Church of Scientology of Utah Celebrates Religious Freedom
Human Rights celebration at the Church of Scientology of Salt Lake City focused on religious freedom as a precious right.
Members of The Church of Scientology and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered at the Church of Scientology of Salt Lake City, Utah, to celebrate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The event focused on Article 18:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Article 18 is one of 30 articles that describe the basic rights belonging to every member of the human family. But the program pointed out that this right is under attack from various sources today.
In 1976, Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard noted that attacks on organized religion were at the root of the deterioration in the ethics in society and the consequent increase in crime and drug abuse. He wrote that these attacks had “a fundamental target: the spirituality of man, your own basic spiritual nature, self-respect and peace of mind. This black propaganda may have been so successful that maybe you no longer believe you have a spiritual nature that I assure you you do.”
Another challenge to religious freedom, covered in a recent article in Deseret News, is religious repression: “Contrary to popular belief, religious persecution is alive and well around the world. More than 80 percent of the global population lives in religiously restrictive environments, according to Pew Research Center.”
Steven Russell, a Salt Lake City attorney, talked about the increase of religious attacks and the need for religions to stand together. He ended his speech with the famous words of Pastor Martin Niemoller who was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp in WWII:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
He was followed by Ms. Seretta Hart, President of the Relief Society for the local ward of the LDS Church. Ms. Hart described the role of the Relief Society and highlighted the important work carried out by members of her church in giving assistance to those in need.
Sandra Lucas, Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology of Utah, gave everyone in the audience a Youth for Human Rights International booklet What are Human Rights? Youth for Human Rights is a human rights initiative supported by Scientologists and the Church of Scientology. As a Scientologist who has traveled to numerous countries around the world to teach human rights to military organizations and university students, the subject of human rights is very dear to Mrs. Lucas, who said, “Every person should be treated with dignity and their rights must be upheld.”
Those attending the celebration, though members of different faiths, realized the common ground they as religious individuals share.
L. Ron Hubbard set forth the beliefs of the Church of Scientology on the subject of religious freedom and human rights in the Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom:
“We pray that human rights will be preserved so that all people may believe and worship freely, so that freedom will once again be seen in our land.
“Freedom from war, and poverty, and want; freedom to be; freedom to do and freedom to have.
“Freedom to use and understand Man’s potential—a potential that is God-given and Godlike.
“And freedom to achieve that understanding and awareness that is Total Freedom.
“May God let it be so.”
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
Church of Scientology Media Relations
(323) 960-3500 phone
(323) 960-3508 fax