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International "Protest Scientology" Day

This morning's Boston Globehelda story of about fifty people who were protesting yesterday outside of the Church of Scientology headquarters in Boston wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Upon further investigation, it seems like a worldwide Scientology protest took place yesterdayand cities involved includedSydney, London, Seattle and Los Angeles. The protest was organized by a web-based group called "Anonymous" or "Anon" who claims that the Church of Scientology is a greedy cash-collecting cult.The protesttook place on what would have been Lisa McPherson's 49th birthday. A former Scientology adherent, Lisa McPherson's deathin 1995 led to a controversial look at the Church of Scientology and its practices.Directionsto protesters onwebsites said, "Do nothing illegal," "No Violence," "Disguise yourself...Wear a mask (Guy Fawkes is best, but anything that doesn't look intimidating is good. Alien masks are also good)."The Church of Scientology issued a statement condemning these protests and claimed:

Anonymous is perpetrating religious hate crimes against Churches of Scientology and individual Scientologists for no reason other than religious bigotry.It is Anonymous that has repeatedly attempted to suppress free speech through illegal assaults on church websites so as to prevent internet users from obtaining information.

One news source claims that the total number of protestors worldwide was anywhere between 6000 and 8000.Anonymous says, "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."

About the Author

Marianne L. Tierney is a PhD student in theology at Boston College.



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The protest in Los Angeles was, indeed, peaceful.

It is a sad state of affairs. I have been a Scientologist for many years. Scientologists are some of the most decent people I know. They are committed to helping people. They volunteer in their communities. They are good neighbors cuz they're there when people need help. I know that most of the people who showed up in front of Scientology churches yesterday did so because they have bought lies about Scientology. This is really unfortunate. I invite anyone who really wants to know what Scientology is about and what Scientologists are like to come to one of our churches without a mask on, and just walk in and talk to someone. Maybe read a book by L. Ron Hubbard. You'll find we're real people and we have something very valuable to share with you.

Jeanne,So you believe that Tommy Gorman was lying to me about his own experience? And Grace and Ken Aaron were also lying about their experience?No one I saw yesterday was contesting the character of those who profess the belief, but simply responding to the actions of the organization.

Don't know them personally, but from what I've read about them on the Net they sound pretty biased. Did you just meet them yesterday? Did you go to the demonstration because of what they told you or because of some other reason? Is that the extent of our knowledge of Scientology or have you ever actually looked into it?

If you listen to the audio I posted, I express my reasons for being there and you can also hear Tommy, Grace and Ken speak for themselves. Grace and Ken specifically stated that they still ascribe to Scientology's beliefs, but feel that the organization has contradicted its own belief in communication as a "universal solvent" -- because the church insists on preventing communication between a son and his parents, and refuses to communicate with the parents.

Demand the IRS revoke Co$ Tax Exempt Status!If I send my child to a Catholic school, a Jewish School, Christian School, etc., I cannot deduct the tuition as a charitable donation.But a Scientology School tuition? 100% Tax Deductable!Yes!?! Only the Co$ can deduct their class tuitions!This must end. Read this: pay every staff a salary below poverty so they don't pay any income taxes, THEN take them all around the Caribbean on a cruise ship!Why does Scientology have a secret agreement with the IRS that affords them a tax exemption that NO OTHER RELIGION IN AMERICA HAS?Sorry for shouting, but I am a 100% tax payer, and I am sick and tired of shouldering the yoke and these shysters get away with tax free cruises in the Caribbean!See more about the IRS secrets here: Us Demand the IRS revoke Co$ Tax Exempt Status in the USA!

Jeanne, I've seen a number of Scientologists that I quite liked and thought probably had everyone's best interests at heart. That said, I have also seen plenty of footage of Scientologists making personal attacks on critics, one extremely disturbing an militant speech given by Miscavige himself, court records detailing the evidence for both Operation Snow White and operation Freakout which are in the public record, I've seen Scientologists physically assault protesters just in yesterday (though admittedly these actions were far from the norm) and I've seen the Church issue vastly contradictory but consistantly slanderous statements against Anonymous. I've been a a part of the internet community for years now, though hadlittle direct contact with Anon and its affiliated sites till now, but I even I could have told you most of the stuff they;ve been saying isn't true. A lot of it doesn't even make sense. (Their guiding materials are mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto? Those are possibly the two most opposite works in modern history. The only commonality is that they are both generally disliked by society). From all of this, I've come to the conlusion that, while a large majority of Scientologists are probably normal people who, like a lot of people who are active within a religion, want to make the world better, this cannot be said about the people running the Church itself. If you have something tht could dissuade me of this opinion, please feel free to share. I like o think I keep an open mind about everything.

Anonymous has posted a new message in response to the Church of Scientolgy statement.

Psychic Cupcake - Thanks for a sane voice in the storm. The "Church of Scientology" has been badly misrepresented on the Net. I have been a member for many years. I know a lot of church staff and many are personal friends. These are the most dedicated, well-meaning, hard-working people I know. I have met and corresponded with staff who are in a leadership position in the church and have great admiration for them. I know from my own personal knowledge that the people who were involved with Operation Freakout et al were purged from the church. I agree with you totally about those actions and can understand why you would feel the way you do if you look on these as things Scientologists or current Scientology leadership would endorse. I didn't hear anything about acts of aggression or violence during Sunday's goings-on. Did you actually hear or observe anything like that? Finally, as a Scientologist, it is very hard for me to reconcile what I know of the intentions and activities of the church and its staff and Scientologists with what I see in these comments and with what I read on the picket signs. I know what I know, and I know that first-hand, now and from years of experience. I hear what people are complaining about, and if I thought those things were true I would also be protesting. My complaint is that people are carrying out these protests based on what they have read on the Net which may or may not be true (or as in the case of Freakout has been misrepresented by making it sound like this kind of thing is endorsed by the church or is still going on when it absolutely is not) without themselves looking into it, talking to some Scientologist, reading a book, coming in to one of our churches or missions and looking around. I've gone on here, but I appreciate your taking the time to express how you really feel, and wanted to respond to that with a heartfelt answer.

Jeanne, maybe you could explain this to us, in a bit greater detail than I will explain.January 21, 2008Three French members of the Church of Scientology, suspected of holding a fourth person against their will, were arrested Monday in Nuoro, Sardinia, a local police spokesman told AFP. The three people belong to the Church of Scientology, whereas the person being held was not a member, Fabrizio Mustaro, of the Nuoro Prefecture on the Mediterranean island, told AFP.Police were alerted by a phone call that reported cries for help coming from a house on Mount Ortobene, near Nuoro, said Mustaro. Officers found a 47-year-old woman of Tunisian origin sleeping semi-naked on a mattress infested with vermin. She was subsequently hospitalised. Three other people at the house, a 42-year-old woman and two 18-year-old men, one of Tunisian origin, were arrested and charged with kidnapping.I see Lisa McPherson Version 2.0 here. Does anyone else?

Jeanne,Before we can begin discussing what Scientololgy is about and what the beliefs are, we would need to know what level you are in the system. Are you a Preclear, or an Operating Thetan at a certain level? This is something the general public doesn't understand, that your knowledge about the church depends on what level you've achieved.

Jeanne's apologetic struck me(as an outsider) to be very reminiscent of the Mormon defense on NPR this morning after the Romney debacle.I just think:-it's obvious there arel ots of good Scientologists and Mormons (and Catholics) -the institutions of these beliefs are not without problems and that should not be conflated wqith the individual decencies of members-prejudice against institutions diminshes insofar as they are transparent and accountable

Well, i know scientologists and they are good people. It saddens my heart to know they are brainwashed but that is the truth. People who desperatly are trying to do the right thing but are lyed to by their "up lines" (management) Sometimes i thing sucked in, you knew the risks before you entered but then theres my friend who was born into it. And ultimatly it's the children who must suffer the gold of fools. My friend is out but what a pricve she has had to pay and continues to pay for leaving all her friends and family who only try to get her back in and dont respect her decision or the possibility that scientology may actually be wrong. I pray anonymouse grows to 98%

"I hear what people are complaining about, and if I thought those things were true I would also be protesting. My complaint is that people are carrying out these protests based on what they have read on the Net which may or may not be true"I have been into the orgs and i have read Dianetics and i have read the other stuff on the net. Scientologists have always been eager to push something of Hubbards onto me but not one has ever once been willing to look at the other stuff being presented on the net.I challenge all scientologists to use your right to freedom and read this stuff and then you know what everyone is talking about. Then make up your own mind.

I have no intention of defending Scientology, but, lest Catholics forget, fundamentalist Protestants assign cult status to the Church of Rome.

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