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Scientology opponents bristle at protest limits in Riverside County

Goldeneramap Opponents of the Church of Scientology say their 1st Amendment rights are being quashed by Riverside County after the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring protesters to stay 50 feet from the property line of a massive Scientology campus near Hemet.

The ordinance approved Tuesday was fast-tracked, meaning it did not receive the customary second hearing, and was sponsored by Supervisor Jeff Stone, who said protesters had crossed onto private property and were infringing on the quality of life at the church’s Golden Era Productions compound on Gilman  Springs Road.

Three protesters showed up Thursday outside the gates and within minutes were swarmed by Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies in four squad cars. They were told they could not shout at specific individuals inside and could not block the entrance. Deputies also demanded the driver’s license of a reporter covering the protest and tried to interrogate him. A sheriff’s official later said that was inappropriate.

Church officials say they have received numerous bomb and death threats in the last month alone as protesters the world over have ramped up demonstrations against Scientology.

“It is my job to keep our people out of harm’s way,” said Catherine Fraser, director of public affairs for Golden Era Productions, which disseminates tapes and video for the church and has 500 employees. “We want to balance free speech with the right of privacy.”

Opponents claim the church simply wants to silence protesters and keep demonstrators out of sight.

--David Kelly

 
Comments () | Archives (52)

This stinks in comparison to the hate crowds outside Mormon churches in response to the election results of Prop 8.
What exactly IS free speech as applied to church properties and opponents of any position held by that church? I certainly don't know anymore with the passage of this odd legislation in Riverside Co....but I want to stay far away from Riverside if the Cult of Scientolobotomy has this much influence on the local governments.
As long as the protesters are not ON church property, who gives a hoot? If the 50 ft zone includes any portion of public property or if that neighboring property owner gives permission to the protesters - then the county should stay the hell out of the issue.

I find it astounding that a failed science fiction writer wearing a yachtsman's cap could have fooled so many people for so long. It just doesn't make any sense. No matter how you dress up Scientology, at the end of the day it's just a cult. A rich cult, but still a cult. It's built upon secrecy, breaking down family bonds with non-members, monopolization of members' time, and a few beneficial services like career counseling. Some say it has helped a few people, but the question is what wouldn't have helped them? The one thing that CoS (Church of Scientology) does that should be looked at by law enforcement is its own intimidation tactics against people who have either left the church or just spoken out about its practices.

It is my job to keep our people out of harm’s way,” said Catherine Fraser, director of public affairs for Golden Era Productions, which disseminates tapes and video for the church and has 500 employees.

Well, then Catherine Fraser, perhaps you'd like to explain how placing razor wire on the horizontal supports of the fence around Gold Base keeps your people out of harm's way! Considering that these nasty spikes are on the INSIDE of the fence, one might think you would not care if they hurt themselves while trying to get away.

Supervisor Stone's personal agenda is to keep protesters away from Scientology; however, the mistake is that the ordinance is trampling over the First Amendment of all over Riverside County residents.

let the supervisors know how you feel (or ask how much they were paid):

http://www.countyofriverside.us/portal/page/portal/cornew/Government/BoardofSupervisors

"Church officials say they have received numerous bomb and death threats in the last month alone"

scientology always claims they are getting bomb threats, always. they never have, and crate fake threats on themselves

Anonymous would like its opinion known on this issue as well. Why do scientologists manage to get interviewed and their lies taken as truths, and no one checks the other side of the coin?

There are always two sides to stories about the "church": The real truth and Scientology's truth.

As an outsider of religion, I don't see much difference between Scientology and Catholicism or any other religion.

The church of scientology is an evil organization. Preying on the weak using such services as "synanon" and 'Improve your child's reading" programs to recruit people.

The Germans are right trying to bar them from government jobs etc... The Scientologists are in the same boat as the Krishnas, The Children of God and others who destroy people in the name of religion. They even convinced a celebrity to try to heal his ill son with hocus pocus and you know how "that" turned out.

I feel that a religion based on removing Thetans from your soul and to do that you better have a few hundred thousand dollars in your bank account should be viewed with the same skepticism as any product promoted by Billy Maze! and if the politicians in Riverside had any money given to them by the Scientologists, they should refrain from voting and re-vote on this measure with a public hearing.

don't think of jett travolta as dead. think of him as having finally banished his body thetans and flown away to join the loyal officers against xenu. i wish all the other scientologists in hollywood could join this heroic young fellow.

back here on battlefield earth, where we nonbelievers are all pickled in engrams and alcohol, i bemoan the fact that large sums of money can corrupt county officials. i think they should all be forcibly audited. that would be audited in the accounting sense, not the scientology sense.

"Deputies also demanded the driver’s license of a reporter covering the protest and tried to interrogate him. A sheriff’s official later said that was inappropriate."

Damn right that is inappropriate. First they're intimidating protesters, now they're trying to intimidate the press? Who else will these bush league cops try to Bubba out of town?

Scientologists ate my baby! Oh, wait... that was dingoes. Never mind.

Thanks for covering this. Since the "Anonymous" movement's peaceful protests against Scientology began nearly one year ago, the cult has repeatedly screamed about all the death threats and bomb threats and anthrax threats they allegedly have received. The Anonymous movement is 100% peaceful, and is explicitly and firmly committed to peaceful means. Scientology's claims are complete fabrications. Indeed, Scientology has manufactured bomb threats against itself in the past (just Google "Operation Freakout" and you'll see). Despite what Scientology claims, Anonymous is NOT racist, sexist, homophobic etc. -- those are just Scientology lies. Tens of thousands of Anonymous members, from countries all over the world, from teenagers to senior citizens, from every walk of life, are people like you, me, and your next-door neighbor. You can learn more about why we protest the Scientology cult/criminal racket at this site: http://www.youfoundthecard.com

Thanks again for covering this story.

Scientology seems to have a lot of influence with certain city officials. Wonder how much money Davey had to fork over for this?

Freedom of speech just took another hit from "the most ethical people on the planet" and some corrupt politicians.

Everybody has a right of a private life! Anonymous "protesters" in scary masks screaming in front of the homes of Scientology families are disgusting and uncalled for, no matter how "justified" the protest reason is. This has as much to do with Free Speech as someone beating another over the head as a "means of expression".

These three people who say they are protester would do good to read the US Constitution before they talk about everybody's right. It seems to me that they only see their own rights but not those of other people.

It's not "Golden Era Productions" they are picketing, it is the HOMES of close to 500 Scientology members! I wonder how they would react if those 500 would show up in front of their living room window shouting strong insults!

"Supervisor Jeff Stone ...said protesters had crossed onto private property and were infringing on the quality of life at the church’s Golden Era Productions compound on Gilman Springs Road."

From what I have read, the quality of life in that compound is shockingly bad, but it has nothing to do with the protesters.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/9856545/Complaint-Filed-1509
From reading the documentation filed on January 5, 2009 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, I am of the opinion that the Scientology compound is being run almost like a slave camp - the Scientology leadership thinks labor laws do not apply to their operations. They think they are allowed to employ underaged workers and pay less than minimum wage. The law says otherwise.

I wish the plaintiff success in this legal action and I hope that Scientology will be forced to comply with all applicable laws.

Anonymous is a bunch of cowards hiding behind masks. Why? So they cannot be held accountable for their lies and harassment of Scientology members. It is hilarious that these people are allowed at all to stand on private property.

Other reports said there are only Scientologists living at this compound so nobody else would see these protests. THAT is obvious harassment!

About Anonymous and the bomb threats the scientology speaker talks about there is background information on Youtube. Just got to youtube com/anonymousexposed .

The arrest taking place at Golden Era on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0CHkEeu5a0

what is happening to my comment? where is it? is the la times giving preference to certain pro-anonymous tactics?????

I'd like to echo the comments of another anonymous comment - where is the evidence of these bomb and death threats? There have been no such activities, and allegations to the contrary are simply slanderous.

David Kelly, watch your back. You have ticked off the $cientologists and they will be probably be following you, intimidating neighbors/friends/employer soon.

Let us know how it works out.

This is simply a cult, no other word for it! L. Ron HUbbard was a con artist and a thief. All members are brain washed. As for the Riverside county Sherriff's deputies, they are the biggest "Key stone boobs" to ever wear a badge! They seem to forget what the academy teaches, like the ammendments, law, people's rights, just to mention a few things! RSO acts like NAZI's and noone wants to stop them. The FBI needs to investigate the entire law less department.

Where the evidence for wrongdoing of the people at the Golden Era Compound? These people you are harassing and insulting have done nothing to justify these personal attacks!

To treat scientology as a religion is a travesty of justice. Jim Jones was run out of the country, I imagine< by the powers to be, yet this guy who claims that a spaceship is to take them to their "kingdom" makes as much sense as the ponzi scheme of Madoff. Madoff used finances to scam his greedy investors. The scientology "pastor" or "god" uses religion to scam "his sheep" and let the fleecing begin. Mr Howard is just another snake oil peddler, but religion is farthest from his mind. It's more fleecing than religion. Actually, it's just fleecing.

 
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