South African Independent Scientologists address issues of freedom of speech

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South African Independent Scientologists address issues of freedom of speech and censorship, including criticism of L. Ron Hubbard and the Tech.

From the South African Independent Scientology blog, Scientologists getting back in comm.

Back in Comm
https://backincomm.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/back-in-comm/#more-1144

Excerpts:
Over the last week there has been some dissatisfaction expressed in comments as well as behind the scenes with regard to this blog.

In particular two recent posts by Mark Shreffler have created some controversy and upset. We mention this background as it may not have been visible to casual readers and observers.

We feel it necessary to re-iterate our position and intentions. Late in 2013 it was clear that a storm was approaching for Scientologists in South Africa. There was no local platform for issues to be addressed. Several people got together and decided that there should be a local blog that could deal with these local issues. While there are a growing number of international blogs and websites there was a severe dearth in locally focused content. We believed (and still do) that we will go further if there are stories that involve situations, people and orgs that South Africans know far more intimately..
We recognise that this is an evolving platform. As it stands now this is our position and vision:

* Our “agenda” is the democratisation of Scientology as articulated in this article Why this blog?

* We remain focused on South Africans and South African issues. These are our primary “public”. Not out of any sense of exclusion but simply because it is the area with which we are most intimate and knowledgeable.

* We have no position on the best alternative Scientology route to take and do not promote any in our articles. We do allow discussion of such in the comments among the community.

* We take no position on the known personalities. Having said that we acknowledge that without Mike Rinder & Marty Rathbun in particular and many others in general we would probably not be in the luxurious position of being able to so hotly debate such issues. We will certainly lend our support to either should they need it.

* We encourage and desire debate on hot issues. This is a right denied all of us in the church. We will not stifle it here.

* We remain, in the main, a pro-Scientology & pro LRH site. We do allow and encourage free discussion on these two topics but we are not a hate site and are sensitive to this. This remains our most challenging aspect – walking the line between “censorship” and “freedom of speech”.

* Our overriding objective is in our name: Back in Comm. All things are possible through communication including a decision not to communicate. If two people decide through communication that they wish to no longer communicate, that’s ok. That’s a choice. And that it is vital to have such a choice.

* We will continue to invite contribution from varying sources of disparate views. We would love to run something from the church or onlines active Scientologists if they had the courage to submit a contribution. Publishing a contribution is not an endorsement.

* We are a platform of inclusion.

There is often a camaraderie between people who have recently left the church but once the novelty has worn off we just have each other and there is no guarantee we will like each other. It is this that makes the idea of some kind of overall unity among the independent, free-zone, milestone two communities unlikely. We do not see such unification as a part of this blog.

But there must remain tolerance, respect and some decency even within contentious debate. All of which can only be obtained through communication. That is very much a part of this blog.

If we can’t do that then we have replaced one cult for another.

We hope to continue to be a platform for debate and communication without being an instrument of favour. With all the available facts (and many opinions), coupled with direct observation, people must make their choices and be responsible for them.

Lastly, we continue to welcome criticism, support, encouragement, suggestion & involvement. We’re all trying to do our bit to make sense of the mess Scientology has become.

We hope this clarifies where we are coming from.
 
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