It seems that at least one member of the Australian parliament has had enough of the Church of Scientology.
Independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon tabled letters with the Australian parliament this week from former members of the Church of Scientology that accuse the organization of torture, coerced abortions, embezzlement and more crimes. According to the Times of London, Mr. Xenophon made some very sweeping claims against Scientology:
Scientology is not a religious organisation, it is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs …
The letters received by me which were written by former followers in Australia contains extensive allegations of crimes and abuses that are truly shocking – crimes against them and crimes they say they were coerced into committing.
These victims of Scientology claim it is an abusive, manipulative, violent and criminal organisation, and that criminality is condoned at the highest levels.
While nothing is definite yet, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is calling for investigations into the accusations which the Church of Scientology mearly says they are the angry ramblings of disgruntled former members. “Many people in Australia have real concerns about Scientology,” Prime Minister Rudd said. He also commented, “I share some of those concerns. Let us proceed carefully and look carefully at the material he has provided before we make a decision on further parliamentary action.”
The list of allegations include (again from the Time of London):
- Paul Schofield admitted to being part of a campaign to cover up the facts surrounding the death of his two daughters, including two and a half-year-old Kirsty, who died during a purification program.
- Aaron Saxton confined and tortured a follower and coerced females to have abortions, one who used a coat hanger for fear of punishment. He also has details of murder confessions from members in the US, information that was never passed on to police.
- Carmel Underwood was put under “extreme pressure” to have an abortion, and witnessed a young sexually abused girl being coached on how to keep it secret.
- Anna and Dean Detheridge, who were forced to reject a gay relative, provided evidence that personal information was used to blackmail and control them.
- Kevin Mackey revealed how he handed over nearly a million dollars in exchange for services and products after he was conditioned by the sect.
- Peta O’Brien was discouraged from seeking treatment for cancer, was cut off from her son and provided evidence of being assaulted.
While the Church of Scientology can claim these are the ramblings of disgruntled former members, but these fit in with numerous stories from anti-Scientology sites such as Xenu.net that have been collected over the years.
While this is the first time I have heard claims of coerced abortions, it is far from the first time I have had stories of Scientologists being forced to reject (known as “disconnection” in the Church) family members. Paul Haggis, the Oscar winning screenwriter who recently left the Church, told a story of how he was forced to disconnect from relatives who had left the Church. The Church denies that this policy still exists, but the evidence continues to mount that it indeed does.
All of these claims are of course nothing more than claims at this time, and as with any time I write about Scientology, I highly recommend you do your own research into the organization. I would, however, say, that if the government of an entire country is becoming interested in investigating them, doesn’t that say something isn’t completely right here? Again, do your own reading, but for those of us who already speak out against Scientology, this is a major step in the right direction.
[hat tip to Jo for pointing out this story to me on Twitter]