Battleground Foley: A Scientology Narconon “Sauna” Rehab?

Church of Scientology: Clearwater (FL)

Foley: Clearwater Rehab

The withering little downtown area of Clearwater, Florida, has a beauty parlor, a pizza shop and a couple of run-down saloons, as well as a bunch of aging bungalows and some old storefronts that look as if they haven’t seen any customers in years. There are few cars and almost no one walking on the streets. There is, however, a fleet of gleaming white and blue ones that slowly crawl through town, stopping at regular intervals to discharge a small army of tightly organized, young, almost exclusively white men and women, all clad in uniform preppy attire: khaki, black or navy-blue trousers and crisp white, blue or yellow dress shirts.

Some wear pagers on their belts; others carry briefcases. The men have short hair, and the women keep theirs pulled back or tucked under headbands that match their outfits. No one crosses against the light, and everybody calls everybody else “sir,” even when the “sir” is a woman. They move throughout the center of Clearwater in tight clusters, from corner to corner, building to building. This regimented mass represents the “Sea Organization,” the most dedicated and elite members of the Church of Scientology.

For the past thirty years, Scientology has made the city of Clearwater its worldwide spiritual headquarters, its Mecca, or its Temple Square. There are 8,300 or so Scientologists living and working in Clearwater, more than in any other city in the world outside of Los Angeles. Scientologists own more than 200 businesses in Clearwater. They sit on the boards of the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts.

Members of the church run schools and private tutoring programs, day-care centers and NARCONON, a drug-rehab clinic. Narconon, which relies upon “sauna” detox, has been documented as having been founded and under the absolute control of the Church of Scientology.

In July 2004, The St. Petersburg Times dubbed Clearwater, a community of 108,000 people, “Scientology’s Town.” On the newspaper’s front page was a photograph of Scientology’s newest building, a vast, white, Mediterranean Revival-style edifice known within Scientology circles as the “Super Power” building. Occupying a full square block of downtown, this structure, which has been under construction since 1998, is billed as the single largest Scientology church in the world. When it is finally completed in late 2006 at an estimated final cost of $50 million, it will have 889 rooms on six floors, an indoor sculpture garden and a large Scientology museum. The crowning touch will be a two-story, illuminated Scientology cross that will shine over the city of Clearwater like a beacon.

Foley: Gone to Narconon Detox Mansion

The widely-read investigative political blog, Wonkette, has come up with this juicy bite of information:

“Gay sex with children, underage drinking, gross e-mails and IMs, Congress, the Republicans, Macaca, rehab … you were probably thinking there was no possible way this story could get better. Oh ye of little faith, how about a heaping helping of Scientology? First, our trusty Scientology Investigator sent us this detail:

“Foley sent his “Gone to Detox Mansion” fax from Clearwater, Florida. Are there any rehab joints there that aren’t run by Scientology? Remember, that’s the same cult that says they can ‘cure’ homosexuality ….”

Clearwater is known as the town Scientology built … or at least the town Scientology almost completely redeveloped. Clearwater is also home to Narconon, L. Ron Hubbard’s homemade rehab program. And it turns out Foley was no stranger in Clearwater. At a 2003 Scientology meeting, Foley gave a speech and was photographed happily accepting “leatherbound copies of Dianetics and The Way to Happiness.” In 1999, Foley joined three other Scientology-friendly politicians in condemning Germany for outlawing Scientology; German law is very strict about cults, because of previous problems. The Clearwater Scientologists also held a fund-raiser for Foley’s aborted Senate run; he dropped out after the gay thing was mentioned.

And on Friday, the Creative Loafing blog in Tampa reported that Foley attended a Scientology gala in Los Angeles five years ago: Memories of Mark Foley (Creative Loafing)


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