Saturday, March 11, 2006

James Sullivan, Scientology, And MOVE

The most recent edition of Rolling Stone Magazine features one of the most comprehensive articles on Scientology that I can recall seeing in some time.

While many people would be of the opinion that there is a wide gulf of difference between MOVE and Scientology, I would be quick to disagree. What I was quick to notice as I read the article was that if you stripped Scientologists of their veneer of slick corporatism and MOVE of it’s faux radicalism you are left with essentially the same totalitarian elements and methodology.
Take for example how Scientologists deal with former members who speak out:

"Scientology has been extremely effective at attacking its defectors, often destroying their credibility entirely, a policy that observers call "dead agenting." Some of the church's highest-profile critics say they have been on the receiving end of this policy. In the past six years, Tory Christman claims, the church has spread lies about her on the Internet, filed suit against her for violating an injunction for picketing on church property and attempted to get her fired from her job. Rinder dismisses Christman as a "wacko" and says her allegations are "absolute bullshit."
When Christman split from the church, her husband and most of her friends -- all of them Scientologists – refused to talk to her again. Apostates are not just discredited from the church; they are also excommunicated, isolated from their loved ones who, under Scientology rules, must sever or "disconnect" from them. Scientology defines those associated with Suppressive People as "Potential Trouble Sources," or PTS."

I would encourage anyone who is interested in MOVE or in combating the ills of authoritarian sects to check out this article and to also drop Rolling Stone a note of support. Scientologists are notoriously litigious and I am sure that as I write these words that some entity within the church is coming up with some way to attempt to punish the magazine for it’s efforts. And on a lighter note Comedy Central will be airing the South Park episode of Scientology, and it is also something I would say is worth seeing.

On a much more serious note, the millionaire, bastard, James Sullivan was found guilty on all charges. Court TV covered this trial from beginning to end and I had to say it was as riveting a real-life drama as one could be, with a bereaved and embattled family on one side and a cold and revolting killer on another. Thankfully, the good guys won out after nineteen years of the pursuit of justice.

In brief, James Sullivan, a frugal and unscrupulous millionaire had his soon to be ex-wife, Lita Sullivan, gunned down by an equally unscrupulous hit-man who had lured the woman to her front door posing as a flower delivery man.

Due in part to his large fortune and a largely circumstantial case, James Sullivan has managed to elude justice until now. But now, after nearly two decades of evading his just due, a jury of his peers has convicted him and he now faces execution, if that is the punishment the jury is to hand down.

I happen to be sitting at my computer with Court TV tuned into the background when I heard that a verdict had been reached and I quickly piped up to hear what the jury had decided. I had been following the trial with great interest as I noticed some interesting parallels between the murder of John Gilbride and Lita Sullivan.

As the foreman of the jury read the verdict the Court TV cameras were focused in on the parents of Lita Sullivan and they just broke down as the verdict was read, guilty, guilty, guilty. I chocked up myself with emotion as I observed two parents who had for so long struggled with dignity and passion to see that the murderer of their daughter would finally be brought to justice weep and hold one another.

This case, I think, shows just how far our justice system has come over the years.

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago that no white man, especially a very wealthy white man, would ever be convicted for murdering a person of color. That was just the reality of our justice system. Today we learned that no criminal, no matter their race or the race of their victim, or the amount of money in their Swiss bank accounts, can escape from justice forever.

True it is, that our system of justice is, and will be forever, flawed, as those who authored it were, but we are moving in the right direction. And that is a fact that is unescapable.

So as I see James Sullivan led away in handcuffs to a prison cell that he will likely spend the rest of his life in, my thoughts turn to Alberta Africa, who sits smugly in her upper-middle class abode believing herself shielded by her money and the devotion of her misguided followers. Every night before she goes off to sleep in the house that she once shared with her murdered husband, I wonder if she is gripped by a moment of panic and worry that night may be her last night under a free sky. I wonder if the thought of the bullets her devotees slammed through the father of her only son, turn her dreams into nightmares and if pangs of guilt and hunger for repentance drive her further towards dementia and emotional fatigue. I wonder if the un-avenged apparition of John Gilbride makes visitations to her to torment her mind? And most importantly, I wonder when justice will come for Alberta. Perhaps it will take 19 years as in the case of Lita Sullivan, but justice will be done for John and for his son. I truly believe this, because despite all of MOVE’s best efforts, we who care about truth and what is right and against all that is wicked and cruel in this world will never forget John and what was done to him.
Till justice is done...


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