Sun, 3 May 1998
SCIENTOLOGY FUNDING A SURPRISE TO MANY `DRUG FREE MARSHALS'
As beaming young girls pinned on sheriff's badges that branded them the new ``Drug Free Marshals'' in town, the mayors of Mountain View, Palo Alto and Santa Clara recently pledged to help fight drug addiction among kids.
Pretty standard fare, as official duties go -- except that the Church of Scientology sponsors the national anti-drug program.
Scientologists promote the Drug Free Marshals program solely as a community service, but critics say it is one of several techniques the church uses to recruit new members and legitimize an organization considered by some to be a cult. The controversial church, which claims 8 million members worldwide, was founded in 1954 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
Although the public officials said they supported the program's anti-drug message, some admitted they didn't fully grasp Scientology's involvement until after they'd agreed to participate.
Palo Alto Mayor Dick Rosenbaum, for one, felt ambushed. He said he received information about Drug Free Marshals that listed Scientology's affiliation, but did not immediately connect it with the four young girls who visited him during his office hours. The students came from the Delphi Academy in Santa Clara, which was described by Robyn Freeman, a spokeswoman for the church in Mountain View, as a secular school that uses ``study technologies'' developed by Hubbard.
``Four cute little girls came and wanted me to be a `Drug Free Marshal' so I said, `Sure.' . . . It's hard not to be against drugs,'' Rosenbaum said. ``I surely do not endorse Scientology and I wouldn't have done it if I thought it would be used for publicity purposes.''
Lawrence Wollersheim, director of Fact Net, an anti-cult group in Boulder, Colo., said the church, in its internal communications to members, has used politicians' affiliation with Drug Free Marshals and other Scientology programs as a tacit endorsement of the church itself.
``What (Scientologists) have done is set up a highly manipulative situation using little children,'' Wollersheim said. ``It's political suicide not to do it . . . and they have not disclosed who the driving force is.''
Freeman dismissed such criticisms as ``ridiculous'' and said the church has been very ``up-front'' about its sponsorship of Drug Free Marshals.
``If any of these mayors have a problem, obviously I don't want to use their name. I don't want the real message to get buried in controversy,'' Freeman said. ``The reason why we're doing this program is because we care about kids and we want to do something about the drug problem in our society. That we would go about recruiting 8- to 12-year olds into Scientology is unbelievable. It's a very secular program. . . . The religion isn't promoted at all.''
``We made sure everybody knew this program was sponsored by the Church of Scientology,'' added Mark Warlick, one of the program's organizers. Warlick said he was concerned that the officials may not have looked at the information he provided them that listed the Scientology connection.
Freeman said she sent out press releases and photographs of the officials touting their involvement in Drug Free Marshals to several Bay Area newspapers because, ``oftentimes, the media slant on Scientology isn't very kind. What tends to happen is that the good things the church does are overlooked. The other side of the story really needs to be made known.''The Church of Scientology holds that man is ``an immortal spiritual being'' and espouses a ``civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war,'' according to church-sponsored Web sites. Members achieve spiritual growth through ``auditing'' sessions with an ``electropsychometer,'' or E-meter, developed by Hubbard.
The organization frequently has been investigated by U.S. authorities, and it has been criticized for using lawsuits and threats to intimidate its opponents. In the early 1980s, 11 of the church's top officials were sent to prison for infiltrating and burglarizing numerous government and private agencies.
Freeman estimates that up to 200 children in the South Bay and Peninsula, including Delphi Academy students and a Boy Scout troop, have been ``sworn in'' as Drug Free Marshals.
Since it began in 1993, the program has spread to about 35 cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta, and has signed up more than 20,000 children, according to Luis Gonzales, the program's national spokesman.
Drug Free Marshals is one of a number of anti-drug programs sponsored by Scientologists that also include Narcanon, Lead the Way to a Drug Free USA, and Boston Rocks Against Drugs.
Scientologists have solicited and received endorsements for Drug Free Marshals from the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, local lawmakers, city officials, police chiefs and former Clinton anti-drug czar Lee Brown, as well as Nancy Reagan.
In a 1993 Washington Post article, Brown acknowledged the Scientology connection had caught him unawares, but said he supported the program's goals.
The program sponsors essay and poster contests for elementary school children, who pledge to stay away from drugs and encourage their peers to do the same. It targets younger children, aged 8 to 13, who are not yet served by well-known anti-drug programs such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), Freeman said. DARE typically is sponsored by local police departments.
Santa Clara City Councilman John McLemore, who also agreed to be sworn in as a Drug Free Marshal, said he discovered the Scientology connection only after he turned over his six-pointed gold star and saw a paper sticker noting the church's sponsorship. He said he raised his eyebrows at the Scientology name, but he felt ``extremely comfortable'' with his decision to participate.
``I never make choices about which children should be protected from drugs,'' he said. But he added, ``I'd be concerned if I started to see my name show up over and over as more than a footnote that I supported the drug-free program.''
Mountain View Mayor Ralph Faravelli said he ``thought long and hard'' about his participation. Like his colleagues, he supported the program while distancing himself from the church that sponsors it.
Note from webmaster: L Ron Hubbard's Scientology meets not only all the criteria for a cult, but Federal Judges feel it is a cult or a fraud, ex-members feel it is a cult, and further, many feel it is no more than a complete fraud, cloaked by written internal policies to look like a cult which is then in turn cloaked as a religion in a conspiracy to avoid public and government scrutiny.
To the extent that the Behar Article uses the term "Scientology," Chief Judge Walker is of the view that the term as used denotes a belief system, or, as the Article puts it, a "cult," [page 8]
Congressman Leo J Ryan letter to Ida Camburn:
Congress of the United states
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Scientology from the Inside Out - Nov-Dec 1993 Quill Magazine: "I also trained other Scientology PRs on how to handle the media, using material from Hubbard. This included how to respond to a question without answering, how to divert the issue, how to tell "an acceptable truth," how to stall for time, how to assume various emotional states to control another, how to "attack the attacker," how to take control of a conversation, how to introvert a person and how to "get the message across" (especially in an age of sound bites), how to help Scientology attorneys write inflammatory legal papers so the PR could then safely use the abusive phrases, and how to appear to be a religion."
What A Scientologist Faces to Leave Scientology - The Scientology Matrix
Overview of Scientology Problem by Time Magazine's Richard Behar
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