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Boston Scientology Protest

 Sep 8 1996, 3:00 am
 Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
 From: (Modemac)
 Date: 1996/09/08
 Subject: Boston picket: Sept. 7

Last week I posted a press release for the Boston protest to ne.general, and from this Scientology evidently presumed that I was some sort of ringleader for the event. Actually, the protest was an entirely voluntary effort, and no one truly "organized" it. But nonetheless, it was enough for Scientology to send a dead-agent packet to the Boston org. When I got there this morning, One person peeking at me from the basement entrance greeted me with, "Hi Eric, how's the gay group?" Evidently Scientology has been looking at my Web page and seeing my promotion for (the newsgroup for gay youths)…and from this, they obviously assumed I'm gay. This same fellow also said as he passed by, "Got AIDS yet?"

My, what a nice friendly bunch of people we have here.

It's a pity I didn't get that stuff on tape, but then I think my tape recorder made some of the folks at the org nervous. I was approached by another person from the org, and I promptly pointed out that I was carrying a tape recorder and that it was on. It was not a hidden recorder, as I displayed it in public for all to see. This person then tried to upset me by speaking "This guy's a geek!" directly into the tape recorder. You can get the unedited .WAV of that little snippet of conversation on alt.binaries.scientology and alt.binaries.slack right now.

But after this guy went into the org, the protest became more polite…in fact, every time I turned on the tape recorder, the people representing Scientology would suddenly stop talking and move away. I guess they didn't want to be recorded. However, they evidently had no qualms about doing some recording on their own end. They brought out a video camera and tripod, and kept trying to focus on pertinent parts of the protest. Not that it mattered much. Everyone was polite, and many leaflets were handed out. The threat of bad weather kept some people away from the protest, so that during the high point of the afternoon there were between 10-15 people present from both sides of the controversy.

I preferred to concentrate on leafletting rather than discussion. One tall middle-aged guy came out to shadow me, trying to engage me in conversation, though I think I managed to avoid it. He was determined to pinhole me as being an "anti-religious bigot," and he thought he had me when I satated that I feel that all religions are in it for the money. He tried repeating what I said to a passerby as a way to dead-agent me, but I said it first and confirmed it, and that was all he said about that. He also asked questions like, "Do you consider yourself an athiest?" "Nope." "Have you ever been to a psychiatrist?" "Nope."

It was funny how the people representing Scientology seemed determined to prove that we were "anti-" this or "anti-" that. I was wearing a T-shirt from OBE, the great SubGenius DoktorBand that promotes SubGenius anti-music, and one lady there noted that and asked me to define what "anti-music" is. I played her a clip from Negativland's "Fair Use" album (if you've heard it, you know why it's appropriate at these protests), and she ended up liking it. :)

Meanwhile, we held up signs, cars honked, and one of the protesters crossed the street to hand out leaflets over there. (Many passers-by tended to cross the street instead of passing directly in front of the org. Does this happen in other areas, I wonder?) He was promptly followed by a person handing out copies of "Freedom," of course, though he had a fun time nonetheless.

In the midst of the protest, a bunch of students from MIT went into the org, looking for copies of the famous personality test. It was part of a scavenger hunt.

Also of note: Last year a protest took place in front of the org. That protest was about the fact that an MIT fraternity brother was apparently being rushed to drop out of MIT and join Scientology, but he changed his mind at the last minute. We met him again today: he has re-joined MIT and the fraternity.

On the whole, the protest was largely uneventful (at least from my end). We passed out a lot of leaflets, enjoyed the afternoon, and went to the Charles River festival afterwards.

It was fun.