On Monday, we wrote about Scientology’s obsession over whether its few remaining members are “in good standing” or not. That subject had come up in a court filing that the church made in the federal fraud lawsuit brought by a California couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia, in 2013.
The Garcias were pointing out how Scientology had made it exceedingly difficult to find out which members were in good standing or not, which mattered to the Garcias because they were attempting to comply with Tampa Judge James Whittemore’s order and were trying to find a Scientologist in good standing to act as an arbitrator who might rule independently on their allegations of fraud.
Now we’ve learned that Judge Whittemore has once again rejected the Garcias’ motion to jettison the arbitration order and restore their lawsuit, even though he acknowledges how difficult Scientology is making it for the Garcias to select someone. (Previously, he had acknowledged that Scientology doesn’t really have arbitration procedures and had never done an internal arbitration, but ordered the Garcias to submit themselves to it anyway.)
It does appear that Plaintiffs have had difficulty determining who is in good standing with the Church, and that some individuals they have contacted may not even be aware of their standing with the Church, particularly considering that there appear to be no benchmarks for or documentation of any such determination. However the determination of who is in good standing seems to be a determination solely within the province of the Church. Simply put, on the evidence presented, this difficulty is a product of the religious agreements Plaintiffs signed.
In other words, Whittemore is once again reluctant to intervene in Scientology’s internal matters, however Orwellian and venal they might be, for fear of violating the organization’s First Amendment rights of religious expression.
The judge did, however, call for a status hearing in the case on April 6, and we’re hoping it might provide some kind of interesting hashing out about these strange issues.
Your proprietor has long been a Wikipedia detractor, for various reasons that we won’t go into now. But yet another example of the encyclopedia website being stupid turned up yesterday, and thank you to Pete Griffiths for pointing it out.
Last year, as the interminable presidential election was going on, we tried to refrain from weighing in on it here at the Underground Bunker because for the most part we find that readers from both sides of the political aisle share concerns about the Church of Scientology. Personally, we were frightened by the thought of a Donald Trump administration, but we weren’t going to use the Bunker to advocate for either side.
That said, we felt a responsibility to write about the two candidates in light of Scientology’s past and its controversies. And so, for that reason we wrote in August about the race in regards to the subject we cover here. Namely, that many in the media were pointing out the similarity in style between Mr. Trump and L. Ron Hubbard, and the methods of his supporters and those of the Church of Scientology. While we recognized why people were making that comparison, we could see only the most tenuous of connections between Trump and the church itself. On the other hand, we pointed out, Bill Clinton had been the best friend Scientology has ever had in the White House, and we went over that history, admitting that we didn’t know what Hillary Clinton’s attitudes toward Scientology might be if she were elected.
Then, just a week before the election, we learned that in one of the John Podesta emails that had been made public by Wikileaks, there was information suggesting that Mrs. Clinton had considered a former Texas chief justice as a possible nominee to the US Supreme Court. That former judge, Wallace Jefferson, had represented Scientology leader David Miscavige in a Texas harassment lawsuit that we followed very closely here.
Again, we felt obliged, as a news website, to point this out because of its obvious connection to Scientology, not because we were taking a political position.
But the geniuses over at Wikipedia apparently thought differently. On January 22, they added us to a page that lists the notable people who endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016.
In the footnote citation for why we were added to the list, it says this, but without a link: “Trump endorsed November 2, 2016 On Tony Ortega’s Blog The Underground Bunker.”
On November 2, we actually ran a story about the first trailer for Leah Remini’s upcoming A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. The previous day, on November 1, is when we wrote our story about how Hillary Clinton had considered for Supreme Court justice an attorney who had represented David Miscavige.
These idiots can’t even get the citation right.
No, we did not endorse Donald Trump in the election. We wrote about Hillary Clinton’s connections to Scientology because it was news, and for no other reason. We voted for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary, and Hillary Clinton in the general election, but we did not use this website to endorse any candidate. We write about Scientology here. And if politics has come up in the comments section, we don’t really think that’s unusual, especially considering how chaotic Mr. Trump’s first month in office has been.
We’ll stick to Scientology. We only wish Wikipedia might stick to facts.
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
Scientology disconnection, a reminder
Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,664 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,261 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,301 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,013 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 480 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,598 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,768 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,088 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,063 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 419 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,721 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 828 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,230 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,103 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 684 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,189 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,433 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,542 days.
E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield