Blind Activism Causes More Harm Than Good

In 2019 the Reverend L’Heureux wrote a letter to Disney CEO Robert Iger defending Scientology and alleging discrimination against the A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

We contacted him to better understand his concerns only to discover that L’Heureux claimed to have very little understanding about Scientology or it’s beliefs, nor had he watched more than a few of the shows. His only focus was/is that Scientology is termed a “religion” and therefore its First Amendment rights must be protected at all costs.

More recently in the midst of what we are calling Lettergate 2023, (to distinguish from Lettergate 2019) Dr. James A. Santucci from California State University willingly added his name to another defense of Scientology correspondence again citing claims of religious discrimination.

When contacted Dr. Santucci stated, “My concern is limited to procedure and opinion regarding the First Amendment…My main concern is the court’s overstepping of its bounds regarding religious matters, in this case interpretation of doctrine.”

As with L’Heureux, Santucci had no knowledge as to the facts of the trial and never bothered to check the twisted version that was the impetus for the letter, he just jumped on the “religious rights” bandwagon and ran with it.

First Amendment protections are inalienable and part of what makes up the precious freedoms in this country. However the line between religious and secular has been blurred beyond recognition and with that loss a confusion has arisen concerning what is protected doctrine and what is criminal.

Neither L’Heureux nor Santucci seem to understand that while a religion’s spiritual beliefs, doctrine and rituals may be protected rights, these rights cannot cross the line into violating governmental authority.

Separation between Church and State goes both ways.

Zealous activists like L’Heureux, whether to pad their resumes with impressive works or to garner public approbation, blindly defend anything calling itself a religion as though the assertion grants blanket immunity. Something clearly refuted when one considers Warren Jeffs or Thomas McCarrick.

Why didn’t these freedom fighters weigh in on Jeff’s trial? As Prophet of the FLDS his religious belief in underage marriage should, by L’Heureux’s logic, have been untouchable by any secular court.

In 2022, a polygamous sect called The Kingston Group found itself at the center of a lawsuit by 10 former members “after they say it subjected them to years of unpaid labor, sexual violence and human trafficking.” (Sound familiar?)

Where was L’Heureux?

Where was the International Multi-Faith Coalition?

Dr. Santucci stated that he was “…concerned that the expert witness is a former member of Scientology. This invites a prejudiced view of the religion or the suspicion thereof.” Where was Santucci’s objection to the 10 Kingston Group apostates?

Religious activism is all well and good until those working to defend it become so enamored of their good deeds they begin ignoring the very real rights of the individuals caught up in these organizations. In defending every group claiming to be a “religion” those like Santucci and L’Heureux ignore the fact that crimes are being committed and people are being traumatized.

Justice Scalia once 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”

Additionally Scalia noted that 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.” -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).

Scientology considers anyone leaving the organization to be guilty of a “high crime” and a Suppressive Act.

A church that holds one will not go to Heaven if one defects is a protected religious belief. It deals with the afterlife.

Threatening someone with loss of family, career, friends and being subjected to the fair game policy of “destroy by any means necessary” if they choose to leave is a completely different matter.

What is the alternative to committing this high crime with all of its resulting punishments? Especially in light of the fact that Scientology has been known in some circumstances to employ the Blow Drill, hunt down the escapee and physically return them?

Thus, in essence, COS is itself violating the First Amendment in that choosing to be, or not to be, a member of any particular religion is, in fact an inalienable, Constitutional Right. Not to mention that unlawful detainment and kidnapping are not protected religious rights in spite of what Reverend L’Heureux may insist.

Dr. Santucci, Reverend L’Heureux and other perhaps well meaning defenders of the First Amendment protections are one of the reasons cults like Scientology are able to flourish in the United States. Their blind, unstinting activism has no care for the members, only the protection of entities that are proving more and more to be fertile grounds for abuse, fraud, human trafficking and worse.

While it is absolute that religious belief must be protected, religious practices arising from such beliefs should only be protected as long as they do not violate the law and the equally protected rights of its members as well as its former members.

As it is, the current debacle that both L’Heureux and Santucci find themselves embroiled in is a strong argument for educating oneself before choosing an organization to vociferously protect.

Tunnel vision and pride hindered their cause, precluding them from seeking either truth or balance where the I.M.F.C’s complaint about Judge Olmedo is concerned. Willingly they added their names to this twisted version of events without a care for either Olmedo or the victims seeking justice in her courtroom.

No religion has the inalienable right to engage in practices that are against the law. Pretending that the First Amendment is carte blanche permission to do what thou wilt at the expense of the People is not doing society a service.

Allowing groups like Scientology protection to break the law unchecked opens the door to such entities becoming laws unto themselves. Something L. Ron Hubbard wanted from the beginning:

“Somebody some day will say ‘this is illegal.’ By then be sure the orgs say what is legal or not.”– L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 4 January 1966, LRH Relationship to Orgs

What dangerous precedent are people like Dr. Santucci and Reverend L’Heureux advocating for?

4 thoughts on “Blind Activism Causes More Harm Than Good

  1. Beautifully stated.
    I commend your consistently respectful, generous acknowledgement of these folks-really. I am considerably more crude and colloquial in my assessment of them: I think they are cult apologists who can’t be arsed to do just a wee bit of digging into the heinous history of this so-called church.
    I challenge any of them to actually READ Hubbard’s ironically titled book INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTOLOGY ETHICS and then insist that it is a “religion” worth defending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be completely honest and forthcoming, my initial reaction was much closer to your succinct assessment. My second was that when one’s concern is limited to procedure and opinion, forgetting the people, then perhaps it is time to rethink one’s priorities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dr. Santucci stated that he was “…concerned that the expert witness is a former member of Scientology. This invites a prejudiced view of the religion or the suspicion thereof.”

    This is utter nonsense. First off, no current member of scientology is permitted to testify about it unless they are cleared by the organization to do so. Could a person hand-picked by the cult hold anything but “a prejudiced view?” As the first trial demonstrated, hubbarf’s concept of “acceptable truth” is no idle rumination but “doctrinally” mandated. fabos perjured himself repeatedly and enthusiastically. Official statements given by the cult to press and courts have time after time been filled with demonstrable lies as well.

    Santucci also fails to understand the nature of testimony in a criminal trial. Current or former (even disgruntled) members are not just heard and taken at face value. It’s the job of the jury to weigh their testimony for prejudice. I would venture that some form of prejudice is the norm not the exception with witnesses, irrespective of which side is calling them to support their narrative.

    This applies even more so to “expert” witnesses. In a typical trial, both sides will present experts. And wouldn’t you know it: These experts–unlike Claire usually highly paid–consider an exactly identical set of facts only to predictably arrive at diametrically opposed conclusions (not unlike the respective parties’ lawyers). Nothing stopped the Defense from presenting their own “expert” to present their own version of scientology “ethics” and make sure that that expert would be a faithful representative of hubbarf’s “doctrines.” Apparently, they felt that it wouldn’t help the defendant to do so. I have a pretty good idea as to the why.

    Of course, the whole idea that hubbarf’s “teachings” and “orders” should not be treated as the emissions of a madman but enshrined as “religious doctrine” and therefore, be taboo from “secular” interpretation is preposterous to begin with. But that could be a conversation for another day and should include the learned “theologians” of the IRS.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Somebody some day will say ‘this is illegal.’ By then be sure the orgs say what is legal or not.”

    NOT the least bit of separation of church (or “church”) and state in this statement. How hypocritical of the cult to ask to be given a freedom that it is absolutely unwilling and incapable to grant us wogs. No wonder that governments such as Germany’s consider this cult as subversive to their Constitution.

    Liked by 1 person

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