Rally targets Scientology

Happy Birthday, L. Ron Hubbard!

Even though the founder of Scientology is gone, passing away in 1986, there was a still a big party, of sorts, in his honour yesterday.

About 150 protesters showed up outside the Yonge St. offices of Scientology — the religion established by Hubbard in 1952 — in synch with similar turnouts around the world.

Hubbard’s birthday actually fell on Thursday, but the protesters, from a secretive anti-Scientology group called “Anonymous,” decided to delay their rallies until the weekend, as they did in New York, London and Hong Kong, so that as many sign-wavers as possible could come out.

The renditions of Happy Birthday belted out at Yonge St. headquarters yesterday morning were the only positive sentiment toward the church.

Chants of “we want cake” soon faded to angry rumblings.

“This religion — if you can call it that — is a con and every one needs to know it,” said a heavyset man, wearing a long overcoat and a Skeletor mask.

The marchers’ faces were covered with everything from balaclavas to pantyhose to Guy Fawkes masks. (Guy Fawkes is the anti-government cult hero in the movie V For Vendetta.)

These efforts to keep their identities safe is part and parcel of their Internet collective, which is called Anonymous and has no leaders or organizers.

Local members of Scientology stood inside the offices, its front doors lined by police officers, watching the gathering, looking unimpressed.

In a statement, the centre said it is being “targeted” and that Scientologists are the victims of “repeated incitements to hate and violence.”

The protest dissolved around 6 p.m.

Though Hubbard obviously could not make an appearance, his words were never far from yesterday’s debate.

“You don’t get rich writing science fiction,” a protester’s sign read, quoting remarks by the Scientology founder and one-time pulp-fiction author in 1948. “If you want to get rich, start a religion.”


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Jason Buckland, Toronto Sun, Mar. 16, 2008, http://torontosun.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday March 17, 2008.
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