Protestors Gather At Biloxi's Church Of Scientology - - The News for South Mississippi

Protestors Gather At Biloxi's Church Of Scientology

BILOXI (WLOX) -- They wore masks, bandanas, even t-shirts to hide their identities.  Some of those who protested outside Biloxi's Church of Scientology Sunday say they prefer to remain anonymous to avoid any potential problems with the church. 

They're calling this protest mission "Operation Re-connect," a direct response to a scientology term called disconnection.

"If you're a scientologist and you have family members who are critics of scientology or don't agree with scientology, the church will ask you to disconnect from your family members who are not scientologists," said an anonymous protestor.

The Church of Scientology's International website addresses the issue.  However, its version of disconnection focuses on the person's right to choose whether or not to distance him or herself.

Another problem protestors say they see is the idea of the church requiring people to pay to advance their way into the church.

"In scientology, certain courses and books cost a flat fee, and you have to pay that fee to advance in the church and be apart of the religion.  It seems more like an elite club where you have to be pay to be a member," said an anonymous protestor.

The director for the Mission of the Gulf Coast Church of Scientology, Michael Quint, admits people do buy materials as they advance in the faith.  However, he says some of the religion's core instructional books can be found in libraries for free.

While the protestors who gathered may not see eye to eye with scientologists, they say they do not oppose a person's right to choose what he or she wants to believe.

"The choice is up to anybody. I won't begrudge someone for being a follower of scientology," said an anonymous protestor.

Michael Quint says he has no problem talking with the protestors as long as they take off their masks. Quint says he's nervous about people hiding their identities because recently, scientology churches have received numerous threats from anonymous groups.  

The protestors say they plan to organize another protest next month.

By Krystal Allan

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