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Dave Rosenfeld

Whatever happened to "separation of church and state"? We may need to change our pledge of allegiance pretty soon as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty justice for all does not seem to hold anymore. More and more our freedoms are being taken away. Democracy and freedom does not shine as it once did.

Becky leblanc

Thank you for the response. It wasn't too much and it makes sense.

Mark Lawson

Hi Becky.

Great question. I personally believe Scientology is a dangerous cult that exploits the wealth of highly affluent people. I agree with you that, like other cultish religious groups, it is abusing its members. But, then, there are plenty of local Christian churches that are also abusive because they impose narrow, patriarchal rules on their members.

This, unfortunately, is a price of religious freedom. I don't believe the government has any business making judgments about the belief systems or doctrines of any faith community.

Having said that, religious groups are not free to break the law. So, for instance, when the Word of Life church in New Hartford subjected two of its members to a "disciplinary beating" that resulted in death, they were guilty of murder and subject to the secular judicial system. They had the right to impose a strict discipline, but not the right to kill in order to enforce their beliefs. Cult leaders often wind up on the wrong side of the law because they believe they are above it.

So freedom of religion is sacrosanct in our country, but not freedom to commit a crime in the name of a religion. If any religious community is building bombs or stockpiling weapons or leading their members to mass suicide, they need to be stopped. Even when a religious community engages in civil disobedience against an unjust law, it must willingly submit to the consequences in the hopes of changing the law. It is not free to break the law without consequences simply by pleading religious freedom.

The bill under question, however, isn't about uncovering unlawful activity. It is designed to allow the government to make judgments about the belief system of one religion, thus submitting that religion to an unconstitutional test.

I hope I haven't given you too much more of an answer than you wanted!


Becky leblanc


I agree that the spirit behind this bill is of major concern and I did not know about it, so thank you.

I am wondering though, what are your thoughts about Scientology, which proclaims itself a religion but actually is exploiting and abusing its members??


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