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Date Posted: 13:43
Author: ketch - 26 Aug 2001
Subject: Re: Religioius Freedom Threatened
In reply to: Yogananda Devotee - 25 Aug 2001 's message, "Re: Religioius Freedom Threatened" on 13:38

It appears that you haven't done your homework. Spend some time reading the website:

What you appear to be saying is that if I would only read at this website then I would immediately see that the dispute is about religious freedom. Well YD, I have read the website and I am not particularly impressed. I find it noteworthy that while Kriyananda complains (with some justification) elsewhere that many of the allegations against him have been made anonymously on the internet, he does not seem to have any objection to his own followers anonymously setting up sites such as "Yogananda Rediscovered" which also make allegations against others.

A large part of that site is devoted to attacks on SRF and it's leadership, and it raises a number of good points, such as the failure of SRF to make available large amounts of film footage and writings, the alteration of photographs etc. These are valid issues most of which have been discussed here. However, they are also completely irrelevant to the legal dispute between SRF and Ananda. This is what I mean by a smoke screen. It seems to me that Ananda would like to confuse the issue in the minds of members of both organisations, and to pretend that the dispute is about religious freedom, not commercial matters.

The suggestion that the legal dispute is designed to suppress Ananda's religious rights is to some extent contradicted by the claims made at "Yogananda Rediscovered" and in your own post which states "....the years since SRF began suing Ananda have been the most expansive and successful in Ananda's thirty year history."

Also from that website:-
"Many times over the years settlement has been attempted, sometimes under court supervision, sometimes meeting on our own—the entire SRF board of directors sitting across the table from Swami Kriyananda and other Ananda leaders. Each time, it became clear that SRF's idea of settlement was for Ananda to give back to them nearly everything we had won in this lawsuit! Naturally, we refused."

So we see that Ananda is concerned about
"everything we had won in this lawsuit" not with religious freedoms.

The basic claim at "Yogananda Rediscovered" seems to be that the legal action could interfere with Ananda's rights by bankrupting the organisation. Leaving aside the fact that poverty is not an excuse to ignore others commercial rights this argument suffers from two serious flaws.

1) Should Ananda win the litigation it is likely that SRF would be ordered to pay Ananda's costs (or at least a large part of them).
2)Ananda's financial problems stem mainly from the costs and damages awarded in a sexual harassment lawsuit which Ananda/Kriyananda lost.

"Yogananda Rediscovered" skips over this trial saying "It was a mockery of justice and the verdict went against Ananda and Swami Kriyananda." They also try to imply that SRF was behind the lawsuit. Presumably this too is considered an attempt to deny Ananda religious freedom. In truth however the only "rights" which this trial sought to deny was the "right" to abuse those women who put their trust in Ananda/Kriyananda.

There are no laws which could be used to deny Ananda members the right to worship privately in whatever manner they wish. In fact there is very strong legal protection for such religious freedom.

No reasonable person would consider that "religious freedom" extends to the freedom to sexually abuse female devotees, or to ignore the commercial property rights of others, which is all that the litigation is about.

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