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Illinois Orders Exhibit’s Removal

Associated Press, USA
Dec. 4, 2003
www.newsday.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday December 4, 2003

CHICAGO — The state of Illinois ordered a group that’s an offshoot of the Church of Scientology to remove a display condemning psychiatry from a state office building.

Scientology: a dangerous Hate Group
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology front organization that fights against alleged abuses in psychiatry and psychology. As Scientology critic Martin Poulter points out, “It is absolutely remarkable that an organisation which stands accused of so many human rights violations itself should spawn a pressure group with this name.”
“The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization’s totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany’s democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization’s activities in the United States.”
- German government’s view of Scientology
Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, condoned and encouraged unethical behavior – including the hate and harassment activities Scientology is known for
Lying, deception, and other unethical behavior is part and parcel of Scientology, condoned and encouraged in the cult’s scriptures

The exhibit at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago by the Citizens Commission of Human Rights attacked psychiatry as a profession that “spawned the ideology which fired Hitler’s mania … and created the Holocaust.” It also accused psychiatrists of “hooking our children on drugs.”

The group erected the display Monday with state permission, but was asked to dismantle it Tuesday after people complained that it spread misinformation and violated the separation between church and state, officials said.

“It appears they did not adequately represent themselves,” said Michael Rumman, the state official who manages the building. “The Illinois administrative code says that exhibits may not promote religious philosophies, and this clearly does.”

The focus of the museum-like display of photographs was alleged abuse of psychiatric patients, but the exhibit also referred to the group’s Scientology roots.

“There’s nothing religious about this display,” Citizens Commission chapter leader Lynn Ward said before she packed up materials in the building’s atrium.

“But because we have not disavowed any link to the Church of Scientology, they are asking us to leave. I think that’s wrong.”

Ward acknowledged that her group was founded by the Church of Scientology but said it was not run by the church.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who taught that technology can expand the mind and solve problems. It claims nearly 9 million members worldwide.

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