DiManno’s treatment of this worldwide religion in the Toronto Star goes out of its way to encourage hatred against a Church and its parishioners at a time when religious threats and violence—including those targeting the Church of Scientology—are growing at an alarming rate.
10 March 2017
1 Yonge Street
This letter is to express my disgust at the bigoted, snark-laden portrayal of the Church of Scientology in Rosie DiManno’s column published yesterday on the website of the Toronto Star and affiliated publications.
DiManno’s treatment of this worldwide religion goes out of its way to encourage hatred against a Church and its parishioners at a time when religious threats and violence—including those targeting the Church of Scientology—are growing at an alarming rate.
Virtually every line of her description of Scientology contains snide, bigoted remarks that show she can’t move beyond her personal bias and ignorance of our faith. Rather than approach the subject with respect, Ms. DiManno appears to have spent her entire time thinking up as many clever-sounding insults as she could squeeze into her column. She especially seems miffed that her “interloper” (which appears to be Ms. DiManno herself) was prevented from barging into one of our buildings unannounced. We have no doubt that that someone attempting to storm into the Star newsroom without advance warning would meet the same fate, especially in this era of heightened security concerns by institutions worldwide.
Let’s be clear, Scientology is the religion of millions of people all over the world. But more than that, much smarter people than Ms. DiManno in countries throughout the world have concluded that Scientology is a bona fide, legally recognized religion, even if it is not theirs. This includes Supreme and High Courts around the world. All subjected Scientology to a careful, rigorous and thoughtful review before making those decisions. Had Ms. DiManno bothered to do one scintilla of honest research she would have located the numerous trusted legal and scholarly findings that would have led her to more objective conclusions.
The Church and its members work hard to create a better society for everyone, regardless of their religion, belief, ethnicity or origin. Our continuing efforts in drug prevention, drug rehabilitation, literacy, criminal reform, morality, human rights, disaster relief and interfaith cooperation are, in fact, legendary. Scientologists are devoted to helping others, and no doubt engage in far more community betterment projects than the average individual.
In Clearwater, where Florida State University estimates the Church has an economic impact of nearly $1 billion, we have a long track record of being good citizens and making positive contributions to the community. We remain committed to partnering with the city and its residents to help make Clearwater the world-class 21St-century city it deserves to be.
As a new religion, just 63 years old, we are too often subjected to prejudiced and ill-informed pieces such as the Star published in your paper. Scientology parishioners dedicated to helping others do not deserve such treatment. I strongly doubt you would publish similar inflammatory vitriol about Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists or members of the Jewish faith.
The incendiary hatred expressed by your columnist is inappropriate and irresponsible in today’s volatile world. Respect for another’s religious beliefs should be the order of the day, not venom and vile. Bigotry of this or any other kind has no place in our society.
Ontario Regional Director STAND
and Public Affairs Director, Church of Scientology Toronto