L'Envoi: The Men Coming Toward You

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,

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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-

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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.

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