Group is front organization for Church of Scientology
Canton Journal, Oct. 17, 2002 (Opinion)
By Bill Thibeault / Journal Columnist
Did you see where a small group of out-of-town zealots came to Canton a couple weeks ago to picket the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) out there on Turnpike Street?
For a minute or two I thought that those “SCAR” people had somehow resurrected themselves from oblivion and returned to re-haunt us … but alas, this new bunch turned out to be a different group of militant malcontents, apparently sent here for some kind of religious reason.
The well-publicized picketing only lasted a couple hours, and they even trotted out a lady who claimed to be a Canton resident, except when I attempted to contact her for this column, I couldn’t find her anywhere in town … which leads me to believe that she either in hiding or may have been fibbing about her place of residence to get some local media attention.
Anyway, this strident group of picketers were apparently from a group that calls itself the “Citizens Commission on Human Rights” (CCHR) a militant group which was created by, and serves as a Church of Scientology” … and so it behooves us to take a step or two back and take a hard look at this so-called church and CCHR, to what they’re trying to do.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the Church of Scientology, it was founded back in 1954 in California by the late Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) … a prolific but mediocre science fiction and fantasy writer who preferred to be called “L. Ron Hubbard” … and while the “church” presently claims to have several million members world-wide, published reports say that critics and other knowledgeable sources insist their actual membership is much less.
Based in Los Angeles, the Church of Scientology has numerous critics and has a reputation of being a “dangerous mind-control cult” that conducts coercive religious practices … but one report says an attorney who represents the church insists the church doesn’t practice “mind-control” but admitted it does engage in “behavior modification.”
The Los Angeles Times did an in-depth six-part series on Hubbard and his church a few years ago, and it related that in the early 1950s Hubbard wrote a book called “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health” which claimed that Hubbard had “uncovered the source of, and the cure for, virtually every ailment known to man. Dianetics, he said, could also restore withered limbs, mend broken bones, erase wrinkles of age, and dramatically increase intelligence.” And the Times went on to add that “not surprisingly, the nation’s mental and physical health professionals were unimpressed.”
On top of that, among its alleged church tenets is the belief in continual reincarnation over billions of years and across billions of galaxies.
But for whatever reason, “Dianetics” became an immediate bestseller, made Hubbard an “overnight celebrity” … and it became the foundation of a “new world-wide religion” founded, organized and led by Hubbard himself … but not without a lot of deserved controversy and criticism which has led them to adopt an aggressive and militant defense policy. In the late 1970s that policy resulted in 11 church leaders, including Hubbard’s then wife, receiving five year prison sentences for burglarizing the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department and other offices … and Hubbard himself was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
In 1963 the government of the state of Victoria, Australia became so concerned with the claims and actions of the Church of Scientology they created a special Board of inquiry to “inquire into, report upon, and make recommendations concerning scientology as known, carried on, practiced and applied …”
The inquiry board headed by an Australian official named Anderson, held 160 days of hearings, received pertinent documents, heard oral evidence under oath from 151 witnesses … and the church’s legal counsel was allowed to cross-examine their testimony.
The final Anderson Report issued in 1886 pulled no punches and was highly critical of Hubbard and his church.
Next week I’ll tell you what they concluded from all the evidence they considered … and I’ll also go into some of the things their CCHR satellite has been up to.
Former Canton Executive Secretary Bill Thibeault’s column appears weekly in the Canton Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.