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Judge denies award to Scientology group

Marin Independent Journal, USA
Mar. 24, 2004
Gary klien
www.marinij.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday March 24, 2004

Trial pending as church wants $10 million from ex-Marin man

A bid by the Church of Scientology to win an immediate $10 million judgment against a renegade ex-official was rejected in Marin Superior Court yesterday, setting the stage for a jury trial next month.

What makes Scientology a hate group

Among other unethical behavior, hate- and harassment activities are part and parcel of Scientology. Hatred is codified, promoted and encouraged in the cult‘s own scriptures, written by founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology’s unethical behavior: learn about the cult’s ‘Fair Game‘ policy

More of Scientology’s unethical behavior: the cult’s ‘dead agenting‘ policy

Gerry Armstrong, a former researcher and archivist for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, split from the church in 1981 and has criticized it vigorously ever since. Armstrong, a onetime San Anselmo resident who has exiled himself to Canada, says the church is bent on world domination, crushes internal dissent and violates its members’ civil rights.

In 1986, the church paid $800,000 to settle a civil suit filed by Armstrong, who claimed he was being harassed by church leaders. The settlement required Armstrong to stop divulging information he gained as a highly placed church insider.

But Armstrong, 57, continued to speak out in media interviews and Internet postings, even after Marin Judge Gary Thomas issued a 1995 injunction ordering him to stop. In 2002, the church sued Armstrong for $10,050,000, or $50,000 for each of 201 instances where he allegedly breached his settlement agreement by publicly discussing the church.

The church filed a motion asking Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee to award it the money without proceeding to a jury trial. But Duryee denied the motion yesterday, saying church attorneys had failed to establish that the 201 incidents were violations of the settlement.

The case is scheduled to go to trial on April 9.

Andrew Wilson, a Sausalito-based attorney for Scientology, declined to comment on Duryee’s ruling. Armstrong, reached at home in Chilliwack, British Columbia, said the decision “keeps me in the battle yet another day.”

“It certainly is not a happy day for Scientology,” he said. “Scientology dearly fears anyone they’re up against getting a fair trial.”

L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology business, was known for his unethical behavior, which included lying and incitement to hatred.

Scientology’s scriptures, written by Hubbard, encourage and condone lying, hate and harassment activities and other unethical behavior

The Scientology cult is known for its abuse of the legal system. The hate group’s scriptures say: “The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to 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

Armstrong, who is representing himself against the church’s lawyers, was not in court yesterday but participated in a conference call. He said he cannot attend the trial because there are warrants out for his arrest for allegedly violating the injunction by Judge Thomas, who is now retired.

Scientology was founded in the early 1950s when Hubbard, a prolific novelist and Hollywood writer, published “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.” Adherents describe the book as a guide to self-improvement and an approach to “problems of the mind,” including insanity, crime and war.

Scientology’s official Web site describes the movement as “an applied religious philosophy” with the goal of bringing an individual to a “sufficient understanding of himself and his life and free him to improve conditions in the way that he sees fit.”

The religion is practiced in 129 countries, according to the Web site. Among its prominent adherents in the United States are actors John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley.

Hubbard died in 1986 at age 74.

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