Nashville Councilwoman Erica Gilmore congratulates Scientology on 30 years


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Nashville Councilwoman Erica Gilmore congratulates Scientology on 30 years.

Nashville Scene: Gilmore vs. Scene Over Scientology Tweet

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Pith has been on the receiving end of an unpleasant phone call or two over the years, but rarely have they risen to the level of the tongue-lashing we got from Councilwoman Erica Gilmore Monday morning.

On Saturday night, Pith noticed a tweet from Gilmore saluting the local branch of the Church of Scientology on an anniversary.

"Congratulations to the Church of Scientology on 30 years. #scientology" read the tweet, which has since been deleted.

That struck us as odd, especially from an eight-year council member who's currently running for an at-large seat. You don't see many politicians these days eager to link their names to the controversial church — especially after Alex Gibney's explosive HBO documentary Going Clear, which includes critical interviews with former members, paints Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard as dishonest and disturbed, and reports allegations of abuse against church higher-ups while detailing their famously aggressive tactics to silence critics and former members.

My comment on Twitter consisted of a single word: "Huh."

On Monday morning, Pith reached out to the District 19 councilwoman to ask about the tweet and why she deleted it. When she called back, a plainly furious Gilmore didn't want to talk about Twitter or deleted tweets or Scientology. Instead, she responded to the inquiry with wide-ranging criticism of her coverage in the Scene, in a largely one-way conversation that went on for 15 minutes.

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When Pith referenced the allegations against the Church of Scientology, Gilmore suggested it was the same as other major religions.

“There are legitimate questions about Christianity, there are legitimate questions about the flag, but just because a person has it you don’t go to the extreme," she said. "There are legitimate concerns about Muslims, but if people associate with them you don’t do the whole to the part. That’s not logical. That’s crazy.”

After all that, we still don't know much about Gilmore's evening at the Church of Scientology. Asked if she wanted to provide any context for her tweet and the event she was apparently attending, she declined.

"It doesn't make a difference because you can't see my point of view, you don't understand, and I think it's a certain privilege that you get to operate from," she said. "So it's not going to be beneficial."

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Gold Meritorious SP
Erica, like her mother, Democratic State Rep. Brenda Gilmore are Baptists who curry favor with the cult through the typical "interfaith" coalitions. (Erica's mother)

"In a tradition hosted annually by Tennessee State Representative Brenda Gilmore, Faith Day 2013 drew on the experience, concern and insight of leaders of the Tennessee religious community to advise the legislature on subjects of prime importance to Tennesseans of all denominations.

The day began with speeches by state officials on issues affecting the civic and human rights of Tennesseans. This was followed by an interfaith panel moderated by Rev. Brian Fesler, Director of Special Affairs of the Church of Scientology Nashville, in which religious leaders shared their views and solutions to these challenges."