A Scientology-backed anti-psychiatry group influenced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) decision to veto a heavily-favored mental health bill, reported RawStory. The reason the group was so concerned about the passage of the bill is that it would have permitted mental health professionals greater ability to temporarily hold individuals for psychiatric evaluation if the individuals are a potential danger to themselves or others. Members of Scientology obviously feared this would include every one of its members.
Senate Bill 359 was heavily-favored on both sides of the aisle in the Texas state legislature and passed through both chambers with ease and little debate. Several mental health experts and law enforcement officials testified in support of SB 359. However, Gov. Abbott shocked lawmakers with his surprise veto of the bill.
Despite being supported by lawmakers, one group in particular expressed staunch opposition to the bill, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group founded by the Church of Scientology and led by its lobbyist Lee Spiller. After Governor Abbott vetoed the bill, he was invited by Spiller to a social engagement. “Please pass on my warmest regards and sincere thanks for upholding individual liberties and restoring my faith in our constitutional form of government,” said Spiller’s message. “Please consider yourself invited to our office, and any event we hold, any time.”
Scientology groups are beginning exert influence in government branches, and that’s scary. Considering the church’s reputation for harassment, bullying, and manipulation, government is the last place for them to have influence.