Ig­nor­ing facts in his church attack

Los Angeles Times - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re “Scien­tol­ogy should not be tax-ex­empt,” Opin­ion, April 12

Alex Gib­ney ap­pears trapped in his own pri­son of bias when he wrongly as­serts that the Church of Scien­tol­ogy did not de­serve IRS recog­ni­tion of its tax-ex­empt sta­tus in 1993. The truth is the Church un­der­went the most ex­haus­tive IRS scru­tiny of any ap­pli­cant in his­tory to be rec­og­nized.

As the church’s long­time out­side tax coun­sel, I am familiar with ev­ery­thing that tran­spired dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ceed­ings that led to the 1993 IRS set­tle­ment; Gib­ney has no clue. Not only does the church re­ject Gib­ney’s re­vi­sion­ist his­tory, but so did the IRS of­fi­cials in­volved in the pro­ceed­ings. Gib­ney con­ve­niently omits that the IRS is­sued a state­ment reaf­firm­ing church recog­ni­tion when this myth first arose. All this in­for­ma­tion was pro­vided to and ig­nored by Gib­ney.

Gib­ney pre­tends ig­no­rance of the un­prece­dented public record, com­pris­ing 14 feet, in which the IRS rec­og­nized the church as ex­empt. The church not only an­swered ev­ery ques­tion the IRS put to it, but IRS of­fi­cials also made on-site in­spec­tions of its records and fa­cil­i­ties. I of­fered to walk Gib­ney through th­ese ma­te­ri­als, but he stonewalled me.

Gib­ney’s com­men­tary re­gard­ing church fi­nances is just plain false. Church funds are ded­i­cated to pro­mul­ga­tion of the faith and sup­port­ing global hu­man­i­tar­ian ini­tia­tives for the ben­e­fit of peo­ple of all faiths. Not one iota of the church’s ac­tual ac­tiv­i­ties is re­flected in Gib­ney’s one-sided piece.

It is un­for­tu­nate that the church has to de­fend it­self from scur­rilous at­tacks like Gib­ney’s. Like any other non­profit, how­ever, it has a right to re­spond through public dis­course and has done so with a web­site and videos. Gib­ney’s com­plaint that the church has the au­dac­ity to de­fend it­self against his at­tacks by ex­er­cis­ing its own rights to free­dom of speech and reli­gion is de­cid­edly un-Amer­i­can.

Monique E. Yin­gling

Wash­ing­ton

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