Cult or Miscavige of Justice? Newspaper Runs Indepth Exposé on Church of Scientology

488px-scientology_symbolsvgThe St. Petersburg Times is running a series on the Church of Scientology that has some pretty eye-popping allegations, particularly with regard to Church leader David Miscavige. For those who have long argued that the Church is a cult (most recently in Europe) the exposé will likely reinforce their views.

The newspaper reports bizarre and abusive conduct by Miscavige, including hitting high-ranking officials and forcing them to play a game of musical chairs (where the losers allegedly are banned from the Church).

The Los Angeles Times also has a story alleging rampant corruption in the Church.

The series on Scientology is something of a surprise. Many reporters that I have spoken with over the years are privately reluctant to do Scientology stories because of the Church’s aggressive reputation in responding to press. The Church has a history of suing critics and pursuing members who have joined the movement opposing Scientology. This has led to recent lawsuits ( and here) and complaints. Recently, Scientology also was barred from making edits on Wikipedia because of what it viewed as a pattern of misleading or false changes on sites referencing the Church.

For the first part of the three-part series, click here.

For the second part of the three-part series, click here.

268 thoughts on “Cult or Miscavige of Justice? Newspaper Runs Indepth Exposé on Church of Scientology”

  1. A Note to Scotland:

    Dear People of Scotland,

    When I refer to some as “Scotsman”, please do not interpret that as using the term as a pejorative, but that it is being used for irony considering the context. I have nothing but the greatest fondness for the peoples of Scotland, indeed, there is a Scotsman in my own family woodpile. Some of my best friends are pains, er, um, well a Paine and a Payne to be precise, but I digress. Please rest assured, I in no way meant to imply that Scotland endorses stupidity, a dishonest nature and/or the bad habits of Neocon propagandists.

    Begging Your Pardon of Any Mistaken Appellation,

    Your Truly,

    Robert Ethan Buddha Humoresque Bruce, Esq. (ret.) R.S.V.P., B.Y.O.B., C.O.D., Q.E.D.

  2. Jill:

    “So one person’s stupid, perverse or irrational ideas may be another person’s well researched/reasonsed argument that isn’t popular in the current social climate (Galileo for example).”

    ***********

    Ideas are not equally valid; they are assayed by reason. Unreasonable ideas are inferior to reasonable ideas. While it’s true that reasonable people may differ, they usually don’t do so when presented with facts. In no sense was the RCC’s position vis a vis’ Galileo based on reason. To the contrary it was based on mythology or superstition or just plain lust for power, but in no sense was it reasonable. The problem with most people is they are prepared to accept any nonsense as rational because some dolt they know believes it. That doesn’t change it’s quality, it just reflects a “cop out” of reason and a bow to the fear of offending the proponent. You may wish to suffer fools glady (or silently) but I have no wish to burden my conscience with permitting one fool to recruit others without a whimper of dissent. You may recall the legal maxim Qui Tacet Consentit — silence implies consent. How do ethically permit ignorance to go unabated in your community when you know better?

  3. ” I challenge you to locate, and quote, any statement I made that would indicate that I am a proponent of ignorance (other than engaging you).”
    –Jim Byrne

    ***************

    I’ll take your challenge:

    “People can, and will, believe in whatever they want to believe. They should be able to do so; even if it will hurt them in the eyes of others.”

    –Jim Byrne

    Does “… believe in whatever they want to believe,” exclude adopting ignorant positions? Ever heard of too much rationality hurting someone? The phrase “should be able to…” is normative and constitutes advocacy of a particular point of view.

  4. Mike Appleton,

    What you succinctly stated has caused me abundant angst over the last 2 years in a District court case that is now in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Thank you for your descriptiveness of the process of the law v. the legal relevance of hard, irrefutable scientific facts.

  5. I realize that this thread got way off the beaten track many entries ago, but I wish to make a couple of observations without becoming embroiled in the birther controversy itself.

    The arguments continue unabated because of fundamental misunderstandings regarding what constitutes proof of an assertion for legal purposes. The reason the fiction of the “reasonable man” has been developed over many hundreds of years in the common law is that we have learned from experience that perceptions of evidentiary sufficiency for a proposition can vary greatly from individual to individual. For some persons, the mere claim that another has committed a wrongful act is enough to merit the administration of immediate and severe punishment. For others, nothing less than the sworn testimony of God will support a conviction. Recognizing the need to provide stability and reliability in the regulation of personal, commercial and other relationships, which is all the law is about, we gradually settled upon the principle that in the resolution of disputes, the factual conclusions of the trier of fact (either a judge or a jury) will be deemed to constitute the truth of the matter if a person of ordinary intelligence, having reviewed the same testimony, documents and other evidence thoroughly, and having no personal stake or interest in the outcome for any reason, could reasonably have reached the same factual conclusions.

    In other words, the law is not concerned with “truth” in the sense understood by those who demand absolute certainty. The law is not science or mathematics. We have continuously developed and refined rules to control the reliability and authenticity of both written and oral evidence, but all of this effort is intended not to provide certainty in ascertaining the truth, but to provide fairness in the process of the search.

    Vince Treacy has done everything short of formally publishing a legal treatise demonstrating the president’s compliance with the eligibility provisions of the Constitution. The evidence is sufficient to satisfy every standard of proof. That there are those who decline to accept the sufficiency of that evidence is to be expected. However, that disinclination does not compel the submission of further and additional proof, even were that possible. The law does not require cumulative evidence, or evidence beyond that reasonably necessary to establish a fact. Quicquid demonstratae rei additur satis demonstratae frustra est. In short, it makes no difference that Orly Taitz remains unhappy.

  6. Wonderful diatribe, I love a good argument. Just a blogroom brawl……brawlog? or maybe brawlg? or blograwl? I think I like blograwl kinda ryhmes with doggerel although no poetry here.

  7. __________________________________

    Vince Treacy wrote:

    I have always thought that there are two rules at this site.

    Rule 1: JT makes the rules.

    Rule 2: See Rule 1.
    __________________________________

    Even I should be able to understand that.

  8. Byrne never responded to the Pakistan travel fable, or to the sources debunking the forgery myth. Even assuming that Obama was in fact born in Hawaii, Byrne floated a Donofrio-like theory that Obama was not a natural born citizen because his father was African. We debated that proposition extensively here, in threads that I have linked, or that can be accessed by typing “Donofrio” in the Search window above. I argued that there was no basis in the text or history of the Constitution for that theory. The Supreme Court rejected Donofrio’s case last year.

  9. I have always thought that there are two rules at this site.

    Rule 1: JT makes the rules.

    Rule 2: See Rule 1.

  10. Byrne has questioned Obama’s status as a natural born citizen, but presented no credible evidence or sources, and a lot of misinformation that I have tracked down. There was no ban on Pakistan travel in 1981. Obama’s COLB is valid. Pulitzer Prize winning reporters at St. Petersburg Times Politifact.com have had a Hawaiian official verify that it is authentic: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/jun/27/obamas-birth-certificate-part-ii/
    Hawaii no longer issues “certificates of live birth” or birth certificates, only a Certification of Live Birth, which is a legal birth certificate.

  11. Troll & JB,
    Based on you own words here’s the situation as I see it. If you two are friends as you allude, there is no reason no to believe it, you decided recently to have a little “fun” at the expense “of them elitist libruls,” and showed up here to what in your mind was raising hell. Only the deal with you two, if indeed there are two, is that you’re not dumb. Because of this JB came in stealth mode, slyly inserting his hard right wing viewpoints, into seemingly left wing format. Like all those of his faux conservative (real conservatives are principled)ilk certain memes slipped through. The first was sheeple, invented by some stupid left wingers to denote the people of the US, and which he used as a means of setting up his sub rosa attack on President Obama, and gratuitously bringing Hitler into the discussion. What’s curious about that usage since the comparison of The President to Hitler has been a Republican talking point for months now.

    When called on it gutless Jim claims he never called the President Hitler and he’s technically correct, but he implied it and the use of the name made no sense for someone with his smarts, except in the sense I called him on. However, as might be noted in a subsequent post I gave him the benefit of the doubt and said I’d suspend judgment until he produced further posts. The evidence mounted as he went into his birther routine. Only the farthest out of crackpots
    still finds this unproven. That sewed up the fact than rather than disinterested centrist Jimmy claims to be, he is far out on the political limb so to speak. It also refers back to his injecting Hitler and President Obama in the same post.

    I don’t really care where someone is on the political spectrum here as long as they’re up front about their intentions and not here to “have some fun baiting the libruls.” To me JB’s problem was that he is disingenuous about where he is really coming from. Then what do you know. He provides 3 quotes from Ayn Rand. No centrist quotes that hack writing slattern, only someone out on the fringe, like JB.

    Now suddenly comes Troll JB’s wing man. How fortuitous. How coincidental and how phony. Sorry guys, the “Libruls” here don’t play like what you imagine them to be from years of inhaling Rush, Bill, Sean and Glenn. Also you guys aren’t even able to understand the irony of asking JB to prove his citizenship. To bad if you’re out for fun, you really should get irony. Oh by the way anyone can claim to be a Navy Vet with a security clearance, where’s the proof, you who are so quick to besmirch our President? People with courage state their beliefs and back them up without playing games. You two failed the test.

  12. “I think the rest of my posts do well to establish my ability to engage in heated debate while avoiding ad hominem attacks,”

    Except when it suits your purposes to question someone’s citizenship, Jim McCarthy – Scotsman and Neocon Propagandist Until Proven Otherwise.

    Your return is not off to an auspicious start, sport.

  13. GWLawSchoolMom,

    1, June 23, 2009 at 11:56 am -Buddha said; “you can end the “discussion” right now and go fornicate yourself and your little avatar, troll.

    1, June 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm -Buddha said; “And while I do have to tolerate you, I can still tell you to go fornicate yourself once you’ve gone to “Anti-American.” Welcome to Freedom of Speech, Jim.

    I must admit; I missed FFLEO’s comment to Buddha regarding what I consider to be foul language. I was under the impression that, much to my dismay, such language had been deemed acceptable. I was wrong and do apologize.

    I think the rest of my posts do well to establish my ability to engage in heated debate while avoiding ad hominem attacks, and that fould language is not my standard means of communication.

  14. Folks,

    I just want good discussions so that I can learn something. We have 2 other regulars who “tag team” as VT called it, and that seems disingenuous to me, even if it is not. If the tag team members are so close in physical proximity then they could e-mail, Instant Message, phone call, walk next door, or mosey across the street, or something else instead of using the blawg in pretentious displays of “look at me, I ‘got’ a friend and we’re havin’ dinner tonight”. Pardon me if I am wrong.

    I really thought that with a title “VOTED THE #1 LEGAL THEORY AND LAW PROFESSOR BLOG OF THE TOP 100 LEGAL BLOGS BY THE ABA JOURNAL” that I could find a unique site without excessive trash talk and overt vulgarity, which are available elsewhere on the Internet. We all get somewhat off-topic sometimes, that is not a big problem, and I am not the judge, although I may occasionally request to return to the topic for the sake of continuity, even when I get off-topic.

    We all slip with minor cuss words and those can be overlooked, if they are not incessant. Some of the original Topic Threads have such words—or much worse—and those are just part of the case or situation and discussions regarding such “words” are legitimate; however, cussin’ out another poster is clearly an ad hominem tactic to which any self-respecting debater would not subject himself or herself.

    There are many intelligent people here and I look forward to more regulars like that, although I fear some new people might avoid this site if threads like this one—the fighting sections of which—become the norm.

    I am weary of complaining and I will try to completely avoid such threads and let Professor Turley take the heat and/or the humiliation if it continues. Remember the upcoming Blawg 100 vote for next year and my vote will unlikely be positive if such excessive vulgarity and innuendo persist. However, I am just 1 vote.

    Reiteratively, the most accomplished logician is incapable of reasonably rebutting anonymous vulgarity across the vast expanses of the Internet with any self-respect and without falling prey to the very vulgarisms he abhors.

    I do care a lot about this blawg and many of the people here…

  15. Jim Byrne writes:
    Go “fornicate yourself”! You really need to go “fornicate yourself”. You panzy-a**ed little fektard. You’re an ignorant, feckless, little twit.

    ** -While this is not my communication style of choice,

    me: clearly, Jim, it *is* your communication style of choice, since you chose to use it and it locates you intellectually somewhere in the junior high sandbox in earshot of someone’s mommy who might rat you out to your mommy who might rat you out to your daddy who would whup your pansy ass for using the F-word.

    you: I’ll apologize to those who find this to be offensive language (as do I), but sometimes you must make use of the “native tongue” in order to effectively communicate.

    me: oh, don’t apologize after the fact. it is kind of cowardly if you can’t stand up to something you wrote not more than a few seconds ago. don’t go regretting it so soon. let yourself marinate in it just a little longer. let that self-righteous anger wash over you for at least an hour before you share your regrets and just a suggestion: if you really regret writing that, why not erase and start over with something more mature and adult?
    tossing that silly and jejeune “fornicate yourself” instead of the real thing… means what? that you know all the words, know that we know all the words but want to, uh, protect yourself from getting your comments yanked by Prof. Turley for being all the way f-bombs instead of 8th grade catholic school girly f-bombs?

    grow a set.
    or stop bitching.

  16. Oops! I made a mistake.

    To Buddha’s claim that I “called Obama’s citizenship into question.”

    I responded with “Yes, I did.” -That’s not exactly true. I called Obama’s natural-born status into question. I did not question his citizenship.

  17. “The line you crossed tactically?”

    Man up! Quote me.

    “You don’t have the balls to say that IRL to my face, sport. Your kind rarely if ever does.”

    I already did. You’re anonymous and exist only as an avatar. You’ve acquired “net balls”. -An illusion of power and strength, limited by your virtual personna. When I turn off my screen, you no longer exist. I can see how that frustrates you.

    “I have a valid U.S. birth certificate, DL and passport. Do you?
    Yes. I do. I have both a certificate of live birth, and a certification of live birth. I also have a couple of DD-214’s.

    “You called Obama’s citizenship into question.”
    Yes I did.

    “you’ve attacked my patriotism”
    LIAR! I did no such thing. The burden is on a claimant to point to the source; failing to provide such, the claim must be acknowledged for what it is -nothing more than fantasy -a lie.

  18. Is that a chicken on a toilet on your avatar, Scotsman? Or are you just glad to see me?

    Well Jim McCarthy, as least I’m not a fascist tactic using non-citizen enemy of liberty.

    So much for whatever dignity you’d maintained.

    Let’s be clear on something too. The line you crossed tactically? You don’t have the balls to say that IRL to my face, sport. Your kind rarely if ever does. You can take that to the bank. And that line you crossed also negates any criticism of over how I handled making you piss your pants and run away in faux disgust when your true nature was revealed, you little propagandist sack of hot air girly man.

    But I’m glad you came back to get run through the shredder again. And you did it all the while managing to annoy one of your supporters with yet more nonsense. You’re a regular cross between Gobbels and Trump when it comes to PR. Maybe this time you’ll do something stupid enough to get you banned, you elitist hack.

    BTW, birther, I have a valid U.S. birth certificate, DL and passport. Do you? Not like you’d tell the truth. Citizen. You called Obama’s citizenship into question, you’ve attacked my patriotism, yet your citizenship is very much in question itself. You seem as unconcerned about that as you are about using Neocon tactics and sophistry when cornered.

    Continue to be a bad example. It’s useful to have a McCarthiest to point to.

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