Post Wed May 12, 2010 11:51 pm

It’s Time to End the Church of Scientology’s Tax-Exempt Stat

For more than 25 years, the IRS denied tax-exemption to the Church of Scientology. The long-running policy flowed from an IRS determination in 1967 that Scientology was in fact a commercial entity operated solely for the benefit of founder L. Ron Hubbard.

In 1993, seven years after Hubbard’s death, the IRS made a puzzling and highly suspicious reversal. It settled its tax bill with Scientology for just $12.5 million and conferred on it the title of tax-exempt “religion.” Both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times later broke important ground with respective reports on the secret meetings that led to the agreement, and details of Scientology’s harassment of IRS officials.

Hubbard has been gone for nearly a quarter century, but the questionable practices of extracting huge fees from members, paying lip service to informed consent and employing violence, threats and unfair labor tactics to protect its interests continue today under Scientology leader David Miscavige. [...]

“Scientology is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories … and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect,” wrote California Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr.

“In addition to violating and abusing its own members’ civil rights, the organization over the years … has harassed and abused those persons not in [Scientology] whom it perceives as enemies. The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder.”

On civil rights alone Scientology’s track record is abysmal, having long ago met the threshold for violation of federal “Title 18″ statutes. [...]

It’s pretty simple. American tax codes are wrongly benefiting and empowering the unethical, potentially illegal, and most assuredly uncharitable activities of an organization using “religion” as a cloak.

Summary excerpt from the full article as it appeared in The Huffington Post on April 28, 2010.
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