Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category
This is an excerpt from an article by Peter J Reilly on the website of
“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?…”
Last Friday was a dark day for the embattled Church of Scientology. A special judge in Los Angeles attacked the church in the most blistering terms possible, charging it with gross abuse of the judicial process in its unsuccessful lawsuit against the now-defunct Church of the New Civilization, the Scientology splinter group that operated ‘The Advanced Abilities Center” in Montecito between 1983 and 1986.
U.S. Special Magistrate. James Kolts – the same retired Superior Court judge who conducted the recent investigation of the LA. Sheriffs Department– urged that the Church of Scientology be ordered to pay the defendants (the principals behind the Advanced Abilities Center) $2.9 mil- lion in attorney’s fees. The Scientology lawsuit against the center had been thrown unceremoniously out of court last July, and only in exceptional cases are attorney’s fees awarded to the prevailing party. But according to Kolts. this case has been nothing if not exceptional.
“Plaintiffs [Church of Scientology] have abused the federal court system by using it, inter alia, to destroy their opponents, rather than to resolve an actual dispute over trademark law or any other legal matter,” Kolts wrote. “This constitutes ‘extraordinary, malicious, wanton, and oppressive con- duct.'” He later stated, “It is abundantly clear that plaintiffs [the Church of Scientology) sought to harass the individual defendants and destroy the church defendants through massive over-litigation and other highly questionable litigation tactics. The Special Master [Kolts] has never seen a more glaring example of bad faith litigation than this.”
Most cases don’t have Special Masters, but because the volume of motions, countermotions, and pleadings has been so enormous, presiding fed- eral judge James Ideman appointed Kolts to help him wade through the morass of litigation. Although Kolts has acted with all the authority of a judge, his decisions must be reviewed by Ideman before becoming final.
Spokespeople for the Church of Scientology have vowed to have Kolts recommendation reviewed by Ideman, though Ideman has almost always supported Kolts in the past, and stress that it’s just that–a recommendation, not an order. They claim that all along they have sought only to protect their proprietary rights to secret and copyrighted counseling techniques developed by the church, techniques, they say that the Advanced Abilities Center had obtained illegally and illegally disseminated. “Kolts’ ruling is extremely flawed both legally and mor- ally,” said Kurt Weiland, director of official affairs for the Church of Scientology. “If you accept his reasoning, the victim will be punished and the villain rewarded.” Salvation, Incorporated
At the heart of this dispute lies a simple but intriguing proposition—namely, that the pathway to spiritual salvation and enlightenment can be copyrighted and secured by trademark protection. Unlike other organized religions, the Church of Scientology seeks to protect its key teachings and texts by copyrighting them and registering them under trademarks. Read more
Report by John Barnes
Photographs by Nik Wheeler
Oct 28, 1984
“Corrupt, sinister and dangerous”‘ were the words used to describe the Church of Scientology in a judgment given by Mr Justice Latey this summer. He also referred to it as “immoral and socially obnoxious”.
But who controls the Church now?
A major Sunday Times Magazine investigation into the activities of the cult in America and Britain has uncovered a disturbing and extraordinary story – the takeover of the organisation by a small band of youthful fanatics following the disappearance of the Church’s founder and inspiration, L. Ron Hubbard.
The temperature must have been well over 100°F, a dry burning heat that shimmered the figures on the roof. They were dressed in faded blue denim, heads bare under the sun. One looked towards the road and our car. But the guard below yelled and the man bent his head back to his work of resurfacing the roof. My companion in the car said quietly, “That’s a Rehabilitation Project Force. They’re RPFers, psychological prisoners –slave labour – , in a way.”
This was America, summer 1984, on a major highway between the southern Californian city of Riverside and the millionaires’ playground of Palm Springs. Here, in the cactus hamlet of Gillman Hot Springs, where the masts of a $565,000 clipper ship sway incongruously in the desert winds, is the world headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
Yet the great helmsman of this bizarre cult was not on board. No one knows for sure whether L. Ron Hubbard, the 74-year-old founder, is even alive. His round, smiling face gazes down from the walls of more than 100 Scientology offices around the world, orders are given in his name, but he hasn’t been seen in nearly five years. He may be in seclusion, as Church leaders claim, or he may be, as recent defectors believe, either dead or in failing health and under the control of half a dozen young followers who are manipulating big fortune.
These are the children. Well, actually, they are in their early 20s now. But they were only 11, 12, 13-year-olds when Hubbard, haunted by fear of enemies, was sailing the world’s oceans aboard a 3280-tonne convened British ferryboat called the Apollo. Some 500 scientologists, many of them English, took their children with them aboard the boat. Hubbard was the Commodore. The kids were the elite “Commodore Messenger Org.” Read more
The thing with David was that he had ‘sight’. He would look at you during your interview or when assessing and he could ‘spot’ what was going on in your space whether you knew what it was or not. You almost felt embarrassed the way he could see your imagery and how any mental masses moved in your space in response to certain subjects. To have someone who can see what you are creating mentally or what your spiritual energy is stuck ‘being’ as they talk to you is unique. Most see things through their own filters and private significances. Few are adept at just looking and seeing what’s there.