HERE, our inquiry must come to an abrupt end, without resolution of the issues or the events. Nothing has been concluded upon which to base a final conclusion.
We can, however, extrapolate from events already observed in the foregoing pages. One thing appears certain: in the immediate future, the Church of Scientology will face greater odds in its struggle for survival than ever before.
The movement is threatened with death by a thousand cuts. After the steam roller of centralized federal power has gone over the church, state, county and local law enforcement will follow the national example. Already, in Riverside,
California more than two dozen deputies from the sheriff's office have conducted a raid on the Church of Scientology in that city. They seized and carted away 17 boxes of documents from church archives, following the example of their FBI big brothers.
Grand juries sitting in places a widely separated as New York, and Tampa, Florida are currently investigating church officials, apparently using material seized in the federal raids.
The Scientologists themselves face the perilous future with the same firm resolve and positive outlook that have made them such formidable foes of governmental oppression during the past quarter of a century.
They are mostly young, energetic, dedicated. They have implicit confidence in their founder's assurance that "Scientology is a workable system." The basic dynamic of that systern is survival.
They are encouraged by recent "wins" in the legal arena: a court in California ruled the Riverside sheriff's raid illegal; in France, an appeals court struck down a lower tribunal's conviction of four Scientologists (three in absentia) on charges of fraud; in Washington, D.C., a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that negligence by U.S. Government employees in the maintenance and distribution of false reports is actionable under law; and authorities on- Constitutional law say that there is a more than even chance that the U. S. Supreme Court will declare the FBI raids on the church illegal.
For all that, the Way ahead is far from smooth. They confront powerful enemies, many of whom dominate official centers of power. Unlike the Mormons, who, driven from their homes and communities by the psalm-singing bigots of their day, pushed into the wilderness to found new cities and a new life, the Scientologists -geographically speaking have nowhere to go. For them there are no Utahs, no future Zion with its own courts, judges, and laws. They must stand and fight where they are.
Even foreign countries have been foreclosed to them, owing to the far-reaching influence of the U.S. federal estab-
lishment. Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, formerly senior USAF representative in the Office of Special Operations (responsible for liaison with the CIA on intelligence matters) has given a chilling statement on the matter. After reviewing the mass of documents relating to attacks on the Church of Scientology around the world since 1950, Col. Prouty (a nonScientologist) wrote:
"My conclusion is that there has been a definite campaign of harrassment against this organization for nearly 30 years and that this campaign has been directed from a central core and has utilized the capabilities of the intelligence community to carry out the attacks. The primary means for creating opposition to the Scientology movement has been through the dissemination of false and derogatory information around the world so as to create a climate in which adverse action would be taken against the church and its members."
There I must leave the issue; but not without asserting once again that, whatever opinion one may have of Scientology or the Scientologists, in their persecution by Government officials contemptuous of law we may discern the germ of tyranny and oppression that may one day engulf us all. The FBI raids in Los Angeles and Washington pose a serious threat to the First and Fourth Amendments, a threat that has yet to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Two judges of the same U.S. District have rendered diametrically opposite opinions on the meaning and legality of the two unprecendented incursions.
But, sad to say, for every Chief Judge William Bryant in the American judiciary, there are a hundred clones of Charles R. Richey and Malcolm M. Lucas. The issue joined by these two judgments, and the events leading up to them, extend by implication into every church, every newspaper office, every home in America.
If you, the reader, think otherwise, you belong to that class of gentle souls known as True Believers. This means that you have fatally misread the character and intentions of the men coming toward you, neatly dressed in suits and ties.