Getting Religious

From the US Department of State:

GermanyInternational Religious Freedom Report 2004
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Basic Law (Constitution) provides for religious freedom, and the Government generally respects this right in practice; however, discrimination against minority religious groups remains an issue.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The Government does not recognize Scientology as a religion, viewing it instead as an economic enterprise; federal and state classification of Scientology as a potential threat to democratic order has led to employment and commercial discrimination against Scientologists in both the public and private sectors.

[…]

The status of Scientology was the subject of many discussions during the period covered by this report. The US Government expressed its concerns over infringement of individual rights because of religious affiliation and over the potential for discrimination in international trade posed by the screening of foreign firms for possible Scientology affiliation.  Embassy officers at all levels consistently and repeatedly supported German Church of Scientology requests for direct dialogue with German Government officials. The US Government consistently maintained that only an organization itself can determine whether it is religious.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/35456.htm

The US Government’s decision to leave the determination of whether an organization is “religious” to the organization itself, and, on the basis of that self-religionizing determination, to afford it all the benefits and protections afforded any other “religions,” is a stupidity that cannot help but increase “religious intolerance.” The US exacerbates this foolishness with a ridiculous policy of condemning, threatening and sanctioning sovereign nations that don’t fall in step with the US’s intolerance-increasing position and actions. Because this “consistently maintained,” although only recently promulgated, position most benefits the most antisocial and least beneficent “religious” entities, increasing intolerance is an eminently reasonable attitude and response to US- determined “new religions.” Since antisociality in organizations that most benefit from the US position and policy manifests as human rights violations, intolerance toward these “religions” actually promotes and defends individual human rights, including, most ironically, freedom of religion.

If only an organization itself can determine whether it is religious, an organization that is a money-motivated economic enterprise, as Scientology demonstrates, can certainly determine that it is religious. That economic enterprise then is afforded, at least in the US, all the benefits and protections afforded religions or religious institutions that are not economic enterprises. With such benefits and protections, a religious economic enterprise enjoys some heavenly advantages, including tax exemption, over economic enterprises that have not leapt into this US Governmental vacuity to declare themselves to be “religious.”

The German Government obviously does get involved in the determination of religiousness in organizations in Germany, insofar as that determination has related to those organizations’ governmentally established benefits and protections. Germany says, in various ways, that organizations that are economic enterprises do not get afforded all the benefits and protections afforded religions or religious institutions that are not economic enterprises.  Consequently, such economic enterprises that call themselves “religious” do not, in Germany, gain huge advantages over competing economic enterprises that do not determine and declare themselves to be “religious.”

The same is true with an organization that is a potential threat to democratic order; or that might be a ruthless bait-and-switch scam; an intelligence operation waging a covert war on good citizens; or a hate group peddling hatred as human rights. If only an organization itself can determine whether it is religious in the US, then an organization that is a potential threat to democratic order, a scam, an intelligence network, or a hate group hawking hatred can determine to be religious and be a religion. Such US organizations then are afforded all the benefits and protections afforded religions or religious institutions that are not threatening democracy, not scamming people, not involved in espionage, and not inciting hatred. Germany, which gets involved in the determination of religiousness or religion, has decided that threats to democracy, scams, intelligence ops, or hate groups may not, by use of the “religion angle,” be afforded such benefits and protections.

At this time in history, the world can generally trust Germany’s determination of religion or of an organization’s religiousness, since that determination involves the organization that seeks to be classed as a religion, plus the government, plus other participants such as the already historically determined religions. It is, however, irresponsible to trust the US’s determination of religion, which involves only an organization itself determining it is religious or a religion. It is axiomatic that an organization determining itself religious also determines that its activities constitute religious expression. Because of the US Government’s zero-screening policy, as can be studied with the Scientology organization, other nations have a responsibility to their own citizens to screen and investigate any organization or “religion” that is operated from the US, exported from the US as “religion,” or is defended and promoted as “religion” by the US Government.

Scientology, of any of the entities presently proclaiming their religiousness, is all of those things that the German Government observes, and more: an economic enterprise, a bait-and-switch scam, an intelligence organization waging war on good citizens, a hate group with the superhubris to call itself a human rights group, a criminal conspiracy, a totalitarian cult with a sociopathic philosophy, and consequently a threat to democratic order. These activities form and govern Scientology’s nature, and the religion’s religious expression. They cannot but be “religious” because Scientology states in its “by-laws” that it is organized “exclusively for religious purposes.” To not discuss or permit the discussion of the nature of what the US Government is defending, promoting and exporting because that export calls itself “religious” is indefensibly irresponsible.

If the US Government had adhered to a strict hands-off policy for “religions,” leaving the determination of religiousness to organizations themselves might make a little more sense than it does. The US’s International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (now 22 USC. §§ 6401-6481), however, requires that the Government, from the President down to every consular mission everywhere in the world, defend and promote the entities that declare themselves to be religious or religions.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode22/usc_sec_22_00006401—-000-.html

Organizations that are threats to democracy, or scams, intelligence operations, hate groups, criminal conspiracies, totalitarian cults or commercial enterprises, which determine, as Scientology did, that they are religious or religions, get defended and promoted, by the US President on down, just the same as entities that are religious or religions but are not threats to democracy, not scams, not intelligence ops, not hate groups, not conspiracies, not totalitarian cults, and not commercial enterprises.

It turns out in fact that the US defends and promotes Scientology even more than almost all other US religions just because the cult is, in its nature and activities, an intel op, threat to democracy, etc. Scientology needs more defense and promotion because of its antisocial nature and because of its antisocial activities in all of those countries that object to organizations scamming their citizens, spreading hate, committing crime, and threatening their democracy. The US Government made the strategic decision in the early 1990’s to ally Scientology rather than continue to oppose it, as the US had been doing for many years in a number of government departments and agencies. Events both before and since this decision support the conclusion that it was made just because Scientology has an antisocial nature and is involved in antisocial activities, is an intelligence organization, a scam, a hate group and a totalitarian anti-democracy cult. See also: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/writings/scientology-cult-of-total-espionage.html

For decades Scientology employed a flock of “religious experts” to “scientifically” legitimize its claim to “religious status.” These academics wrote papers, gave speeches and testified for the organization, equating its beliefs and practices with those of traditional religions, and attacking people and countries, including the US, which argued that because of its antisocial or criminal practices Scientology should not be granted the status, protections and benefits traditional religions received. When the US assumed the position that organizations themselves, and only themselves, regardless of their structure, nature, beliefs or practices, could determine they are religions, Scientology’s need, in America, for its academic collaborators was largely eliminated.

The new US position, which was announced after the strategic decision to form an alliance with Scientology, and which could not but have been assumed in order to sustain that decision, means that a religious organization’s beliefs no longer need be sincerely held. As the Scientology v. Armstrong legal cases demonstrate, Scientologists universally are contracted to violate their own “creed,” the formal statement of their “beliefs” that founder Hubbard published to give the organization the trappings of traditional religions in the period before the US made even such trappings unnecessary. The new US position in reality removed any requirement, as far as the Government is concerned, for truthfulness or honesty in any “new religion’s” claims or activities. In Scientology, as in any criminal gang, hypocrisy is a virtue, telling the truth, except to one’s bosses, is punished, and lying is enforced. Because the organization is a religion, lying is properly called a “sacrament.” To be “religious,” an organization need not embrace or even pay lip service to the worship of God; indeed, Scientology and Scientologists, psycho-theologically speaking, are at war with Him.

Following its decision that made an ally of Scientology, the US passed into law the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), which capitalizes on that decision to forward the US’s global hegemonic interests. Although the IRFA’s published purpose is unquestionably noble, the US’s application of the law in the Scientology v. Armstrong issue shows that another purpose is present and dominant. The IRFA, if read realistically, would direct the US to condemn Scientology’s violations of my religious freedom, assist the Canadian and European governments to promote my fundamental right to freedom of religion, and to stand with me against Scientology’s religious persecution, which is government tolerated. (See 22 USC 6401(b)(1)-(5)) I have formally requested that US officials meet with my wife Caroline and me and, as the IRFA mandates, help us against Scientology religious persecution. http://gerryarmstrong.ca/archives/620

While continuing to promote and defend Scientology, which is a global religious persecutor, the US has done nothing about the cult’s persecution of Caroline and me, and has not even acknowledged our request for help.

For the US to be compelled by its own law to promote and defend a “religious” organization internationally, the only condition the IRFA puts on the nature of that organization’s religious “practices” is that they are “peaceful.” (See 22 USC 6401(a)(5), 6402(13)(A)(i).) If Philip Morris, the tobacco corporation, being a commercial enterprise, determined that it is religious, and that its cigarettes are religious artifacts and smoking is a sacrament, the US would be obliged to defend and promote the Church of Philip Morris® around the world. The Church’s religious artifacts and religious exercise might harm or shorten the lives of its practitioners, but smoking is peaceful, and even people’s deaths from smoking or lung cancer are peaceful. In fact, death from smoking necessarily eliminates any possibility of the diers dying unpeaceful deaths, which for CPM is an excellent religious marketing concept.

The Church of Philip Morris, following religiously in Scientology’s precedential legal footsteps, would make Fair Game against its critics a core religious belief and practice. As with Scientology, CPM’s false advertising for its products and its way to happiness would of course be a protected, tax exempt activity; as would be the Church’s lying, trickery and litigation, and even destroying people, as long as it was some form of peaceful destruction. CPM members and their attorneys naturally would Black PR people who criticized the Church and its poisons as religious bigots or anti-religious extremists.

Scientology, however, unlike the Church of Philip Morris, is not peaceful, even in its own unalterable scripture, and is not engaged in peaceful activities, but is, by scripture, at war. Scientology and Scientologists, moreover, are not at war with an unfortunate, or harmful, or threatening condition in the world; for example, a war on evil, or on poverty, on illiteracy, or on litter. Scientology is at war with real, live, decent, productive people with real, live families, friends, careers, etc. Scientology’s front groups. which make a big deal of confronting generalized phenomena or conditions in society, the wogs’ world — Applied Scholastics for illiteracy; Narconon for drugs; Criminon for criminality; Citizens Commission on Human Rights for psychiatry; etc. – all exist to cloak Scientology’s and Scientologists’ real, and antisocial, war, which is on real persons, live human beings that the Scientology head says are to be warred on. All persons that Scientology and Scientologists war on are in the religio-racial class invented and identified in Scientology scripture as “Suppressive Persons” or “SPs.”

Key US Government departments and personnel have known about Scientology’s warmongering in its scripture for at least 32 years. These same US Government entities, and others, have understood the SP doctrine, which incites and “justifies” the warring on citizens, for almost as long. The doctrine, of course, includes the axiom that all persons Scientology and Scientologists war on are SPs. Hubbard wrote his scriptural policy letter of 16 February 1969 “Battle Tactics” years after he had installed the SP doctrine in scripture and had his underlings implement and execute it. Scientology’s “enemies” are all SPs.

We must ourselves fight on the basis of total attrition of the enemy. So never get reasonable about him. Just go all the way in and obliterate him.

[…]

One cuts off enemy communications, funds, connections. He deprives the enemy of political advantages, connections and power. He takes over enemy territory. He raids and harasses.

[…]

You preserve the image or increase it of your own troops and degrade the image of the enemy to beast level.

[…]

Wars are composed of many battles.

Never treat a war like a skirmish. Treat all skirmishes like wars.

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/cult/sp/pl-1969-02-16-battle-tactics.html

After Hubbard died, the Miscavige regime specially reissued “Battle Tactics” for application by the new regimeists to the same old SPs.

Scientology and Scientologists teach in their SP doctrine that Suppressive Persons comprise a class consisting of the most evil, destructive two and a half percent of the planetary population, who, for everyone’s and everything’s survival, must be shattered and obliterated. Since Scientology cannot yet get away with disposing of all of the world’s SPs quietly and without some other people sorrowing about the mass class obliteration, the organization leader directs his troops and resources against the individual SPs that at that time he most fears and hates and most wants disposed of. In Scientology’s Suppressive Person doctrine, SPs come in a range of sizes or importances; and current cult head Miscavige, and consequently every Scientologist, considers me an enormous SP.

http://suppressiveperson.org/spdl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=462&Itemid=38

The US Government has also long known that Scientology and Scientologists not only called for war against human targets in key scriptural directives, but had also been certifiably dishonest, conspiratorial, menacing and physically aggressive in applying the religion’s “Battle Tactics” and similar directives. Hubbard says in “Battle Tactics” that he wants his war against SPs waged in the “field of thought,” and that certainly is a front in, or facet of, the war. Where he and his Scientology and Scientologists concentrated their efforts and spent enormous sums, however, was in the field of persons, with bodies, identities, reputations, careers, families, relationships, etc. The US knew that Scientology conspired to drive Paulette Cooper’s mind insane in the field of thought, and to terrorize and sue her into ruin and silence, and get her body falsely imprisoned in the field of persons. In or out of the field of thought, Scientologists, in reality, are never permitted to reason with their victims, targets, critics, enemies, SPs, etc. Scientologists are only permitted to treat or handle such people as “fair game,” that is, to attack or pursue them, both in the field of thought and in the field of persons.

The US has known for years about Scientology’s and Scientologists’ physical attacks on me, as well as a litany of other unlawful and antisocial acts against me. In all the time they have considered me an SP and an enemy, Scientologists have never reasoned with me, or acknowledged my reason, either in the field of thought, or in the field of the physical world where real humans live real lives. As is clear in the public record, the US, despite many Scientology victims’ testimony and documents, has continued to support and promote the organization as if its practices are as peaceful as prayer circles.

A recent project undertaken by the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, as a great number of people are aware, has resulted in several articles based on videotaped interviews with recently escaped Scientology “executives” about serial physical violence inside the cult, particularly at the hands of ecclesiastical head Miscavige himself. http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/

I believe there is more than enough immediate evidence here to force the US the review, and withdraw, its support for Scientology and its activities. The SP Times lead in:

Scientology leader David Miscavige is the focus of this special report from the St. Petersburg Times. Former executives of the Church of Scientology, including two of the former top lieutenants to Miscavige, have come forward to describe a culture of intimidation and violence under David Miscavige. These former Scientology leaders served for years with Miscavige.

Since the passage of the IRFA in1998, the US has largely ignored the violence, intimidation, and other antisocial victimizing Scientologists have perpetrated against their SP victims outside the cult. There has been no mention of such violence in the State Department’s yearly reports. The State Department should not be allowed, I believe, to now ignore the documented culture of intimidation and violence inside Scientology, particularly since that violent culture’s source is its rotten core.

Each national government where Scientology operates, I believe, has a duty to warn its citizens about the culture of violence into which the organization is luring them. All Scientology advertising and recruiting efforts are to draw people further and further into that culture of violence, closer and closer to Miscavige.

A culture of violence is not peaceful. Violence can certainly be religious expression, as Scientology proves. It cannot be, however, religious expression, or religious exercise, or worship, which the US, pursuant to its International Religious Freedom Act, is compelled to protect and promote. I believe that the US has a duty, even pursuant to its own law, to withdraw its support for Scientology internationally. And I believe that national governments, which the US makes subject to this US law, have a duty to their citizens and their nations, to get the US to do this right thing.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

—  Miscavige gathered the group and out of nowhere slapped a manager named Tom De Vocht, threw him to the ground and delivered more blows. De Vocht took the beating and the humiliation in silence — the way other executives always took the leader’s attacks.

—  Physical violence permeated Scientology’s international management team. Miscavige set the tone, routinely attacking his lieutenants. Rinder says the leader attacked him some 50 times.

—  Rathbun, Rinder and De Vocht admit that they, too, attacked their colleagues, to demonstrate loyalty to Miscavige and prove their mettle.

— Rathbun says, “Nobody’s respected because [Miscavige]’s constantly denigrating and beating on people.’

— Rathbun, Rinder, Scobee and De Vocht say they participated in and witnessed madness, from musical chairs to repeated physical abuse.

—  Rathbun and Rinder list the executives they saw Miscavige attack: Marc Yager: At least 20 times. Guillaume Lesevre: At least 10 times.

—  Ray Mithoff: Rathbun said Miscavige “would regularly hit this guy open-handed upside the head real hard and jar him. Or grab him by the neck and throw him on the floor.”

—  Norman Starkey: “Right in the parking lot, (Miscavige) just beat the living f— out of him, got him on the ground and then started kicking him when he was down,” Rathbun said.

—  He said he saw Rinder “get beat up at least a dozen times just in those last four years … some of them were pretty gruesome.”

—  Said Rinder: “Yager was like a punching bag. So was I.”

—  The issue was the humiliation and the domination. … It’s the fact that the domination you’re getting — hit in the face, kicked — and you can’t do anything about it. If you did try, you’d be attacking the COB. (COB is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center David Miscavige)

—  [Miscavige’s violence] was random and whimsical. It could be the look on your face. Or not answering a question quickly. But it always was a punishment.

—  [Miscavige] shouted obscenities at Rinder, grabbed him and, while holding him in a headlock, twisted his neck and threw him to the floor.

—  Of the dozens of attacks Rinder says he endured, this one was the most painful. “my neck was out of place, and for maybe 30 minutes I couldn’t speak because my larynx had been squashed against the back of my throat.”

—  The four high-ranking executives who left Scientology say that church leader David Miscavige not only physically attacked members of his executive staff, he messed with their minds.

—  He frequently had groups of managers jump into a pool or a lake. He mustered them into group confessions that sometimes spun into free-for-alls, with people hitting one another.

Scientology’s response, also from the St. Petersburg Times, admits that a culture of violence existed in the cult, but blamed it on the people who had left and spoken out.

—  Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis: “The “true perpetrators of any violence were [the Times] sources.”

—  Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, key figures in the earlier stories and the highest executives ever to leave the church’s staff, repeatedly are described in the declarations as violent and threatening.

—  At least 11 declarations cite instances in which Rathbun was abusive. Former colleagues wrote that he grabbed, hit or slugged them, and pushed them against walls. Guillaume Lesevre said Rathun dragged him by the ear. David Henderson wrote that Rathbun tried to scare him into a confession by waving a baseball bat, then smashing it into a file cabinet.

—  In the declarations, three women said Rinder hit them. Former staffer Shelby Malone said Rinder slammed her against a wall and pinned her head back by pressing his right forearm into her neck. Kathleen O’Gorman said Rinder hit her in face with a clipboard, cracking a molar. Marcy McShane wrote that Rinder grabbed and squeezed her shoulders, told her she was “stupid” and threw her into a wall.

—  Davis said his own internal investigation found that Rathbun attacked 22 Sea Org members in the years before he left the church — 50 instances in all.

— [Scientology] said “Rathbun instituted a ‘reign of terror.’

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