Scientology lambasted

As soon as protesters in a local anti-Scientology group, donning Guy Fawkes masks, arrived at the religious group’s temporary Portland office Nov. 1, members of the organization hurried to the windows to close the curtains and blinds.

Armed with picket signs proclaiming the Church of Scientology as an evil cult, the leaderless group, known as Anonymous, spread their ideas outside and around the offices of the religious organization, marching all over the downtown area.

Portland’s group, mostly made of full-time workers and students, is just one branch of the online-based protest organization, which operates and holds protests against the church in cities worldwide.

Although members of Anonymous feel strongly about the practices of the church, it’s nothing personal, they said.

“We have absolutely nothing against their beliefs,” said one masked protester at the rally. “[We] fully believe in the freedom of religion.”

Rather than attacking the ideology of practicing Scientology, the religion that purports mankind carries the souls of alien life forms within, Anonymous members instead attack the religion’s status as a cult that is guilty of exemption from taxes, child labor practices and manipulation of its members, among other alleged crimes.