Last week in Canberra the volunteer group called Cult Information Family Service held a unique conference.
A number of cult victims, mostly ex “members” have joined together and finding strength in numbers, have taken their concerns to Parliament, meeting on November 2nd. Almost exclusively the fate of cult victims who seek a resolution to trauma, abuse, financial and family loss is reprisal, harassment, threats and legal intimidation. CIFS recognises these standard features of cults and seeks to provide assistance, run workshops for those in need whilst pursuing a much needed federal government resolution.
Simply put, under present legislation by posing as a religion and operating under strict psychological tenure such groups to conduct their abusive money making crimes with impunity. Unaccountable to any over-arching body and pleading religious vilification they have the backing, money and time to challenge and defeat the victims they create.
CIFS has previously hosted national conferences in Brisbane. In March 2010 Nick Xenophon addressed the group. Prior to their 2011 national conference the “church” of Scientology threatened to sue over a brochure that contained material from Nick Xenophon’s 2009 Australian Senate speech on Scientology’s abuse of members. Xenophon pointed out the standards we’ve come to associate with this cult, particularly, ”blackmail, torture and violence, labour camps and forced imprisonment and coerced abortions”.
Citing a written threat from Scientology lawyers, Michael Bachelard writing in the SMH reported last July:
The Church considers the brochure conveys defamatory imputations that it … ‘is a cult’ is an ‘abusive and destructive group’, that it ‘psychologically manipulates persons under coercive controlling circumstances and runs a ‘labour camp’,” the legal letter said.
The church also accused CIFS Queensland of breaching the state’s religious vilification law by inciting hatred, severe ridicule or serious contempt of it.
Life Matters on Radio National have an insightful interview with an ex member of a not too hard to identify cult, who became involved after visiting a Mind Body Wallet festival.
Reading between the lines it seems Scientology may well feature prominently in the minds of CIFS volunteers, yet The Exclusive Brethren and Victor Hall’s Christian Fellowship are also known for churning out in need victims. ACA ran a segment on the Canberra conference.
Also Today Tonight cover the story of an Aussie cook forced into Scientology’s infamous “labour camp” because Tom Cruise suffered food poisoning when he went to play with his friend David Miscavige.
Well done to CIFS. May they get the help they need.
For that matter may the rest of Australia gradually see better protection from groups that exploit our silly laws to prey upon the human condition.
Cult victim group seeks government help – ACA