Source: International Scientology News Issue 21 (2002)
VICTORIES AGAINST SUPPRESSION – PLANETWIDE
As we celebrate the victories of the TAS,” said Mr. Mike Rinder. our impact and influence continue to grow, and we are reasserting the
civilizing influence of religion in society. We follow the OT formula of cause: when confronted with suppression, we extend our reach and responsibility. Armed with LRH tech and backed by IAS support, we are eradicating suppressive influences and injecting the tech on many fronts.’1
RELIGION OF ALL RELIGIONS
“The best example of our continuing influence,” he continued, “is in the field of religion. And I don’t mean just ours. Rather, I am speaking of Scientology’s responsibility on the fourth dynamic as the ‘religion of all religions.'”
He pointed out that with certain world religions in crisis, we must take responsibility to get them on the rails for the good of the whole civilization.
“In May of this year,” Mr. Rinder said, “we took the first decisive step, bringing together representatives of the world’s major faiths at Saint Hill to define for them how churches can reclaim their moral leadership and why they must do so.”
Two dozen different religious traditions were represented, from across Europe, America, and as far away as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Mr. Rinder told the story of how, over three days, we got them in communication and educated them on LRH solutions — so much so that at conference end, they all adopted a conference statement to take back to their churches and governments — based on LRH tech.
Further, illustrating the essence of the conference is this: a Pentecostal minister was overhead disseminating Dianetics … to a Muslim!
RESTORING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HOLLAND
“Our work in restoring religious freedom for our churches extends across Europe,” Mr. Rinder said. Illustrating this point, he described a recent win in the Netherlands.
While Dutch law allows for tax deductions for donations to churches, the government disallowed these to members of some faiths, clearly a violation of human rights. As he explained, we filed suit to force the government’s hand. “And what was our evidence? The evidence that a three-judge panel reviewed? Our books, our materials — our beliefs and practices.
“And on January 25th, the court handed down a unanimous decision, granting full rights of tax exemption for donations to the Church and a total victory for Scientology in Holland!”
But this victory was far more encompassing because, as Mr. Rinder explained, the Netherlands ‘is part of the European Union and the decision therefore influences all the member nations.
THE FRENCH DISCONNECTION
“Some need to be positively influenced on religious freedom issues more than others,” Mr. Rinder said, “which brings us to our biggest focus of attention in Europe — France.”
He noted that in France, if you aren’t Catholic, you’re a heretic: the country is notorious for religious intolerance.
Mr. Rinder described a catalog of actions we’ve taken to put pressure on the French government to change their ways, including a publication hatting French citizens on their human rights, complaints to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Council of Europe, briefings to the US government, and much more.
But, as he reminded the audience, those who attack religion have crimes. And so it is that, upon looking for corruption in the French government, we find the head of an “anti-sect”
group in the office of the Prime Minister, one Alain Vivien.
First, an IAS-funded publication exposed Vivien, starting intense media interest across France. Then documents were uncovered showing that the country’s two most active anti-religious hate groups — both supposedly “private” groups — survived on millions of francs in government subsidies. The president of one of these groups happens to be Vivien’s wife. And between she and Vivien, they received over 10 million francs in government funds — which he spent on things like all expense paid trips to Haiti, Cypress and Greece, and an armor-plated limousine.
But, Mr. Rinder continued, there was something more ugly — a large chunk of this money goes to finance legal assaults against minority religions. In other words, the government front groups file cases pretending to be private “citizens groups.”
It’s a big sham, for SP’s in the government use taxpayers’ money to destroy freedoms, while pretending to be “neutral.”
However, this didn’t stay hidden, for all of it was exposed in a steady stream of French editions of Freedom magazine.
“And what are the results of all our exposés and the pressure we have brought to bear?” said Mr. Rinder. “Well, SPs are good at dishing it out, but they are, at heart, cowards. When the spotlight is turned in their direction, they run for cover.
“So here’s the final update. That most prominent of French SPs, Alain Vivien, just held a press conference. But this one was different than his previous rantings. It was summed up in two words: ‘I resign.’
“And to that we say, ‘Bon Voyage!'”
OPPRESSIVE MOSCOW LAW OVERTURNED — PAVING THE WAY FOR UNLIMITED EXPANSION
The biggest victory of all was then announced — and it had to do with Scientology in Moscow. While this is the fastest expanding area on the planet, there was still one major barrier to overcome in order to achieve unlimited growth: an oppressive law which established special requirements for the registration of churches.
This law, as Mr. Rinder noted, was pushed through by the Russian Orthodox Church, and was rigged so that “virtually no religion, except the Russian Orthodox Church, could meet its
requirements. Because, the only churches that qualified were ones who had ‘registered’ during the communist reign. Of course during that time, no religions were allowed to enter the country!
“Worse still,” he continued, “the penalties for any church that had not registered during that communist reign was liquidation.'”
He spoke of how the Moscow Mission filed an application for registration after that law took effect — and tried eight times, each time being turned down.
So, we sued the government and won. The government failed to appeal on time; however, since this is Russia, the government obtained permission to appeal anyway. The red tape continued, and “in October of 2001, we faced the prospect of liquidation for having ‘failed’ to register,” said Mr. Rinder.
“Of course,” he continued, “we were not alone. According to the Russian Federal Ministry of Justice, as of last October, more than two thousand religious organizations had similarly
‘failed’ to register.
“Some went into apathy.
“We went into battle —on behalf of all of them.”
He detailed how we briefed the US Congress, the State Department and Council of Europe — and how we brought 40 other religious leaders on board, then together “urged US President Bush to take the matter up directly — with Russian President Putin.
“All of it resulted in a flood of international pressure against Russia’s 1997 religion law.”
The pressure kept building, and it resulted in a landmark decision from the Constitutional Court.
“On April 30, the Moscow court handed down its decision and we set a new precedent.
“The court declared the government’s suppressive order against the Moscow Mission totally illegal, canceled the threat of liquidation and opened this country for unlimited expansion!”