Mailed out May 18th, 2019
Eric M Thorson
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Inspector General Thorson:
The IRS guidelines for the retention of a Religious Tax Exemption state that the organization “must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation”.
The Scientology sub group CCHR is dedicated to the complete eradication of psychiatry and all mental health support. Part of they way they are attempting this is their supporting and lobbying for certain legislations that coincide with the Scientology agenda. From their website it states: “Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a nonprofit charitable mental health watchdog organization established by the Church of Scientology in 1969, is dedicated to eradicating psychiatric abuses and ensuring patient protections. CCHR has supported enactment of more than 160 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive psychiatric practices, requiring informed consent for psychiatric treatment, ending enforced drugging and electroshocking of children and mandating severe penalties for sexual abuse of patients by psychiatrists and psychologists.”
As recently as Saturday, May 11, 2019 Scientology supporters applaud the work of the CCHR on Twitter, saying “The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Sacramento worked with California officials to secure legislation against systemic drugging in the state’s foster child network.” The CCHR has non-profit status yet dedicates the majority of its time and resources to influence legislation in their favor. Part of the Scientology belief system is that all psychiatry is evil and must be avoided at all costs. One time Spokesperson for this sub-group, Scientologist John Alex Wood was adamant about the actual goal of the CCHR. It was not for the ending of abuse or coercive psychiatric practices, after all those are terms not defined except in light of Scientology doctrine. Rather, as Wood vehemently stated; “You claim CCHR has some sort of religious purpose. Wrong. CCHR’s overarching purpose is the total ANNIHILATION of psychiatry worldwide.” To this day Scientology and The CCHR attack legitimate psychiatric diagnoses and therapies, instead relying on unregulated, unlicensed practices that have not been approved by the FDA. Thus, by working to secure legislation that reflects the Scientology belief system, they are attempting to force both the government and society to bow to their beliefs. Given the current mental health crisis in this country, the eradication of psychiatry would be of utmost detriment to society.
In addition, Scientology’s lax views of the importance of vaccinations, is yet another way that this cult is attempting to force the government to adopt the so-called “religious” beliefs of Scientology.
To quote Jeffrey Augustine of The Scientology Money Project; “Having apparently learned nothing from the measles outbreak aboard its pocket cruise ship the MV Freewinds, Scientology has doubled down on its anti-vaxxer crusading. Using tax free dollars, Scientology sent its Washington DC lobbyist Greg Mitchell to an anti-vaccination rally held by the Hasidim Jewish community in the Brooklyn where a measles outbreak occurred as the haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews) do not believe in vaccinations.”
In not one, but two different instances Scientology is actively working to attempt to force their religious beliefs upon not only the government but ultimately upon society as a whole. Beliefs that have the potential for great public harm if allowed to take root. Not only would the destruction of the Mental Health Community leave literally millions with no recourse to needed treatment but the continued allowance of non participation of necessary vaccinations is already placing society at incredible risk.
The examination of the Free Exercise Clause has been before the Supreme Court enough for there to be Precedent concerning any religion attempting to impose its beliefs and/or practices upon those who also hold the Right not to believe in or adopt them. The Court has also spoken concerning using religion to attempt to force government to change laws or statutes, bringing them into compliance with the religions own tenets.
In the 1980s, over the course of seven pivotal cases “the Court also made clear that government cannot, in the guise of protecting religion, give religious practices an absolute preference over other individual and societal concerns; nor may it give particular religious groups special accommodations that may not be available to nonreligious groups in similar circumstances.”
“Moreover, Justice Scalia wrote for the majority, the free exercise clause never “relieve[s] an individual of the obligation to comply with a `valid and neutral law of general applicability.’”
…[T]he right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a “valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). To employ the compelling interest test for free exercise purposes, Justice Scalia said, would “court … anarchy,” permit every individual “to become a law unto himself,” and create “a private right to ignore generally applicable laws.”
—Employment Division v. Smith, supra n. 19, at 879, quoting United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252, 263 (1982) (Stevens, J., concurring in the judgment).
Further, not only is Scientology engaging is active lobbying against issues that are absolutely crucial to the health and safety of the citizens of this Country, it has publicly aligned with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam one of the most overtly anti-Semitic organizations today.
Sir, it is way past time for the U.S. Treasury and IRS to re-examine Scientology’s religious tax exemption. Every day that Scientology is permitted to brush off the laws that are enforced for everyone else is a day that looks like the Treasury and the IRS are showing favor to one group over others.
This too, has been addressed by the Supreme Court. Government may not show favoritism for any religion over the others.
“In the classic statement of the separationist understanding, Justice Black stated for the Court: The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.”
—Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. at 15-16
Please take this request seriously and begin the process of revoking this exemption.