Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 5
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
Salzburger Nachrichten reported on April 27th that the Austrian civil
service has proposed rules that limit the employment of Scientologists.
"An active membership in the 'Scientology Church' may preclude working in the civil service. This opinion was brought forward on Monday by State Representative Franz Hiesl (OeVP), personnel director of the state of Upper Austria. In contrast to the Free State of Bavaria [Germany] he has not determined that infiltration has taken place in the state agencies; his statement is, instead, to be taken as a shot across the bow. The legal basis for a dismissal or discharge should be determined in accordance with existing ordinances. 'We will stick to the Bavarian route. A Scientologist challenges the state in this way and endangers democracy. That is not consistent with a state servant whose oath of office is to the Constitution and the Republic,' said Hiesl."
>From Der Stanard on April 28th:
"Hiesl does not state that there is currently a real reason to believe that Scientologists are among the applicants to state service. Neither is it known if adherents have already infiltrated the state apparatus. The statement is meant to be a preventive measure. 'We maintain now, as we always have, that everybody has a basic right to a private life,' was the reply from the office of the Styrian state personnel director, Gerhard Hirschmann (VP). Shutting out Scientology members from state service in Styria is 'not a theme,' he said. 'There have never been any kind of problems relating to this.' According to the Federal Agency for Sect Issues in Vienna, Scientology states that it has between 5,000 and 10,000 members in Austria."
Scientologist authors announced a plan to break the world record for a
"The stage is set for a warm-up challenge book signing at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 30 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, during the Book Expo America trade show and exhibit. At stake -- the future of the Guinness Book of Records new category 'Largest Book Signing (Single Author).' The players -- New York Times best-selling Star Wars authors Kevin J. Anderson and Dave Wolverton. Both authors have taken an original L. Ron Hubbard story and converted it to novel form."
The Miami Herald reported on April 26th that Scientologists attended a
memorial service held for the victims of a high school shooting in
"The memorial service brought people from across the nation, including retired Gen. Colin Powell, Christian music star Amy Grant and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., who sat with other dignitaries on a hastily erected stage built across a movie theater's steps. The service in this deeply religious community also attracted religious groups from near and far. Among them were members of the Church of Scientology, who handed out yellow-and-green pamphlets promising 'The Way to Happiness,' and Hare Krishnas, offering mourners free vegetarian food. Cletis Cansler of Gideon's International, the group that supplies hotel Bibles, said his people arrived at 9 a.m. and gave away 8,000 Bibles -- its entire supply -- by noon."
Dennis Erlich has settled his copyright infringement case brought by
Scientology. From Rob Clark:
"Dennis agrees to 69 counts of infringement at $1000 each. No news on whether he has to pay that. He has also agreed to an injunction, details also fuzzy. The child support case is 'going away,' also no details. The settlement is either confidential or portions of it are confidential--not sure about that."
>From Neal Hamel:
"MoFo represented him. That was their primary duty and they did a fabulous job. The constitutional case they put together as well as the counter-suit against scientology was the best way of defending him. When the settlement was reached, MoFo no longer needed to represent Dennis. BTW the settlement was concluded between Dennis/MoFo and the scientology attorneys before any appearance before Judge Fogel. Nothing was forced on Dennis. They reported the settlement directly to Judge White. Dennis is very happy and relieved with the settlement.
"For the time being until Dennis decides what direction the Informer ministry will take the website will not be active. It is obvious that its primary focus was towards scientology. The InFormer Ministry is registered tax exempt organization which still can be used for charitable purposes. It is unknown at this time what direction that will be.
"Dennis said that the phase of his life where he was in scientology and then in conflict with scientology was over. Its been 30 years and he is moving on to do other things."
Bob Minton announced resignations from the board of FACTNet this week.
"Stacy Brooks and Bob Minton have resigned with immediate effect from the
Board of Directors of FACTNet."
Hamburger Morgenpost reported on April 23rd that a Constitutional Security
report includes an assessment of the state of Scientology.
"The money sect has financial worries - only 1,000 people are still with it. However, there are an abundance of points for suspicion of politically extremist endeavors."
Stuttgarter Zeitung reported on April 28th that the CDU has made plans to make it even more difficult for Scientologists to join the party.
"In the future, Scientology members will find it more difficult to be accepted into the CDU. Applicants must affirm in advance that they do not belong to this organization."
The Irish Times reported on May 1st that a former Scientologist who is
suing for infliction of stress and brainwashing procedures.
"A 33-year-old Dublin businesswoman who is suing the Church of Scientology for damages because she claims she was 'brainwashed' yesterday in the High Court won her application to see her 'counseling notes.' The church's claim to be entitled to 'sacerdotal privilege' in relation to the notes was rejected by Mr Justice Geoghegan. Ms Mary Johnston said she needed the documents to prepare for her action for damages against the church and three named persons, Mr John Keane, described as 'mission holder', Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan, described as church members.
"In her statement of claim Ms Johnston alleged that while undergoing 'treatment' offered by the church she suffered increasingly with a 'disassociative stress reaction', became intolerant and rejected family and friends. She claimed she suffered a distinct personality change, would often adopt a fixed stare and simulated smile while switching off her feelings. She became increasingly confused, and her general health suffered. She alleged she was pressurised into subscribing for 'a purification rundown and training routeing'.
"The church and the three named members denied Ms Johnston's claims. It made a claim of 'sacerdotal privilege' in relation to a 'counseling' folder sought by her. Mr Justice Geoghegan, in a reserved judgment, held that as Ms Johnston had waived any privilege alleged to exist in relation to her counseling notes he could not uphold the plea by the church of sacerdotal privilege."
Star magazine reported in its May 11th issue that Scientology celebrity
Jenna Elfman has been taking Scientology classes to prepare for starting a
"Jenna Elfman has big plans for her summer vacation from 'Dharma & Greg'. She wants to start a family, and told producers that if all goes well, she'll be pregnant when she returns to work in August. Executives agreed to write the pregnancy into the show. Jenna and her husband Bodhi are already taking parenting classes at the Scientology center in Hollywood."
Protest / Revenge Summary
"Ethercat" reported that flyers have again been distributed by Atlanta
Scientologists to revenge recent protests.
"This time with flyers tacked to telephone poles. This is a new layout, with a much better picture of me on mine, and a horizontally distorted picture of wynot for his. They say simply, 'Religious Bigot' and below, 'Stop the Harassment! Stop the Hate!'. There seemed to be a total of under 10; perhaps they are running low on paper and money with which to buy more. Again, no claim of ownership, but who else could it be? Why are scientologists ashamed of their religion?
Charlotte Kates reported revenge pickets at her home in New Jersey on three consecutive nights. Charlotte has never participated in a protest outside an org.
"Despite the fact that I was not at home, and neither were my parents, as they were attending a local town meeting, a crew of six Scientologists came to my house in a van and a red Chevrolet Cavalier, armed with signs, to picket the day's Face of Religious Bigotry, me. The six Scientologists, including DSA Tim Lomas, DSA PRO Bruce Thompson, and ED Bonnie Di Martino of Philadelphia Org, as well as a young girl approximately 11 or 12, arrived with several signs, including one with a large picture of me, and a caption about how I, Charlotte Kates, was the face of religious bigotry. A neighbor confronted them, whereupon they told her how I, her neighbor, was a religious bigot. That I was a religious bigot, that I spew hatred, intolerance, and such. They compared me to a Nazi. Alluding to my past as a Scientologist, they said that I 'used to be helpful' but that I now 'spew hate on the Internet.'
"In addition, they took numerous pictures of passerby and neighbors, and insistently rang our doorbell. Several neighbors informed them repeatedly that we were not at home. Despite this, they continued to repeatedly ring the bell and attempt to look inside the windows of the house. The local young children appeared to be the only ones who would pay attention to the picketers, whereupon several neighbors took their children inside.
"The police officer who arrived told them that this was not the way to handle the situation, and told them to leave. In addition, my next-door neighbor reported that the officer confiscated the Scientologists' signs."
"There were fewer of them this time--only four. Tim Lomas (DSA) and Bruce Thompson (DSA PRO) were repeat picketers, while Dave Cormier (Purif I/C) was most likely a new addition to the crowd, along with another woman whose name I do not recall. The four of them were circling around the sidewalk in front of my house--three of their signs had pictures of me (an odd picture--mainly the top of my head) with the caption 'Charlotte Kates Religious Bigot'; the fourth said 'Charlotte Kates--Only a Communist Would Oppose Religious Freedom', an allusion to my younger teenage alliance with left-wing groups.
"I headed outside, greeting them with a sprightly 'Hi Tim! Hi Bruce! Hi Dave!' and taking snapshots of the whole crew as Bruce videotaped the entire picket, the neighborhood in general, me, my family and our house. Tim looked at me coldly and asked how long I had been 'spewing hate' on the Internet. My mother said that *this* was spewing hate; Tim replied that this was the 'first time' they had been at our house--when my mother reminded him of their visit last night, he seemed almost surprised.
"One angry neighbor of mine cursed at them and told them to get off her property where they had wandered over the line; another sat outside with his dogs. I can tell you this--the neighbors are truly irate about the whole idea of someone picketing and harassing their neighbor--and their anger is *not* directed at me. After about fifteen minutes of picketing an empty house, the Scientologists left. Apparently unsatisfied, they reportedly went next to Rod Keller's house in Philadelphia.
"You can be back tomorrow; you can picket me every night--and it simply will not silence me. Just as with all the others on whom you've attempted this tactic, it will fail. I can and I will outlast you."
Ted Mayett protested the Las Vegas orgs on two occasions this week.
"Big org, 5:30-6:35pm. 16 minutes into the picket two c-org males came out, one said 'hello', and the other said, 'how are you doing?'. I replied, 'hello' and continued walking and they never spoke again."
"Big org until 3:30pm. Once again they took no pictures, once again no Police activity and no reports of counter-pickets."
Kristi Wachter received a number of revenge pickets this week in San Francisco.
"According to a gentleman who lives in my building, 4 (maybe 5) Scientologists picketed my apartment today. They were noticed at 2:10 and were gone by 2:20. Craig ('Tall Black Guy') was here, along with 'Pippi' (a lady with two long braids), 'YuppieGuy' (a gentleman who looked like a standard yuppie), and one other person (maybe two others). Three slightly revised fliers were given to me by my neighbor. They read: THE FACE OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY. This woman, Kristi Wachter, is a religious bigot. She's engaged in a smear campaign against peaceful members of a religion and regularly pickets in front of their churches. When she's not stirring up intolerance in the streets, Wachter abuses the Internet to spread lies about people and religions she doesn't agree with."
"I got to have a nice long chat with my picketers today. They were here from 3:45 until 5 pm, and I got to talk with them for almost that entire time. Craig was here, along with four people I hadn't met before: Nick, Bob, and Joanna, who was raised in Scientology. Everyone gave me their names when I asked and had no trouble being photographed, except Craig, who hid behind his sign again. I made a point of offering fliers to passersby and displaying my sign to passing busses (as I think I've noted, three bus lines go by my apartment, and at this time of day, there were a lot of them).
"A couple of the folks who live in my building came out to talk, too. One gentleman engaged the Scientologists in debate for nearly as long as I did - Craig kept saying he thought this gentleman was my boyfriend and, when I refused to confirm or deny, he repeatedly told me that I should get a boyfriend - that would calm me down and make a big difference in my life. I asked if he didn't think I could be a happy, fulfilled person as a single woman, and he said in my case, no. We had a minor near-altercation when talking with a passerby. Joanna stuck her sign in front of my face to block me and my sign and very nearly struck me. I said, loudly, 'EXCUSE ME!' and moved her sign away from my face. She seemed sincerely apologetic. The gentleman from my building thought she actually had hit me and got very upset and told Joanna, very Tone-40, that if she EVER touched me again, she would be in jail. There was a bit of continued confusion, and then we all calmed down again - I made it clear that I was fine and that Joanna and I had cleared it up reminded everyone that we should keep our distance and be a little more careful. As usual, there was no mention of Scn on their fliers or their signs."
"Realpch" reported two incidents of leaflets at her home in the Bay area, and four consecutive revenge pickets.
"When I went out the door I found the usual generic 'Religious Bigot' flyer suspended by a rubber band from the mailbox, one flyer tucked into the garbage can and secured by the lid, and two flyers on my car's windshield. One flyer for the left windshield wiper, one for the right."
"Well I went out this evening to run errands at about 8pm, and when I got back home at 9:30, I discovered that the mysterious picketers/leafleters/litterers had struck again! Three of the generic 'Religious Bigot' flyers were in evidence: one stuck into the handle of the gate off the driveway, one lying in the bushes next to the steps, and one lying on the path to the front door."
"Having gotten off early today, I got home around 3:30, to find four very young Scientologists picketing my house and my block. I think they are the same ones that have been visiting Jour in San Francisco, 3 boys and a girl. One of the boys asked me as I was going in my door, when I was going to leave them alone, at which point they would leave me alone. I went in and left them to entertain a bunch of little kids who thought it was either a circus or a parade."
"For the fourth day in a row, my house was picketed by Scientologists. Young, young, young Scientologist. One girl looked all of 17. This time there were two young men, and three girls. They had the usual signs, and in addition, a video camera. They got wonderful shots of me opening the door, looking at them, locking the door, going to the car, putting my picket signs in the car and driving off for our newly instituted First Saturday of the Month pickets at the SF Scientology Org. They were heavily into taunts, the most memorable of which were: 'Nobody in this neighborhood likes you very much, Peaches' and 'You live here alone with your cat Peaches? Are you one of those people who have a special relationship with their cat?'"
Despite the revenge pickets, both Kristi and "Realpch" participated in a protest at the San Francisco org on Saturday, May 1st.
"Date: Saturday, May 1, 1999. Start and End Times: 11:15 - 12:35. Picketers: Kristi Wachter, Peaches, Administrati. Handlers: Jeff Quiros. Number of Handouts given away: 123. "There were police officers all over the place today - no doubt because of the hemp rally, just around the corner from us - and they were uniformly friendly to us. Just as I arrived and began picketing alone, an officer walked by; I bid him good morning and he returned the greeting, then continued on, paying me no further heed. After Administrati joined me, I noticed another officer, this one standing inside the org talking with the Scientologists. Admin said he had seen him go inside. Several minutes later, he came out, walked past us, smiled broadly, and said, 'Keep up the good work!'
"We had almost no handling today, although Jeff Quiros did come out to snap pictures. One lady came over just to give me a hug and thank me for picketing. We knocked off a little after 12:30."
Ron Newman reported a revenge picket at his workplace this week.
"A friend informs me that four Scientologists picketed my office on Third Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts early on Friday evening, April 30. While this was happening, I was busy attending a rave on the Amsterdam waterfront, with plenty of beer and other mind-altering substances all around."
Sea Org Tour
Catarina Pamnell posted the Sea Org Tour schedule to a.r.s this week.
"Freewinds rocket to OT tour: April 30: Montreal, Prague, Victoria May 1: Pordenone May 7: Quebec, Manchester, Seattle May 8: Verona, Mexico City May 14: Ottawa, Anchorage May 15: Bournemouth"
"Flag's OT power tour: May 29: Phoenix, Mexico City, Milano June 12: Orange County, Kansas, Roma June 26: Albuquerque, Witchita Mission, Padova July 10: Denver, Puerto Rico, Brescia July 24: Dallas, Venezuela, Verona August 7: Austin, Johannesburg, Amsterdam"