All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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By David Lancashire
|EAST GRINSTEAD, England (AP) — "They
say we have orgies here," said the young Englishman,
pointing at the swimming pool. "We're too busy to have
orgies — we don't even have time to go swimming."
This was at the country mansion once owned by the Maharajah of Jaipur. It is now headquarters of the Scientology movement, a semireligious organization from the United States. This "largest mental health organization in the world," as it calls itself, has become a storm center in Britain.
Villagers in East Grinstead, a centuries-old market center 30 miles from London, seek a ban on the Scientologists, claiming they spread their influence in the town.
London's press has campaigned against the movement.
Health Minister Kenneth Robinson last month denounced Scientology as "socially harmful ... a potential menace," and moved to keep foreigners from coming to Britain as students enrolled at the College of Scientology here.
"We used to get about 100 letters a day, most of them abusive," said David Gaiman, spokesman for the College of Scientology. "Now we get from 300 to 1,000 a day and none of them are abusive — they ask for information.
"We are in very nice shape despite the campaign," said Gaiman, surveying the swimming pool, the 200-year-old manor house, a newly built stone castle filled with classrooms, all surrounded by 40 acres of rolling grounds.
The health minister has refused to disclose what he called government evidence against Scientology. The Scientologists say no government representative, has ever come to East Grinstead to hold an investigation.
In Parliament Robinson said Scientology "alienates members of families from each other and attributes squalid and disgraceful motives to all who oppose it. Its authoritarian principles and practices are a potential menace to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers."
Scientology's founder, American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, 57, is barred from returning to England. He moved his headquarters here 11 years ago but now reportedly lives aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean.
Scientology calls itself "a practical religious philosophy interested in ability and increasing it ... the most vital philosophic movement on the planet ... the freeing of the soul by wisdom." Its publications contend it makes people "more aware, more alert, more successful." It has groups in the United States and around the world and claims millions of members.
The East Grinstead college has 200 to 300 students and a staff of about 150. Roughly half the students and staff come from outside Britain. The government restrictions ruled foreign students or staff members would no longer be admitted to Britain or allowed to prolong their stay.
Gaiman said Scientology has more than 100,000 members in Britain.