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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scientology - Newspaper Alleges 'Physical Violence' by Leaders

A three part report by the St. Petersburg Times (Florida, USA.)

Part One is _here_

Part Two is _here_

Part Three is _here_

also: Leaving the Church of Scientology: a huge step.
and: [The] Investigation Gets A Worldwide Response.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Scientology News You Might Have Missed - #1

Katie Holmes Performs Memorial Day Play in DC
GlossLip.com - May 25, 2009
"
Is it me, or does anyone find [Katie Holmes'] involvement with this ceremony upsetting?, Considering Scientology beliefs on anything to do with brain injuries, their stance on psychiatry, and especially the false war records of their founder L. Ron Hubbard."
"Hubbard’s 'war hero' claims, have mostly been totally debunked. He greatly exaggerated his worth and rank in the military, and I am sure that any veteran would find these lies to be beyond despicable. And please feel free to go check out scans of his actual Naval records, it will make you cringe."
_more_

Are religious sects/cults invading the United Nations?
by
Bill Berkowitz - The Buzzflash Blog - May 27, 2009
"A French government agency called Miviludes (Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaries -- Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviancy) recently issued a 199-page report charging religious cults with having a growing influence in international bodies such as the United Nations."
....
"Since its inception, Miviludes has apparently been the subject of intense scrutiny and broad criticism. Many of the groups listed in earlier reports expressed outrage at their inclusion claiming it would lead to them being stigmatized. According to Digital Journal, "NGOs said to be active in trying to destabilize the Miviludes' work include Human Rights Without Frontiers, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, and the Information and Advice Center for New Spiritualities."
"These and other organizations are said to be acting as front organizations for various religions who do not have UN accredited presence. Most notable amongst them is the Church of Scientology, which has launched several attacks on the Miviludes, notably by using the US State Department's clout at the UN. The Scientology Internet site logo looks very much like the UN logo and the Church presents itself as being 'Associated with the UN Department of Public Information."
_more_

What Does Greta van Susteren's Psychiatrist Sister Think of Scientology?
by John Cook - Gawker.com - May 28, 2009
"A tipster passed along something we didn't know: Noted Scientologist Greta van Susteren's sister is a psychiatrist. Or, as Greta's religion would have it, a practitioner of the 'industry of death,' a 'fraud,' a drug-peddler, and a 'rapist.' We asked her what she thought of her sister's curious views."
....
"We called Lise to ask her about Greta's views. 'These are private matters,' she said. 'I don't ever discuss them. The reality is, I don't know anything about Scientology's current campaigns. I know that in the past there were a few people who were very vocal about psychiatry, but I don't know enough to reasonably comment.' "
_more_

Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology From Site
by Ian Rakowski - News.com.au - May 29, 2009
"Wikipedia has banned members of the Church of Scientology from contributing to articles in a bid to stamp out biased information."
"The site's administrators allegedly decided to impose the ban after finding members of the church were changing articles related to Scientology to promote their interests."
_more_

Is Scientology a Religious Cult or a Commercial Enterprise?
by Iman Kurdi - Khaleej Times - May 31, 2009
"A fascinating court case has opened in Paris this week. The accused is the Church of Scientology, recognized as a religion in the US but not in France where it is assigned the status of a [sect or] cult."
....
"Scientology lies in a gray area for me. I strive to respect all religions and beliefs, but scientology tests my limits. Quite frankly, I find it hard to think of it as a religion. So this trial is doubly interesting because at its center is the following critical question: Is scientology an organization whose aim is spiritual enlightenment as it proclaims or is it a commercial entity driven by the desire for financial gain?"
....
"There are several aspects of scientology which immediately raise alarm bells in my mind. The first is that it is proactively proselytizing and it does so in a manner which is clearly manipulative. When I was a university student, I accidentally stumbled upon them. There was nothing that suggested a church organization or an attempt at religious conversion in their approach, what I was offered was a free personality test."
....
"Once I had completed the rather lengthy test, I was given my results. I don’t remember much about them, but clearly there were areas in my life where I showed some dissatisfaction and this is when they attempted to sell me something more than a personality test, and selling is the right word. The personality test is free but after that things get expensive, very expensive. In my case, I did not go further than the free personality test, but the two plaintiffs in the trial, as well as other former adepts, tell of parting with vast amounts of cash. In the case of the two witnesses, they paid 20,000 Euros for ‘treatment’. That’s the thing about scientology. It doesn’t read like a religion as we know it. Its literature uses scientific terminology and promises physical cures to emotional ills."
_more_

Norwegian Government considers Prosecuting Scientology
en.WikiNews.org - May 31, 2009
"The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services is considering prosecuting and banning some Scientology practices, in particular the use of the Scientology personality test to sell courses. State Secretary Rigmor Aasrud said that the activities in question might be prosecuted as fraud or as violations of existing healthcare regulations. A Norwegian Member of Parliament whose daughter killed herself after taking such a test, supports the idea of prosecuting illegal practices rather than trying to ban the movement as a whole."
"The statement was made after three journalists from the online edition of the newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) took the test. The journalists wore hidden recording devices, and did not disclose that they were journalists; VG put the recordings on its website. Scientology staff members told all three that they should buy a course to handle psychological issues."
_more_

Did Scientology Enlist Congressional Stooges to 'Attack' France?
by John Cook - Gawker.com - June 1, 2009
"Six members of Congress wrote a letter of protest to the French ambassador last month, taking the country to task for a new report from a French government agency that attacks some self-professed religions as 'cults.' Was Scientology behind it?"
"The letter said that the report—which was written by Miviludes, a French government agency that tracks cults and sectarian religions—'raises serious concerns regarding protection for an individual's right to freedom of religion in France.' The members of Congress didn't mention Scientology by name, but the Miviludes paper is reportedly highly critical of Scientology's efforts to influence the United Nations through 'front organizations.' "
_more_

Swiss More Fearful of Islam than Scientology
Turkish Weekly - June 7, 2009
"While the Church of Scientology could be dissolved in France if its members are convicted at trial in Paris, the religious movement raises few eyebrows in Switzerland. Unlike other religions, like Islam, which is facing a rightwing-backed popular initiative to ban minarets, Scientology and its one thousand Swiss followers hardly cause a stir."
"Popular fears are focused elsewhere, René Pahud de Mortanges, director of the Institute of Religious Law at Fribourg University, told swissinfo. 'After the September 11 [2001] attacks in New York the discussions and fears raised by sects in Switzerland were replaced by those about the Muslim faith,' he explained."
"Things were looking rather different for the Church of Scientology at the end of the 1990s, however...."
_more_
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Scientology - News From French Trial


Digital Journal article by Michael Cosgrove.
[extracts]
"The Church of Scientology is on trial in Paris for organized fraud. Six individuals and two organizations have been charged and if they are found guilty the Church may well have to wind up some or all of its activities in France."
....
"Three Scientology services in particular are being analysed by the court and sworn-in experts. The French online paper Rue 89 gives a short description of them."

"The first is called Communication Lessons..."

"Another service involves Purification Rundown sessions..."

"But the service that is being most talked about right now is the Scientology Electrometer, pictured above..."
[picture from Wikipedia Commons - click on it for a larger image.]
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