Scientologists awarded half a million dollars in suit against critic
The Church of Scientology sued former church official Gerry Armstrong for $10 million, saying he had violated a 1986 legal settlement by repeatedly speaking out against the group and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. (Armstrong got $800,000 from the religious group in that settlement after he claimed he was being bullied by Scientology officials.)

Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee didn't award punitive damages, but ordered Armstrong to give back the settlement money.

"Because a previous judgment had already awarded the church $300,000 from Armstrong—who cited bankruptcy and did not pay it—Duryee ordered the defendant to pay the church another $500,000, or equal the amount the church had paid him," the Marin Independent Journal reports.

Armstrong says he still2/17/2005 1:44PM won't pay. "Never," he said. "I will outlast them." He also promises to keep criticizing Scientology. "When you can silence someone about a religion, just imagine," he said.

Armstrong's lawyer says Judge Duryee "made a deal with the devil," and said the case isn't really about Armstrong's 1986 settlement. "This suit is really directed at other people who might be inclined to speak out," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's a PR ploy to keep other people silent."

Scientology officials want Armstrong imprisoned.

"This wasn't contempt of the church, this was contempt of the court," lawyer Andrew Wilson told the paper. "He needs to be put in jail not because he spoke out but because he thumbed his nose at the court."

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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