We previously discussed the fraud prosecutions of fortune tellers in the United States as well as crackdowns in other countries. We discussed the uncertain line drawn in such cases between such soothsaying and magical services and the practices of protected religious organizations. A recent story raise precisely this question out of Clearwater, Florida where the Church of Scientology has opened a $145 million, 377,000-square-foot complex that features a new “superpower program” for followers who wish to attain god-like abilities.
Scientology has been prosecuted in other countries as a criminal enterprise, particularly for its practice of charging greater and greater amounts to achieve higher levels of spirituality.
This is reportedly the first such space dedicated to “Super Power” training — a power described by founder L Ron Hubbard in the 1970s. He described it as the “superfantastic, but confidential series of rundowns that can be done on anyone whether Dianetic clear or not that puts the person into fantastic shape unleashing the super power of a thetan. . . This is the means that puts Scientologists into a new realm of ability enabling them to create the new world. It puts world clearing within reach in the future . . . It consists of 12 separate high-power rundowns which are brand-new and enter realms of the tech never before approached.”
Former Scientologists claim that the superpowers program is a fundraising scam and that the church delayed construction to milk members. At least that is the claim of former Scientologists Rocio and Luis Garcia of Irvine, California who contributed more than $340,000 to the construction of the Super Power building. They are now suing the church. I am not sure of the basis of a lawsuit for charitable contributions, but it does again raise the uncertain lines drawn between promises involved in the prosecutions discussed earlier and the practices of protected religious organizations. The promise of super powers on Earth is protected while these defendants are prosecuted for promises of bringing back loved ones or improving a person’s love life. While states require fortune tellers to warn that they are merely entertainers (though many insist they are not), a church can raise more for super powers without any disclaimer of any kind.
What is missing is a single coherent rule that applies to everyone engaging in supernatural or spiritual practices. When we are prosecuting people, that line should be easy to discern without . . . .well . . . super powers.
Source: Daily Mail