One of the most fascinating documentary series to hit television in a long time is Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The Emmy-winning show, which just wrapped up its second season, has done a tremendous job exposing the heartbreaking abuses at the hands of the church, as well as the great lengths Scientology has gone to cover them up.
The response to the series has been incredible, and the movement to strip the church (which is better labeled a cult) of its tax-exempt status is growing. Apparently, that movement includes someone with a sizeable bully pulpit: President Donald Trump.
The Hill reports:
Twitter messages from a Trump family friend and top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) claimed that Trump and his family "couldn't agree more" that the church should lose its tax-exempt status.
"From The moment I saw your series I told President Trump & his family we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn’t agree more, but please don’t publicize that yet," Lynne Patton wrote to actress Leah Remini in the messages obtained by HuffPost. “This is going to get done in the next 4 years or I’ll die trying. Knock on wood!”
Patton has been an associate of the Trump family since 2009, and she has promised to do research into stripping Scientology of its status as a church.
“I look forward to doing my part to help put an end to this ongoing nightmare and blatant misuse of our IRS rules & regulations," Patton wrote to Remini. "I want to do more research on Scientology’s history with the IRS, to date, so that I can better understand what tactics have been applied and where we can pick up."
But there's a problem. Experts say that administration influence may be illegal.
“For the White House or any administration official to try and influence who the IRS targets, for whatever reason, is wrong and could result in a violation of the law,” said former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission Larry Noble. “The IRS must make these decisions independently without any influence by the White House or administration officials.”
That could very well be true. But then again, you can find somebody who's going to go on record saying that most anything Trump says or does violates some law.
Scientology is a dangerous cult that abuses children, breaks up families, extorts money from its followers, and in some cases has forced women to abort their babies. I'm immensely proud of Leah Remini, her co-host Mike Rinder, and the dozens of former Scientologists who have come forward to expose their former faith for the fraud that it is.
I welcome Trump's support in the fight to expose Scientology for what it truly is. It must be stopped, and if it takes the influence of the President of the United States, so be it.