A.r.s Week in Review - 4/29/2001
Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 2
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:
> AustraliaJames 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
"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.'"
> BeckMusic 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
> Faith-Based GroupsThe 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
"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
"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
"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."
> In MemoriumThe 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."
> ClearwaterThe 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
"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
"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."
> Cruise / KidmanThe 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.'"
> GermanyFrankenpost 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
"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
"'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
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
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
"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
"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."
> Keith HensonThe Riverside Press-Enterprise reported on April 27th that Scientology
critic Keith Henson has been convicted on the charge of interfering with a
"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
"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
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.'"
> Beach Clean-UpThe 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."
> Protest SummaryTory 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
"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
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."
> SwitzerlandTagblatt 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
"'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.'"
> Panda SoftwareNorwegian 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."