SPY VS. SCI: The latest Scientology protest

“They’ll probably tell you they have a 50 percent attendance rate—that is important for them to tell you because that helps them keep their brand as the fastest growing minority religion,” Jacob Mercy told WW Saturday morning. “This brand makes numbers seem so large people wouldn’t possibly think it could be a cult.”

Mercy was talking to WW at the sixth monthly Anonymous protest (see what happened in May here) in front of Portland’s Church of Scientology. As at previous protests, some of the 20-odd participants wore Guy Fawkes masks like those in the movie V for Vendetta, while others wore bandannas or, like ringleader Mercy, went unmasked.

Mercy is a Portlander in the process of writing a book on the rise of Anonymous or “Anons”, the international group launched after Tom Cruise’s January YouTube debacle (in which the church tried—ultimately unsuccessfully—to suppress a video of prominent Scientologist Cruise waxing fruitloopy about his faith) and dedicated to stopping Scientology practices via peaceful means.

The protesters, a mixed bag of twenty- to fortysomethings, convened at Pioneer Square in the late morning for a quick rundown on the legalities of a peaceful protest. An Anon member reminded the group, “Remember, they are well-informed in the court system—if we slip up, we’ll end up in court.”