The Church of Scientology, Melbourne will again be host to a peaceful protest on Saturday March 14th, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. March's protest will be held in honour of Lisa McPherson, age 36, who died under suspicious circumstances at the Church's headquarters in Clearwater, Florida in late 1995. A policy called the Introspection Rundown teaches that members who are perceived to have had a "psychotic break" (e.g. a staffer wishing to leave) must be put into isolation and not allowed their freedom until the 'case supervisor' determines that the member has recovered from his or her 'psychotic break'. It is this policy that is thought to have led to Lisa McPherson's death.
The Church conducts the 'Introspection Rundown' in Australia also.
Protestors will be focusing on the Church's policies that hurt both its own members and the general public - policies instrumental in the death of Lisa McPherson in Clearwater.
In Italy and France this past year, high-ranking Scientologists have been jailed for manslaughter and fraud; and court cases are pending against the Church and its organisations in Greece, Spain and other countries. Suicides, such as those of Patrice Vic in France and Noah Lottick and Richard Collins in Britain, are related to the policies of the Church.
The Scientologists took aggressive action against picketers at the Clearwater, Florida picket last March. The picketers were met with a crowd of Scientologist counter-protestors numbering approximately 200. The counter-protestors blocked signs and verbally harassed picketers. At the candlelight vigil for Lisa that followed, the Scientologists responded with even more harassment, surrounding those carrying the candles, and even blowing out the candles.
Critics point out that it is not the religious beliefs of the Church to which they object, but rather such policies as the Introspection Rundown, and those directing Scientologists to attack "suppressive persons" - anyone who criticises the Church, or is perceived as an enemy. Scientology is known as an extremely litigious organisation, as per founder L. Ron Hubbard's policy: "the law can be used very easily to harass ... if possible, of course, ruin them utterly."
This is not an issue of the religious teachings of Scientology; but rather, of a systematic attempt by a large and powerful organisation, with considerable resources at hand, to eliminate criticism of itself through any means possible. Such actions are utterly against the interests of a free and democratic society, and will be protested until they cease.
The protest will be held outside the Church's Russell Street offices (corner of Russell Street and Flinders Lane) on Saturday 14th March at 11:00am. The protest, one of many being held around the world, is being organised through the Internet and media campaigns.