HBO’s documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, has prompted a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for the revocation of the “church’s” tax exempt status, reported Addicting Info.
Going Clear is the most-watched HBO documentary in the last decade with 1.7 million viewers tuning in for the premier, causing an eruption of awareness on social media. So far, the WhiteHouse.gov petition has gotten over 23,000 signatures, and a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece from the film’s director, Alex Gibney, makes a further argument for revoking the “church’s” tax exempt status.
A number of articles have even raised the question of whether the church should be permitted to maintain its tax-exempt status in the face of so many alleged or documented civil rights abuses, such as the videotaped harassment of ex-Scientologist Marty Rathbun and his wife, Monique. It’s an important question, since it implicates all of us.
The church maintains that its activities are protected by the 1st Amendment as religious practices. Partially on that basis, the church convinced the Internal Revenue Service in 1993 that Scientology should be tax-exempt and that all donations to the church should be tax-deductible. . . .
To maintain the right to be tax-exempt, however, religions must fulfill certain requirements for charitable organizations. For example, they may not “serve the private interests of any individual” and/or “the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”
On these points alone, it is hard to see why Americans should subsidize Scientology through its tax-exemption.
Regarding “private interests,” it seems clear that Scientology is ruled by only one man, David Miscavige. Further, powerful celebrities within the church, particularly Tom Cruise, receive private benefits through the exploitation of low-wage labor (clergy members belonging to the Sea Org make roughly 40 cents an hour) and other use of church assets for his personal gain.
The “church” launched a full-on propaganda campaign against Going Clear month before the film even premiered on HBO. However, the organization’s propaganda machine is run by a bunch of dinosaurs who don’t know anything about internet marketing or publishing. They only preached to its own choir and inspired more opposition towards Scientology.
If you want to sign the WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for the revocation of the “church’s” tax exempt status, click here.