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Public Influence: One front, the Way to Happiness Foundation, has distributed to children in thousands of the nation's public schools more than 3.5 million copies of a booklet Hubbard wrote on morality. The church calls the scheme "the largest dissemination project in Scientology history." Applied Scholastics is the name of still another front, which is attempting to install a Hubbard tutorial program in public schools, primarily those populated by minorities. The group also plans a 1,000-acre campus, where it will train educators to teach various Hubbard methods. The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor. The commission typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists and the field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling antidepression drug. Despite scant evidence, the group's members who call themselves "psychbusters" claim that Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings, appearances on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped spark dozens of lawsuits against Lilly.
Another Scientology-linked group, the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, holds antidrug contests and awards $5,000 grants to schools as a way to recruit students and curry favor with education officials. West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller IV unwittingly commended the CBAA in 1987 on the Senate floor. Last August author Alex Haley was the keynote speaker at its annual awards banquet in Los Angeles. Says Haley: "I didn't know much about that group going in. I'm a Methodist." Ignorance about Scientology can be embarrassing: two months ago, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, noting that Scientology's founder "has solved the aberrations of the human mind," proclaimed March 13 "L. Ron Hubbard Day." He rescinded the proclamation in late March, once he learned who Hubbard really was.
Health Care: HealthMed, a chain of clinics run by Scientologists, promotes a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins designed by Hubbard to purify the body. Experts denounce the regime as quackery and potentially harmful, yet HealthMed solicits unions and public agencies for contracts. The chain is plugged heavily in a new book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, by journalist David Steinman, who concludes that scores of common foods (among them: peanuts, bluefish, peaches and cottage cheese) are dangerous.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop labeled the book "trash," and the Food and Drug Administration issued a paper in October that claims Steinman distorts his facts. "HealthMed is a gateway to Scientology, and Steinman's book is a sorting mechanism," says physician William Jarvis, who is head of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Steinman, who describes Hubbard favorably as a "researcher," denies any ties to the church and contends, "HealthMed has no affiliation that I know of with Scientology."