal-Johnson, at the beginning of the year. At the
      time, Beck was dating Winona Ryder and being managed by music powerhouses
      Gary Gersh and John Silva at Gass Entertainment - who built Beck's career.
      But last February, not long after Beck started getting more and more
      involved with the celebrity-cultivating Scientologists, he ditched Ryder,
      Gersh and Silva with no explanation.

      "'Scientologists like to keep their own in the fold,' commented one good
      friend of Beck. But his friends also point out that Beck publicly denies
      actually belonging to the church. Sources say Beck is now using
      Meldal-Johnson's girlfriend - who is also a Scientologist - in a
      managerial role."

      Message-ID: <1788-3AEBF75D-8@...>

      #####

      > Faith-Based Groups

      The Associated Press reported on April 25th that the Mormon church has
      rejected funding for charitable programs under the new U.S. Government
      plan to give money to religious charities.

      "The church has said no to President Bush's offer to channel government
      funds through religious charities, a plan facing a tough ride in Congress
      as hearings began this week. 'We're neutral. That's not saying we think
      it's wrong for every organization, but we just don't need it,' said Dale
      Bills, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      "Critics worry about government infringement on church freedoms and
      government funding of religious groups outside the mainstream, such as the
      Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam. The plan would also allow
      religious groups to continue making hiring decisions based on religion, an
      exemption from anti-discrimination laws.

      "'We try to help people gain self-reliance so they, in turn, can help
      someone else,' said Kent Hinckley, director of Bishops Storehouse
      services. 'We didn't want a dole system. That would be detrimental to the
      people who receive. It doesn't help them to improve themselves.'"

      An editorial by James Wilson was published by the New York Times on April
      27th.

      "This week the debate begins in earnest over President Bush's proposal to
      allow religious organizations to spend federal money on programs that help
      the disadvantaged. But that support is undercut by two objections. The
      first is that this spending will weaken the constitutional separation of
      church and state. Inevitably, the argument goes, money will help support
      religious teaching and allow religious groups to hire only those who share
      their faiths. Even worse, the government will probably allow the money to
      go to 'undesirable' religions, like the Nation of Islam or the Church of
      Scientology.

      "The other objection is that churches and synagogues taking such money
      will become helpless dependents of federal bureaucrats and compromise
      their religious missions. Federal money, it is argued, will prohibit
      churches from using their spiritual qualities to help drug abusers,
      juvenile delinquents and unwed mothers get their lives back on track.

      "Can religious social-service programs find a reasonable path between the
      dual errors of promoting sectarianism and harming religion? It can be
      done if the federal money is spent in the form of vouchers. This strategy
      allows the user, not the government, to select the service. Recipients
      could use vouchers at any facility, spiritual or secular, that has a
      worthwhile program.

      "The alternative to vouchers - direct grants to religious institutions -
      is harder to impose constitutionally without compromising a church's
      spiritual message. Some have suggested that the money be used for service
      programs, not for overhead; but money is fungible. Others have suggested
      spending the money on the basis of an impartial formula. But the most
      important programs - for drug users and delinquents - cannot be measured
      by a formula."

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      #####

      > In Memorium

      The Chicago Tribune reported on April 18th on the death of Hope Hinde, one
      of the early supporters of the original Cult Awareness Network.

      "Hope Buckner Hinde, 86, who helped found an anti-cult group and led
      parent-teacher associations at three Highland Park schools before moving
      to Lake Forest, died Sunday, April 15, in Lake Forest Hospital after a
      stroke. Born in New York City, Mrs. Hinde earned a master's degree from
      Columbia University and worked as a social worker for Catholic charities.
      Mrs. Hinde helped found the Cult Awareness Network in 1979 after a
      friend's daughter joined a cult."

      Message-ID: <20010418232331.11642.00000086@...>

      #####

      > Clearwater

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on April 26th that a
      Scientology-affiliated community group has reversed its decision to refuse
      memorial bricks donated by Scientology critics.

      "Lisa McPherson will be memorialized in a downtown alley next door to a
      Church of Scientology building. A group that sold hundreds of engraved
      bricks to beautify the city-owned alley has reversed an earlier decision,
      deciding to allow a McPherson memorial brick and two other bricks
      submitted by Scientology critics.

      "'The decision not to order three bricks has been rescinded,' Citizens for
      a Better Clearwater wrote in a letter received this week by John Merrett,
      an attorney for the Scientology critics. 'Upon receipt, these bricks will
      be placed in the Cleveland Street Gas Light Alley with other inscribed
      bricks.'

      "The brick request by Jeff Jacobsen and Stacy Brooks, both staff members
      at a Scientology watchdog group named the Lisa McPherson Trust, touched
      off a tremor downtown, demonstrating how seemingly innocuous efforts can
      become controversial because of the relationship between the church and
      its opponents.

      "Marks refused to answer questions about why the group changed its
      decision. She said she had a message from the group's volunteers: 'Come
      and see your park. It speaks for itself. That's the real story.' Merrett
      said he suspects one reason the volunteer group has changed its mind is it
      wants to avoid further scrutiny of who is involved. Ultimately, he said,
      he is satisfied with the outcome.

      "City Attorney Pam Akin said the group made the right decision regarding
      the bricks. The initial rejection of the bricks raised serious questions
      about First Amendment rights in the city-owned alley. Akin said when she
      first researched the issue last fall, the city was not as involved in the
      alley project as it now is. With the city's increased involvement, the
      city's liability is 'less clear,' she said.

      "A letter Merrett sent to the city in early April had some influence, Akin
      said, 'He came to us immediately and said, 'This (alley) is yours, and you
      need to fix it.' That certainly got my attention,' Akin said. Jacobsen and
      Brooks said they plan to resubmit their brick orders and checks. Bricks
      cost $35, $45 and $55. Jacobsen also ordered a brick in memory of Leo J.
      Ryan, a California congressman killed while investigating the Jim Jones
      cult in Jonestown, Guyana. Brooks wants a brick in memory of Roxanne
      Friend, a former Scientologist and friend who died of cancer."

      Message-ID: <3ae81092.0@...>

      #####

      > Cruise / Kidman

      The May 1st issue of The National Enquirer contains an article on
      Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise and his divorce from Nicole Kidman.

      "The divorce war between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman could turn into a
      holy war - and at stake are their kids. On Easter Sunday, Nicole departed
      from the traditions of her Scientologist husband by taking their two
      youngsters into St. Monica's Catholic Church in Santa Monica. Nicole and
      her entourage were ushered through a police traffic cordon directly in
      front of the church.

      "'She held her head high and, clutching Connor with one hand and a
      pretty-in-pink Isabella with the other, strode purposefully up the steps
      of St. Monica's and into the crowded church.' Added a Cruise family
      insider: 'When Tom and Nicole first married, it was agreed that their kids
      would be raised in the Church of Scientology. She feels the Catholic
      Church will ground them - give them a sense of what's right and good. She
      feels the kids need a traditional religious foundation.'"

      Message-ID: <4g3fet8o7s5lsm6ofd53eiq599p97uh3cr@...>

      #####

      > Germany

      Frankenpost Lokales reported on April 26th on a planned meeting of
      Interior Ministers and their concerns over Scientology.

      "According to the Interior Ministers Conference, 'Scientology' is one of
      the counter-constitutional organizations and therefore may be observed
      nationwide by Constitutional Security. Speaker Gerd F. Thomae will use the
      text of the SC to demonstrate what system of values this organization
      represents, how a society would appear which is organized according to
      their principles and what image of humans they propagate. For some years,
      speaker Gerd F. Thomae has been distributing information about Scientology
      in Bavarian schools; he is a public school teacher himself who teaches
      ethics and social studies. He is speaking in Marktredwitz at the
      invitation of the Evangelical educational agency and the Tutzing Academy's
      Circle of Friends. The event takes place on Friday, April 27, 2001 at 7:30
      p.m. in the Marktredwitz city bank auditorium."

      Heilbronner Stimme reported on April 25th on a cult counseling center in
      Leibenstadt, Germany.

      "Victims of cults and so-called psycho-groups may find initial refuge in
      the Odenwaelder Wohnhof near Moeckmuehl. Yvonne K. leans back in her
      chair. The 23-year-old woman enjoys the peace which radiates from the
      Leibenstadt location. The simple establishment, formerly a parish building
      near the church, has a soothing effect. The only distraction at the
      Odenwaelder Wohnhof now and then is the television. 'Finally I have some
      time for myself again.'

      "One week prior she controlled people. On assignment from Scientology she
      checked members of that organization to see if they were regularly going
      to sect meetings. 'When discrepancies were found, I had to report them to
      the ethics department,' said Yvonne. After four months she said good-bye
      to Scientology. 'I couldn't take the pressure.' Her parents set her up at
      the Odenwaelder Wohnhof.

      "There is room for up to eight people at the Odenwaelder Wohnhof. 'Most of
      them stay for between 14 days and two months,' said the establishment's
      director, Inge Mammay. But some victims of sects and psycho-groups have
      stayed for up to six months. 'It depends on the degree of damage,' said
      Mammay.

      "'Scientology has its own system of justice. The organization does not
      recognize the essence of democracy and treats opponents badly,' said
      Beatrice Boeninger, spokesperson on the Scientology Organization at the
      Baden-Wuerttemberg State Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
      According to the weltanschauung commissioner of the Evangelical community
      agency for Wuerttemberg, Dr. Hansjoerg Hemminger, 'exploitation and
      attacks on personality' round off the face of this organization which has
      its state headquarters in Stuttgart and operates a 'mission' in
      Heilbronn."

      Esslinger Zeitung reported on April 25th that Scientology is distributing
      an invitation to an event at the Stuttgart org in the town of Nuerteingen.

      "Under the heading of 'A drug-free life' the Scientology sect is currently
      sending households in Nuertingen and vicinity invitations to an exhibition
      in Stuttgart. The Eltern-Betroffen-Initiative (EBIs) is issuing a warning
      about visiting this sect's exhibition. The exhibition pretends to serve
      the fight against drugs, but under this guise, the EBIs said, is the
      threshold to the dangerous Scientology sect. For many years the sect has
      combined its so-called 'anti-drug campaign' with membership recruitment
      offensives."

      Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on March 30th on efforts to keep Scientology
      from occupying a building near the high school in Laichingen.

      "If things go the way Friedholm Werner wants, Scientology will not get a
      change to establish itself in Laichungen - at least not in the building
      the organization has had its eye on across from the high school. The
      community council, said the Laichinger mayor, will still have to approve a
      zoning change.

      "For the lot where Graser's building stands there exists no construction
      plan. The committee, according to Mayor Werner, would have to approve
      conversion into a conference and training center. But Werner does not
      just want to stall the Scientology center. The council chief would like to
      develop a separate use concept with the owner, Graser. That would pose a
      question of whether classrooms for the public high school could not be set
      up there.

      "A member of our staff spoke with Dr. Hansjoerg Hemminger, weltanschauung
      commissioner with the Evangelical community service for Wuerttemberg about
      the Scientologists who are again making headlines. 'I don't believe that
      Laichungen is a location of special significance to the Scientology
      Organization. Traditionally the Ballungs area with its buying power has
      been more interesting to the organization. But the Scientologists have
      been hitting a strong headwind there for about the last ten years, mainly
      in the greater vicinity of Stuttgart. According to all findings the
      financial power of the organization has also decreased considerably.
      Therefore I could imagine that they are trying out structurally weaker
      areas where the public's awareness of extremist groups is not so high.

      "'Scientologists are often under enormous pressure to come up with very
      much money for the course system on the 'Bridge to Freedom,' or they may
      also have to support the organization with large sums of money. Therefore
      they focus their commercial activity in areas which promise high profits,
      even though there are also high risks. It's true that the real estate
      market in the greater Stuttgart vicinity has been especially affected."

      Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1010426183414.137A-100000@...>
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      #####

      > Keith Henson

      The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported on April 27th that Scientology
      critic Keith Henson has been convicted on the charge of interfering with a
      religion.

      "Jurors convicted a Church of Scientology opponent Thursday of using
      threats against the organization to interfere with its members' right to
      practice the religion. However, the jury deadlocked on whether the threats
      constituted terrorism.

      "He had been charged with three misdemeanors: making terrorist threats,
      attempting to make terrorist threats and making threats to interfere with
      freedom to enjoy a constitutional privilege. The jury convicted Henson of
      using threats to interfere with a constitutional privilege but could not
      agree on the other two charges.

      "After the verdict, Henson said he was happy that he was not convicted of
      terrorism but said he believes his First Amendment rights may be taken
      away if he is prohibited from posting his opinions. 'My biggest concern
      is the fact that Scientologists can prevent people from speaking out about
      (them),' he said.

      "The Palo Alto man started picketing Golden Era after the deaths of Ashlee
      Shaner and Stacy Meyer. Ashlee, 16, died in May when the vehicle she was
      driving collided with a tractor doing work for Golden Era. Meyer, 20, died
      in June at the facility after slipping in a electrical vault. Henson said
      he believes the deaths are suspicious and wants the church held
      responsible. He said he was picketing the church's 'callous disregard for
      human life.' Investigators have filed no charges in either death. Henson
      said he wanted to address this belief in his defense, but he said the
      judge ruled against it.

      "Deputy District Attorney Robert Schwarz, who prosecuted the case, said it
      was unclear whether the DA would re-file the other charges. Henson's
      sentencing is scheduled for May 16. He faces a maximum of one year in
      jail."

      From Wired News on April 27th:

      "A California jury has convicted Keith Henson, a prominent critic of
      Scientology, of terrorizing the group through Usenet posts and by
      picketing one of its offices. Henson, a computer engineer who has been
      involved in prior legal skirmishes with Scientology, was found guilty on
      Thursday of interfering with Scientologists' civil rights and now faces a
      prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000.

      "The charges revolved around posts Henson made in the
      alt.religion.scientology newsgroup about targeting a nuclear missile at
      Scientologists, and Henson's picketing of the group's Golden Era
      Productions in Riverside, California. The jury rejected Henson's claim
      that he was exercising his First Amendment right to criticize a dangerous
      cult, and convicted him of interfering with a religion, one of three
      counts against him.

      "Henson's supporters have created a website, freehenson.tripod.com, to
      rally support for Henson during his legal battle. The site says that
      Scientology has a suspiciously close relationship with the prosecutor:
      'What kind of Alice-in-Wonderland Court is it that allows organized
      criminals to sit in the prosecutor's chair bringing charges against the
      honest citizens, in which a heavily-armed cult has Mafia lawyers direct
      the activities of the District Attorney?'

      "Henson seems undeterred. 'After court today, my wife Arel and I picketed
      outside the court with signs about the women killed out at the cult's
      place last summer,' he said in an e-mail. 'We also gave away about 200
      flyers about how Scientology is hurting people and breaking the law.'

      "Henson was convicted of violating a hate crimes statute, section 422.6 of
      the California Penal Code. It says: 'No person, whether or not acting
      under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure,
      intimidate, interfere with, oppress or threaten any other person in the
      free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege.'"

      Message-ID: <9cbkbd$nl8@...>
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      #####

      > Beach Clean-Up

      The Los Angeles Times reported on April 25th that Scientology volunteers
      helped to clean a beach in Orange County, California.

      "Orange County residents Wayne Roma, Leif Potter, Cami Lee, Todd Lemkau,
      Melissa Roma, Byrce Roma, Gwen Fontaine and Vanessa Sherrif and other
      volunteers from the Church of Scientology Mission of Newport Beach helped
      to clean up the beach at Crystal Cove on Sunday for Earth Day."

      Message-ID: <9c97s7$jmd@...>

      #####

      > Protest Summary

      Tory Bezazian and Deana Holmes reported protests at Gold Base in Hemet,
      California this week.

      "Barb, Arel, John and I did our picket, walking the length of Gold pretty
      much. On the side with the ship we just silently walked pretty much. As I
      got in front of Davey's pad I couldn't resist a few yells: 'DAVEYYYY YOU
      HAVE VISITORRRRSSSSS.'

      "We picketed peacefully. Two cars stopped and local people really wanted
      to know what is the deal with these people."

      "When we went over to Gold on Saturday, I noticed that the Ashlee Shaner
      memorial had been reduced to a pile of rocks. This saddened me greatly, so
      I decided to do something about it. On Sunday morning, Arel Lucas, Barb
      and myself went out to the Ashlee Shaner memorial, which is on the north
      side of the road to the west of Gold. I had purchased two plastic flower
      wreaths, one with the picture of a cross in the center, and the other with
      a picture of the Sallman portrait of Jesus. I bought those specifically
      because Ashlee was a Christian and had died on a church trip.

      "We used the rocks on hand to scrape a trench into the ground, removing
      many small and medium-sized rocks in the process. We put the wires in,
      piled the dirt and rocks around the wires. We then put the two pots next
      to the wreaths.

      "That was two days ago. Today, Arel and another woman went out and
      picketed and noticed that our memorial was gone. All that was left was
      some of the rocks. Now, I know that highway displays are not often stolen.
      I will put up another memorial the next time I'm out at Gold, which may be
      QUITE SOON. You are on notice, David Miscavige: ASHLEE SHANER WILL BE
      REMEMBERED."

      Bruce Pettycrew reported a protest at the Mesa, Arizona org on April 28th.

      "Kathy and I picketed from 10:15 to 11:15 today at the Mesa mission. It
      was warm, in the 90's, but a nice breeze made it comfortable. About 45
      minutes into the picket, a man and woman came out to take our pictures
      with a throw-away camera. The man then got into his white pickup truck and
      drove across the street to where we were parked, pausing behind our car to
      get the license plate number.

      "A little later, an open jeep with two men in it pulled into the parking
      lot and stopped to talk to us. They wanted to know just what the
      Scientologists were all about. After I mentioned the name L. Ron Hubbard,
      they groaned in recognition. Two women came out of the org to tell them
      to leave, which they did, laughing."

      Message-ID: <20010424022046.20877.00000624@...>
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      #####

      > Switzerland

      Tagblatt published an interview with sect expert Hugo Stamm on April 24th.

      "'After the Solar Temple tragedy, the attacks by the Aum sect and the
      campaign against Scientology, many groups have struck back hard. Besides
      that a certain oversaturation in the public has led to an attitude of
      indifference. Most of the groups now have more room to move. They have
      adapted themselves and lessened their vulnerability to attack, at the same
      time maintaining the mental pressure on their members. This climate of
      alleged religious tolerance will end up leading to acceptance of extremist
      concepts of salvation. A sort of protected area has arisen, a large part
      of which is due to the field of sects no longer being covered in the state
      security report.

      "'Today I see more that all members themselves become victims of
      consciousness control, but it seems somewhat milder. I see no change in
      the risk of indoctrination to the victims. There is still no excuse for
      the system, the perpetrators, the gurus, sect leaders and founders.'

      "How should one react when relatives or friends all of a sudden find
      themselves doing business with totalitarian groups?

      "'The most important thing is to keep the peace and not subject them to
      moral pressure. Otherwise those people will feel as though they are being
      forced to defend the group. They assume the arguments thereby increasing
      their auto-suggestion. There is nothing else to do except to quickly
      provide them with information about the group and develop a strategy with
      the help of experts. Experience has demonstrated that by the time one
      notices anything it is too late. After several weeks or months the control
      of consciousness is usually so far advanced that nothing can be done in
      the short-term. Information work is so important for that reason.'"

      Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1010426183622.137B-100000@...>

      #####

      > Panda Software

      Norwegian newspaper Digi Today report this week that Panda Software, an
      anti-virus software company, makes contributions to Scientology.

      "According to the French news magazine L'Express the company Panda
      Software, one of the biggest anti virus companies in the world, regularly
      contribute to the global Church of Scientology. General Manager Mikel
      Urizarbarrena of Panda Software has transferred large amounts to
      organizations related to the Church of Scientology, at least since 1996.
      The Spanish company was established in 1990 and has since grown to become
      one of the biggest providers of virus protection in the world."

      Message-ID: <611cetk015395gphqs4p62a4fo13m7je5n@...>

      -end-
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