IN THE CIRCUIT COURT
FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY
STATE OF FLORIDA,
VS. CRC 98-20377 CFANO-S

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
FLAG SERVICE ORGANIZATION,

AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF
OF THE
EXECS OF THE
CHURCHES OF SCIENTOLOGY WORLDWIDE

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT
FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

STATE OF FLORIDA,

vs. CRC 98-20377 CFANO-S

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
FLAG SERVICE ORGANIZATION,


AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF THE EXECUTIVES OF THE CHURCHES OF SCIENTOLOGY WORLDWIDE

I - INTRODUCTION

Proposed amicus curiae is a member of the Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology International, the Mother Church of the Scientology religion, and is joined by the ecclesiastical leaders of the churches of Scientology in the United States and in more than 100 other countries. Our religion, our churches, and our congregants have been directly and adversely affected by a great injustice brought about by the charges filed in this case. Our churches have been vandalized, our parishioners assaulted, our reputations defiled, and our faith vilified because the State of Florida has chosen to target our religion in an unprecedented prosecution. Criminal acts are committed against us and our congregants every day by ignorant people who have been inflamed by lies and

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reassured by a perceived alliance with authority that these charges have engendered.
   That 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.
   The 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.
   A 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.

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The prosecutor gives a distorted account of the history of the formation of the Scientology religion itself. Born in the 20th century, Scientology has evolved from its earliest days to what it is today. There is nothing unusual about that.
Mr. Hubbard's life's work was the search for the ultimate answers to life, with many discoveries throughout the years. The prosecutor misinterprets this evolution by pulling individual writings out of context, giving his interpretation
as to our beliefs and practices and even suggesting he is attempting to make us comply with our own religious policies. Yet when understood in context, one sees the evolution of the religion with each new discovery building upon the previous, from the publication of Dianetics in 1950, to the end of Mr. Hubbard's life in 1986. See Fundamentals of the Scientology Religion, page 15.

As for our sincerity in our beliefs, Scientologists consider their religion a much greater part of their life than those who merely worship on Sunday. In fact, we believe that the decline of civilization can be traced to the loss of spiritual and religious values across the world. Unlike many other religions, we believe all religions, even those with different beliefs than ours, are vital to planetary salvation, since the decline of all civilization can be traced to times when God and spirituality have been undermined. See Religious Influence in Society, page 29.
While the full route one travels up the Bridge to Total Freedom is through participation in training and one on one auditing, we also provide these Scientology services in a group congregational setting. Sermons covering fundamental Scientology beliefs as well as group auditing are both a part of our Sunday services, held each week in churches and missions across the globe in 139 countries. See Scientology Congregational Services, page 35.
As with all mainline religions, we have our own ceremonies and services.  These include Naming Ceremonies (for the newborn), pages 52-63, Weddings, pages 70-107, Funerals (which reflect our belief in life after life), pages 113-129 and

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Ordinations for new ministers, page 134-137.
As for our beliefs, although the materials of Dianetics and Scientology are voluminous including 139 separate volumes, containing over 40 million words and more than 2,000 tape-recorded lectures, one can find the fundamentals in our
congregational sermons, and that these relate to the ultimate answers to life. 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

The 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

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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

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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.
   Third, 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

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foregoing reasons, amici request the Court dismiss all charges against our religion.


Dated: March 29, 2000


Respectfully submitted,
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.
Michael Rinder
6331 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90028'
(323) 960-3500


SERVICE LIST

DOUGLAS E. CROW, ESQ.
Assistant State Attorney
P.O. Box 5028
Clearwater, Florida 33758

MORRIS WEINBERG, JR.
FL Bar No. 486401
LEE FUGATE
FL Bar No. 270928
SPN No. 00015107
ZUCKERMAN, SPAEDER, TAYLOR & EVANS, L.L.P.
Suite 2525
401 East Jackson Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
(813) 221 - 1010

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