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The bill had arisen following a frivolous lawsuit filed against a Christian church. The Church of Scientology worked with more than 1,500 religious organizations to oppose the suit and make its ramifications known to other religions and the public. In 1989, the US Supreme Court endorsed a California Supreme Court decision which held that the state’s laws forbid the filing of such cases against churches.

The Church of Scientology International is an active member of the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion, a broad-based religious and civil liberties group that, in 1995, resolved the long and contentious debate over the role of religion in public schools. Through the united efforts of more than three dozen religious and civil liberties organizations, the coalition prepared “Religion in The Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law,” which established a model for public policy that led to a final and amicable resolution of the issue. President Bill Clinton praised the joint statement as “wise and thoughtful.”

For more than a decade, the Church has exposed and defused assaults on religious freedom from organizations which support “deprograming,” the violent practice of kidnappers who, for pay, try to break an individual’s faith through such tactics as forcible restraint, food or sleep deprivation, beatings and even rape.

Over the years, deprogramers have attacked members of many different religions, including Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Mormons and Muslims. As a result of coordinated interfaith actions, deprogramers have been arrested, convicted and jailed for their role in such illegal activities.


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