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Is it reasonable for a religion to require volunteers to sign perpetual gag orders?

SFF 2014/02/25 13:40:07
Yes! Think of how much easier this would have made things for the Catholic church.
No. People shouldn't have to waive all future free speech rights in order to volunteer for a religious group.
Other -- please explain
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The Church of Scientology is rolling out a new contract for their staff (who are called "volunteers" for legal reasons) requiring a perpetual non-disparagement agreement.

This agreement says (all-caps in source):
"I PROMISE AND SWEAR NEVER TO SAY OR ENCOURAGE OR INDUCE OTHERS TO SAY OR WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE OR DISPARAGING ABOUT L. RON HUBBARD (“LRH”), THE CHURCH, CSI, RTC OR ANY OTHER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OR THEIR STAFF, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS OR TRUSTEES, IN WHATEVER CAPACITY, OR ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES, MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES OF THE SCIENTOLOGY RELIGION. I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THIS NON-DISPARAGEMENT COVENANT APPLIES NOT JUST WHILE I AM SERVING ON THE CHURCH’S STAFF BUT ALSO IN PERPETUITY, SHOULD I EVER LEAVE STAFF.
...
In addition to anything else a court may require me to do for violating this Non-Disparagement Covenant, that I shall pay the Church $25,000 as liquidated damages (and not as a penalty) for each individual violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant"

Note that statements that are true are still "disparagement" under this agreement.

Does this seem like reasonable behavior for a tax-exempt religious organization? Imagine if the Catholic church had tried to use something like this to cover up its child abuse scandals.

Read More: http://tonyortega.org/2014/02/23/sunday-funnies-th...

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  • JGF 2014/02/26 01:51:57
    No. People shouldn't have to waive all future free speech rights in order to ...
    JGF
    Reasonable? Not in my opinion. But anything not blatantly illegal is acceptable and binding in a contract once you sign it. (I turned down an employment offer from Disneyworld because their contracts state that if you do anything, anytime, anywhere that could "reflect negatively on the Disney image" you could be fired.)
  • SFF JGF 2014/02/26 12:51:24
    SFF
    Indeed, though I would hope that religious organizations would aim a little higher than, "not blatantly illegal.'
  • NoName JGF 2014/03/03 20:04:14
    NoName
    By "not blatantly illegal" what do you mean exactly?
  • JGF NoName 2014/03/03 22:17:16
    JGF
    There are many "grey areas" in law; contracts may venture into this area as long as all parties agree (by signing). But a contract cannot specify anything that is actually illegal.
  • Jason - CoG 2014/02/25 22:14:53
    No. People shouldn't have to waive all future free speech rights in order to ...
    Jason - CoG
    +2
    All their claims to the contrary, that is classic cult mentality.

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2014/10/23 06:08:58

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