Honorable Elena Kagan
Associate Supreme Court Justice
The Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20543
Dear Justice Kagan,
I am writing to you today out of deep concern over recent legal proceedings concerning the Religious Cult of Scientology.
I understand that organizations who meet certain qualifications are entitled to be seen as religions with all the accompanying rights, protections and privileges. However there must certainly come a time where, when such an organization upon revealing by word and action that they are abusing and misusing those rights and privileges, our government must take action.
Our First Amendment and the Right of Free Exercise offers protection to all religions insofar as their beliefs are concerned. However the Free Exercise Clause does not allow for the freedom to engage in criminal activity.
Indeed the Honorable Justice Scalia wrote “The 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).’”
His Honor Scalia further stated, “To employ the compelling interest test for free exercise purposes would ‘court … anarchy,’ permit every individual ‘to become a law unto himself,’ and create ‘a private right to ignore generally applicable laws.’”
In two recent cases wherein Scientology is the defendant, they have successfully argued that their Enrollment contract signed by every potential new member allows the defendants to be forced into religious arbitration. A third case currently faces this same argument.
These cases are all criminal in nature and do not in any way concern religious belief or practice. In point of fact, the actions of any court permitting religious arbitration in these cases are tantamount to revictimizing of the plaintiffs not only by forcing them into secret, closed door arbitration where they are not permitted benefit of legal counsel but also by allowing Scientology to act as judge and jury in their own case. This is an outrageous abuse of Free Exercise and is tantamount to leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse.
These cases include rape and the molestation of children. It would appear that by allowing religious arbitration, the courts are agreeing that rather than crimes, these acts are protected by the First Amendment. Neither rape nor molestation are religious belief or practices as demonstrated by the prosecution of Warren Jeffs, self proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS.
Scientology’s entire argument lies in their Enrollment Agreement, however they themselves define what this agreement covers, “The term ‘Religious Services,’ as used in this Contract, means and refers to the beliefs and practices set forth in the writings and spoken words of LRH on the subjects of Dianetics and Scientology published with the identifying S and double triangle or Dianetics triangle symbol, and all services or application of the principles of Mr. Hubbard provided to me by the ministers or staff of the Church and all other Scientology churches and organizations, including without limitation: ‘auditing.’ which is Scientology’s unique form of religious counseling encompassing all services on the Scientology Classification. Gradation and Awareness Charts which includes, without limitation, all levels, rundowns. grades, assists, reviews, repairs, seminars. co-audits: all Scientology congregational services of any description: ‘training,’ which is the study of the scripture of the Scientology religion on the road to achieving spiritual freedom and salvation and includes without limitation all services identified on the Scientology Classification, Gradation and Awareness Chart, all courses, internships and cramming; the application of Scientology Ethics and Justice technology, which are both exclusively religious components of the practice of the Scientology religion; the study and the application of the principles contained in the administrative writings of LRH used within the Church; and any and all other services or use of the technology of L. Ron Hubbard. without limitation. provided to me by the ministers or staff of the Church and all other Scientology churches and organizations.”
Clearly this contract encompasses the beliefs and religious practices of Scientology and nowhere does it, nor should it, allow this religion to violate the fundamental human right to due process. Rape, human trafficking, kidnapping or molestation are in no reality acceptable religious practices under the Constitution of the United States.
That any reasonable court in this country permits defendants to adjudicate criminal activity against their accusers seems an egregious violation of not only the Laws of our country but also the Declaration of Human Rights as defined and embraced by the United Nations.
Although our Government cannot restrict one’s religious beliefs, it can limit the practice of faith when a substantial and compelling state interest exists. The courts have, in the past, found that a substantial and compelling State Interest exists when the religious practice poses a threat to the health, safety, or Welfare of the public.
The crimes that Scientology has been accused of and which they label religious practices by their insistence on religious arbitration most definitely pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public.
If our courts are to begin permitting religious defendants to arbitrate their own cases where civil law is concerned where will the line exist between human rights and religious belief? Further this allowance of a spurious contract, wherein no quid pro quo exists opens the door to anyone creating such a document absolving one of crime and responsibility. This is a categorically dangerous precedent to set.
Finally, one must also consider that our Government may show no preferential treatment towards any one religion. By freeing Scientology to arbitrate their own cases, while law enforcement and the courts hold every other religious entity accountable appears clearly preferential indeed. As Catholic Priests, Baptist Pastors and Jewish Rabbis are arrested and jailed for the rape and molestation of the minors in their care, Scientology protects, shields and defends their so called ministers with no interference by law enforcement.
I am asking from a point of greatest concern for the victims in these cases that you, our highest Court and best defense against the loss of our fundamental human rights to please take an interest in these cases and consider their effect upon human rights.
I respectfully thank you for your time.