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Religious Tolerance logo

About the Church of Scientology®

News from the media during 2010

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Media news:

  • 2010-JAN-08: 25 year project completed: Over 1,000 audio recordings of lectures by Scientology founder L. Rod Hubbard and a great deal of corresponding writings have been recovered and restored. Tommy Davis, Scientology spokesperson, said:
    "It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it, ... It's so huge for our religion having these materials. It's really a renaissance. It's as if it's a rediscovery of our own scriptures and what they hold and what they mean."

    The material, contained in 970 CDs and 57 binders, is being distributed to Scientology churches around the world. It will be freely available. David Bromley, a professor of religion and sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, said: "Scientologists are literalists, fundamentalists in the sense that they take Hubbard's writings as literally true." So, the restoration project will be of great interest to the membership. 1


  • 2010-JAN-14: Italy: Stories by ex-Scientologists published: Maria Pia Gardini and Alberto Lagglia in Italy have co-authored a book titled: "The Courage to Speak Out." It includes stories from 14 former members of the Church of Scientology. This follows an earlier book titled "My Years in Scientology" in which Lagglia discussed her own experiences. It is published by the Italian group Pauline Publications. Catholic News Agency reports: "Luigi Brambani, from the organization’s local public affairs office, released a statement threatening legal action against Maria Pia Gardini and "whomever has assisted her with activities that the Church considers detrimental to its image." 2

  • 2010-JAN-23: Haiti: Scientologists help earthquake victims: A donation to the Church of Scientology funded a flight from Los Angeles to Haiti carrying 80 volunteer ministers and 50 Haitian-American doctors. "Sylvie," a Parisian volunteer said: " We're trained as volunteer ministers, we use a process called 'assist' to follow the nervous system to reconnect the main points, to bring back communication. When you get a sudden shock to a part of your body the energy gets stuck, so we re-establish communication within the body by touching people through their clothes, and asking people to feel the touch. ... All the patients are happy with the technique. But some doctors don't like the yellow T-shirts. It's a color thing." One anonymous US doctor commented: "I didn't know touching could heal gangrene." 3

  • 2010-MAR-25: World: CNN's Anderson Cooper investigates Church of Scientology: During the week of MAR-28, Anderson Cooper will broadcast a four-part investigation:

    "... into allegations made by a number of former high ranking members of the Church of Scientology. The allegations are about physical abuse they say took place within the Sea Organization, the international management branch of the church."

    "These former members, many of whom dedicated their lives to Scientology, allege that the leader of the church, David Miscavige, has used physical violence against a number of Sea Organization members. The church adamantly denies these allegations, and back up their denials with numerous affidavits and testimonials defending Mr. Miscavige and attacking those who are speaking out."

    "Interestingly, the church spokesman, Tommy Davis, admits there was a history of violence in the Sea Organization, but the people he blames for it are those who are making the allegations against David Miscavige. He says they were demoted by Mr. Miscavige, and are bitter and disgruntled. Some of those making the allegations admit they did engage in violent acts, but say it was at the urging of Mr. Miscavige."

    "There is no real proof offered by either side, but viewers can make their own assessment. We have spent several months working on this series, and believe it is a fair look at the allegations and the counter claims made by the church."

    "I have already received a number of emails from church members complaining about the series, and accusing me of attacking the church, its beliefs, its membership, and its activities. Given that the emails are all very similar in content, I assume this is some sort of organized email campaign. None of those writing the emails have seen the series, but I appreciate hearing from all concerned viewers, and I certainly understand any church member, of any religion, being concerned about the portrayal of their beliefs."

    "For the record, I just want to point out that this series is not about the beliefs or activities of the Church of Scientology. It is not about the religion or the vast majority of Scientologists. This series simply has to do with what some former high ranking church officials say went on within the upper management of the church, and what happened to them when they left the church."4

  • 2010-MAR: CA: Lawsuits by former Scientology Sea Org group: Scientology regards its Sea Organization members as being similar to monks in the Roman Catholic Church. They are exempt from government wage and overtime legislation. They sign a billion-year pledge to work for the group, agree to not have children, and to live and work communally. Marc Headley and his wife Cloaire are former members who are suing Scientology for back pay and overtime that could total as much as $1 million each. Their lawyer, Barry Van Sickle, said:

    "These folks are working for a year or two or three in a row on an hour or two of sleep a night. They're zombies. If people had some money in their pockets or a good night's sleep, they probably wouldn't stick around."

    (We are not sleep specialists, but this would seem to us to be most improbable for a person to survive on two hours sleep a night for an extended interval.) 5

  • 2010-AUG: Germany: City of Hamburg shuts down anti-Scientology investigation unit: The city announced in mid-month that it would suspend the work of its 17-year-old anti-Scientology group.

    Religion News Blog reports:

    A spokesperson for the Hamburg government said that the office, created in 1992 and known around the world, would be closed on August 31 and that Caberta would be transferred to the city’s Interior Ministry, where she would still remain the city’s point person on Scientology, which has a church in the city.

    In the future, however, counselling of victims of Scientology will be taken over by the local branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. In an interview with the daily Berliner Zeitung published on Tuesday, Hamburg Interior Ministry spokesman Thomas Butter said the closure of the working group would save the city an estimated €140,000 ($180,000) annually. 6

  • 2010-OCT-12: Israel: Future location of Scientology center burns: Some residents of Jaffa, Israel, -- both Jewish and Muslim -- have protested the establishment of a national headquarters for Scientology in Jaffa. It was set on fire and the police suspect arson. Seffi Fischler, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology's Israel branch said:
    "We still do not know for certain whether this was a case of arson. From our standpoint, the most important thing right now is that none of the [nine construction] workers who were at the scene were hurt. We support respect for all religions. It's important for me to get that message across objectively and responsibly. ... We are often portrayed in a distorted way by the media. Scientology is recognized as a religion in 27 countries. In Israel we have yet to begin this process so that we can receive formal recognition as a religion." 7
  • 2010-OCT-15: UK: Government urges councils to terminate tax breaks to Scientology: Eric Pickels, the UK government's communications secretary, urged local councils to not give tax breaks. He said:
    "Tolerance and freedom of expression are important British values, but this does not mean that the likes of Church of Scientology deserve favoured tax treatment over and above other business premises. The Church of Scientology is not a registered charity, since the Charity Commission has ruled that it does not provide a public benefit. Nor are its premises a recognised place of worship. Councils may award charitable relief. They should take into consideration the Charity Commission’s rulings when weighing up whether to do so."
    The Charity Commission ruled in 1999 that the church did not provide a "public benefit." That is required for a religion to be considered have a charitable purpose. 8

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today:

  1. Matt Sedensky, "Restoration of lost Scientology materials complete," Associated Press, 2010-JAN-08, at: http://www.sfgate.com/
  2. "Daughters of St. Paul unfazed by threats from Church of Scientology ," Catholic News Agency, 2020-JAN-12, at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/
  3. "Scientologists 'heal' Haiti quake victims using touch," Breitbart, 2010-JAN-12, at: http://www.breitbart.com/
  4. Anderson Cooper, "Scientology: A history of violence," CNN, 2010-MAR-25, at: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/
  5. "Ex-Scientology lawsuits reveal elite Sea Org group," Associated Press, 2010-MAR-27, at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/
  6. "Hamburg to Close Down Scientology," Religion News Blog, 2010-AUG-17, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com
  7. Yaniv Kubovich, "Future Scientology center in Jaffa burns, police suspect arson," Haaretz, 2010-OCT-13, at: http://www.haaretz.com/
  8. Rajeev Syal, "Government urges councils to stop giving tax breaks to Scientology", The Guardian, 2010-OCT-15, at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-JAN-08
Latest update: 2010-OCT-17
Author: B.A. Robinson

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