The above saying comes to mind when we review the track record of most local government officials with regard to their position on the cult of Scientology.
In the four years
that Scientology has been a force in Clearwater, precious few public figures
have stood up on their hind legs in the open air and announced what they
feel about the actions, motives and goals of the Scientologists.
For a time, their
silence was understandable.
Any person of good will wants to give a new organization the benefit of the doubt, at least initially. But it seems to us the time is past when any doubt can remain in the minds of thinking, observing Clearwater residents about the cult of Scientology.
Each day, new stories
come out of Washington telling of what the Scientologists planned and
did to discredit their enemies and to further the cult's aims.
In Tuesday's Sun, for example, we described how local Scientologists planned and carried out a smear campaign against former Clearwater mayor Gabe Cazares during his 1976 campaign for Congress.
Documents released in Washington show that Tom Reitze (husband of local Scientology leader Nancy Reitze) and two other cult members saw to it that false rumors were spread about Cazares in an attempt to discredit him.
When Cazares was
defeated for the congressional post, a
Scientology memo boasted of how the cult's actions had contributed
to his loss. The memo exulted, "Yeah!!!!!"
When he was mayor and since then, Gabe Cazares has not hesitated to speak out against the Scientologists.
Where are the other
public figures with the courage to openly take a stand? A few exist, but
not many. This is a shame. Now, in the light of the Washington documents,
further silence will approach the borders of cowardice and scandal.
The day has arrived
for all persons in public life to make known their position on the question
of Scientology's presence in Clearwater, and its existence anywhere in
If these officials have not already formed an opinion, it is time they did.
Henceforth, the Sun
will be especially interested in the Scientology stance of any candidate
for local office.
We urge our readers
to write their city commissioners and their elected officials in Congress.
Ask them what they think of Scientology. Tell them what YOU think.
If you feel timid about doing this, please re-read the quotation at the top of this editorial. Think about it. Think about it hard.
[list of addresses of politicians' offices followed]