, Sep 1996 - letters, p10-11

Church at war

I was very disappointed to come across your review of The Church of Scientology Web site. Though I am sure this was innocent and intended as a look at a well-designed site, I also hope you are aware of the controversy surrounding the 'Church' and its ongoing virtual war with the Internet.

The 'Church' has consistently sued Internet users who have badmouthed it's "brainwashing techniques" and has closed down an anonymous remailer and various Web pages. At this very moment it is flooding the newsgroup devoted to the discussion of its practices so as to make the group unreadable. This is a flagrant attack on free speech on the Internet.

In summary, they are a nasty bunch, nice Web page or not. Web page reviews advertise (as well as inform) and I'm sure your publication does not want to be involved with these people. I know the reviews are non-judgemental, but in this case some mention should have been made alongside it of their questionable recruitment techniques and downright hatred of the Internet community.

(Keep up the good work on the publication.)

Adam Creed (e-mail address withheld)

We certainly are aware of the controversy surrounding the Church of Scientology and the Internet community. However, we must remain neutral in our Web site reviews, where we are looking at design and functionality, not politics. You may be interested in the article on page 56 about the spam on alt.religion.scientology.

(Well, fair enough I guess. But if I may hazard Godwin's Law for a moment ... reviewing the design and functionality of the CoS web site without even mentioning the other stuff is akin to discussing the camerawork and techniques involved in Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph Of The Will' without mentioning even ONCE in passing who she was working for.)
[Press articles on Scientology]