Perfect ScoreThe Advocate newspaper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana reported on September 22nd that a student who earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam plans to join Scientology programs in New York City. "Craig Gehring went over an old math test to prepare to take the ACT back in June, but that's it. He ended up getting a perfect score, a 36. He was the only student in Louisiana to get a perfect score that day and one of only 72 such students across the nation. "The ACT Assessment is taken by roughly two million high school seniors each year, and was taken by 355,000 students in June. The ACT tests a student's skills in English, math, reading and science reasoning. Gehring's perfect score represents a composite score of all four tests. "Both the ACT and the 1600-point SAT, which measures students' math and verbal skills, are used as factors in college admissions and placement and in awarding scholarships. Gehring, however, may not go to college. A free thinker, Gehring said he plans to join a drug prevention and literacy program in New York City, loosely affiliated with the Church of Scientology. His father, Kyle Gehring, however, is uneasy. He said the son has discovered Scientology on his own. 'We're encouraging him to go to college,' he said. 'We think there is a lot he's going to miss out on.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
World Trade CentersThe New York Times reported on October 4th that a Scientology program in New York aims to treat firefighters suffering from having worked at the World Trade Centers disaster with the Purification Rundown. "For the past year, more than 140 New York City firefighters, some ailing from their work in the ruins of the World Trade Center, have walked into a seventh-floor medical clinic just two blocks from the former disaster site. Once inside, some have abandoned the medical care and emotional counseling provided to them by their own department's doctors, and all have taken up a treatment regimen devised by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology. "The firefighters take saunas, engage in physical workouts and swallow pills - all of which together constitute what for years has been known, amid considerable dispute, as Mr. Hubbard's detoxification program, one meant to wash the body of poisons or toxins. The firefighters are not charged for their trips to the clinic, called Downtown Medical. "One retired firefighter is a paid member of the clinic's advisory board, and the city's main fire union has pledged its 'full support' to the clinic as it seeks government grants and other forms of financing. 'The statements I have heard from firefighters who have completed the program are truly remarkable,' Stephen J. Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, wrote in a letter that is posted on the clinic's Web site. The letter adds, 'The work you are doing in this regard is unique in the city, and is very welcome.' "But the existence of the clinic has upset city Fire Department officials, who, among other concerns, are alarmed that the medical treatment prescribed by its doctors is being discarded by some firefighters who enroll at Downtown Medical. They say the clinic's detoxification program requires firefighters to stop using inhalers meant to help with their breathing and any medications they may be taking, like antidepressants or blood pressure pills. "The exact makeup of the pills taken as part of the program, for instance, is not widely known, although they are believed to contain niacin. One clinic board member wrote a report published in a firefighting magazine that firefighters produced blue beads of sweat during the program. One city firefighter said that the man next to him in the sauna once appeared to sweat a quarter-size black substance - evidence, he said, that toxins were being drained out of his body. "Officials with the clinic, while acknowledging some of them are Scientologists, said the clinic is not formally affiliated with the Church of Scientology. An official at the church's office in Los Angeles said they were aware of the clinic, but described it as a secular enterprise employing Mr. Hubbard's methods. Joseph Higgins, a retired firefighter who is now a paid member of the clinic's advisory board, said Tom Cruise, the actor, had paid for 'quite a bit' of the treatments for rescue workers, estimated by Mr. Higgins to cost $5,000 to $6,000 apiece. "In a blistering 1988 report, Dr. Ronald E. Gots, a toxicology expert from Bethesda, Md., called the regimen 'quackery,' and noted that 'no recognized body of toxicologists, no department of occupational medicine, nor any governmental agencies endorse or recommend such treatment.' The report ended Shreveport's dealings with the program. In an interview yesterday, Dr. Gots said of the program, 'It's an unproven, scientifically bereft notion.' "Officials at the Manhattan clinic said that shortly after the terrorist attack, an official with the firefighters' union contacted the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education, a group that promotes the detoxification program developed by Mr. Hubbard, to request the regimen for New York firefighters. "Stacks of of pamphlets about the program have appeared at Fort Totten, the department's training center. Department officials have tried to distance themselves from any impression that they endorse the regimen, but they say that it has been difficult. 'This is a very hard battle to win,' said Dr. Prezant, who noted that firefighters do the regimen on their own time and do not have to report to the department that they are undergoing it. 'It's not our job to say you can't go. All we can do is say there's no proven evidence it works.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal WaiverThe Oracle, newspaper of the University of South Florida, published an article on September 24th on the waiver Scientologists sign to be eligible for courses. "Rights and freedoms often go unnoticed until they are threatened. So why someone would choose to sign his or her freedoms away intentionally is an anomaly. However, the Church of Scientology has been making its members do exactly that. With this in mind, one must ask why a church, which is protected under the First Amendment, would force its members to forgo the rest of the rights given to them by residing in this country. "In order to be allowed to reach higher levels of success in the church, members must sign contracts that sign away their national rights. By signing, members waive the right to seek medical or psychiatric care as well as the right to see their families during church-provided treatment. This means family members or outside medical or psychiatric personnel cannot force the member into an outside medical situation. According to The New York Post, these contracts also say that members seeking advanced treatment must sign to 'forever (giving) up (the) right to sue the church and its staff for any injury or damage suffered in anyway connected with Scientology.' "Instead of medical treatments, members receive vitamins and introspection rundowns in which a guide assists the members in channeling past lives in order to determine the source of the ailment. Under the First Amendment, Americans have the right to practice whatever religion they see fit. But it is contradictory of a church, protected by such an amendment, to force its members to give up the rest of their rights if they want to be successful in the church's eyes. It is also suspicious that they take such precautions against potential legal actions if they did not see them as being inevitable. It makes one question the intention of a church that is attempting to administer such control over its followers." Message-ID: email@example.com
Hate CrimesThe Palm Beach Post reported on September 26th that Palm Beach County, Florida ranks high on the state of Florida's list of cities with the most hate crimes, in part due to vandalism at the Scientology org there. "Palm Beach County ranked fifth in the state in hate crimes, according to a state report released Thursday. There were 24 hate crimes reported countywide last year, 13 of which were motivated by the victim's religion. Boca Raton recorded the most incidents - nine - one more than the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office reported in the entire unincorporated area. "Palm Springs reported two hate-related incidents in 2002, both at the Church of Scientology in the Shores Plaza Mall, according to police spokesman Lt. Mark Hall. Twice vandals broke in and rummaged through the storefront church, painting graffiti on the walls. No arrests were made. 'As far was we know, it could have been kids,' Hall said, 'but because (the graffiti) was directed at the beliefs of the church, it was classified as a hate crime.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
BelgiumFrench newspaper Le Soir reported on September 19th on Scientology's new offices in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. "It's clear that Ron Hubbard's adherents love luxury. Their European office, which officially opens 17 September 2003, is an expensive three-story building at 91 Street of Law, in the very heart of the European quarter of Brussels. 'For us it's nice here, thank you!' smiles Fabio Amicarelli, director of the European office of the international 'Scientology Church' cult. In the building, painted with white flowers, there are a few thematic halls. 'Here,' explained the director, 'no religious services are held.' They claim this is a 'human rights embassy,' which is 'a place for open and transparent dialogue.' "The staff consists of ten permanent employees. 'They accept everybody here,' emphasizes Fabio Amicarelli, 'on terms of mutual respect.' The stage setting is thought out to the most minute detail: photographs, symbolism, didactic paneling, slogans. Scientology does its best to show that it is somebody you can trust, and that using the 'cult' label on them is absolutely unjust. 'We serve as a religious association which is officially recognized all over the world,' insists our interlocutor. "The European office of the 'Church of Scientology' opens it doors 17 September. 'There will be many people,' asserts Fabio Amicarelli. How many? What are their names? Unknown. Brussels was not chosen by accident. The Church of Scientology makes no secret of its wish to have its activities known in the capitals of Europe. Lobbying? 'If you like, yes. But what is reprehensible about that?' And how about that speech in the Belgian parliament from 1997 in which talks about a 'harmful cult?' 'We respect Belgian laws and the government. But we think that Belgium lives fifteen years in the past. Scientology is not what they say at all.' And the questionable methods of proselytizing? And the sources of the organization's financing? 'Rumors and prejudice,' says Amicarelli. "The European office is a site for conducting conferences and meetings. 'We will invite the most diverse people so they can tell about our actions in defending human rights,' says the director. 'We will work here through our social programs: the fight against drug addiction, eliminating intolerance and rehabilitating criminals.' The office doors will 'always be open.' Even for the press? 'If they want to call on us.'" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1030922170403.112Bemail@example.com
RussiaNewsru.com reported on September 19th that Scientology continues to operate in Russia, and have protested outside a psychiatric institute in Moscow. "The director of the V.P. Serbsky Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, Tatyana Dmitriev, expressed annoyance with the activities of Scientologists on Russian territory. Appearing today in Moscow at a conference on problems of prison psychiatry, she mentioned that officially the activities of the Scientologists were prohibited in the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, in her words, the Scientologists continue to operate under the mask of rights advocate organizations. 'And that is how the big money works that is invested in Scientology,' said the Center chief. 'They believe,' explained T. Dmitriev, 'that psychiatry in general does not need to concern treatment of the sick - that, as the saying goes, God gave you whatever you need.' It was in this respect, T. Dmitriev said, that the Scientology protest actions were carried on outside the V.P. Serbsky Center. One of their principle slogans, said T. Dmitriev, was 'Psychiatrists: hands away from people!' Participants of such actions also appeal to the government to stop financing the country's psychiatry." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1030922170556.112Cfirstname.lastname@example.org
Applied ScholasticsThe Lovelock Review-Miner reported on September 4th that a pilot program to use Scientology's study tech in a Nevada school district will be discontinued. "During a special meeting of the Pershing County School Board on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the Pershing County School Board voted to permanently discontinue use of the Applied Scholastics study program within the Pershing County School District. Several people throughout the community, including parents and teachers, had expressed concern with the program because the books used in the program are reportedly based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. "Pershing County Middle School teacher Debra Scilacci was one of those teachers who supported the program. She said that she has used the program in her classroom and it has helped several students improve reading skills. Those who spoke against the program said that the link to Hubbard was reason enough to cause them concern. Pershing County High School teacher Valdine McLean expressed her opposition to using the program. She said that she felt that Hubbard's connection to the program was her major concern. "Also speaking out against the program, were Pershing County Elementary Literacy specialists Sandy Condie and Shea Murphy. Condie and Murphy run a literacy program at the elementary school and said that the Applied Scholastics program is radically different than what they teach in the younger grades. "School Board member Todd Plimpton made a motion that 'the Pershing County School Board, upon further consideration and review of the materials and testimony as presented, hereby suspend indefinitely, without prejudice, the Applied Scholastics program.' Board member Rachel Clingan seconded the motion. Clingan said that her decision was not a reflection of any the people who have been involved with the Applied Scholastics program. 'It has helped some students,' Clingan said 'that's not an issue here.' She said that suspending the program is the right thing to do for the community at this time. "Board member Brad Arnold said that when the issue came up what he wanted to know was if the program met the needs of the district. 'After the reading the results presented by staff,' Arnold said 'I am not convinced that this technique, by itself, has proved or produced a mainstream improvement.' Arnold said that he is convinced that increased individualized instruction as provided by staff either in school or summer school has proven to be beneficial. "The motion to discontinue use of the Applied Scholastics program was unanimously passed by the board." Message-ID: email@example.com
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.