Yet more Scientology and Autism

11 Mar

After my post on Friday detailing how one of the ‘recovered’ poster children of Generation Rescue was in fact diagnosed, treated and recovered by Scientologists (people who do not, by definition, believe in psychiatric conditions), I was forwarded another piece of information that really did make me sit back in my chair and wonder where this was all leading.

Dan Burton is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana. He is a firm believer in the autism/vaccine connection, being on record as stating:

“My only grandson became autistic right before my eyes – shortly after receiving his federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines”

He has acted in the interests of various parent led organisations who claim to be autism advocates and has become a powerful voice.

However, as the saying goes: behind every great man…

The people behind Dan Burton include (or used to) one Sarah Elizabeth (Beth) Clay who:

Beth Clay is Congressman Burton’s assistant, and Burton is the Chair of the House Oversight Committee.

This puts Ms Clay in a position of some strength with a man who is in a powerful position. In fact, as we can see Ms Clay has lobbied for SafeMinds, one of the largest antivax/autism movements, on numerous occasions.

Ms Clay also runs her own lobbying organisation BC and A International:

During her Capitol Hill tenure, Ms. Clay’s work focused on several breakthrough issues, including: complementary and alternative medicine, dietary supplement regulation, the epidemic rise in rates of autism spectrum disorders…..issues…..mercury and heavy metal toxicity

However, Ms Clay’s CV also includes other activities that are oddly not mentioned on BC and A’s website. She is a Board Member of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an organisation that:

CCHR was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and the internationally acclaimed author, Dr. Thomas Szasz.

Yup, Beth Clay, Assistant to Congressman Dan Burton and hired gun of SafeMinds is a Scientologist, or works with them.

We now have several DAN! doctors who are scientologists, several thiomersal/autism lawyers who are scientologists, a ‘cured’ child who was diagnosed (partly), treated and ‘cured’ by scientologists and now one Congressman who’s advisor is a scientologist. We also have one indirect link from scientology to Generation Rescue (in the shape of Julia Berle, founding parent of that organisation and mother to the ‘cured’ child described above) and one direct link from scientology to SafeMinds in the shape of Beth Clay.

Maybe its worth reminding ourselves what Scientology is. According to ex-scientologist, Roland Rashleigh-Berry, Scientology is:

….a vicious and dangerous cult that masquerades as a religion. Its purpose is to make money. It practices a variety of mind-control techniques on people lured into its midst to gain control over their money and their lives

The founder of this cult, L Ron Hubbard, once said:

Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion

Or maybe sell snake oil.

66 Responses to “Yet more Scientology and Autism”

  1. Kev March 14, 2007 at 21:07 #

    _”I sure seem to post a lot on your blog for a guy who can’t stand this medium. Perhaps I’m just someone who likes to stand up for what he believes in.”_

    Perhaps. But no. What you believe in is contemptible rubbish and to establish that fact one needs look no further than your statement, made that Jamie would be cured – 100% neurotypical, no different from his peers, in two years probably less. He started his regime in Sept 2004. That’s 2 and one half years ago. That demonstrates perfectly the sort of self aggrandising, no-nothing you are. You don’t even have the manhood to admit your error.

    _”Your comment about Google is way over my head, perhaps a good nap would be in order, I think you are giving yourself and the six people who post here a tad too much credit. And, keep in mind that most of the world doesn’t live on the Web the way you do, you may be losing touch with reality. I think you have an addiction and that your esteem is intertwined with this blog – perhaps you should have that looked at?”_

    Huh? Would you like me to produce the GR990 form for 2005 which shows you pissed away $100k of donations on Google Adwords? Why lie about it now? Or am I to understand that you frittered away 100K _and don’t even know what on???_

    _”tens of thousands of parents who are treating their children biomedically, sort of like a gnat in one’s ear.”_

    Tens of thousands? Are they hiding with the thousands of recovered kids? ;o)

    _”I posted here again after a welcome break because you are behaving like an extreme hypocrite by calling out other kids and I think that’s wrong.”_

    Yeah right. Once again, for the third time of asking – what _specifically_ singles me out as someone ‘calling out’ kids?

    _”Now, I must announce my departure, which I’m confident will be met with tears by your six fellow bloggers.”_

    Six? There’s tens of thousands! Didn’t you know???

    _”Keep it up guys, you continue to do absolutely nothing!!”_

    Kathleen got referenced in The Lancet recently. You concentrate on the DAN! conferences, little fish ;o)

  2. anonimouse March 14, 2007 at 21:42 #

    If by calling out kids you mean

    questioning the rather fantastic, PUBLIC story of a child cured of a condition that no reputable medical professional believes can be cured

    then I would suggest Kev is likely doing something like that.

  3. J March 14, 2007 at 22:07 #

    Kev – Scientologists have a policy of “attack and never defend”, wither that or they try their darndest to dance around answering questions. I would suspect this is the case with MD. (He still has not answered my question why he links to and

    They also like linking complaints and complainers to “gnats”

  4. Kev March 14, 2007 at 22:20 #

    _”Oops. Forgot sig.”_

    And neurons Mike, don’t forget them.

  5. jypsy March 14, 2007 at 22:29 #

    I hope he enjoyed our Tip-to-Tip blog. See… I’m not Diva

  6. Prometheus March 15, 2007 at 02:03 #

    I think that the appeal to numbers (“…tens of thousands of parents who are treating their children biomedically…”) is sympromatic of the overall problem.

    It really doesn’t matter how many people “believe” in “biomedical intervention” because this isn’t an election.

    Ultimately (although not until the fog of certitude dissipates a bit, I fear), the cause(s) of autism will be found and – with a bit of luck – some effective treatments will derive from those discoveries. That information will not be decided by a popular vote or opinion poll, but by the patient sifting of data.

    Even when the majority of the human population believed that the earth was the center of the universe, our planet was still circling the Sun, which in turn was out on a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Just as it is today.

    Public opinion has no impact on scientific facts, but it can alter the time it takes to discover those facts. Convincing the body politic that autism is caused by mercury or vaccines or bad parenting will slow the eventual discovery.

    But it won’t change it.


  7. Ms. Clark March 15, 2007 at 05:31 #

    I’m not jypsy, either. Though I wouldn’t mind being mistaken for her sister. She’s prettier ‘n me, and mom always did like her best.

  8. Do'C March 15, 2007 at 14:07 #

    “Huh? Would you like me to produce the GR990 form for 2005 which shows you pissed away $100k of donations on Google Adwords?”

    I heard about that Kev. Actually, I heard that it was more like $110K for 6 or 7 months for Google Ad Words (not even a whole year). I wonder if they cut back on that budget for 2006.

  9. anonimouse March 15, 2007 at 14:22 #

    I’d like to see their 990 as well.

    I would think JB knows that if he doesn’t provide it willingly, you can always get a copy of it from the IRS. You can sometimes get them online from GuideStar although GR’s isn’t on there yet for some reason.

  10. Pass the Buttar March 15, 2007 at 16:28 #

    The beautiful thing about this argument is that we can’t both be right. One of us therefore MUST be wrong.

    A. Autism is epidemic because it is caused by an external/environmental event and therefore treatable.

    If A is true, you parents will end up feeling rather rotten for not having treated your children.

    B. Autism has always been here. It’s just a genetic difference in brainwiring/being. You can’t treat it, you just accept it.

    If B is true than the mercury militia like me will have unnecessarily scared parents out of vaccinating and helped push quackery that did nothing to help autistic kids.

    -JB Handley

  11. Kev March 15, 2007 at 17:16 #

    GR 990 for 2005. Enjoy.

  12. sophia8 March 15, 2007 at 19:21 #

    Very interesting document. I notice that although one of GR’s stated objectives is to sponsor scientific research, virtually all their money in 2005 ($450K+) went on advertising and PR. With zilch going to research.

  13. Bonnie Ventura March 15, 2007 at 20:51 #

    Do’C wrote:

    I heard that it was more like $110K for 6 or 7 months for Google Ad Words (not even a whole year). I wonder if they cut back on that budget for 2006.

    Yes, I started seeing their adwords on autism-related sites in June 2005 or thereabouts. Then they cut way back in December, after blowing their budget on the infamous New York Times ad that most of the quoted scientists promptly denounced.

  14. Do'C March 15, 2007 at 21:29 #

    “It clearly shows that no money is going into research, but into PR.”

    For 2005. 2006 and 2007 might be different.

  15. Mork March 16, 2007 at 00:27 #

    Some information about SafeMinds, Cure Autism Now (Etc)

    “Jim Moody, Legal Counsel Heidi Roger, Treasurer Lynn Redwood, President Sallie Bernard, Executive Director Mark Biaxill, Member Albert Enayatl, Secretary”

    Cure Autism Now:
    “Sallie Bernard, Chair”


  1. Musings on Music, Religion and Politics | Bang the Drum - April 6, 2007

    […] Let’s not limit it just to Christians. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who routinely preaches his anti-vaccination gospel and pushes forward with the proven-false claim that vaccines lead to autism has deep ties to Sarah Elizabeth Clay, who is a board member for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a known front for Scientology and used to be his top aide. Burton is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress. Whether Burton himself is a Scientologist is up for grabs, but a look at his record certainly indicates like-mindedness with their anti-vax, anti-psychiatry stance. […]

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