Guest / Limited Access /

Craig Branch, director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, Alabama, has been examining the teaching and practice of Scientology from a Christian perspective since 1989 and has studied new religious movements for more than 15 years. He has also worked with Watchman Fellowship, a ministry focusing on outreach to non-Christian religions. Branch says evangelical scholars criticize Scientology for these reasons:

Scientology's moral code is based on self-preservation.

"Scientology subscribes to the idea that the end justifies the means," says Branch. "And their end is to overcome the world with Scientology."

Branch believes this contributes to a warped view of ethics in which anything that advances the goals of Scientology is permissible.

Scientology attacks opponents and former members.

One Scientology policy, Fair Game, says a "suppressive" person who is an enemy of the church "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. [A suppressive] may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed" (High Command Office Policy Letter, Oct. 18, 1967). Although Scientologists deny that they still openly follow some of Hubbard's more punitive policies, such as Fair Game, many court cases have found that Scientologists still operate under Hubbard's principles of aggression, Branch says.

According to The Daily Appellate Reporter, the California Supreme Court found Scientology guilty of intentional and negligent infliction of severe emotional harm in the case of Larry Wollersheim (1989). The court wrote that Scientology's "policy of Fair Game by its nature was intended to punish the person who dared to leave the Church."

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedSome Christians Are Siding with Scientologists in a Key Abuse Case
Some Christians Are Siding with Scientologists in a Key Abuse Case
One issue: Does California law hurt non-Catholic churches? Another issue: The allegations are horrific.
TrendingHow 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
How 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen find what determines pastor salaries (and who might be most underpaid).
Editor's PickWhy Can't Men Be Friends?
Why Can't Men Be Friends?
Men and women alike increasingly say they are lonely. It doesn't have to be this way.
Comments
Christianity Today
Why Christians Object to Scientology
hide thisSeptember 4 September 4

In the Magazine

September 4, 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.