Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 7, Issue 15 - July 14 2002



Buffalo Org

The Buffalo News reported on July 3rd that religious and community groups have joined Scientology in their opposition to a city plan to replace the Buffalo Scientology org with a parking ramp. "Religious leaders from various denominations expressed strong opposition Tuesday to the city's plan to tear down a building occupied by the Church of Scientology to expand a downtown parking ramp. 'This is something that must stop here,' said G. Stanford Bratton of the Network of Religious Communities, a region-wide interreligious and ecumenical group. "Thomas A. Gallagher, a parking board consultant, said the additional 850 parking spaces would help revitalize downtown. 'The building owners downtown cannot rent their space. If we could provide them with adequate parking, they could fill that space,' he said. "But Church of Scientology members, religious leaders from other denominations and community advocates challenged the assertion. 'I find it hard to believe that a parking ramp is going to revitalize this city,' said Anne Marie Dunning, a Church of Scientology member who questioned the need for more downtown parking. "Similar views were voiced by Patrick McNichol, a member of the New Millennium Group, which represents young professionals who strive to advance 'positive change.' McNichol said his group hasn't taken a position on the Hurst Building, but members are convinced any development must be done in the context of a long-term strategic plan. "Some Council members want to see church leaders and parking officials reach a compromise that might involve relocating the church to another downtown building. Randolph C. Oppenheimer, a church attorney, acknowledged 'room to negotiate,' but only if the city withdraws its condemnation plans. 'All we ask is that you take this sword from over our head,' Oppenheimer said. "'We'll be opposed to this all the way to the end,' said Merle E. Showers, a United Methodist Church community minister. A regional official from the Presbyterian Church sent lawmakers a letter expressing 'extreme dismay and strong opposition' to the plan and describing the condemnation as a gross misuse of powers." Message-ID: kPeW8.1903$oN.678698@monger.newsread.com

CCHR

The Citizen's Commission on Human Rights announced a seminar and book signing by Dr. Mary Ann Block "Saturday, August 10th, 2002 from 2-4 PM. Admission is Free. "Dr. Block will be in Los Angeles for a free back-to-school seminar on non-drug solutions to so-called 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' (ADHD) and 'Learning Disorders.' Dr. Block, author of No More ADHD, is an international expert and healthcare leader on the treatment of attention and behavior problems without drugs. Her book provides a natural and practical approach to children's health and debunks theories that 'ADHD' is a 'chemical imbalance in the brain' or a 'mental disorder.' She exposes the dangers of psychiatric drugs frequently prescribed for this condition and summarizes the most common causes of attention and behavior symptoms." Message-ID: 0bNX8.23358$pi1.1862770@news2.calgary.shaw.ca

Chick Corea

The St. Petersburg Times reported on July 11th that Scientology celebrity Chick Corea will perform at Clearwater's annual Jazz Holiday event. "With sponsorships off by at least $20,000, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation Board cut executive director Karen Vann's $35,000-plus position Monday, eliminating its only paid employee. The Jazz Holiday will spend about $300,000 to produce this year's event, Oct. 17-20 at Coachman Park, Garcia said. Add to that jazz education programs, sponsor parties and administrative costs. "But attracting big-name sponsors this year has been tough. Garcia admitted 'we're a little short of where we'd like to be.' Vann's resignation comes just as this year's headliners are being announced. Blues pianist/vocalist Deanna Bogart will perform on opening night. Pianist Chick Corea will be the featured act on Saturday, and Lou Rawls will close the show on Sunday." Message-ID: 39d3458a638071cea52c6b0d87e181d0@aarg.net

Germany

Suedkurier reported on July 8th that a speaker at the mourning ceremony for vicitms of a plane crash in Owingen, Germany criticized Scientology for opportunism at the crash site. "Led by Mayor Gunther Former and his wife, by Catholic reverend Reinhard Schacht, his Evangelical colleagues Hartmut Dietrich and the theologian staff member of the Mennonites, Cathrin van Sintern, several hundred of the faithful proceed to the area where countless victims of the airline catastrophe have been found. Schacht's words towards all the Scientology members who went about their unholy work in Owingen were also extremely clear, 'Where there is carrion, the vultures gather.' "Mayor Gunther Former thanked the rescue workers for their service, thanked the Lord for the wholeness of the local people, and communicated the thanks of the volunteers to the citizens, who supported the rescue workers according to their abilities. Herbe rt Dreiseitl also paid his respect to the rescue workers; he said they had made possible an 'internal constitution of serenity and security' for the citizens by their diligent work." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1020708080000.156A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Dan Garvin

The James Randi Educational Foundation newsletter published a letter from former Scientologist Dan Garvin, describing some of his experiences and the cash prize that Randi offers for demonstrations of paranormal abilities. "In 1974, when I was 17, I got interested in Scientology as a 'scientific' way to attain mystical super-powers, which I had already believed in before that. Within two years I had joined their Sea Organization, the elite group of top Scientologists. Sea Org members have to sign a billion-year contract in order to join. Since Scientologists believe in past lives extending for more than 76 trillion years, and the ability to recall these lives fully, there is nothing symbolic about this contract. They really mean a billion years, and their motto is, 'We come back.' "Sea Org members are the most dedicated Scientologists of all. In addition to their long-term commitment, they live and eat in communal quarters, have almost no freedoms, or time off in which to exercise freedoms if they had some, or money to enable them to afford those freedoms. They work and study the works of Hubbard, and occasionally are rewarded with bits of 'auditing,' the Scientology technology for making people better, happier, healthier, more powerful, and ultimately giving them TOTAL SPIRITUAL FREEDOM!! "I signed my billion-year contract and was in there with the best of them. I remained wholly convinced of Scientology's effectiveness for almost the entire twenty-five years I remained in the Sea Org. In about 1999 or 2000, I was still a believer and still a Sea Org member, but I was gradually growing more disgusted with the way the church and the Sea Org were run. I was in that frame of mind when I heard James Randi as a guest on Al Rantell's talk show in LA. You were advocating mandatory licensing for people claiming psychic abilities -they would have to demonstrate their abilities to a licensing board, which of course none of them would be able to do. "I was thinking 'How come some Scientologist doesn't claim this prize? After all, we are the ones who really can do these things. There are prohibitions against showing off in public, but that came from back when New Age wasn't cool.' You'd think at least one of those would claim the prize, not being encumbered by the church's regulations. "It took a year or two, but I finally had to decide that the reason nobody claimed the prize was probably that nobody could, not even top Scientologists. I certainly had never observed any paranormal phenomena that couldn't be explained conventionally. My heretical thinking eventually led me to leave the Sea Org. I didn't leave Scientology yet, but I knew that before I invested any more of my life into it, I was going to have to see some actual evidence, not just more glowing success stories or PR from the church itself. Sea Org members are utterly forbidden to access the internet, and all Scientologists are forbidden to look at information critical of Scientology. "One of the first places I looked, after I got out, was the JREF website. There wasn't much about Scientology, but it was clear that no Scientologist had won or even tried to win the challenge money. Within a couple weeks I got up the resolve to look at Scientology's secret upper-level materials, posted in part on www.xenu.net. They're supposed to kill you if you read them without the proper preliminary Scientology levels, but they've been out there for quite a few years and nobody has died, so I looked. It made specific claims about Earth's history that could be disproven. And since it was wrong, it meant all of Scientology's top levels, where you get your magical superpowers, were based on a lie, a mistake, or a delusion. "That was what took me from doubter to full-blown ex-Scientologist. Once I was out from under the spell, I learned a tremendous amount that had never made it past Scientology's censors: criminal behavior, horrible abuses, vicious reprisals against critics and especially against plaintiffs. "Scientology's lies and practices cost me my marriage and well over half my life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have escaped with my mind intact. Others have been driven to acute or permanent mental illness, and some to suicide. Message-ID: 20020714004640.09311.00000640@mb-fk.aol.com

Russia

Radio Free Europe reported on July 9th that members of the Russian Orthodox church planned a rally to protest Scientology in Yekaterinburg. "Russian Orthodox believers are expected to hold a rally in Yekaterinburg on 13 July to protest the activities of nontraditional religious organizations, such as the Church of Scientology. Father Vladimir Zaitsev told the agency that the rally will be held outside of the local Kosmos movie theater where Scientologists will celebrate the birthday of the organization's founder, Ron Hubbard. Zaitsev, who called Hubbard a 'Satanist, paranoiac, and drug abuser,' said that there are several thousand Scientologists in the city. From the Interfax on July 9th: "The demonstrators would like to give a clear picture to people about the nature of Scientology and its dangers, Zaitsev noted. In order to achieve this goal, officials of the diocese's missionary department have made leaflets and posters featuring exposing slogans. 'This organization is extremely dangerous to society. Scientologists read books written by L. Ron Hubbard, and try to imitate him in everything. Hubbard himself is known as a Satanist, a paranoiac and a drug abuser,' Zaitsev said. "He noted that in Yekaterinburg, Scientologists act under the guise of a number of organizations, including the Urals Dianetics center, the Studen school, a public youth union and the Narkonon rehabilitation center for drug addicts." Message-ID: xAXW8.1223$FW5.1222222@newshog.newsread.com Message-ID: 3D2EBF0C.1050204@voicenet.com

Spain

Scientology's Impact magazine reported on a What is Scientology? exhibit that was held in Madrid in March, 2002 to celebrate the dropping of charges against top Scientologists there. The magazine also described some legal cases in which Scientology was involved. "The first day, a record 2,700 people visited the exposition, surpassing all previous daily attendance records for the exposition. The following day 4,560 people toured the Exposition. "The ribbon was cut by Luz Almeida Castro, one of the Church's attorneys who played a key role in bringing about the win in Spain. She was accompanied by Juan Garces, well know Spanish human rights attorney, Joaquin Atuna, President of the organization Peace and Cooperation: Rafael Burgos Perez, another Church attorney who played a key role in the Spanish victory: Luis Gonzalez from the Office of Special Affairs International: and Faustino Gomez, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Scientology Madrid. "By the time the Exposition completed its stay in Madrid, more that 23,000 people had visited it, more than in any other city in Europe. "In 2001, the Supreme Court ended tax cases against Churches and Narconon Centers. In the United Kingdom, full VAT (Value Added Tax) exemption has been given by Her Majesty's Custom and Excise to all churches and missions in the UK. In Sweden where the right to perform legal marriages is part of religious recognition, this right to marry has been granted to Scientology ministers. And the tax exempt status of Narconon centers was recognized by the Danish government this last year. "Fearing the widespread Scientology expansion of the late 1980's, German SP's conceived at the time a plan whereby they accused the Church of attempting to infiltrate society and the government - while they themselves were attempting to infiltrate the Church. In a landmark victory this year, a Berlin court not only issued a ruling in favor of the Church, but also gave the correct interpretation of the Church's activities which ended the SP's plan with finality: 'The action of bringing about a pro-Scientology government means resolving the personal problems of government officials so they can do their jobs better and clearing the planet means bringing about a world of heightened awareness and reason for everyone on earth.'" Message-ID: 7VYSWZTS37446.2637384259@anonymous.poster


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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. Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.


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