From the harassment that modern-day protesters and Independent Scientologists now receive, it seems obvious that the Church of Scientology has lost some of its nerve since Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard died. Forty years ago, a Scientologist showed up at Paulette Cooper’s door with flowers and a gun; today they show up with cameras and silly hats. When Hubbard was alive, Scientologists broke into government offices and photocopied files. Today they walk in like everyone else and file lawsuits. I know I’ve said that Miscavige is every bit as evil as Hubbard, but when you look at just how vicious the Church was during Hubbard’s day, you have to wonder.
There’s one big exception: Scientology’s victory over the IRS, which came in 1993. Scientology had been fighting for its tax-exempt status for decades, the war having started in Hubbard’s day. And then all of a sudden, after just one meeting between David Miscavige, Marty Rathbun, and IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg, the IRS settled with Scientology and dropped its case.
Marty told his side of the story to the St. Petersburg Times, insisting that they “didn’t need blackmail.” According to Marty, the Church agreed to stop its campaign, and that was enough for the IRS.
I’ve never bought into that story. It seems strange that the most tenacious of government agencies would simply give up. I suppose it’s possible they decided there was no way around the definition of Scientology as a religion (even though it clearly operates as a business). But if that’s the case, then why, after decades of fighting, did it take just one meeting with two of Scientology’s leaders to bring them to that realization?
Only three people know what really happened in that meeting. Miscavige won’t talk, for obvious reasons. So far, Goldman hasn’t spilled the beans. The man who we would expect to hear from is the guy who is supposedly exposing the crimes of what he calls “Corporate Scientology.”
And yet Marty doesn’t talk much about the IRS.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Three possibilities:
1) The story we’re hearing is true. After decades of battling Scientology, the IRS suddenly decided, after one meeting with Miscavige and his assistant Rathbun, to turn their back on years of work and expense.
2) Scientology did indeed have some unsavory information about Goldman and/or the IRS, and Marty won’t talk about it for fear of implicating himself.
3) Marty knows that Scientology’s tax-exempt status is fragile and doesn’t want to do anything to endanger it. Marty makes his living selling Scientology services, and now that his wife has quit her day job to help him out, there’s a good chance that both she and Marty are living tax-free.
My vote goes with 2 and 3.
In my opinion, the Scientology protest movement really needs to concentrate on the tax issue. Scientology may be able to fit themselves into the definition of a religion, but let’s not forget that Hubbard started Scientology as a self-help business. He turned it into a religion for one reason and one reason only: So that he could operate above the law.
Every day that Scientology retains its tax-exempt status, they are stealing from us.
Here in California, our education budgets are being mowed down like dead grass. Desperately-needed teachers are being fired and school programs are being slashed to the bone. Meanwhile, Scientology operates some of its largest businesses in California, including the American Saint Hill Organization and Advanced Organization Los Angeles, where they sell some of their most expensive services. And how much of that money are they paying in taxes? Not a dime. Several states as well as the Fed are missing out on MILLIONS of dollars of tax revenue from Scientology. And yet Scientology has no problem using the same government-provided services as the rest of us.
Even Marty himself is driving on publicly-funded roads and spreading his word on the Internet, which itself was born out of a taxpayer-funded Department of Defense project.
It irks me that even though I’ve never paid for a Scientology service, thanks to their tax-exempt status, they practically have their hand in my pocket.
It irks me that Marty, in his supposed effort to expose the crimes of the Church of Scientology, is keeping quiet about their biggest crime of all — the one he, by his own admission, helped pull off.
And it irks me that by having his wife quit her job and join his auditing business, he too may well be reaping the benefit of that crime, dodging his obligation to pay taxes and sucking off the teats of the Federal and Texas state governments while contributing nothing useful to society. (Expansion, my ass.)
Notice that for all the sniping they do at each other, neither the Church nor Marty likes to talk about this issue. They’re unlikely bedfellows. Well… not that unlikely.
The funny thing is, by Hubbard’s own “tech,” not paying taxes is a bad thing. Scientologists believe in the concept of exchange; they say something valuable must be exchanged for something valuable. (That’s their excuse for charging money for their religion.) By driving on public roads, enjoying public parks, and calling the police on his fellow Scientologists, Marty is using taxpayer-funded services for which he may not be paying. (I’d love to know if he uses his tax-exempt status to duck out of paying sales tax.) That’s out-exchange, and according to Hubbard, that’s bad. Well, it’s bad unless you’re Hubbard.
Now, I don’t know for a fact if Marty is using his Scientology home business to duck out of paying income taxes. Even so, I bet if we talked more about this issue, it would make life very uncomfortable for both Marty and the Church. Next time you comment on Marty’s blog, why not ask?