Forbes – website
This is an excerpt from an article by Peter J Reilly on the website of
Is Independent Scientology The Key To Unlock The Church Of Scientology’s Secret Agreement With The IRS?
“Church governance case law is additionally inapplicable because unlike typical schisms that organically grow out of religious disputes, the power imbalance between organized and independent Scientology was created by the government through the IRS Agreement. By establishing and endorsing a corporate structure which bestowed an intellectual property monopoly upon a single entity, which it was no secret would (and does) aggressively wield it to suppress others’ free exercise rights, it is now on the state to rectify its constitutional error.
“But,” you might respond, “the religious dispute you cite didn’t exist in 1993–the IRS-Scientology agreement couldn’t have envisioned the existence of a Scientology offshoot.” You’d be wrong though. Only ten years earlier, in 1983, a high-ranking Scientologist who worked closely with Hubbard, David Mayo (who many contend actually authored some of the Scientology upper level “OT” materials attributed to Hubbard), broke away from the Church and created a competing splinter group called (among other names) the “Advanced Ability Center” (AAC).
Mayo’s initiative led to his being sued for copyright and trademark infringement and trade secret violations. In deciding whether AAC’s “substantially similar” works infringed on Scientology’s copyrights, a California federal district court found that questions of infringement were outweighed by the “potential hardship from interference with defendants’ religious freedom.” Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Scott, 660 F. Supp. 515, 522 (C.D. Cal. 1987). The Church of Scientology continued to litigate against Mayo through the mid-nineties. Mayo was ultimately awarded $2.9 million in legal fees for the well-documented hell he was put through, after which he evidently signed an agreement to not discuss or compete with Scientology in the future.
David Mayo’s experience is worth considering because at the time it was brought and litigated, Scientology was not recognized as a tax exempt religion. Whether the case comes out differently if brought today is intriguing but presently academic: despite the Independent Scientologycommunity’s apparent growth no one within the community seems at all interested in incorporating or formalizing a competitor. Which is the point, I suppose–the Church of Scientology has been made so powerful through the IRS settlement agreement that no one is even willing to try, either because of fear or expected inevitable futility.
If an Independent Scientology entity were to emerge, on what bases might a legal challenge to the IRS-Scientology Agreement be mounted?…”