Clearwater Sun Editorial
Sept 26, 1984
It's hardly surprising that the Unit. ed States Tax Court has found the California Church of Scientology is not a religion.
The court says the organization was "operated for the private bene- fit" of its founder, science fiction writer l.. Ron Hubbard, his family and Operation Transport Corp. Ltd., "a noncharitable corporation con- trolled by key Scientology officials."
And the court refused to classify the sect's teachings as religious. Naturally, Scientology officials plan to appeal. Their "religion" be- lieves in litigation on the flimsiest of pretexts.
The so-called church presents a pseudo-psychological doctrine that promises heightened spiritual aware- ness through a procedure closer to Freudian analysis than to any legiti- mate religious ritual.
In the words of one of its own policy manuals, the sect's main pur- pose is to "make money."
And that it certainly has done! The tax court said the California operation netted more than $2.4 million in 1970 through 1972.
And the profits went into Hub- bard's'Swiss bank accounts.
You can bet the situation is the same in Clearwater as it was in California.
Yet the Scientologists insist on fighting legitimate tax claims by Pinellas County Property Appraiser Ron Schultz.
And the sect's international presi- dent, Heber Jentzsch, has the nerve to accuse the Internal Revenue Serv- ice of using Gestapo methods to suppress religious freedom.
What Jentzsch and his buddies fail to realize is that calling yourself a church doesn't make you one.
Scientology does not preach the existence of a Supreme Being or advance any type of theology. It accepts believers and non-believers of every denominational stripe in its exorbitantly priced self-improvement classes.
And it ruthlessly exploits the labor and finances of its followers to en- rich the members of an elite clique.
Sect bosses have been convicted of such decidedly unreligious behav- ior as conspiring to block a federal investigation and burglarizing IRS of- fices.
They must think the constitutional provision protecting religious free- dom is a license to flout the coun- try's laws.
By now, most Americans must be aware that Scientology is not a church but a commercial network preying on the weak-minded.
Eventually, in its laborious way, the judicial system will confirm that awareness.