Apologetics Index
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Religion News Report

February 12, 2001 (Vol. 5, Issue 323) - 1/3

See Religion News Blog for the Latest news about cults,
religious sects, world religions, and related issues
Rainbow


=== Falun Gong
1. China Vows 'War to the End' with Falun Gong
2. Beijing Allies Warn Sect Members
3. falungong folly has gone far enough
4. HK says it will not ban Falun Gong
5. Beijing Police Deny News Inquiry
6. China sees falungong members under the spell of ''cult''

=== Falun Gong - China's Government-Controlled Media
7. Reports from China's government-controlled media

=== Scientology
8. Scientology, critics spar in weekend court
9. Leaving the Fold
10. When Scientology Is Passed Down
11. Tom & Nicole splite a question of faith
12. Scientology Founder's Family Life Far From What He Preached
13. Scientology-linked project gets city grant
14. Scientology-linked project to get scrutiny
15. Geoff Hurst launches Scientology E-meter
16. Heaven help me

» Part 2

=== Unification Church
17. The Moonies: Looking to its youth for survival
18. Continuation of the Church Will Fall to Moon's Son
19. Life as Moonchild Far From Blessed

=== Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
20. Mary's Flames'': The Long Road To Horror In Kanungu

=== Islam
21. Iranian Hard-liners Renew Death Sentence on Rushdie

=== Buddhism
22. Buddhists In Central Vietnam Claim Government Harassment

=== Mormonism
23. LDS Church Will Not Oppose Polygamy Bill
24. U. theater department denies bias
25. Judge orders Mormons to provide sex-abuse records

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
26. Jehovah's Witnesses Tried in Moscow

» Part 3

=== Paganism / Witchcraft
27. Pagans are grateful for understanding

=== Other News
28. France may further delay vote on anti-cult measure
29. Tokyo Police Identify Remains (Lucie Blackman)
30. Reps Pass Secret Cult Prohibition Bill
31. Vietnam unrest threatens to raise objections to US trade deal
32. New governor practices quiet faith

=== Noted
33. Children of a Lesser God

=== Books
34. The relationship between Japanese culture, Buddhism
35. From Leviticus to levitation


=== Falun Gong

1. China Vows 'War to the End' with Falun Gong
Reuters, Feb. 12, 2001
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link

BEIJING (Reuters) - In a fresh salvo of sharp anti-Falun Gong rhetoric, China's Communist Party vowed on Monday to ''fight the war to the end'' against the outlawed spiritual group.

''The Chinese government will fight the war to the end in a bid to safeguard the reform and opening-up, the socialist modernization drive and the hard-won social stability,'' the People's Daily said in a commentary.

And in an apparent slap at countries that have condemned human rights abuses reported in the 19-month-long crackdown, the party's official newspaper said ''Western anti-China masters'' were behind Falun Gong's repeated public protests.

The commentary -- part of a mass propaganda campaign sparked by self-immolation attempts last month by five people who China says were sect members -- said Falun Gong teachings inspired a failed bombing attempt at Tiananmen Square last year.

''After receiving the message, a crazy Falun Gong follower armed with explosives went to the square and was ready to ignite himself on April 5, 2000. His deadly attempt was foiled by patrolling police,'' it said.

It was not clear why China, which promptly reported last month's self-immolations and used them to discredit the sect, waited 10 months to publicize the would-be bomber.
(...)

Sunday, visiting Prime Minister Jean Chretien voiced Canada's concern about the crackdown in talks with Premier Zhu Rongji, Canadian officials said.
(...)

Replying to Chretien, Zhu repeated China's position that the movement which combines Taoism and Buddhism with traditional Chinese exercises was an ''evil cult'' that duped followers and threatened social stability.

Last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen postponed a visit to China after Beijing sharply criticized his plan to meet members of the Falun Gong in Hong Kong. The Dutch said they resented China's meddling in Van Aartsen's agenda.
[...more...]
More about Falun Gong
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f02.htmlOff-site Link


Latest news about Falun Gong
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f02.html#falungongnewsOff-site Link



2. Beijing Allies Warn Sect Members
AP, Feb. 10, 2001
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link

HONG KONG (AP) - Two allies of the Beijing government met for the first time with Falun Gong followers and warned them to cut ties with mainland adherents and take a lower profile in Hong Kong, both sides said Saturday.

Falun Gong said it wanted to promote understanding by asking for the face-to-face session here with two representatives of China's National People's Congress - but there was no apparent shift in positions.

''If you keep pushing so hard, you'll just be hitting your head against a wall,'' Raymond Wu, one of the Congress representatives, told members of the meditation sect during the meeting.

Wu and colleague Ma Lik talked for 75 minutes with Falun Gong figures including Kan Hung-cheung, a local spokesman for the sect. China's Xinhua News Agency has singled out Kan as ''a backbone member of the evil cult.''

Kan called the meeting a ''good start'' to promoting understanding with Beijing's allies, who accuse Falun Gong of abusing Hong Kong's free speech rights to try to subvert the Chinese government.

In a videotape of the meeting, Kan urged the Beijing allies to help Falun Gong ''make this a start - a rational, well intended and peaceful communication channel.''

Wu and Ma said they were meeting with Falun Gong in their personal capacities. Ma said Saturday he would not be used as a conduit for Falun Gong to deliver its messages to the Chinese leadership in Beijing.
(...)

Wu told the Falun Gong followers they were carrying things too far and accused Falun Gong of pushing the limits of Hong Kong's ''one country, two systems'' form of government. The system was put in place at the end of the British colonial era and recognizes China's sovereignty while giving Hong Kong considerable local autonomy.

Kan said Saturday that Falun Gong would persist in its campaigning.
''Our thinking is same as ever,'' Kan said by telephone. ''We'll continue to appeal for a stop to the persecution in China. I can't see why we should cut the ties, especially when the Chinese members are being persecuted.''
[...more...]


3. falungong folly has gone far enough
Bangkok Post (Thailand), Feb. 12, 2001 (Editorial)
http://www.bangkokpost.net/Off-site Link

(...) It is impossible to imagine why Beijing felt it necessary to embark on a campaign to crush falungong about 18 months ago despite its members' vehement denials of having any political agenda. The crackdown on the sect, which espouses breathing exercises, clean living and a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese beliefs, clearly illustrates the failure of an overwhelmingly centralised, top-down, communist-style government. It also shows that the human spirit, with its cravings for the divine and intangible, can never be crushed by oppressive state forces, no matter how extensive the repressive apparatus or how brutal the ruthlessness of the oppressor.
(...)

The fact that Hong Kong has flourished economically on the legal foundations laid by its former colonial rulers should be enough for Beijing's communist leadership to realise that rigid control of people's lives is not only fundamentally wrong, but catastrophic. Under Hong Kong's current legal system, residents have the right to do gentle stretching exercises in public places, meditate and speak their minds publicly on any issue they please. Such rights are respected the world over. That such fundamental liberties are the proven recipe for economic success is beyond all dispute.

Under an agreement reached with Britain before the handover in 1997, Beijing promised to allow Hong Kong citizens their Western-style freedoms and autonomy for 50 years. To not honour that pledge for the sake of rooting out and destroying a religious sect with no more than 500 members in Hong Kong will have huge repercussions on China's international relations, not to mention any hope of a peaceful re-unification of Taiwan with the mainland. Already, polls say a majority of Taiwanese don't believe Beijing will allow the ''one-country, two-systems'' arrangement with Hong Kong to continue much longer.

It would show that Beijing's word cannot be trusted, and erase any remaining shred of credibility with regard to China's respect for human rights. This would be devastating for China on the world stage and would threaten global stability.
[...more...]


4. HK says it will not ban Falun Gong
Financial Times, Feb. 11, 2001
http://news.ft.com/Off-site Link

Hong Kong's justice secretary on Sunday said that the government had no plans to implement laws against local members of the Falun Gong, the spiritual sect banned on the mainland.

The comment from Elsie Leung, secretary for justice, was the strongest statement in support of the freedoms of the sect in the city, which in the past couple of weeks has been severely criticised by Hong Kong and Chinese government officials.

Last Thursday, Hong Kong's chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, told the local legislature that the government would closely observe the activities of local Falun Gong members, who have infuriated Beijing by organising international meetings in Hong Kong. He also described them as an evil cult, prompting accusations from legislators that he was toeing Beijing's line. ''We will not allow anyone to abuse Hong Kong's freedoms,'' Mr Tung warned.
[...more...]


5. Beijing Police Deny News Inquiry
Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

BEIJING -- Beijing police on Friday denied reports in state newspapers that they are investigating whether foreign journalists knew in advance and helped plan a suicide protest on Tiananmen Square.

''There's no such thing,'' said police spokesman Liu Wei in reply to a written question about whether such an inquiry was under way.

The Associated Press, Cable News Network and Agence France-Presse have denied they had prior warning of the Jan. 23 incident, as claimed in two state-run newspapers that said the news organizations did nothing to stop the demonstration although they knew of it in advance.

Five people who the Chinese government says were followers of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement set themselves on fire. One died and four others - including a 12-year-old girl - were seriously injured, state media said.

Falun Gong denies they were genuine practitioners.

But Xinhua, China's government news agency, on Friday described some of the protesters as remaining committed to Falun Gong despite their burns. Two - described by Xinhua as protest organizers - have refused food and medicine in the hospital, it said.
(...)

On Wednesday, the state-run Yangcheng Evening News said foreign reporters could face homicide charges if they took part in planning the protest. The claim appeared Tuesday in another state newspaper and has been on Chinese Web sites.
(...)

On Friday, Xinhua accused Washington of double standards. The United States used force against the Branch Davidian sect in 1993, but China's crackdown on Falun Gong has ''met with gratuitous criticism from American officials,'' Xinhua said. ''Where's the logic in that?''
[...more...]


6. China sees falungong members under the spell of ''cult''
AFP, Feb. 10, 2001
http://www.timesofindia.com/Off-site Link

BEIJING: China on Friday released interviews with the four surviving members of the group who set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square, in an apparent attempt to prove their membership in the falungong spiritual group and turn public opinion against the sect.

The state Xinhua news agency said the two adult survivors -- Hao Huijun, 47, and Wang Jindong, 51 -- remained loyal to falungong and have even refused food and medical treatment, despite suffering serious burns.

''They repeatedly invoked (falungong founder) Li's instructions in his books, claiming that fasting and self-seclusion were enough for curing their injuries,'' Xinhua said.
(...)

The report is the latest in a non-stop two-week propaganda campaign by the government against falungong, which has included repeated showings on national television of horrid footage of the five on fire.

The government has seized upon the incident as evidence falungong is an evil cult, and used it to gain public support for its often brutal crackdown on the sect, which it banned in July 1999 as an ''evil cult.''
(...)

Meanwhile, authorities have banned relatives of the victims, all from the central Chinese province of Henan, from seeing them.
(...)

A hospital official confirmed Beijing's ''610 office,'' which is in charge of investigating falungong activities, has banned family visits as well as interviews by foreign journalists.
(...)

Families of the two mother and daughter pairs contacted by AFP insist they believed in falungong despite their relatives' objections.
[...more...]


=== Falun Gong - China's Government-Controlled Media

7. Reports from China's government-controlled media

* China's government-controlled media has, in recent days, published dozens
of items denouncing Falun Gong. As these items are essentially press
releases meant as propaganda rather than news reporting, there is little
to be gained by including them in RNR. Those interested may access the
reports via this Falun Gong news page


=== Scientology

8. Scientology, critics spar in weekend court
St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 11, 2001
http://www.sptimes.com/Off-site Link

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Church of Scientology and its Clearwater nemesis, critics known as the Lisa McPherson Trust, spent a full day in court Saturday trading accusations and trying to get the other rebuked by a judge.

In nearly seven hours of testimony from a dozen witnesses, these points emerged:
Confrontations between church critics and process servers hired on behalf of the church have played out in bay area restaurants.

Trust founder Robert Minton has challenged Clearwater police officers hired to do security work for the church while off duty.

The Church of Scientology has more than 100 cameras monitoring the outside and inside of its Clearwater properties.

Both sides were in court trying to get the other held in contempt of court for violating a Nov. 30 injunction issued by Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick. The injunction orders church and trust members to stay 10 feet from each other and delineates where each group can picket in downtown Clearwater.
[...more...]
For more information on how Scientology deals with its critics, see:
Scientology's hate and harassment practices


9. Leaving the Fold
Third-generation Scientologist grows disillusioned with faith
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 12, 2001
http://www.sfgate.com/Off-site Link

Astra Woodcraft, apostate and defector, is the latest enemy of the Church of Scientology.

Woodcraft, 22, never really joined this controversial psycho-spiritual movement, at least not as a free-thinking adult. Astra was born into it.

Founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, a prolific science fiction writer and freelance philosopher, Scientology describes itself as ''the only major new religion established in the 20th century,'' as a bridge to increased awareness and spiritual freedom.

Woodcraft, a third-generation Scientologist, paints a different picture.

Recruited at age 14 into the movement's elite ''Sea Organization,'' Woodcraft describes a brave new world of authoritarianism, greed and spiritual manipulation.

Two generations of her family have been torn apart by Scientology. Holding her 2-year-old daughter, Kate, in her arms, Woodcraft vows that there will be no fourth generation in her clan.

''I don't want her to have any connection to Scientology,'' said Woodcraft.

All cults have problems with apostates, insiders who leave the fold and denounce their former faith. But the Church of Scientology plays hardball with defectors, investigators and others seen as church enemies.

''They are very hard on apostates,'' said Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara and the author of a recent scholarly study on the Church of Scientology.

Church leaders make no apologies for their vigorous defense of the faith.

''Scientology is something people feel very, very strongly about,'' said Jeff Quiros, a church spokesman in San Francisco. ''It's not a go-to-church-on- Sunday kind of religion. It's an intense religion. If people get in your way, they need to be dealt with one way or another.''

Two ways the church deals with critics are lawsuits, its own undercover investigations and public denunciations of those attacking the church.

''Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way,'' Hubbard once advised his troops. ''Start feeding lurid blood, sex crime, actual evidence on the attack to the press.''

Given those instructions, it is not surprising how church leaders responded to Woodcraft's allegations.

''She has made a decision in her life that her religious values and what she got from Scientology - how it saved her from drugs and a life of promiscuity and petty crime - are all irrelevant,'' said international church spokesman Aron Mason. ''Now she's hoping the Church of Scientology will pay her to shut up.''

Somewhere between Woodcraft's Orwellian tale and Mason's fierce response is a lesson - a story about how authoritarian movements deal with the anger and apostasy of children raised in their midst.
[...more...]
* For more about Scientology's hate and harassment practices, see:
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s04f.html

* Like many other cult apologists, J. Gordon Melton himself also is ''very hard on apostates,'' whom he considers to be liars

Melton has defended the Scientology cult in court, and is listed as a professional referral by the so-called ''Cult Awareness Network,'' Scientology's anti-anticult hate group. Nevertheless, he claims to be an Evangelical Christian...


10. When Scientology Is Passed Down
Second-generation disciple dedicates his life to the church
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 12, 2001
http://www.sfgate.com/Off-site Link

Since the age of 14, San Francisco native Steve Latch has dedicated his life to Church of Scientology's spiritual counseling regime.
(...)

Born in 1964, this second-generation church member climbed through Scientology's various levels of mental functioning - steps on a spiritual ladder that promise enlightenment and ''literal immortality.''

Scientologists call it ''moving up the bridge.''

''I'm at a very, very high level,'' Latch said. ''I feel like I have a great understanding of myself spiritually - I can decide what I want, and the power of that decision alone can allow the material universe to align with my decision.''

Latch's father, San Francisco chiropractor Lloyd Latch, and his mother, Connie, joined the Church of Scientology in the 1970s. They credit its counseling program with saving a once-troubled marriage.

They have four grown sons. One wants nothing to do with Scientology. Two joined their father's chiropractic business and remain church members.

Steve, their eldest son, has spent the last 19 years on the staff of the Church of Scientology in San Francisco.

''My parents never said I had to do Scientology auditing,'' he said. ''Scientology is passed down onto families by the application of it, of living a drug-free life, using our study technologies, interacting in the community.''
[...more...]


11. Tom & Nicole split a question of faith
New York Post, Feb. 12, 2001
http://www.nypostonline.com/Off-site Link

Superstars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, divorcing after 10 years, are getting ready for a potentially nasty legal battle over how their children will be raised, The Post has learned.

Battle lines are likely to be drawn over the religion of the children.

Cruise is so dedicated to the controversial Church of Scientology that he insisted the children were born according to a Scientology ritual.

Kidman, on the other hand, left the church nearly a year ago. Sources say she does not want the children, Isabella Jane, 8, and Connor, 6, raised according to the teachings and methods of the controversial religion.

Parents who have some experience with Scientology's child-rearing practices say Kidman is right to be concerned. Teresa Summers, of Clearwater, Fla., who raised one child inside Scientology and one outside, told the Post: ''I was a Scientologist for years and worked in the Sea Organization, Scientology's religious order. We had a terrible experience.''

She said Scientologists are encouraged not to treat sick children with conventional medication, not to comfort and nurture children, and to cut or restrict ties with grandparents if they are not Scientologists.

''Mothers who have raised children in the Church of Scientology and come out have a terrible sense of guilt over what our children went through,'' Summers told the Post. ''They had children doing physical work, sometimes 40 to 60 hours a week. It could be anything - shoveling gravel, laying carpet, but mostly it was clerical work,'' she said.

''I also worked in one of their schools, in Clearwater, Fla. Many of the children don't do as well as they should academically.

''Teachers don't have college degrees. They are trained in Scientology technology. They don't explain. They don't help. If some child doesn't understand, it's because they don't understand a particular word, so kids are constantly being told to just look up a word.''

After 10 years as a Scientologist, Summers now works for the Lisa McPherson Trust, an organization that act ively opposes the Church of Scientology.

The church runs a network of private schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oregon, Virginia, Florida and Vancouver.

Applied Scholastics, a Scientology subsidiary that runs the church's school program, claims its students have higher SAT scores than the national average, higher math scores on the California Achievement Test and lower rates of violence.

But parents of some former students dispute that group's figures. Stephanie Graham, of Orlando, Fla., who put two children through Church of Scientology schools, said her children had difficulty keeping up in state schools after she left the church.

''Children raised in Scientology are often given only minimal basic education,'' she said. ''It's not an education; it's propaganda and pseudo-science.''

The sometimes bizarre application of Church of Scientology attitudes to children begins at birth.
(...)

Some parents who left Scientology also report they neglected their children because they were kept too busy with church programs, instruction and work. They had little time left for child care, they said.

Scientologists are actively encouraged to raise their children in the Church of Scientology and not among what are derisively called ''wogs'' - people outside Scientology - or as Hubbard defined them, ''common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety humanoids.''

A recruitment flier for Scientology schools warning against state education, says: ''If you turn your kids over to the enemy all day for 12 to 15 years, which side do you think they will come out on?''
(...)

A document obtained by the Post contains an insidious, guilt-inducing 60-question test designed by Hubbard for children as young as 6.
(...)

Teresa Summers also claimed that children are routinely asked to spy on one another and are subjected to grueling punishments.
(...)

If Cruise and Kidman face off over Scientology's controversial practices, they won't be the first celebrities to do so. Others include O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark and movie actor Tom Berenger.

Clark's successful battle with her ex-husband, computer programmer Gordon Clark, coincided with the opening of the Simpson trial.

In 1997, ''Platoon'' star Berenger, 51, claimed in his divorce battle with ex-wife Lisa that she was brainwashed by Scientology and had become ''so involved and mentally entrenched in Scientology that she abandoned me.''

Among his stipulations was that their children, Chelsea, now 13, Chloe, 12, and Shiloh, 5, should not be raised in Scientology.

Neither Berenger nor Clark returned calls.

The Church of Scientology International was reticent to discuss its child-care practices.

Janet Weiland, a minister who also acts as a spokeswoman, refused to discuss how child care in Scientology differed from that in the rest of society.
(...)

Pat Kingsley, spokeswoman for Cruise, has downplayed the role Scientology played in the breakup. But friends of Cruise said Kidman's decision to distance herself from the church did not sit well with him or Scientology's leaders.
[...more...]


12 Scientology Founder's Family Life Far From What He Preached
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 12, 2001
http://www.sfgate.com/Off-site Link

When it came to marriage and family life, the late L. Ron Hubbard did not practice what he preached.

According to its official teachings, the Church of Scientology ''regards the family as the building block of any society and marriage as an essential component of a stable family life.''

According to his unofficial biographers, Hubbard, who lived from 1911 to 1986, had at least seven children by three different wives, including one bigamous marriage.
(...)

Hubbard Jr., who later changed his name to Ronald DeWolf, helped build his father's Scientology empire in the 1950s but later denounced his dad as a ''fraud.''

''Scientology is a power- and money- and intelligence-gathering game,'' he said in a 1983 interview.

DeWolf died in 1991.

Hubbard's second wife, Sara Northrup Hubbard, gave birth to Hubbard's third child, Alexis Valerie Hubbard, on March 8, 1950.
(...)

In divorce papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 1951, Sara Hubbard said the founder of Scientology did not mention that he was already married - and had two children - when they exchanged their vows on Aug. 10, 1946.

Hubbard did not secure a divorce from his first wife until Dec. 24, 1947.

In her divorce papers, Sara Hubbard accused the self-help guru of ''systematic torture, beatings, strangulations and scientific torture experiments.'' She also accused Hubbard of kidnapping Alexis, a story that made headlines in Los Angeles in 1951.

Hubbard married his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp, in 1952.
(...)

Three years later, Mary Sue Hubbard was among nine of Scientology insiders indicted for infiltrating the Internal Revenue Service and stealing more than 30,000 pages of government documents on the Hubbards and the Church of Scientology.

Mary Sue Hubbard was convicted and served one year of a four-year federal prison term.

According to biographer Russell Miller, the author of ''Bare-Faced Messiah - The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard,''Off-site Link Mary Sue took the fall for her husband, then lost out in a power struggle with David Miscavige, a second-generation Scientologist who assumed control of the movement after Hubbard's death in January 1986.

Miscavige, who started in the organization as one of Hubbard's teenage couriers in the elite ''Commodore's Messengers Organization,'' declined to be interviewed for this story.

As for Ron and Mary Sue's three surviving children, Scientology spokesman Aron Mason said they are all still members of the church - either as parishioners or members of the staff. None of them, he said, will talk to the press.

Other sources, however, said Arthur, 42 and the youngest child, has left the church and is an artist living in New York City. His older sister, Diana, retains a leadership role in the Scientology.
(...)

One Hubbard ancestor who could be tracked down was Jamie Kennedy, the grandson of Ronald DeWolf, making Kennedy Hubbard's great-grandson.

Kennedy, 23, lives in Vallejo and is a nationally recognized slam poet. He said his mother and ex-girlfriend have been visited by Scientology agents asking about his references to Scientology in his poems and his decision to appear at an anti-Scientology benefit last November.

''They can't shut me up,'' Kennedy said.
[...more...]
» More about L. Ron Hubbard
» More information about Operation Snow WhiteOff-site Link and moreOff-site Link

» The Bare-Faced Messiah can be read online

The latter is hosted at Karin Spaink's siteOff-site Link. You guessed it... as an outspoken critic of Scientology, Spaink is a frequent target of the cult's harassment practices.

This cult, which increasingly behaves like a hate group, uses a number of front groups to try and gain influence. One such groups is H.E.L.P. (see next news item).


13. Scientology-linked project gets city grant
Boston Herald, Feb. 9, 2001
http://www.bostonherald.com/Off-site Link

Mayor Thomas M. Menino has endorsed a literacy project affiliated with the Church of Scientology, which critics say is a step towards offering cult-like teachings to school children.

When Menino posed for a photo at a December awards ceremony with the director of H.E.L.P. Boston - and gave a $1,000 city grant to the group - aides said they were aware that the group teaches a ``study technology'' developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the movement.

But Menino, through a press office spokesperson, said yesterday that he did not know of H.E.L.P. Boston's Scientology connection. In any event, city officials say the group's program is nonideological and nonreligious, and are standing behind the grant to be used for the city's school-aged youth, even as a Scientology-watch Web site is urging the public to ``complain about Boston's support of this cult scam.''Off-site Link

``The literacy curriculum we funded doesn't use any religious ideology,'' said Juanita Wade, Menino's human services chief. ``The organization may have some connection to (Scientology), but our policy is that any program we fund must not promote any particular religious ideology.''

However, an academic researcher claims that ``study technology'' is a disguised effort to proselytize for the Church of Scientology.

``Scientology jargon and religious beliefs . . . are inseparable from Study Tech,'' writes David S. Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department, in a paper entitled ``The Hidden Meaning of Hubbard's Study Tech.''

``These concepts are presented in a doctrinaire manner that is also characteristic of Scientology religious instruction. Study Tech actually helps lay the groundwork for introducing Scientology into the schools,'' Touretzky maintains.
(...)

A national spokesperson for H.E.L.P. (Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) said yesterday the program is ``nonreligious and applicational.''
(...)

But Scientology critic Teresa Summers, assistant director of the McPherson Trust based in Clearwater, Fla., said, ``The city of Boston should know that in a roundabout way it is supporting the Church of Scientology. The city is supporting a study technology that has no scientific basis or proof of efficacy. There is no proof these children do well.''

Summers, who said she was a Scientologist for 20 years before leaving the church, characterized the city's grant as ``highly unusual.''
[...more...]
See also:

Boston Benefit for Scientology Literacy ScamOff-site Link
(...)
Why is this Boston literacy program a scam? Because Applied Scholastics'
literacy efforts are really just an attempt to win some legitimacy for
Scientology's founder, deceased psychotic con man L. Ron Hubbard, and to
slyly introduce children to Scientology's jargon and aberrant way of
thinking.

The above site includes details on where to register your concern about city funding of the Scientology front organization.

Scientology uses various front groups in its recruitment efforts. More on Scientology-related groupsOff-site Link and moreOff-site Link

Scientology also increasingly behaves like a hate group, and should thus not receive support from any government. Documentation

Much of its current hate actions are directed against the Lisa McPherson Trust, indicating that the latter is effective in its efforts to expose the cult for what it is. .


14. Scientology-linked project to get scrutiny
Boston Herald, Feb. 10, 2001
http://www.bostonherald.com/Off-site Link

A top Menino administration official said yesterday that a literacy project with ties to the Church of Scientology will be closely monitored in its use of city funds to help school-age children read.

The group, H.E.L.P. Boston, received a $1,000 grant from the city's Safe Neighborhood Fund.
(...)

Critics claim that the ``study technology'' used by H.E.L.P. Boston is a disguised form of Scientology scripture.

``Part of the responsibility of a grant program is to monitor - we don't walk away,'' said Wade. ``If something comes up that we're concerned about we'll handle it.

``Lots of faith-based organizations get funding from the city,'' she added. ``As long as that activity they seek funding for doesn't promote a particular religious ideology they're eligible.''
[...more...]


15. Geoff Hurst launches Scientology E-meter
The Daily Telegraph (England), Feb. 10, 2001
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Off-site Link

The 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst opened an exhibition in London yesterday to promote Scientology, despite having no connections with the controversial movement.

Sir Geoff said he was excited by the drug programmes which Scientologists are running in 21 countries, but not in Britain. He said he knew little about Scientology. ''I'm here because of the work they do in drugs.'' The Narconon drugs programme, designed by the founder of the movement L Ron Hubbard who died in 1986, includes regular saunas to detoxify the body and spiritual ''drills''.
(...)

The Scientology movement claims it can cure people suffering from ''severe body pollution''
[...more...]
To learn more about Scientology's Narconon program, see:
Narconon: Drug Reformers or Scientology Front?Off-site Link


16. Heaven help me
New York Post, Feb. 11, 2001
http://www.nypostonline.com/Off-site Link

The world was shocked - shocked! - last week when Scientologist couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman announced they were splitting up.

It was almost as shocking as when Cruise broke up with first wife Mimi Rogers, another Scientologist. (So many Scientologists, so little time!)

When that happened, I wrote a story about how members of Rogers' family were muck-a-mucks in the church, and mentioned the elitist Scientology ''Celebrity Center'' and a magazine it published called ''Celebrities.''

Within days, the wrath of L. Ron Hubbard was upon me. Callers identifying themselves as members of the Church of Scientology threatened my life, and my very soul.

But nothing beat the missive from a Scientologist customs agent at Kennedy Airport informing me that he'd put my name into their computer. He said next time I came through customs, I'd be body-searched and caught with the illegal drugs I was smuggling in.

Again, not an astrophysicist, this one - he signed his own name.

The government doesn't look too kindly on employees who threaten to plant drugs on weary travelers - at least not when they sign their own names to the letters.
He would have signed somebody else's name, but Scientologists are taught never to lie.
[...entire relevant section...]
While it claims to promote high ethical standards, the Church of Scientology is well-known for its harrassment of critics. In fact, the Scientology organization is increasingly acting like a hate group


» Part 2