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Scientology answers Garcia motion: We are definitely a bona fide worldwide religion!

Luis_GarciaOn April 11, we told you that Luis and Rocio Garcia had filed a pretty remarkable “motion to reconsider” after their federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology had been derailed by Judge James D. Whittemore.

Whittemore had granted Scientology’s motion forcing the Garcias to pursue the matter through the church’s internal arbitration scheme. In so doing, the judge had said that he made his decision based, in part, on the notion that both sides in the lawsuit had agreed that Scientology was a religion.

The Garcias objected, filing a motion to reconsider, and said they had never agreed to such a thing. In fact, they said, Scientology was not a genuine religion and they wanted the opportunity to prove it.

Frequent legal commenter TX Lawyer said that although motions to reconsider do tend to be long shots, he had read few that were as good as what the Garcia legal team had submitted. They really did seem to have a point.

Now, Scientology’s legal team — attorneys Wally Pope, Robert Potter, and Eric M. Lieberman — have submitted their response to that motion to reconsider.

Scientology starts out by emphasizing that a motion to reconsider is “highly disfavored” in general. “Such a motion must meet strict standards that limit parties from re-litigating what already has been decided,” the brief says. The Garcias couldn’t, for example, simply re-argue the legal decisions made by the court, and that, the church says, is what the Garcias are doing.


But what really has Scientology hacked off is the suggestion that the Garcias had never agreed to the idea that Scientology is a religion.

Calling that argument “preposterous,” they point out that from the beginning of the lawsuit the Garcias had said they were never going to challenge Scientology’s status as a religion, and in deposition Luis Garcia “testified that he believed and participated in Scientology as a religion and that he experienced substantial spiritual benefit.”

Scientology’s attorneys also didn’t appreciate Ted Babbitt’s assertion that Scientology’s status as a religion had not been established by other courts. “United States courts unanimously have found that Scientology clearly meets the modern definition of religion,” the church’s attorneys respond. They then cite many cases where references to Scientology’s religiosity are made, then say it was not proper for the Garcias to raise a challenge on that issue at this point.

“Defendants consistently and strongly argued their rights as religious institutions under the First Amendment, and the Plaintiffs never challenged their standing to do so. Given that Scientology has been recognized as a religion by the United States, by the State of Florida, by this Court, and by every court to have addressed the issue, Plaintiff’s attempt to argue that the Churches lacked First Amendment standing should be rejected out of hand.”

We look forward, as always, to the attorneys in our commenting community giving us their thoughts on the document itself. And here it is…


Garcia vs. Scientology: Defendants Opposition to Motion to Reconsideration

Scientology’s motion came with five exhibits, which we’ve also uploaded to our Scribd account. We’re really interested in the last two, in which Scientology uses the immigration appeals of two of its employees on religious visas to prove that the government considers Scientology a bona fide religion. Bring over foreigners so they can make pennies an hour after having their passports locked up, and then use that as proof that Scientology is a religion? We wonder when the government is going to show some interest in how it’s being suckered.

Exhibit 1: Some testimony from the Feb. 18 evidentiary hearing
Exhibit 2: More testimony from the Feb. 18 evidentiary hearing
Exhibit 3: State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for Sweden for 2013
Exhibit 4: Successful 1991 Scientology INS appeal regarding OSA employee Holmfridur Johannsson
Exhibit 5: Successful 2005 Scientology appeal regarding employee Bernhard Feichter


It’s Dianetics Day, everyone!

65 years ago today, L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and thus began AD 1. Which makes today AD 65. Or we’re just starting AD 66, we’re not sure. It’s confusing.

Anyway, you could do worse this Dianetics Day than read our fun series when we blogged Dianetics from cover to cover. It was a fun slog, and we did the painful work of actually reading the book so you don’t have to!


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Cheeky caption from the photographer: “If [you’re] looking to replenish your dwindling supply of “crazy”…I know a place. Fair warning: ‘crazy’ is really expensive.” (Plant City is east of Tampa.)


Melany Bennett is beginning her speaking tour for Youth for Human Rights: “Red eye from NYC to Taipei, landed and now taking the speed train to Taichung, the human rights educational speaking tour now begins, will be posting travels and talks from each school & community visit”


Sweating in Los Feliz: Purif Day 4


The Nation of Islam sure loves Dianetics…


Celebrating the eve of Dianetics Day with a 5K in Levice, Slovakia…


Sweating in Los Feliz: Purif Day 5


Fliers being handed out at the Tulip Festival in Albany, NY…


Friday night graduation at the Fort Harrison…




On May 14, you will be able to purchase ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ from Amazon in either electronic or print format, and simultaneously in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

The Kindle edition is now available for pre-order at Amazon, and will be delivered on May 14. Go order your copy today! (Yes, our publisher changed his mind about that, and you can take advantage of it!)

On May 14, you’ll be able to order either a Kindle version or a physical copy. Pre-orders are being taken only on the Kindle version.

Our appearances…

May 16: Santa Barbara Humanist Society (with Paulette Cooper), 3:00 pm
May 17: Center for Inquiry-West, Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, 11 am (with Paulette Cooper)
May 17: CFI Orange County (Costa Mesa), 4:30 pm (with Paulette Cooper)
May 20, San Diego (with Paulette Cooper)
May 22: San Francisco (with Jamie DeWolf and Paulette Cooper)

June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper)

June 20: Chicago The Annoyance Theater, 5pm (with Christian Stolte)

June 22/23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper)

June 27/28: Florida (with Paulette Cooper)

July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 9, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA 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

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
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


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