UPDATE SATURDAY A.M.: VILLAGE VOICE WEIGHS IN
By Mike Rinder
At the same time Miscavige’s minions rushed into court in Texas attempting to enforce their unconscionable “contract” with Debbie Cook, they sang a different tune in Pinellas County, pleading that courts have no jurisdiction in matters of religion.
See the article by Joe Childs and Tom Tobin reporting on today’s hearing (which occurred coincidentally with the hearing in Texas): Lawyer tells judge: “Only Scientology law applies.”
The Tampa Bay Times report is accurate and objective.
There is no doubt a great deal of law indicates courts should not intrude in religious matters. But here, where the church has long proclaimed how fair and generous it is in returning money to dissatisfied customers, the new “policy” of refusing to return funds is being challenged and scrutinized. Until fairly recently, the church lived up to representations made to the Internal Revenue Service to gain tax exemption that it was “easy” to get your money back. But it seems there are so many dissatisfied customers that they had a change of heart, and are now refusing to even return monies on account while stating “if they had just followed the procedures they would have had their money by now” with a straight face. I wonder what would happen if a bunch of SPs showed up at the FSO to “do their CVB Routing Form” – imagine the panic that would spread. And if each brought a witness…. I think the FSO should be careful about what they say.
It was rather humorous to watch the church try to claim a 7 page fine print contract is “Scientology law.” Clearly, it was drafted by lawyers, not religious scholars, to be used in court and it even says so in the enrollment agreement.
But the most amazing position for the church to take is “tough luck pal, it’s our rules and if you don’t like them you can’t sue us. Not for anything, ever, because you signed away your rights in order to participate in church services.” But here, they didn’t even participate. No services were provided.
There is little doubt this will be a long battle. The stakes for the church losing are a catastrophic run on the bank. But fighting this will focus more and more media attention on the vulture culture and how far removed it is from what the IRS was told that convinced them to grant the church tax exempt status.
Miscavige is walking a tightrope while juggling and doing backflips in a high wind: trying not to let a dollar out of his grip while at the same time defying what he personally told the IRS about church policy on refunds and repayments, while trying to use the judicial system to enforce contracts to protect his ego and out of the other side of his mouth protesting that his contracts cannot be enforced by any court. Good luck with that.
His contradictions are not lost on the world and as he proceeds down his arrogant path of self destruction, they will catch up to him. He is convinced he is the smartest man in the world and he can play anyone and everyone for his benefit. The truth ALWAYS prevails in the end.
A tip of the hat to Bert Schippers and Lynn Hoverson and Luis and Rocio Garcia for stepping up to the plate and paving the way for justice and equity for many who stand in the same place.