Category Archives: quotations

The Scientology Inquisition

David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc. have of late  taken to waving the flags of the American Nazi Party and the  Westboro Baptist Church.   They are spending huge sums in order to convince some that their own activity belongs in the same category as those august institutions.  They don’t even try to argue that their conduct is not outrageous or unconscionable in a civilized society. Instead, they claim it is their Constitutional right to practice retribution, terrorism and ruination upon those who refuse to relinquish their own First Amendment rights to speak and worship as they choose.

Regardless of their individual failures or successes in this expensive positioning endeavor, there is legal precedent that protects you should you ever be targeted by the Scientology Inquisition.  It is the decision of the California Court of Appeals in the original Wollersheim vs. Church of Scientology of California case.

The following is a reprint of the particular section of that decision that deals with Scientology heretics and their treatment at the hands of the Scientology Inquisition:

B. Even Assuming the Retributive Conduct Sometimes Called “Fair Game” Is a Core Practice of Scientology It Does Not Qualify for Constitutional Protection

As we have seen, not every religious expression is worthy of constitutional protection. To illustrate, centuries ago the inquisition was one of the core religious practices of the Christian religion in Europe. This religious practice involved torture and execution of heretics and miscreants. (See generally Peters, Inquisition (1988); Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages (1961).) Yet should any church seek to resurrect the inquisition in this country under a claim of free religious expression, can anyone doubt the constitutional authority of an American government to halt the torture and executions? And can anyone seriously question the right of the victims of our hypothetical modern day inquisition to sue their tormentors for any injuries – physical or psychological – they sustained?

We do not mean to suggest Scientology’s retributive program as described in the evidence of this case represented a full-scale modern day “inquisition.” Nevertheless, there are some parallels in purpose and effect. “Fair game” like the “inquisition” targeted “heretics” who threatened the dogma and institutional integrity of the mother church. Once “proven” to be a “heretic,” an individual was to be neutralized. In medieval times neutralization often meant incarceration, torture, and death. (Peters, Inquisition, supra, pp. 57, 65-67, 87, 92-94, 98, 117-118, 133-134; Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, supra, pp. 181, 193-202, 232-236, 250-264, 828-829.) As described in the evidence at this trial the “fair game” policy neutralized the “heretic” by stripping this person of his or her economic, political and psychological power. (See, e.g., *889 Allard v. Church of Scientology (1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 439, 444 [129 Cal.Rptr. 797] [former church member falsely accused by Church of grand theft as part of “fair game” policy, subjecting member to arrest and imprisonment].)

In the instant case, at least, the prime focus of the “fair game” campaign was against the “heretic” Wollersheim’s economic interests. Substantial evidence supports the inference Scientology set out to ruin Wollersheim’s photography enterprise. Scientologists who worked in the business were instructed to resign immediately. Scientologists who were customers were told to stop placing orders with the business. Most significantly, those who owed money for previous orders were instructed to renege on their payments. Although these payments actually were going to a factor not Wollersheim, the effect was to deprive Wollersheim of the line of credit he needed to continue in business.

Appellant argues these “fair game” practices are protected religious expression. They cite to a recent Ninth Circuit case upholding the constitutional right of the Jehovah’s Witness Church and its members to “shun” heretics from that religion even though the heretics suffer emotional injury as a result. ( Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra, 819 F.2d 875.) In this case a former Jehovah’s Witness sued the church and certain church leaders for injuries she claimed to have suffered when the church ordered all other church members to “shun” her. In the Jehovah Witness religion, “shunning” means church members are prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with the former member. They are not to greet them or conduct any business with them or socialize with them in any manner. Thus, there was a clear connection between the religious practice of “shunning” and Ms. Paul’s emotional injuries. Nonetheless, the trial court dismissed her case. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in an opinion which expressly held “shunning” is a constitutionally protected religious practice. “[T]he defendants, … possess an affirmative defense of privilege – a defense that permits them to engage in the practice of shunning pursuant to their religious beliefs without incurring tort liability.” ( Id. at p. 879.)

We first note another appellate court has taken the opposite view on the constitutionality of “shunning.” ( Bear v. Reformed Mennonite Church (1975) 462 Pa. 330 [341 A.2d 105].) In this case the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confronted a situation similar to Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York. The plaintiff was a former member of the Mennonite Church. He was excommunicated for criticizing the church. Church leaders ordered that all members must “shun” the plaintiff. As a result, both his business and family collapsed. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the action, holding: “In our opinion, the complaint, … raises issues that the ‘shunning’ practice of appellee church and the conduct of the *890 individuals may be an excessive interference within areas of ‘paramount state concern,’ i.e., the maintenance of marriage and family relationship, alienation of affection, and the tortious interference with a business relationship, which the courts of this Commonwealth may have authority to regulate, even in light of the ‘Establishment’ and ‘Free Exercise’ clauses of the First Amendment.” ( Bear v. Reformed Mennonite Church, supra, 341 A.2d at p. 107, italics in original.)

We observe the California Supreme Court has cited with apparent approval the viewpoint on “shunning” expressed in Bear v. Mennonite Church, supra, rather than the one adopted in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra. (See Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn., supra, 46 Cal.3d 1092, 1114.) But even were Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York the law of this jurisdiction it would not support a constitutional shield for Scientology’s retribution program. In the instant case Scientology went far beyond the social “shunning” of its heretic, Wollersheim. Substantial evidence supports the conclusion Scientology leaders made the deliberate decision to ruin Wollersheim economically and possibly psychologically. Unlike the plaintiff in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, Wollersheim did not suffer his economic harm as an unintended byproduct of his former religionists’ practice of refusing to socialize with him any more. Instead he was bankrupted by a campaign his former religionists carefully designed with the specific intent it bankrupt him. Nor was this campaign limited to means which are arguably legal such as refusing to continue working at Wollersheim’s business or to purchase his services or products. Instead the campaign featured a concerted practice of refusing to honor legal obligations Scientologists owed Wollersheim for services and products they already had purchased.

If the Biblical commandment to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to render unto God what is God’s has any meaning in the modern day it is here. Nothing in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York or any other case we have been able to locate even implies a religion is entitled to constitutional protection for a campaign deliberately designed to financially ruin anyone – whether a member or nonmember of that religion. Nor have we found any cases suggesting the free exercise clause can justify a refusal to honor financial obligations the state considers binding and legally enforceable. One can only imagine the utter chaos that could overtake our economy if people who owed money to others were entitled to assert a freedom of religion defense to repayment of those debts. It is not unlikely the courts would soon be flooded with debtors who claimed their religion prohibited them from paying money they owed to others.

We are not certain a deliberate campaign to financially ruin a former member or the dishonoring of debts owed that member qualify as “religious *891 practices” of Scientology. But if they do, we have no problem concluding the state has a compelling secular interest in discouraging these practices. (See pp. 884-886, supra.) Accordingly, we hold the freedom of religion guaranties of the United States and California Constitutions do not immunize these practices from civil liability for any injuries they cause to “targets” such as Wollersheim.

For further parallels between Miscavige’s Scientology Inc. and the perpetrators of the original Grand Inquisition, see The Scientology Reformation

Freedom From Slavery

A new friend of mine handed me a copy of a remarkable little book on Sunday.  It is called As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen.  The book contain this little, precious pearl on freedom from slavery:

It has been usual for men to think and to say, ‘Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor.’  Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, ‘One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves.’  The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves.  A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor; a perfect Love, seeing the suffering that both states entail, condemns neither; a perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed.

He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed.  He is free.

Scientology Standard Operating Procedure

The following unalterable, senior policy of Scientology has been in continuous effect since March 1955 to the present.  It might help explain a few things you have observed.

The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE.  The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law. NEVER BE INTERESTED IN CHARGES. DO, yourself much MORE CHARGING and you will WIN.  And the public, seeing that you won, will then have a communication line to the effect that Scientologists WIN.  Don’t ever let them have any other thought than that Scientology takes all of its objectives. 

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.

L. Ron Hubbard, Manual on Dissemination of Material

Scientology Culture

Henry David Thoreau’s description of mid-nineteenth century American culture could serve as a fairly accurate description of Scientology culture today, in my opinion.

Thoreau:

It is remarkable that the highest intellectual mood which the world tolerates is the perception of the truth of the most ancient revelations, now in some respects out of date; but any direct revelation, any original thoughts, it hates like virtue.  The fathers and mothers of the town would rather hear the young man or young woman at their tables express reverence for some old statement of the truth than utter a direct revelation themselves.  They don’t want to have any prophets born into their families, – damn them!  So far as thinking is concerned, surely original thinking is the divinest thing. Rather we should reverently watch for the least motions, the least scintillations, of thought in this sluggish world, and men should run to and fro on the occasion more than at an earthquake.  We check and repress the divinity that stirs within us, to fall down and worship the divinity that is dead without us.  I go to see many a good man or good woman, so called, and utter freely that thought which alone it was given me to utter; but there was a man who lived a long, long time ago, and his name was Moses, and another whose name was Christ, and if your thought does not, or does not appear to, coincide with what they said, the good man or the good woman has no ears to hear you.  They think they love God!  It is only his old clothes, of which they make scarecrows for their children.  Where will they come nearer to God that in those very children?

Justice

Jesus Christ is reported to have said, ‘The measure by which you give is the measure by which you will receive.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

Justice is not postponed. A perfect equity adjusts its balance in all parts of life. {Oi chusoi Dios aei enpiptousi}, — The dice of God are always loaded. The world looks like a multiplication-table, or a mathematical equation, which, turn it how you will, balances itself. Take what figure you will, its exact value, nor more nor less, still returns to you. Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty. What we call retribution is the universal necessity by which the whole appears wherever a part appears. If you see smoke, there must be fire. If you see a hand or a limb, you know that the trunk to which it belongs is there behind.

Every act rewards itself, or, in other words, integrates itself, in a twofold manner; first, in the thing, or in real nature; and secondly, in the circumstance, or in apparent nature. Men call the circumstance the retribution. The causal retribution is in the thing, and is seen by the soul. The retribution in the circumstance is seen by the understanding; it is inseparable from the thing, but is often spread over a long time, and so does not become distinct until after many years. The specific stripes may follow late after the offence, but they follow because they accompany it. Crime and punishment grow out of one stem. Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.

‘Compensation’, Essays: First Series.

When The Shoe Fits

From The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton:

 

Ch’ui the draftsman

Could draw more perfect circles freehand

Than with a compass.

 

His fingers brought forth

Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind

Was meanwhile free and without concern

With what he was doing

 

No application was needed

His mind was perfectly simple

And knew no obstacle.

 

So, when the shoe fits

The foot is forgotten,

When the belt fits

The belly is forgotten,

When the heart is right

“For” and “against” are forgotten.

 

No drives, no compulsions,

No needs, no attractions:

Then your affairs

Are under control.

You are a free man.

 

Easy is right.  Begin right

And you are easy.

Continue easy and you are right.

The right way to go easy

Is to forget the right way

And forget that the going is easy.

What’s Going On?

I came across an interesting passage in a book – the passage originally published in 1963 – by a prominent psychologist predicting quantum advancements in human consciousness by the marrying of religious and philosophic wisdom with rapidly evolving science. It is fifty years later and it seems Scientology is only now beginning to go through the throes of differentiating the adults (truth seeking spiritualists and values inspired scientists) from the children (flat earth religionists and reductionist-mechanistic inclined scientists).  Scientology seems, to steal a verse from U2, stuck in a moment that it can’t get out of.  From Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, by Abraham H. Maslow:

These two groups (sophisticated theologians and sophisticated scientists) seem to be coming closer and closer together in their conception of the universe as ‘organismic’, as having some kind of unity and integration, as growing and evolving and having direction and, therefore, having some kind of ‘meaning.’ Whether or not to call this integration ‘God’ finally gets to be an arbitrary decision and a personal indulgence determined by one’s personal myths.  John Dewey, an agnostic, decided for strategic and communicative purposes to retain the word ‘God’, defining it in a naturalistic way.  Others have decided against using it also for strategic reasons.  What we wind up with is a new situation in the history of the problem in which a ‘serious’ Buddhist let us say, one who is concerned with ‘ultimate concerns’ and with Tillich’s ‘dimensions of depth’, is more co-religionist to a ‘serious’ agnostic than he is to a conventional, superficial, other-directed Buddhist for whom religion is only habit or custom, i.e., behavior.

Indeed, these ‘serious’ people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, the questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a ‘tragic sense of life’, the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the ‘saving remnant.’  The other party then is made up of all the superficial, the moment-bound, the herebound ones, those who are totally absorbed with the trivial, those who are ‘plated with piety, not alloyed with it’, those who are reduced to the concrete, to the momentary, and to the immediately selfish.  Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults, on the one hand, and children, on the other.