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By Raymond Hill
Permission to reproduce in its entirety for non-commercial purpose.
The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT) is a Canadian-based non-profit organisation which claims to provide unbiased information on faith groups and various topics related to these faith groups. Their web site, religioustolerance.org, claims over 3,550 essays about religious faiths and various related topics.
One particular statement on OCRT's web site will be of interest for the present essay (highlight is mine):
[Source: OCRT - About this web site]
Another statement by OCRT that is of interest (highlight is mine):
[Source: OCRT - Our Statement of Beliefs]
Many seems to consider OCRT as a reliable source of information on religious movements. As an example, the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps information page on Scientology is actually the OCRT's essay on Scientology. Also, this excerpt from The Good Web Guide:
[Source: The good web guide - Review of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance]
OCRT maintains a web page that lists various sources, many prominent, identifying religioustolerance.org as a good resource to learn more about religious faiths.
When one search for the word "Scientology," OCRT's web site ranks highly in Google and Yahoo, and relatively high in Live Search. The U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps' essay on Scientology, which is essentially a reproduction of OCRT's essay on Scientology, also ranks high. Therefore, when one search for "Scientology" using the main search engines, they will likely be offered the OCRT's essay on Scientology, with the perception that it is actually an independent essay and thus reliable.
We will demonstrate here that it is neither independent and reliable, and actually strongly biased with the views of the Church of Scientology.
The latest version of the OCRT's essay on Scientology appeared somewhere around March 2006, and is credited to Bruce A. Robinson and Al Buttnor.
Bruce A. Robinson wrote almost all of the essays available at OCRT. As per OCRT's web site, he is a graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Engineering Physics. He has no theological degrees.
Al Buttnor is actually spokesman for the Church of Scientology in Canada and Director of Public Affairs and Human Rights of the Church of Scientology of Toronto. Previous versions of OCRT's essays on Scientology, dated 2004, did not mention Al Buttnor as a contributor.
Previous versions of the OCRT's essay on Scientology, authored by Bruce A. Robinson only, had minimal factual critical information on Scientology. Even though this critical information was minimal and often offered in an apologetic context , some controversial events that have plagued Scientology throughout its history were mentioned. The latest version of OCRT's essay on Scientology has seen all critical information removed altogether.
Examples of what could be found in earlier versions:
These no longer appear in the latest version of the essay, as of Dec. 2006.
Also, links to external resources, critical or otherwise not endorsed by the Church of Scientology — present in earlier versions — are nowhere to be seen in the latest version. Examples of this:
In essence, all critical information about Scientology has been removed (which was already minimal), despite their own statement of offering the "positive and negative aspects" in their essays.
Also, and quite disturbing for an organization that pretend to "explain objectively" Scientology, their current essay contains large chunks of text taken directly from the Church of Scientology's own publications. Examples follow.
The new essay goes on to explain what is Scientology's "auditing":
This is a word to word excerpt of text found in an article titled "A Description of Auditing," found on the Church of Scientology's main web site.
Further, the new essay describes the Citizen Commission on Human Rights as an ABLE (Association for Better Living) sponsored program:
This is a word to word excerpt of text found in an article titled "What is CCHR?," found on the official web site of the Citizen Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). The CCHR is itself a Scientology front, as demonstrated by Dr. Touretzky on his Stop-Narconon web site. As can be seen on the Church of Scientology's own chart, the purpose of the various Scientology fronts is to "clear the planet." (which requires to convert everybody to Hubbard's doctrines.)
The section titled "Resolution of religious Intolerance towards the Church of Scientology" starts as follow:
Pretty much the whole section is simply a word for word copy of text found in a document titled "Scientology: Effective Solution - Providing the tools for successful living" (PDF), copyrighted Church of Scientology International 2004, starting on page 8.
Also, the OCRT's essay has a section titled "Copyright conflicts on the Internet":
This is word for word of what can be found in a document titled "Briefing Re: The Church of Scientology and the Internet" available on the Religious Movements Homepage on the University of Virginia server.
It was prepared by the Church of Scientology, as seen from the note added at the bottom of the document:
The parent document, titled "Group Profile: The Church of Scientology" linking to the essay prepared by the Church says:
Note that the parent document, "Group Profile: The Church of Scientology" on the Religious Movements Homepage links to many critical web sites as well, and does not shy away from mentioning notable controversial events that litter Scientology history (ex. Paulette Cooper, Lisa McPherson, etc.)
While reproducing part of the Church of Scientology's briefing as part of their own essay, OCRT doesn't bother to update important information contained in the Church's dated briefing. For example "Netherlands: Church of Spiritual Technology and Religious Technology Center v. Dataweb, Stichting XS4ALL, et al., Case No. 96/160, Regional Court of the Hague", gives the impression that the Church of Scientology won that fight when ultimately they lost in Dutch Supreme court in Dec. 2005. One expects that OCRT would provide this important information on the outcome of that particular high profile case.
One wonder how the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance can seriously characterize itself as "independent" while ignoring a good source of independent information to focus solely on the Church's of Scientology's views.
The OCRT's essay on Scientology is plagued by many flaws that go counter to their own stated goal of independence and objectivity. Not providing this negative but factual information is contrary to what we would expect from a reliable and independent source.
The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance's current essay on Scientology...
Publishing factual information which is not flattering to the Church of Scientology is not "religious intolerance." OCRT fails completely to satisfy its self-advertised goals of "explaining objectively" and of "showing all sides." Not allowing readers to educate themselves more thoroughly by providing them significant factual information about Scientology is pure and simple censorship, which serves only the Church of Scientology, and penalize people who are looking for reliable information about the Church. Therefore, the OCRT's web site, religioustolerance.org, is not a reliable resource on Scientology and demonstrate a unambiguous violation of its own stated purpose.
For readers who want genuinely independent and objective information about Scientology, they are invited to visit the Religious Movements Homepage @ University of Virginia and their essay on Scientology, titled "Group Profile: The Church of Scientology." Also a good place to start to learn about Scientology is Wikipedia, which provide plenty of well-sourced information.
 OCRT: "Who are our web site's authors, and what are their credentials?"
 Church of Scientology International: "Church of Scientology International Announces World-wide Human Rights Hero Contest"
 Example: "[...] Many anti-cult groups accuse the Church of Scientology (and hundreds other religious groups with which they disagree on theological grounds) of not allowing members to leave the church, or of endlessly harassing them in an attempt to force them back into the fold. We have found these claims to be false with other religious groups, and we believe that it is also untrue in the case of Scientology. [...]" See Scientology: False imprisonment.
 For more information about this event, see Wikipedia: "RTC vs. Lerma"; The Watchman Expositor: "Scientology's Internet Wars"; Ron Newman's "The Church of Scientology vs. Arnie Lerma, Digital Gateway Systems, and the Washington Post"
 See XS4ALL press release (Dec. 2005): "FINAL VICTORY! XS4ALL AND SPAINK WIN SCIENTOLOGY BATTLE"
Jan. 20, 2007: hyperlinks.
Jan. 7, 2007: revised as per suggestions. [ref]
Jan. 6, 2007: first release