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Actions of Scientologists open them to criticism

Re: Respect Scientologists' right to practice faith, John Beachy letter, June 30.

The letter writer is incensed and does not understand why people constantly criticize Scientology. Could it be the reason is that Scientology is not a religion but a cult/business which tries to portray itself as a religion?

People are not stupid, they know the difference. You don't see people criticizing Christianity and Judaism, because those are real religions. The people of Tampa Bay are tolerant of all religions. If the cult were a religion there would not be a problem.

The cult brings the criticisms upon itself by its actions, past and present. So when Scientologists argue that they can't practice their faith, it may be because they practice by lining the cult's own pockets with the livelihood of their victims. Not a faith to admire.

David Rodman, Dunedin

People find it hard to fathom "church' in Scientology

The Church of Scientology is looked upon unfavorably by many people in Clearwater. I believe that their views would become more tolerant if the name of the organization were changed to the "School of Scientology" or perhaps just "Scientology." My belief is that the word "Church" is one cause of so many dislikes.

Joe Daily, Clearwater

Scientologists should learn

from history, suffer patiently

Re: Respect Scientologists' right to practice faith, letter by John Beachy, June 30.

I can understand how you feel about negative press. Get used to it. Despite its huge and expanding following today, Scientology is still in its growing stage. This sort of treatment is the lot of all pioneers. Jesus did not win mass favor for a thousand years after his assent to heaven. He had endless vicious attacks and betrayals during his lifetime despite the miracles he performed on a daily basis.

Remember, there are just two kinds of people on this planet: those who try to make things better and those who try to make things worse. The bad guys who were trying to tear Jesus down are still at it today. Sadly, human nature hasn't changed despite all his good works.

Some disciples of Scientology may or may not have made mistakes. Nobody's perfect. As the Lord once said, "Let he among you who has never sinned cast the first stone."

If you believe the Scientology religion can make a difference where all others have failed, go for it; the world certainly needs it. Just read almost any article in the Times (or any other paper).

Merv Nash, Victoria, Australia

Newspaper targeted abuse and criminal behavior, not beliefs

Re: Respect Scientologists' right to practice faith, letter by John Beachy, June 30.

This letter included fraudulent claims which I wish to correct. He stated that Clearwater citizens and your newspaper "attack" his "religion." In looking over the St. Petersburg Times for the last three years, one can clearly see that it is abuse and criminal behavior that people have been "attacking" regarding Scientology Inc. and not "religion." In the online search of the Times, I didn't find even a single letter that attacked Scientology as a "religion."

Religion isn't the issue. Lies, deception, harassment, intimidation and another dead woman are the issues. Why isn't this obvious to Scientology customers?

It is not an issue of "religious tolerance." If Scientology were a religion, they still would not have the right to commit crimes and human rights abuses. Tolerance doesn't mean ignoring abuse. I ask John J. Beachy: Some Catholic priests have pleaded guilty to child molestation. Was it "religious bigotry and intolerance" to demand they cease that abuse?

David Rice, San Clemente, Calif.

Death of youth in detention center points to abuse of power

Re: Daniel Matthews' death in Pinellas County's Juvenile Detention Center.

It's unbelievable to me that anyone could be killed in jail and not one guard saw or heard anything. I would say they would have to be involved in some way, if only by neglect of their job or turning their backs and allowing this to happen.

However, the Pinellas County sheriff's deputies are exempt from any wrongdoing just ask their "Internal Affairs Department." They do absolutely nothing to help citizens, but they do a great job of covering up for their own.

We, the taxpayers, pay these people's salaries and we have no protection from them. There is such abuse of power going on in the Sheriff's Office, and no one does anything to stop them _ including our employees, internal affairs!

D. Jermann, Clearwater

Mexican ID cards

pose a security risk

Re: Mexican ID cards catch on in Florida, story, June 23.

There is just as much opposition to the Mexican identification cards in our country as there is acceptance in Florida. U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, has introduced legislation (House Resolution 502) to bar acceptance by the federal government of identification cards issued by foreign governments.

Acceptance of the cards, as quoted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, aids illegal immigration, is a national security risk, and poses serious legal issues:

Consular ID cards are only needed by people who aren't legally in the United States in the first place. Relying on the cards for identification is tantamount to admitting that the bearer is in the United States illegally, as people here legally have passports. Legal immigrants will possess an entry document issued by the U.S. government, such as a valid visa.

Easy access to banks was a critical weakness in our system exploited by the Sept. 11th terrorists. By accepting these cards, state and local governments are working at odds with the federal government's homeland security efforts.

Local and state government should forbid the acceptance of foreign consular ID cards by all banks and businesses. Communities that accept these IDs as valid are turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and gutting immigration law enforcement. By recognizing the consular ID card, local governments are exercising a form of their own foreign policy, which the Constitution reserves for the federal government, and are in direct conflict with federal law.

C.J. Bjornberg, Clearwater

Bobblehead dolls of biblical figures are in poor taste

Re: Coming to a store near you: Bobblehead Noah, story, June 21.

Bobblehead dolls of biblical characters are, however unintentionally, disrespectful. They are representations of extraordinary people reduced to ordinary playthings.

"The dolls are being made," said Dan Foote, who came up with the idea, "to create a hunger to go to God's word to learn more about these people." Oh, please. They're being made in the hope that a hunger to buy them will be created.

"The Bible is so much more than horrible stories and what we're not supposed to do," said one of Foote's partners. This childlike view of sacred scripture was, no doubt, the reason for the infantile idea that those little dolls would promote reading the word of God.

And, along with every doll, there is a comic book that summarizes the life of the Bible character. Terrific. For those who can't read the big words in the Bible.

Unbelievably, the director of youth and pop culture for Focus on the Family claimed that most people would understand the bobbleheads were not meant to mock the characters. Ridiculous. Like dirty jokes in mixed company that were only "meant" to make people laugh, these dolls are in bad taste.

"God works in strange and mysterious ways and we want to be part of this strange and mysterious way," Foote continued. I'll bet they do. However, there is nothing mysterious about their enterprise. It's simply a crass moneymaking idea. To imply this commercial venture is part of God's plan because it should encourage people to read the Bible is to coat this profitmaking effort with a religious patina for the appearance of respectability.

Jack Bray, Dunedin

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