Church of Scientology - Standing up for Human Rights




The Church of Scientology and its parishioners are notably active advocates in the field of human rights. Scientologists who subscribe to the religion's Aims and Creed (and all do) find themselves instinctively opposed to those who abuse their power or who harm the innocent and the weak. Furthermore, the Creed of the Church states that the healing of mentally caused ills should not be alienated from religion or condoned in nonreligious fields.

As early as 1950, L. Ron Hubbard brought to light the savage abuses taking place in the field of mental healing, a field in which psychiatrists relied on electric shock, lobotomy and powerful mind-bending drugs to control human behavior in the name of help. Nor did it take Scientologists long to realize that it was harmful to force an ice pick or thousands of volts of electricity through the brain, or to flood the body with psychotropic drugs, and that this travesty of help was nothing less than betrayal of the worst kind.

What also soon became obvious was that psychiatry had no proven methods to justify the billions of dollars of funds governments poured into its coffers. But perhaps because of these very dollars, it was also a field which refused to institute reforms or take responsibility for its actions.

Scientologists became outspoken critics of these abuses of the helpless and, by the mid-1950s, they mobilized to defeat what was dubbed "The Siberia Bill." Officially named the Alaska Mental Health Bill, this was psychiatry's attempt to establish a million-acre Siberia-type camp for mental health patients in Alaska, far from the prying eyes of civil libertarians. Incorporated in the bill was a "simplified commitment procedure."

A less-than-alert Congress passed the bill unanimously in January 1956, but a massive campaign by Scientologists and civil rights groups ultimately eviscerated it.

Scientologists continued to speak out, but by 1969 it became obvious that self-imposed reforms in that field would never happen. (In fact, there was a resurgence of the more harmful practices and new and more powerful drugs were being developed as fast as they could be patented.) The Church thus formalized its opposition and formed the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). Headquartered in California, CCHR has grown to 118 chapters in 27 nations. For more than 25 years, CCHRs have successfully exposed psychiatric murders, hospital fraud, sexual abuse and inhumane conditions in mental institutions, and have been instrumental in passing legislation protecting the civil rights of mental patients.

In the 1970s, CCHR provided California legislators with documents and witnesses which led to the exposure of more than 100 unreported deaths at two State psychiatric institutions.

A 10-year CCHR probe of the Chelmsford psychiatric hospital in Sydney, Australia, revealed that scores of patients had died due to "deep sleep"--a drug-induced comatose state during which electric shock was adminstered. After a Royal Commission enquiry, sweeping reforms of Australia's psychiatric industry came about, including a ban on deep sleep "therapy."

In Italy, several mental institutions described by media as "worse than concentration camps where patients lived no better than animals" have been shut down due to CCHR's efforts. And in the United States, CCHR has contributed to legislation criminalizing psychiatric rape in more than a dozen states.

In the 25 years since it began, CCHR has become recognized as a relentless and effective foe of psychiatric barbarism in many countries, successfully exposing psychiatric abuses and pressing for reforms.

A United Nations report issued in 1986 on the subject of the human rights of mental patients stated, "CCHR has been responsible for many great reforms. At least 30 bills throughout the world, which would otherwise have inhibited even more the rights of mental patients, or would have given psychiatry the power to commit minority groups and individuals against their will, have been defeated by CCHR actions."

Due to CCHR's efforts, the United Nations finally adopted a universal bill of rights for mental patients in December 1991. It called on all nations to restore human rights "through appropriate legislative, judicial, administrative, education and other measures."

While this was a major step forward, CCHR will continue to ensure that justice takes place wherever violations of these basic human rights occur.

National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice

The National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice (NCLE) was established by the Church in 1974 to guard against and correct abuses resulting from corruption in law enforcement and other governmental agencies that violate the United States Constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A primary concern of NCLE has been civil rights violations stemming from false reports residing in government files, and the great harm and injustice perpetrated against individuals and groups from reliance on this misinformation.

Through the years, NCLE has worked with many individuals and grass roots groups to broadly educate the general public on the importance of an open and honest government and the necessity for protection of fundamental constitutionally guaranteed civil rights. It is also involved with reform of government agencies. One investigation disclosed that the Food and Drug Administration had approved certain drugs and other consumer items despite clear indications that they had harmful side effects.

More recently NCLE has organized events in which like-minded representatives of the judiciary lectured and made proposals to simplify and improve the justice system, with emphasis on providing due process in the form of fair and speedy trials.

Freedom Magazine

Church of Scientology International publishes Freedom, a human rights journal established in 1968. CSI publishes international and national editions, while local churches produce special editions in their areas. Freedom is published in 12 countries and six languages and has won more than two dozen awards for its investigative reporting.

Among these reports, Freedom exposed psychiatric camps in South Africa in which Blacks were used for virtual slave labor in appalling conditions--a situation subsequently investigated and verified by the World Health Organization; and brought to international attention secret chemical and biological warfare experiments on unwitting citizens in the United States and Canada.

Freedom has pioneered use of the Freedom of Information Act and presents Human Rights Leadership Awards annually to recognize individual achievement in this field.


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From: The Church of Scientology: 40th Anniversary.

The following are other articles on the Church of Scientology and human rights:

Copyright 1994-2006 CSI. All Rights Reserved. FREEDOM is a trademark owned by Religious Technology Center and is used with its permission. Scientologist is a collective membership mark designating members of the affiliated churches and missions of Scientology. Citizens Commission on Human Rights and CCHR are trademarks owned by Citizens Commission on Human Rights.