9 Hastings Const. L.Q. 153 (1981-1982)
Other People's Faiths: The Scientology Litigation and the Justiciability of Religious Fraud

handle is hein.journals/hascq9 and id is 171 raw text is: Other People's Faiths: The
Scientology Litigation and the
Justiciability of Religious Fraud
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of
the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the
apostles forth a little space;
And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to
do as touching these men ...
. . . Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work
be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight
against God.'
The proliferation of new religions has engendered hot dispute.2
* Associate, Palmer & Dodge, Boston. B.A., 1967, Cornell University; J.D., 1978,
Harvard University. The author represented several churches of Scientology while an asso-
ciate at Silverglate, Shapiro & Gertner (now Silverglate & Gertner), Boston, in 1979 and
1980. Discussions with Harvey A. Silverglate and Thomas G. Shapiro helped to formulate
some of the ideas expressed in this article.
1. Acts of the Apostles 5:34-39 (King James).
2. In popular parlance, these new religious groups are known as cults. Although the
word has attained a derogatory connotation, it simply means a new religion, often centering
around a charismatic leader. A sect, by contrast, is a secession from, or subgroup of, a more
stable and often culturally dominant religious group. See S. AHLSTROM, A RELIGIOUS
HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE 473 (1972). See generally S. AHLSTROM, .supra, at 473-
74; Wilson, The Historical Study of Marginal American Religious Movements, in RELIGIOUS
MOVEMENTS IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICA 603-11 (I. Zaretsky & M. Leone eds. 1974); Col-
loquium, Alternative Religions Government Control and the First Amendment, 9 N.Y.U.
REV. L. & Soc. CHANGE 1 (1980).
New religions, whether originating as sects or cults, are characteristic of United States
history. In the radical antinomian tradition alone, the accretions have been continuous,
from Mistress Anne Hutchinson in the 1630's to Timothy Leary in the 1960's. S. AHL-
STROM, supra, at 4. In the contemporary revival, at least four strains have been identified:
human-potential movements, evangelical fundamentalism, Eastern mystical religions,
and authoritarian cults. See Anthony, The Fact Pattern Behind the Deprogramming Contro-
versy. An Analysis and an Alternative, in Colloquium, supra, at 73, 75. A 1976 estimate put
total membership in the one thousand religious cults active in the United States at three

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