THE CIRCUIT COURT
CURIAE BRIEF OF THE
THE CIRCUIT COURT
CRC 98-20377 CFANO-S
CURIAE BRIEF OF THE EXECUTIVES OF THE CHURCHES OF SCIENTOLOGY WORLDWIDE
a nation founded on the very principle of freedom from government oppression
of minority religions has chosen this church - in fact, this religion
- to prosecute, is an outrage to its heritage. The prejudice has spread
far beyond Pinellas County, the State of Florida or even the borders
of the United States and fosters the violence and bigotry our churches
and adherents are enduring around the world.
profound and damaging impact addressed below is not a mere collection
of allegations such as those proffered by the prosecutor against our
religion. Rather, we submit numerous sworn affidavits that reflect the
scope of the hatred unleashed by this prosecution in many locations
in the United States, as well as in Australia, Italy, Germany, Austria,
Denmark, Belgium, France, England, Canada, and in other nations around
the world where our members seek peacefully to practice our faith.
great deal of time and effort has been expended just to maintain relations
with our local communities in the face of these charges. Creating and
maintaining an environment where our churches cap conduct their activities
in peace and without constant rebuke and the threat of physical violence,
has been an enormous task not just in the local area, but as a result
of the State's charges, in virtually every land around the globe.
We file this amici curiae brief to inform the Court of the repercussions of this prosecution and the harm it has engendered around the world, and to petition the Court to restore justice and reason to these proceedings through dismissal of this action.
Yes, we believe Scientology is a practical religion, providing practical answers, but they are premised upon the underlying discoveries of the spiritual nature of man and the source of life itself. Examples can be seen in Invitation to Freedom - Man Can Save His Soul, page 152; The Supreme Being, page 154; Man's Search for His Soul, page 156; Handling Life With Scientology, page 158; as well as any of the many others encompassing Scientology and Spiritual Freedom, The Nature of Life, -Freedom and Happiness, Marriage and the Farnily, Ethics arid Survival, and Making A Better World.
IV - THE CHARGES ARE BEING BROUGHT BECAUSE OF OUR RELIGION AND WOULD NOT BE BROUGHT AGAINST ANYONE ELSE
prosecutor alleges we seek to avoid responsibility by "merely attaching
the word "religion" to our activities and "by blending
references to religion" into our activities to "change essentially
commercial or secular undertakings into religious ones." His conceit
is startling and incredibly offensive.
The effects of this prosecution are known to the prosecutors. They were, or should have been, aware of how these charges would be perceived and interpreted by the news media and those who, out of hate, target Scientology. This case improperly supports the pending civil case, which had been filed nearly two years before the criminal charges were brought, by distant relatives of Lisa McPherson who never even really knew Lisa, disagreed with her choice of religion and had not communicated with her at all for many years before her death. The prosecutors brought their charges in the midst of a vicious media barrage based on the outrageous and unsupported allegations made in that case. Though the prosecutor's charges did not repeat all the lurid allegations made by anti-Scientologists and the inflamed media, the clear implication in bringing these charges was that they supported those allegations in bringing these charges, and the prosecutor knew full well what the result would be: charging "the Church" over the death of one of its members would be interpreted as Scientology (the religion) "kills," we "murdered Lisa." It was predictable based on the previous media coverage and statements made by hate groups that the' prosecutor's charges would then seem to say "the State agrees."
The fact that the prosecutor has not seen fit to discontinue his criminal prosecution in the face of the amended death certificate only reinforces this view. An accidental death by pulmonary embolism would not even give rise to an investigation, let alone a criminal prosecution, had it been anybody other than a Scientologist in Clearwater. The magnitude of these assaults demonstrate several things to us, and we submit they should so demonstrate to anyone who steps back from these events and views them in context of our numerous and widespread good works, the unproven nature of the charges, the large number of happy and active Scientologists, and the discriminatory nature of the prosecution.
First, the harms which are addressed above result from the dissemination of the prosecutor's mere allegations far and wide, to cause disruption to our entire religion.
Second, even if the false allegations were true, the demonstrations and media are far out of proportion to the alleged wrong for the very reason the State has charged an entire church. One need not look far to find actual crimes of religious persons of other faiths. Yet, the state has never prosecuted an entire church in its history nor has there been such a prosecution in the history of this country. The media have never, to our knowledge, remotely displayed the fervor of persecution it has embraced regarding this case.
while our religion has experienced its growing pains vis a vis acceptance
in a world of persons necessarily espousing other religious views, the
type of criminal acts and harassment against our churches described
above were virtually non-existent prior to the broad dissemination of
the allegations in this case.
These acts against our churches are directed, throughout the world, at who we are, not what any of our members did. We strongly believe that by holding up the hope and reality of spiritual freedom and true solutions for the world's travails, we have incurred the wrath and become the enemy of those who intend the opposite. We are serious about our desire to help mankind rise above the insanity revealed only too clearly by how viciously we have been attacked.
V - CONCLUSION
When agents of a branch of government inflicts damage to a group because of disparity of religious beliefs, those agents have strayed far from the trust endowed by public office.
As a result of the actions of the prosecutors in this case, acts of prejudice have been committed not only against this State's own citizens, but also against all those associated with the target of their action. The destructive effects of this wild fire of anti-religious sentiment have reached around the world. For the foregoing reasons, amici request the Court dismiss all= charges against our religion.
Michael Rinder Church of Scientology International, Amicus in pro per, And the executives of the Churches of Scientology throughout the world
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy of the foregoing has been furnished by hand this 29th day of March, 2000 to Douglas E. Crow, Esquire, Assistant State Attorney, Post Office Box 5028, Clearwater, Florida 33758.
E. CROW, ESQ.
ERIC M. LIEBERMAN RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD, KRINSKY & LIEBERMAN, P.C. 740 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, New York 10003 (212) 674 - 4614