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Church member Travolta stands up for Scientology

Title: Church member Travolta stands up for Scientology
Date: Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Publisher: Los Angeles Herald Examiner (California)
Main source: link (84 KiB)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Thousands of Scientologists, buoyed by an appearance by church member John Travolta, marched downtown yesterday in the third day of protests over a $39 million fraud judgment against their church and its leader.

Police Sgt. Jay Decker estimated "a few thousand" Church of Scientology members participated in the demonstration. "There will be more," he predicted, as the week-long series of rallies progresses.

Scientologists had been arriving in Portland from across the United States, Europe and Australia since the verdict against the church was returned Friday.

Travolta broke from a promotional tour for the movie "Perfect" to fly to Portland early yesterday for a news conference.

Travolta said he had been a Scientologist for 10 years. "I receive counseling and I give counseling. I feel it's time to stand up for what I believe in, and I certainly believe in Scientology," he said.

Chick Corea, a jazz musician, cut short a Japanese concert tour to travel to Portland to give a free concert yesterday evening. "I, as a musician ... really value the right to speak freely and create freely, and this is the issue that is under attack right now," he said.

The Scientologists set up a base of operations in a park across from the courthouse where jurors awarded the judgment to Julie Christofferson Titchbourne. The 27-year-old Portland woman maintained the church fraudulently claimed it could improve her eyesight, intelligence and creativity.

Church members contend the judgment is an affront to their First Amendment rights of freedom of religion. They have 10 days to appeal the verdict against the church and its founder, science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

The purpose of the rallies was to "send the message out that attacks on religion have to stop," said the Rev. Ken Hoden, president of the Church of Scientology.

Actor Michael Roberts of Los Angeles said a telephone network alerted Scientologists around the world to the protest. "We all knew that the (Titchbourne) case was in progress, and the call went out" to come to Portland, he said.

[Picture / Caption: John Travolta: "I certainly believe in Scientology."]