Posts Tagged ‘freedom of expression’

SoCal TV station investigating Scientology protest

March 10, 2009

KESQ has started an investigative report into the protests at the Scientology compound in Riverside County.  The first part gives a flavor for the protests, the passion on both sides that spilled over into the threat of violence.  The second part was somewhat incoherent, starting off talking about “Anonymous” a leaderless coalition of Internet hackers supposedly creating havoc with the Scientology’s IT infrastructure.  Then the piece veers into a discussion of Scientology practices and beliefs which mainly sounds weird but didn’t we already know that?

Part three sounds more promising.  The clincher of part two is,

“As the war between Scientology and a group of protestors heats up, Riverside County Supervisors are taking a stance.  But are they making decisions, based on propaganda? We’ll uncover who’s getting paid off. Our special series continues Wednesday night at 11.”

I can hardly wait!

Part one

Part two

Scientology labor concerns

January 11, 2009

Yesterday I posted about a complaint against a Scientology entity alleging the church was violating labor laws.  I surmised that the real issue went deeper, that the church was being accused of mind-controlling and exploiting their labor force. My observation prompted a comment from Dave O’Malley and I quote the salient section here:

Currently, the cult has about 2000 voluntary slave-workers in what is called the Sea Org. About 200 of them voluntarily live in punishment camps called the RPF, located in England, Australia and the US. They do 8 hours of hard physical labor a day, plus 5 hours of ‘religious’ training (aka brainwashing, made to believe they are psychotic and have to come clean of their crimes). They are not allowed to talk to others and have to run everywhere.

Now I read that the County of Riverside voted unanimously on an ordinance that restricts protests to beyond fifty feet from the private property that is the subject of the protest.  And that they allowed only one hearing on the matter. Now there have been death and bomb threats against Golden Era Productions so there are legitimate public safety concerns. Is such an ordinance the appropriate response? What about more police surveillance? The article mentions that, “the campus … (is) home to 500 (Scientology) church employees.” This raises the red flag of the lawsuit that claimed workers aren’t paid minimum wages, are forced to work under coercive conditions.  Home, church and work all in one location.  Claims that the church is exploiting employees. This seems like something that bears scrutiny.

I have a couple of questions:

First, why haven’t more ex-Scientologists or families of Scientologists filed more lawsuits against the church for its allegedly coercive employment practices? 

Second, have public officials such as the County of Riverside District Attorney, used a grand jury to investigate these claims of Scientology church critics?

Los Angeles Times article of Riverside county ordinance