Black hearts and burning crosses: Scientology litigation is getting weird in Texas - 2014-01-10
We asked the very talented Observer to create for us a fun take on the meme that has grabbed hold of the Bunker this week after we learned about how the phrase "black heart" came up during a court hearing in New Braunfels, Texas.
Since more media is starting to pay attention to this lawsuit (and getting some things wrong), we'll try to give a quick sum-up. Monique Rathbun is suing the Church of Scientology, its leader David Miscavige, some of the church's private investigators and other defendants, claiming that she was harassed for several years with surveillance, interference with her job, and pranks that included a dildo being mailed to her place of work. And all because she is married to Mark 'Marty' Rathbun, who was once the second-highest ranking official in Scientology and worked directly with Miscavige. Marty defected from the church in 2004, started a blog critical of Miscavige in 2009, and the Rathbuns then became subject of the surveillance and harassing protests — which Scientology has admitted to being behind. But Scientology argues (in something called an 'anti-SLAPP motion') that the lawsuit should be thrown out of court because its use of private eyes to follow Marty and Monique was part of a religious dispute with the Rathbuns and should be protected as free speech.
As the Church of Scientology International's attorney Ricardo Cedillo put it in court Wednesday, it doesn't matter if his client has a "black heart," what matters is that it's a religious dispute that the courts shouldn't be involved in.