Australia: Scientology responds

Church of Scientology response to Nick Xenophon

THE following is the full statement issued by the Church of Scientology in response to Nick Xenophon’s speech in the Senate on November 17, 2009.

This is an outrageous abuse of Parliamentary privilege from a Senator who would not even meet with Church representatives several months ago to discuss his concerns.

Senator Xenophon is obviously being pressured by disgruntled former members who use hate speech and distorted accounts of their experiences in the Church. They are about as reliable as former spouses are when talking about their ex-partner.

Senator Xenophon’s attempt to marginalise Scientologists by saying that they should not be believed, is fascistic and violates freedom of speech and the right to religious beliefs. It is former members or apostates that are notoriously unreliable as witnesses.

The late Bryan Wilson, Ph.D. of Oxford University, one of the most renowned sociologists of modern times, put it this way:

The disaffected and the apostate are in particular informants whose evidence has to be used with circumspection. The apostate is generally in need of selfjustification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates… Apostates, sensationalised by the press, have sometimes sought to make a profit from accounts of their experiences in stories sold to newspapers…”

As various instances have indicated, he is likely to be suggestible and ready to enlarge or embellish his grievances to satisfy that species of journalist whose interest is more in sensational copy than in an objective statement of the truth.

This is a propaganda campaign that would suit a totalitarian regime not Australia, a country that recognises freedom of religion.

Scientology has fought for and upheld religious freedom around the world and is accepted as a religion throughout the world. In a few countries, the Church has been forced to litigate the issue of its religiosity, either affirmatively or in response to outrageous unfounded charges. Inevitably, the Church has prevailed in these cases and its religious bona fides have been unequivocally recognised. Some of these decisions, including decisions by the Cassation Court in Italy and the 1983 decision by the High Court in Australia, are now considered by leading scholars and judicial authorities to have established the standards regarding religious recognition that all religions must meet.

The High Court of 1983 that decided the case that declared Scientology was a bona fide religion in Australia was one of the most venerated benches in the history of the High Court.  Moreover the decision was a unanimous decision of the full bench.

The decision has stood the test of time and has proven an authority on issues related to religions and tax status in Australia and throughout the Commonwealth.

The Church of Scientology internationally has grown from one Church in 1954 to more than 8000 Churches, Missions and groups in 165 countries today. The Church sponsors an international human rights education initiative as well as the world’s largest nongovernmental drug education program. Four new Churches have opened in 2009, most recently the Church of Scientology of Rome on October 24, with a new Church opening in Washington, DC, on October 31. In April, three new Churches were dedicated: in Malmo, Sweden; Dallas, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee. The Scientology religion has expanded more in the past year than in the past five years combined and more in the past five years than in the past five decades combined.

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