The federal government is accusing a Miami business of having forced employees to practice Scientology.
Dynamic Medical Services, which provides medical and chiropractic treatment, is accused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of having compelled at least four of its employees to participate in Scientology religious practices, and of having fired two for their refusal.
The company, in a statement faxed to ABC News, says it prides itself on the diversity of its staff and that it denies that it engaged in any improper or unlawful actions with regard to its employees. It intends, it says, to vigorously defend itself against the government’s “baseless allegations” and expects to be vindicated.
The Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, filed May 8, Dynamic Medical, owned by Dr. Dennis Nobbe, violated federal law by requiring employees named in the suit to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved “Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.”
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are working on a musical about Scientology.
The ‘South Park’ and ‘Book of Mormon’ creators are planning to lampoon the controversial religion on the stage and its star follower Tom Cruise is horrified at the idea.
A source said: ”It’s still being written but Tom is concerned he’ll be the butt of the jokes.
”Tom caught wind of their plans and wasn’t happy but then realised there isn’t much he can do to stop it.”
More: Matt Stone
A group of Phoenix charter schools is facing criticism for using a teaching tool based on the work of L. Ron Hubbard, best known for founding the Church of Scientology.
Teacher Katie Donahoe says that shortly after she was hired in 2010, she went to a memorable training session on the teaching method, called Applied Scholastics. The session was held at the Applied Scholastics headquarters near St. Louis.
“They didn’t start off talking about instruction. They started off talking about L. Ron Hubbard,” says Donoho, who was there at the urging of her new superintendent. Later that fall she would start teaching English at Robert L. Duffy High School in Phoenix. But first, she was asked to get familiar with Hubbard’s methods.
“The next stop was to watch a video talking about how great Applied Scholastics was,” Donahoe says. Among those in the video were Isaac Hayes, Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
Already facing a wrongful death and civil conspiracy lawsuit in the 2008 overdose of a patient and battling revocation of its license by state regulators, Narconon of Georgia is now being investigated because of allegations of insurance fraud.
In a joint investigative enterprise with Channel 2 Action news and the AJC, News-Talk WSB has uncovered allegations that the Scientology-based drug and alcohol rehab program headquartered in Norcross is accused of trying to bill United Health Care $166,000 for treating 19-year old Emily Morton of Rome, Ga.
Emily’s mother, Mary, wrote a $15,000 check - payment up front and in full - to enroll her daughter in the Narconon program in March, 2012. Her family also signed an agreement with Narconon that stated the complete cost of treatment was $15,000 .
Yes, advertising and journalism have long been strange bedfellows. Yes, print outlets publishing long-form ads which appear to be ordinary stories is nothing new either. However, this strikes me as a new low: an advertisement painstakingly designed to mimic content on The Atlantic’s site.
From the tweet counter at the top, to the ads designed to appear to be related pro-Scientology stories on the sidebar, to the comments section at the bottom (thoughtfully stocked with praise for Scientology), this page has absolutely been created to fool anyone who misses the relatively small box revealing this as “sponsor content” that this is a piece created by the staff of The Atlantic.
Again, I have seen all kinds of magazines publish all kinds of advertising. However, this is the very first time an ad has made me feel like I need to take a hot shower…and seriously reconsider my subscription. Am I overreacting?
UPDATE! The ad has now been “suspended pending a review”, so here is a screen capture so you can get some idea of what the fuss was about:
And a link to Gawker’s take on this which features a screen grab of the thing in full:
ANOTHER UPDATE! Either I wasn’t overreacting or I wasn’t the only one doing so. The Atlantic has apologized:
We screwed up. Our statement on the Scientology advertisement that appeared on our website: theatln.tc/W8Igi0
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) January 15, 2013
How would a prayer at city council meetings in California hold up if the invocation mentioned Tom Cruise or Scientology, a 9th Circuit judge asked.
“What if someone has an objection, not to Jesus Christ, but to Abraham or Mohammed or Martin Luther, Confucius, Buddha?” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain asked. “I mean we can make a long list, Tom Cruise and Scientology. Where do we draw the line?”
The judge put the amusing hypothetical to a lawyer fighting the recitation of prayers referencing Jesus at the start of every city council meetings in Lancaster, Calif.
Shelly Rubin and Maureen Feller filed suit over the practice in 2010, but a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled last year that the prayer survived the test laid out by the Supreme Court in 1983.
Claims about a prayer that makes a single reference to Jesus would require the court to analyze the content of the prayer, but that is barred under Marsh v. Chambers, according to the court.
“Because plaintiffs do not even claim the April 27 invocation was ‘exploited to proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other, faith or belief,’ this court cannot properly perform such an analysis,” U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer wrote.
Rubin and Feller’s attorney, Roger Diamond of Santa Monica, fine-tuned the claim last week before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit.
Saying that a pre-meeting invocation is fine, generally, the plaintiffs say that Lancaster violated the establishment clause by more commonly choosing Christian prayers over those of other denominations.
“In a period of about a year, and the council meets every two weeks, 20 prayers were given in the name of Jesus Christ,” Diamond said. “If it were an isolated situation then we might have a different case.”
He added that the appeal does not challenge an isolated event, but rather a city practice that led to repeated references to Jesus Christ.
ON A COOL, clear evening in mid-September, the Church of Scientology held a grand opening for its new national affairs office in Washington, D.C. Located in a handsome, 122-year-old mansion in Dupont Circle—a genteel neighborhood populated with embassies and well-appointed homes—the office had been established to lobby on various Scientology pet causes, such as religious freedom, prisoner rehabilitation, and the evils of psychiatric drugs. Three members of Congress showed up to deliver words of welcome, as did a FEMA official, who praised the Church’s volunteer efforts after national disasters like September 11. Finally, Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, addressed the several hundred people in the crowd. Miscavige is 52 but looks at least a decade younger. Dressed in an expertly tailored suit, his slicked hair parted to one side, he spoke excitedly of Scientology’s goal to have a presence in every city in America.
The message of the event couldn’t have been clearer: The Church of Scientology was directing the full force of its persuasive powers at the Washington establishment. But who the Church courts and who the Church converts is a very different matter. And when Mike Rinder, Scientology’s former chief spokesman, visited the Washington church last year, he noticed something strange. “Half the damn people there were Nation of Islam,” he told me. “[It’s] the weirdest, weirdest thing.”
“The bottom line is that the guys who are Ron Paul supporters are free-thinkers,” said Doerges. “They’re more literate. They’re able to actually look at data, and make decisions about it. That’s sort of the keynote of Scientology — it literally means ‘the study of knowledge.’ The think on it, as we decided to do the both, was: Look, you’ve already got guys here who actually know that the mainstream media is full of crap. They actually know that there’s more out there than what you’re being fed. Let’s get in front of some of those people, get in front of some of the false data they have on the subject, get them interested in something that actually helps able people become more able.”
Doerges said that a fellow believer had turned him onto Paul. “From being a Scientologist, and knowing Scientologists, a lot of Scientologists support Ron Paul,” he said. “A lot of them look at it and go: Look, the bottom line is the system we are in right now in supressive. It actually rewards non-production and punishes production. And so you have an economic crisis — like, go figure! If you reward non-production, you’re going to get non-production. Scientologists realize that. They tend to be independent thinkers.”
Doerges’s companion interjected: We were hearing one man’s personal beliefs, not any statement from the church. As Doerges described how he got turned onto Paul, though, he kept mentioning libertarian stances that would be good for new-ish religions that want as much protection as possible.
Last month, we noted that Lisa Marie Presley’s single “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” which she released ahead of her new album, Storm and Grace, came with lyrics that read like a kiss-off to the Church of Scientology, even using some of Scientology’s jargon — like the very telling word suppressive. (For several years there have been rumors that Presley was disillusioned with the church.)
This week, the rest of the album comes out, and we got our hands on the lyrics to the rest of the tracks. After you read the words to the song “So Long” we have a feeling you’ll agree with us that there’s no longer any doubt how Presley, 44, feels about Scientology.
A good followup to the article I posted earlier in the week about this.
After interviewing Vi Simpson, the Indiana State Senate Minority Leader, I’m wondering why the hell I haven’t already seen this woman on national television or in the mainstream press.
I hope you see what I mean after you hear what she had to say about the way she crippled the latest Creationism-in-the-schools bill with a brilliant stratagem: by convincing the radical Republicans in the Indiana State Senate that if they want to teach Christianity in the schools, they’re also going to have to teach Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Scientology.
The Democrat, who represents a district centered on Bloomington, says she was just trying to come up with a way to deal with a religious crusade at the state capitol.
“We have elected a lot of folks, particularly in 2010, who have fundamentalist Christian backgrounds and what I consider a radical agenda of imposing their beliefs on others,” she says.
The latest onslaught was a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Dennis Kruse, just the latest of attempts around the country to get equal time for Creationism in science classrooms. (Such laws are routinely ruled unconstitutional, but that never seems to hinder young-Earth activists. I have also put in a call with Senator Kruse.)
“The bill was originally talking about ‘Creationist Science,’ and I thought that was a bit of an oxymoron,” Simpson says. “I wanted to draft an amendment that would do two things. First, it would remove it from the science realm. And second, school boards and the state of Indiana should not be in the business of promoting one religion over another.”
Simpson says that she had learned about world religions in school, and considered it a valuable experience. “But I think of it as literature or philosophy,” she says. “I wanted to clarify that if they wanted to teach Christianity, they should teach other religions as well.”
When the bill was on its second reading in the Senate, at a time when anyone can propose an amendment, Simpson offered this wording…
The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.
I asked her why, of all things, she included Scientology.
“I wish it was something more dramatic, but what I did was I asked some of our staff people to do a little research and to come up with the major religions that might have differing ideas about the origin of life. And Scientology was on that list they came up with, and so it got added to the amendment.”