ClearwaterChristianity Today published articles this week on Scientology and its attempt to dominate Clearwater. "Some Christians in Clearwater call Scientology a pushy, money-driven cult that preys on the vulnerable. Others avoid confrontation, striving to tolerate or even welcome Scientology as a member of the religious community. Bill Anderson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater for the past 25 years, says it has been difficult to treat Scientologists with love while countering their teachings with biblical truth. 'This has really sharpened my focus about the exclusivity of the gospel,' Anderson told Christianity Today. 'Part of my challenge as a pastor has been trying to help my people live not only as good people but to live as good witnesses. Too often, I'm afraid, Christians are afraid to stand on the fact that only Jesus can save you.' "Scientologists have made persistent and persuasive efforts to win the favor of key officials and municipal leaders in Clearwater. Scientology members clean vacant lots, plant sea oats to stop beach erosion, and hang holiday decorations in December. They led volunteer citizen councils to prepare the city for Y2K and created their own Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. Scientologists hold annual parties for local orphans, support anti-drug education in community schools, and sponsor Winter Wonderland, a children's carnival, every Christmas season. "Scientologists say they were welcomed by some religious leaders, including Otis and Barbara Green of Everybody's Tabernacle, the rabbinic leaders of Congregation of Beth Shalom, and the United Church of Christ's hospice director, Doyce Wise. Largely unwelcome in most of Clearwater's religious circles, Scientologists created their own interfaith council and launched ministry projects for the community. Scientologists also actively engaged in community service, outchurching Clearwater's Christians. But some residents question their desire to serve. 'Their true agenda is control,' Anderson says. 'They don't really want to be known. They want to get along like a tiger wants to get along with a rabbit.' "Ben Puckett, dean of enrollment at Clearwater Christian College adds that some Scientology outreach in Clearwater is not openly affiliated with the church. 'They have a great deal of good-will programs that are so general and euphemistic that unless you ask, you wouldn't know they are Scientology-run,' Puckett says, citing Narconon, Criminon, and the True School, a Scientology elementary school, as examples. "'It's generally believed that fewer people visit the downtown area because of the hundreds of uniformed Scientologists walking the streets,' says Marshall Van Dine, minister of First United Methodist Church of Clearwater. 'But most people have accepted their presence in the community.' 'A lot of what they have done downtown has been seen as positive and community-building,' Pastor C. Philip Whitener of Grace Lutheran Church told CT. But, he wonders, 'How much control will they exert?' "Craig Branch of the Apologetics Resource Institute and former Scientologist Brian Haney visited Clearwater in April to encourage and educate church members. Branch says he senses a new urgency in local pastors to stand up in a spirit of Christian love against Scientology. 'We're concerned about the balance between educating people on Scientology's false claims and yet still urging them to act with love and compassion toward Scientologists,' he says. 'These churches are committed to forming a prayer front and developing a heart for people who are really suffering spiritually.'" "Brian Haney labored to give his life fulfillment in many ways. The 37-year-old entrepreneur had been through two marriages, built a $100 million corporation, and attained the coveted state of 'clear' as a Scientologist, meaning he had achieved the high level of freedom, personal control, and independence Scientology promises its followers. But none of these triumphs allayed his spiritual emptiness and dissatisfaction. "'They tell you that you've made it, that you're in, and you just keep walking around thinking: Shouldn't I feel different?' Haney told Christianity Today. In 1994, Haney and his wife left the Church of Scientology, though they faced great resistance. At one point they contacted local police with concerns about their safety. "He began attending St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church with his wife and children. 'I must have listened to about 50 sermons of Spirit-filled, Word-based teaching before I realized that I needed to give my life to Christ,' Haney said. 'I was worried. I had joined a cult in the past, so I wanted to know how to discern the truth.' As Haney's faith grew, his disappointment toward Scientology softened. 'At first I was really mad. I mean they ripped me off,' Haney says, estimating that he gave more than $1 million to the church. 'But as I grew in my walk with God, I realized that I just feel sorry for the people trapped in that mindset. It makes me want to weep now, not fight them.'" Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Jenna ElfmanThe Times of India published an article on Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman on September 7th. "Elfman has been quite open about her debt to that great Hollywood powerbroker, the Church of Scientology. In fact, for all the secrecy surrounding the organisation, Elfman has acted as a veritable one-woman, wisecracking ambassador. 'I'm making myself more sane, and pulling away the shit so that I can be present and be able and comfortable and willing to be in front of other people, to reach into their lives to help to communicate,' she declares. 'I mean, if you can't even be present, then you can't really help anybody. I mean, on the day that we can all trust each other, there will be peace on earth. L. Ron Hubbard says that. Start bringing people together. You know what I mean? If anyone is inspired by that and creates that, great. What's with sectioning off? Everyone has something in common. That is that they're of mankind. Everyone has the same problems, they just have different content. So everybody needs to, like, you know, work on willing to be there for each other.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
GermanySuedwest Presse reported on September 5th that Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger discussed the issue of Scientology during a visit to Bavaria. "Former federal justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) is currently traveling through the counties of Bavaria. FDP county representative Karl-Heinz Klass put Scientology and pregnancy crisis counseling on the agenda. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger attends United Nations conferences in Geneva as the political human rights speaker of the FDP faction and as ombudsman for the Liberals. She often hears in the sessions that the current situation of the Scientologists in Germany is equivalent to the persecution of non-mainstream people in the Third Reich. 'There is nothing comparable to what happened to the Jews and non-mainstream,' said the politician. "Adherents of the psycho-sect often complain about political persecution in Germany. In reality, the state attorney's office has often investigated these Scientologists for tax evasion, reported Hartwig. 'If you ask government agencies, you may have to wait weeks or months before you get that answer,' said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. Therefore she went to Hartwig to stock up on books and brochures on the theme of Scientology." Taz reported on September 5th that Scientology is continuing its attacks on Thomas Gandow for his work to award Scientology critic Bob Minton a human rights award. "On his birthday, August 18, glossy brochures were distributed with the daily mail in Zehlendorf. Gandow, who has been involved in sects since the end of the 1970s and who has been sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg since 1992, was defamed as 'chief inquisitor,' 'anti-sect commissioner,' 'notorious exorcist of belief,' and 'chief architect for the discrimination campaigns against religious and weltanschauung communities and their members in parts of Europe.' Scientology Church Germany demanded Gandow's immediate dismissal from state Bishop Wolfgang Huber for 'fanatical activism.' "The occasion for the attacks was the first 'Alternative Charlemagne Award' given out by the 'European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA,' of which Gandow is a member as a private individual, in June in Leipzig. The award went to U.S. American Robert Minton, a proven opponent of Scientology. Minton is the founder and financier of a private incorporated organization in the USA which supports and makes legal referrals to people who have been adversely affected by Scientology. As far as Gandow is concerned, 'They're worried because their sales have dropped dramatically.' Scientology sees an 'archenemy' in the Evangelical Church in Germany, which has been issuing warnings about Scientology for many years in its handbook of religious communities. It is plain to him that, 'I am being attacked because of my efforts against Scientology.' "The Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg stands completely behind its sect commissioner. Press spokesman Reinhard Lampe stated, 'We are decisively against all attempts to defame the work of the sect commissioner.' He says Scientology is 'sensitive' because the Evangelical Church is providing information about a group 'which pretends to be religious, but which uses methods which violates human rights.' Thomas Gandow is taking legal measures against Scientology for asserting false statements and for insult to person." Berliner Morgenpost reported on September 6th that Thomas Gandow is planning a memorial service in Berlin for Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in Clearwater in Scientology's care. "Reverend Thomas Gandow cordially invites you to a worship service with the theme 'Prayer for Lisa McPherson - Dying in Scientology.' Sermon and intercession will be held on Sunday, September 17 at 11:30 a.m. in the Luise Church on Gierkeplatz. In conjunction with the service, there will be an opportunity after the service to attend a discussion with Ursula Caberta y Diaz, Director of the Work Group on Scientology, who will travel from Hamburg to attend the service." Taz reported on September 5th on the book publishing arm of Scientology, New Era Publications. "Since about the time the federal government started moving to the city, Berlin has become the site of increased Scientology operations. Anne Ruehle, Berlin Senate sect commissioner, believes the Scientologists are 'currently pushing all the buttons they can to get a foot in the door in Germany.' In doing that, they are struggling mainly against their surveillance by Constitutional Security. Last year Scientology put Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein, of all people, in the same category as communist China. "Ute Kiesel, spokeswoman for New Era Publications, Inc., verified that many ad companies refused to take the work to advertise for books. 'There is too much influence from the side of the government.' And what do the books have to offer? The friendly woman on the publishing company's info hotline promised us that in reading the book you would finally learn 'how this thinking apparatus works.' She said the book by the 'leading best-seller author in the field of the human mind' is appropriate for all who 'would like to know from where they come.'" Der Tagesspiegel reported on September 8th that Scientology has been mass mailing the German edition of Freedom magazine. "The Scientologists have sent their 'Freiheit' magazine to 20,000 households in the Steglitz and Zehlendorf via a mass mailing - without address, return sender and without other information. Another 20,000 copies were distributed to pedestrians in downtown Berlin. Sabine Weber, Vice President of Scientology in Germany, justified her choice of the two districts, they had 'the greatest need for information.' The Scientologists wanted to instruct the residents of Steglitz and Zehlendorf about the work of persons and institutions of which the Scientologists disapprove. "'That is where SPD politician Rennebach comes from. She is the political spokeswoman of the SPD and closely allied to the Evangelical Church,' said Weber. 'It contains false allegations,' said Thomas Gandow, who is looking at taking legal steps against the sect. 'Freiheit' says that Gandow 'directs a whole army of cover organizations.' The Berlin-Brandenburg Church has already made its statement supporting the minister. 'That is really an attack against the Evangelical Church as a whole,' said Thomas Gandow, 'but the Church has not sent me into the desert yet. The involvement of the American management in Germany has gotten stronger. I have now brought their anger upon me, too.' This edition of Freiheit also attacks Hamburg Senator of the Interior Hartmuth Wrocklage. According to a statement from Sabine Weber, Scientology has also distributed 80,000 copies in Hamburg. "'We have a general obligation to accept and deliver,' said post office spokeswoman Barbara Scheil. One could interfere only when a broadcast contained material pertaining to something visibly criminal. In the case of the 'Freiheit' broadcast, it could not even be determined where the mass mailing had been dropped off. Barbara Scheil did not think that receivers of mail such as that could do anything about it." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000905221743.116Bemail@example.com Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000906210602.141Afirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000906210905.141Bemail@example.com Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000907194955.122Afirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000908154930.114Bemail@example.com
EventsThe Los Angeles Times reported on September 9th on a Scientology seminar. "Robert Brennan will present a seminar on the beliefs of Scientology from 6:45 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Sepulveda Unitarian-Universalist Society, 9550 Haskell Ave., North Hills. Information: (818) 894-9251." The Anchorage Daily News reported an open house at the mission there. "The Church of Scientology, Mission of Anchorage, will host an open house at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 1300 E. 68th Ave., Suite 208A. The event will include a presentation of the movie 'Orientation,' plus refreshments. All are welcome; no reservations are necessary. For more information, call 349-8844." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Protest / Revenge SummaryGraham Berry continued his protests in Los Angeles with two protests on LRH Way this week. "I made a quick call to a friend and told him of my plans. Two minutes after we hung up he called back. He said: 'Your telephone is bugged. As soon as we hung up I got this telephone call that merely snarled: stay away from Graham Berry.' I was appropriately dressed in my stylish black Scientology Kills t-shirt. I was armed with picket-sign, camera and cell-phone. The city block was crowded with staffers and public members arriving for evening courses. The Estates Project Force (EPF) was cleaning the street gutters. Suddenly someone realized what I was doing and carrying - the truth! Stunned thetans were herded like flocks of sheep, into AOLA and the American St. Hill building. None of the fleeing scientologists dared to look back and read my message: 'LRH died on Psych drugs.' "Those in the American St. Hill building lobby were still able to see the other side of my picket sign: 'Scientology: church of fair game'. Soon the fleeing OTs and other less powerful thetan beings were pushed into internal course rooms. The dozen or scientology security staffers and I then settled down to our usual Mexican standoff for the next sixty minutes. Absolute silence and their new DA flyer: 'who is this man and why is he here?' As darkness descended at 8 pm, I wandered past the International Association of Scientologists building, tailed by a security goon, and I then drove-off as the 'all clear' call was made back to PAC." "This time it was the Church of $cientology's Pacific Area Command Base (PAC Base) on L. Ron Hubbard Way. PAC occupies the old Cedars Sinai Hospital building known in the cult as Big Blue. Just after high noon on Thursday, September 7, 2000, I approached PAC Base from Sunset Boulevard and New Hampshire Street. There was no security posted on Fountain Avenue so all those moving from Bridge Publications to AOLA got to read my sign. It seemed to enturbulate (upset) the scurrying SO staffers carrying their important sheaves of paper. I was fully one-third up L. Ron Hubbard Way before the security staffer looked up and recognized my advancing threat to the Hubbardians' minds. The security staffer set about ordering the various scientologists including the OTs inside the buildings. "I turned and walked across to the PAC Base cafeteria, which is in the basement of Big Blue. One entire top floor window of Big Blue remains smashed and boarded up. On another floor a broken pane of glass has gone unrepaired. By now there were six overt scientology staffers on the street. They rapidly moved the more daring stragglers inside. Now, eight minutes into my picket, the street was clear. It remained that way until after 2 pm when I drifted off to a lunch appointment." Keith Henson protested this week in San Jose. "I was in San Jose for other reasons today so the org on Bascum got a token ten minute picket. One guy came out and took a photo. I started telling him OT3 and he went back inside with fingers in ears." John Brownlee reported a protest in Edmonton, Ontario this week. "There was a surprise picket today at the Edmonton Org with Gerry Armstrong in attendance." David Rice reported revenge actions against him for his protests at Scientology's Gold Base in California. "A guy in a RV motor home is on vacation and has been parking at the marina where my boat is. He came up to me and said 'Did you know you're being stalked?' Seems that for the past two weeks and more, some lunatic freak Scientologist has been parked next to this vacationer's motor home, peering intently at every thing I do. My stalker stays in the parking lot all day no doubt waiting for me to accidentally 'expose my crimes.' "My stalker told the RV guy all sorts of insane, slanderous tall-tales about me and pointing my boat out to the guy. 'He's a religious bigot!' my stalker wailed. 'He's a criminal and he's got a hate web site on the Internet!' 'He belongs to a hate group that talks via the Internet!' The Dead Agenting from my stalker apparently went on for some THIRTY MINUTES, and as each minute passed, he got more and more worked up and crazed. Only by accident did the stalker say he is a Scientologist. The RV guy thanked him for the 'information' and closed the door on the stalker's face. "A day or two later the stalker tried to recruit the RV guy to stalk me during the times the stalker isn't around. That seems to have been the final straw. He said 'Every human being has the right to protest. Every human being has the right to post their opinions on their own web sites on the Internet. What YOU are doing is ILLEGAL and ABUSIVE! You are stalking this guy just because he has voiced his opinions. YOU are the nut that needs to be watched!' I gave the guy a copy of my Live Agenting flyer, and I explained to him why the crime syndicate has sent such lunatics to stalk me." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: GCHu5.firstname.lastname@example.org
Religious Freedom ReportThe U.S. State Department issued its second annual report on religious freedom, describing the situation in various countries and centering much attention on Scientology. From Yahoo News on September 5th: "Some of the hundreds of pages of text concentrated on states the U.S. government says do not fulfill a covenant signed by 144 nations acknowledging the right to 'have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice'. It accused Germany of encouraging discrimination against members of the Church of Scientology, which enjoys tax-free status in the United States. Some German officials believed Scientology was a money-making scheme rather than a religion and government procedures sometimes screened out its members, it said. In France, a 1996 law labeling 173 groups as sects included organizations which were 'merely unfamiliar or unpopular,' some of whose members continued to allege discrimination, it added. In February, France accused Washington of being too lax on cults and unfairly blaming France for its harsher stance." From the section of the report on Germany: "The Government does not recognize Scientology as a religion and views it as an economic enterprise. Concerns that Scientology's ideology is opposed to a democratic state have led to the screening of firms and individuals in some sectors of business and employment. The U.S. Government has maintained consistently that the determination that any organization is religious is for the organization itself. The U.S. Government has expressed concerns over infringement of individual rights because of religious affiliation and over the potential for discrimination in international trade posed by the screening of foreign firms for possible affiliation with Scientology. "Several states have published pamphlets detailing the ideology and practices of nonmainstream religions. The Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution published 'The Intelligence Service of the Scientology Organization,' which outlines its claim that Scientology tried to infiltrate governments, offices, and companies, and that the church spies on its opponents, defames them, and 'destroys' them. In November 1998, the federal OPC concluded that although there was no imminent danger for the political system or the economy of infiltration by Scientology, there were nevertheless indications of tendencies within Scientology which could be seen as directed against the country's free and democratic order. "In December 1999, the Stuttgart administrative court ruled that the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg could not deregister the Church of Scientology as an ideological nonprofit organization, stating that Scientology's economic activities could not be classified as commercial if such activities were used to accomplish the organization's ideological purposes. The state appealed the decision. In August 1999, the city of Munich revoked the nonprofit status of the local Scientology organization. In June 1999, the Munich administrative court rejected an appeal by Scientology and upheld the November 1995 decision by the city of Munich to deprive the Scientology-affiliated Celebrity Center Munich of its status as a nonprofit organization. With the exception of the Church of Scientology in Baden-Wuerttemberg, no Scientology organization in Germany has tax-exempt status. "Some local, state, and federal agencies, businesses, and other organizations require job applicants and bidders on contracts to sign a declaration, commonly referred to as a 'sect-filter,' stating that they are not affiliated with the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard or used the technologies of L. Ron Hubbard. The Government imposed the use of such declarations on companies bidding on contracts to provide training courses. In April 2000, the Hamburg administrative court dismissed the suit of two Scientology members against the city-state of Hamburg for its use of 'sect filters.' "At the end of 1999 and continuing into early 2000, Hamburg's Sect Commissioner expressed public concern about Microsoft's Windows 2000, because one of its software functions was developed by a firm whose chief executive officer is a Scientologist. Although the federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) has not yet made an investigation of the software, some Federal government offices are procuring Windows 2000. "In March 2000, a Scientology exhibit at the Leipzig book fair provoked complaints about what some visitors considered aggressive marketing tactics in the hall, and Leipzig authorities are reviewing whether to allow the exhibitors to return next year. The Federal Press and Information Office's Visitor's Bureau intervened in April 2000 with a Berlin hotel, forcing the hotel to cancel Scientology's reservations for rooms for an exhibit titled 'What is Scientology?' The hotel claimed that the Visitor's Bureau threatened to cancel several hundred thousand dollars worth of reservations if Scientology were allowed to exhibit in the hotel." On France: "On February 7, 2000, the Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Sects submitted its first annual report to the Prime Minister, which addressed the perceived problem of 'sects.' Publication of the report had been delayed; the delay was due to government reservations about the content of the report, which reportedly advocated new legislation aimed at abolishing a number of so-called 'dangerous sects.' The report presented two options: The use of criminal cases against individuals for violating existing laws and the use of existing administrative and political means - a 1936 decree against 'factious leagues'. The report specifically cited concerns regarding the Church of Scientology and the Solar Temple group. "In June 1999, the National Assembly released its second report on sects, which addressed the finances of the groups. The report focused on multinational groups, especially Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Scientology. The stated basis of concern was that these groups may use excessive or dishonest means to obtain donations, which then are transferred out of the country and beyond the reach of French tax authorities. The report also raised questions about volunteers, who should be compensated under the law for having provided uncompensated labor to 'for-profit' organizations. "In April 1999, an official of a district of Paris refused in writing a request to stage an art exhibition on city property because of the applicant's affiliation with the Church of Scientology. According to the 1905 law separating church and state, religious associations are not taxed on voluntary donations that they receive, although all churches pay taxes on certain activities. The Government currently does not recognize the Church of Scientology or some branches of Jehovah's Witnesses as qualifying religious associations, and therefore subjects them to a 60 percent tax on all funds that they receive. Tax claims asserted in 1994-95 against several Scientology churches forced them into bankruptcy. In the case of the Paris church, the Ministry of Finance refused to grant the church authorization to import funds to pay the claimed taxes even though the church offered to pay the total amount of all taxes assessed. "A number of court cases have involved former members who have sued the Church for fraud and sometimes for the practice of medicine without a license. According to representatives from the Church of Scientology, there also have been cases under the data privacy act brought against the group by former members who have continued to receive mailings from the parent church in the United States. In November 1999, the Marseille court in that case found a former local leader of the Church of Scientology and four other church employees guilty of fraud for swindling money from former members. The court sentenced the local leader to 2 years in prison, of which 18 months were suspended and the remaining 6 months served prior to sentencing, and a fine of approximately $16,700. The other four members received suspended sentences; charges against two other persons were dropped. United Kingdom: "In November 1999, the Charity Commission rejected a Church of Scientology application for charitable status, concluding that Scientology is not a religion for the purposes of charity law. The Church of Scientology asserts that it faces discrimination due to the failure of the Government to treat Scientology as a religion. In particular Scientology ministers are not regarded as ministers of religion under prison regulations, and thus they are not permitted to provide official pastoral care to prisoners; nor are they considered ministers of religion for the purpose of immigration relations. The Government bases its treatment of Scientology on a 1970 judgment by the Court of Appeal, which held that Scientology chapels did not qualify as places of worship under the Places of Worship Registration Act of 1855. In November 1999, the Charity Commission, which acts independently of the Government and is accountable to the courts for its decisions, rejected a Church of Scientology application for charitable status, concluding that Scientology is not a religion for the purposes of charity law, as 'the core practices of Scientology, being auditing and training, do not constitute worship.' It also declared that 'Public benefit arising from the practice of Scientology and/or the purposes of the Church of Scientology had not been established.' Sweden: "The law permits official institutions, such as government ministries and Parliament, to provide copies to the public of documents that are filed with them, even though such documents may be unpublished and protected by copyright law. This is due to a contradiction between the Constitution's freedom of information provisions and the country's international obligations to protect unpublished copyrighted works. This contradiction has affected copyrighted, unpublished documents belonging to the Church of Scientology which have been made available to the public by the Parliament in accordance with domestic legislation. The Government is now in the process of drafting new legislation designed to eliminate the contradiction and protect copyrights." Spain: "Religions not officially recognized, such as the Church of Scientology, are treated as cultural associations." Russia: "The Moscow directorate of justice repeatedly has refused registration of at least five religious organizations, besides Jehovah's Witnesses, including the Salvation Army and the Church of Scientology. Originally registered in 1994, the Moscow Church of Scientology has applied 3 times for reregistration under the 1997 law, only to have the applications denied. As of mid-2000, the Church was applying a fourth time. The Moscow general procurator and approximately 70 individuals representing members of the FSB, Federal Tax Police, the local police, and other law enforcement organizations in April 1999 conducted a high-profile, 3-day raid on the Hubbard Humanitarian Center, which is affiliated with the Moscow Church of Scientology. This was the second such raid. It was undertaken in connection with charges by the Procurcacy that the Center was engaging in commercial enterprise without a license and had failed to pay taxes. Although the Center successfully reregistered as a social organization in 1997 in accordance with legal requirements that such organizations reregister by July 1, 1999, a Moscow court subsequently invalidated the reregistration and ordered the Center to be liquidated, a verdict upheld by a higher court. However, by mid-2000 this had not taken place and the center continued to operate as a registered social organization. A separate case based on similar charges was initiated against the Center's director, Gennadiy Kudinov, who is also head of the Church. Church officials believe that the ruling is part of a broader attack on the Church and its activities. "St. Petersburg authorities arbitrarily detained six Scientologists for psychiatric evaluation. In January in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Tretyak, leader of Sentuar (the local branch of the Church of Scientology), was accused by St. Petersburg chief psychiatrist Larisa Rubina of inflicting psychological damage on his coreligionists. On June 17, six members of Sentuar - Mikhail Dvorkin, Igor Zakrayev, Irina Shamarina, Svetlana Kruglova, Svetlana Pastushenkova, and Lyudmila Urzhumtseva - were hospitalized forcibly and underwent 3 weeks of criminal psychiatric investigation by order of Boris Larionov, procurator of the Vyborgskiy district of St. Petersburg. In televised remarks, Rubina reported their July 8 release and declared that the six were mentally competent." Austria: "The Church of Scientology and the Hindu Mandir Association withdrew their applications. Among the larger groups are the Church of Scientology, with between 5,000 and 10,000 members, and the Unification Church, with approximately 700 adherents throughout the country. "In November 1999 and June 2000, a U.S. singer experienced harassment by an anti-Scientology group at two of his performances. The American previously had supported the Church of Scientology at events; however since 1998 he no longer publicly has supported the organization. Police authorities fined the demonstrators and offered police protection for the singer's next appearances. In October 1999, Austrian Telekom, the largest telephone company in the country, transferred a computer specialist from a sensitive position in an emergency-phone-line coordination office to a comparable, nonsensitive position. The company became concerned about the employee's access to sensitive information following media reports that he was a high-ranking Scientologist." Belgium: "On September 30, 1999, a 110-officer police force raided offices and homes of members of the Church of Scientology. No arrests or convictions resulted from this raid. The Government is unwilling to provide further statements, as the matter is still under investigation. Church members stated that the Government's seizure and retention of church computers, materials, and files impede the ability of the Church to practice freely." Denmark: "Scientologists continue to seek official approval as a religious organization. Their first application for approval was made in the early 1980's and rejected; the second application was made in mid-1997 and withdrawn in early 1998. The second application was resubmitted in 1999 and withdrawn again in early 2000, shortly before a decision by the Government was expected. In withdrawing the application, the Church of Scientology asked the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs for additional time to respond to reports about Scientology that had appeared in the Danish media." Finland: "In December 1998, the Education Ministry turned down the application of the Finnish Association of Scientologists to be registered as a religious community. This was the first time in the country's history that an applicant had been denied church status. The Scientologists' application had been pending for nearly 3 years while the Government awaited additional information. The Scientologists have indicated that they intend to begin the process anew and reapply for recognition as a church." Greece: "Two laws from the 1930s require recognized or 'known' religious groups to obtain house of prayer permits from the Ministry of Education and Religion in order to open houses of worship. The only pending application for recognition as a known religion at the Ministry is one submitted in February 2000 by the Scientologists of Greece. Although the deadline mandated by law for processing the applications is 3 months, the Ministry had not yet determined whether it would recognize the Scientologist community as an 'official' religion. "Scientologists, most of whom are located in the Athens area, practice their faith through the Center for Applied Psychology (KEFE), a registered nonprofit philosophical organization. According to the president of the KEFE, the Scientologists chose to register as a philosophical organization because legal counsel advised that the Government would not recognize Scientology as a religion." Switzerland: "The Government in 1997 asked an advisory commission to examine Scientology. The commission's 1998 report concluded that there was no basis for special monitoring of Scientology, since it did not represent any direct or immediate threat to the security of the country. However, the report stated that Scientology had characteristics of a totalitarian organization and had its own intelligence network. "In 1998 the city of Basel passed a law banning aggressive tactics for handing out flyers. This action was prompted by complaints about Scientologists' methods. In June 1999, Scientology suffered a setback when it lost a bid in the country's highest court to overturn a municipal law that barred persons from being approached on the street by those using 'deceptive or dishonest methods.' "In Zurich in June 1995 Scientologists appealed a city decision that prohibited them from distributing flyers on public property. In a qualified victory for the Scientologists, a higher court decided in September 1999 that the Scientologists' activities were commercial and not religious, and that the city should grant them and other commercial enterprises such as fast food restaurants more freedom to distribute flyers on a permit basis. "In Winterthur city authorities require Scientologists to apply for an annual permit to sell their books on public streets. The permit limits their activities to certain areas and certain days. This practice has been in effect since 1995 when a district court upheld fines issued to Scientologists by the city for accosting passersby to invite them onto their premises to sell them books and do personality tests. The court ruled that the Scientologists' activities were primarily commercial, rather than religious, which required them to get an annual permit for the book sale on public property and prohibited them from distributing flyers or other advertising material." Reuters reported on the release of the report on September 5th. "The United States on Tuesday told the world to heed its founding fathers who saw religious freedom as a key to democracy, blasting China, Sudan and Afghanistan among others it found guilty of restricting expression of faith. It accused Germany of encouraging discrimination against members of the Church of Scientology, which enjoys tax-free status in the United States. Some German officials believed Scientology was a money-making scheme rather than a religion and government procedures sometimes screened out its members, it said. In France, a 1996 law labeling 173 groups as sects included organizations which were 'merely unfamiliar or unpopular,' some of whose members continued to allege discrimination, it added." From dpa on September 5th: "The USA renewed its criticism of the use of 'sect filters' against the mentality of Scientology adherents in Germany. That was said to be a violation of their rights, stressed the U.S. State Department on Tuesday in its annual report on religious freedom in the world. 'Sect filter' is used to describe statements in which job applicants must verify that they are not members of Scientology or of similar organizations. The State Department emphasized that the treatment of Scientologists was the subject of much discussion in the German government. Scientology is under observation by Constitutional Security in Germany for suspicion of totalitarian endeavors." 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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
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