"A bullet between the eyes"Gerry Armstrong, former high-ranking member of Scientology, reports of death threats made against him.
Vienna, AustriaVienna. (red). "Power and money are the real motivations behind Scientology. That really has nothing to do with religion." Canadian Gerry Armstrong, who spoke from his decades of experience with the obscure "private religion" of sect founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986, spoke at a meeting of the Federal Center for Sect Issues to warn against categorizing Scientology as a religion. A religion that persecuted former members in an effort to silence them or - as happened to him in the mid 1980s - threatened to put a "bullet between his eyes," was certainly not a religion, Armstrong believed.
May 30, 2001
Die Presse, p. 16
Armstrong was a sect member from 1969 to 1981 and responsible for legal matters, among other things. In researching a biography for the sect founder, he discovered that Scientology had been built on a foundation of lies. He said he spent over two years in the organization's "concentration camp." After he left the sect he was persecuted: physical threats, lawsuits, libel and breaking into his house were a daily routine.
The "apostate" is not allowed to speak about Scientology in the USA because of a court order. Armstrong emphasized the sect's influence on the USA's justice and administrative systems, an influence which became increasing apparent in the 1990s. Since that time, the freedom of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution has been more or less used to enact a prohibition against criticism of religion and as a license for groups to suppress their members, Armstrong said.
The number of Scientologists in Austria cannot be determined exactly. The operating manager of the Federal Center for Sect Issues, German Mueller, reckoned it at under 5,000. Worldwide they say there are about eight million members.
Yesterday, Tuesday, about 40 members of Scientology Austria demonstrated in front of the French Embassy on Schwarzenbergplatz against a proposed law to regulate religious communities in France. The law will give the president and the administration the power to ban religious groups that pose a danger to public order.
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