James Kirchick’s recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?”
Kirchick incisively cuts right to the bone:
Today, America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world, the result not of impartial jurisprudence but of harassment. Four years ago, France’s highest court upheld a fraud conviction against the church, ruling that, “Far from being a violation of freedom of religion, as this American organization contends, this decision lifts the veil on the illegal and highly detrimental practices.”
Kirchick is quite correct in taking the matter of Scientology directly to the matter of criminality. Since it’s inception in 1954, the Church of Scientology has at all times operated as a criminal organization. A straightforward historical reading of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s machinations, plans, and designs will bear this out. Fair Game. The Guardian’s Office. Conspiracy. Domestic espionage. Tax evasion. Infiltration. Theft. Spying. Blackmail. Coercion. Money laundering. OSA. Phony front groups. Private investigators. Forced interrogations. Beatings. Agents provocateurs. Hacking computers. It’s all there. Scientology is a classic criminal organization.
The FBI raid of July 8, 1977 on Scientology was massive; over 150 agents participated. The raid was the direct result of L. Ron Hubbard’s Program Snow White. A demonstration of Scientology’s criminality writ large, Program Snow White brought Mary Sue Hubbard to ruination:
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided Scientology Orgs numerous times. From the Moscow Times of June 7, 2017:
The headquarters of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg has been raided by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on June 6 according to the MediaZona news site. The security services accused the Church of extremism, inciting hatred, and operating an illegal business.
On October 22, 2017 — a scant three weeks ago — The Daily Mail reported on the massive raid of Scientology made by Hungarian police:
Hungarian police carried out a search at a Church of Scientology centre in Budapest amid a probe into suspected misuse of personal information and ‘other crimes’.
More than 50 officers surrounded the church’s Budapest headquarters on one of the Hungarian capital’s busiest roads early on Wednesday.
Detectives from the National Investigation Bureau have listed the target as ‘unknown persons’ – a common designation when a specific suspect has not been identified.
In terms of comparison, 156 FBI agents participated in the raid of Scientology’s Los Angeles complex, such was the sheer volume of documents Scientology had stolen from the US government. For Hungary to send in more than 50 police officers to raid Scientology offices there indicates the seriousness and scope of the criminal investigation.
Cover Ups of Rapes and Child Sexual Abuse
The criminality of Scientology extends to the cover ups of rape and child sexual abuse. At this writing, Scientologist Danny Masterson is alleged to have committed four rapes that were covered up by the Church.
The Los Angeles Police Department & The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office
Scientology’s hideous reputation has tainted the Los Angeles Police Department as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. People are asking why the case against Danny Masterson is not moving forward despite “overwhelming evidence” as reported by the Huffington Post. Netflix has even come in for criticism as it has not stopped production of its series The Ranch in which Masterson stars. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:
A woman who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape — an allegation he has denied — has gone on the record to criticize Netflix for continuing with his show “The Ranch” even as it has severed ties with Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. after allegations of sexual misconduct.
“For me, what Netflix has done feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything,” Chrissie Carnell Bixler told the Daily Beast. “I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter.”
Leah Remini’s Emmy award winning A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath has given courage to many of Scientology’s victims who were in the shadows. Terrified of incurring Scientology’s vengeance for speaking out, these people are no longer afraid. Even as the mask is being ripped off the sexual abuse and culture of cover-ups in Hollywood and Washington D.C., the same is happening to Scientology. The predators are being named and called out.
Revoke Scientology’s Tax Exemption Now
The Church of Scientology is able to ply its evil trade only because its ill-gotten 1993 IRS tax exemption. According to Doug Frantz’s seminal 1997 article in the New York Times
Scientology’s Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt it appears that then IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg unfairly rigged the examination in favor of Scientology. As Frantz noted in his article:
Scientology entities were required to submit new applications for exemption, which were to be evaluated by the agency’s exempt organizations division. But something unusual occurred there, too.
Mr. Schoenfeld, the negotiations chairman, ordered the two tax analysts assigned to the review not to consider any substantive matters, according to I.R.S. memorandums and records in the Tax Analysts case. Those issues, Mr. Schoenfeld informed them, had been resolved…
Both analysts, Donna Moore and Terrell M. Berkovsky, wrote memorandums specifying that they had been instructed not to address issues like whether the church was engaged in too much commercial activity or whether its activities provided undue private benefit to its leaders.
IRS tax analysts were forbidden from considering substantive matters. Why did Commissioner Goldberg give such an order? This seems to be a serious violation of IRS rules. Did Commissioner Goldberg violate the US Constitution he was sworn to uphold?
As the 9th Circuit Court noted in Sklar v. Commissioner, the IRS expressed an unconstitutional denominational preference for Scientology by granting it tax exemption:
The Supreme Court has developed a framework for determining whether a statute grants an unconstitutional denominational preference. Under that test, articulated in Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 246-47, 102 S.Ct. 1673, 72 L.Ed.2d 33 (1982), the first inquiry is whether or not the law facially discriminates amongst religions. The second inquiry, should it be found that the law does so discriminate, is whether or not, applying strict scrutiny, that discrimination is justified by a compelling governmental interest. Applying this test to the policy of the IRS towards the Church of Scientology, the initial inquiry must be whether the policy facially discriminates amongst religions. Clearly it does, as this tax deduction is available only to members of the Church of Scientology…
Because the facial preference for the Church of Scientology embodied in the IRS’s policy regarding its members cannot be justified by a compelling governmental interest, we would, if required to decide the case on the ground urged by the Sklars, first determine that the IRS policy constitutes an unconstitutional denominational preference under Larson, 456 U.S. at 230, 102 S.Ct. 1673.
It is time for acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to jointly call for an investigation into Scientology’s tax exemption. Scientology engaged in fraud and misrepresented material facts to the IRS to gain its tax exemption. The 9th Circuit opined in Sklar that the IRS granting Scientology tax exemption constituted an unconstitutional denominational preference.
Since gaining tax exemption Scientology has continued to engage in violations of public policy, bad faith, lies, and psycho-terrorism all funded by tax exempt dollars. This is an outrage. The illegality doctrine clearly applies in the case of the Church of Scientology:
Categories: The Scientology Money Project