AP/Wikipedia/Salon Clockwise from upper left: Mark Foley, Greta Van Susteren, Brad Sherman and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Along with some incredible new details, there are the previously reported stories of rampant physical abuse of underlings by church head David Miscavige, the church’s “Sea Org” full of underage workers signed to “billion-year contracts” performing manual labor for little to no money, and the tales of the church separating families and milking its members for thousands of dollars. The church is even under investigation by the FBI for what could amount to human trafficking.
And, of course, like any other moneymaking American enterprise, it has good friends in Washington.
As far as I know, the only Scientologist to ever actually serve in Congress was the late Sonny Bono. His widow, Mary Bono Mack, who inherited his seat, attended courses, but never took to the religion.
Former Rep. Ben Gilman, R-N.Y., received thousands from the church, and, in return, as chairman of the International Relations Committee, he complained on several occasions that European nations were discriminating against Scientology. Or, put another way: “[On] the same day (July 2, 1998), ten prominent Scientologists donated a total of $7,400 to Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman’s coffer — three months before he signed on as a co-sponsor to Matt Salmon’s House of Representatives bill that was critical of Germany’s protection of religious freedom …” He was also thanked with this glowing profile in the church’s Freedom magazine.