Mark Bunker posted a video to his YouTube channel entitled “Scientology Coup Attempt at Downtown Development Board.”
In the video, Bunker talked about a recent Clearwater Downtown Development Board meeting where it was proposed that they eliminate his position as a non-voting member, and keep the non-voting member position that the Mayor holds.
Here’s the discussion I had with Mark.
AlanzosBlog: “Do you think when you helped to create a video promoting a tour company calling itself “Cult City Tours” just a couple of weeks before, that this might have been another unspoken factor in their majority decision to kick you off the board? I mean, as a member of the Downtown Development Board, should you really be endorsing and helping to promote a company with a minority slur in its name? Isn’t that the exact opposite of what you should be doing to promote business in downtown Clearwater?”
Mark Bunker: “Then speak it and not hide behind “an acceptable truth.” It’s called Cult Tours now, BTW. One way that Ted has shown he can change unlike Scientology.”
AlanzosBlog: “I agree that their reasoning should be out front, so that the real issues can be debated. But ‘Cult Tours’ still contains a minority slur in its name, and is hardly an upgrade. No city official should endorse, let alone promote, the slurring of minorities in the United States. The way to beat Scientology’s power in Clearwater is to out-compete them, not by trying to get as many citizens of Clearwater as possible to engage in religious persecution.”
Mark Bunker: “I haven’t used the word cult personally in probably 20 years. Had Ted called his business “Scientology Tours” the organization would have sued over copyright issues. It’s important to remember that when Scientology asked the judge to move the Lisa McPherson trial out of Clearwater, it was because they spent money to take a survey of residents. The survey said the majority of respondents called Scientology “a cult.” That reputation was built from decades of the organization’s actions not beliefs. I consider Scientology a religiously themed business and it should be taxed as such. It does however fit into every one of Professor Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform: ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_Reform_and_the_Psychology_of_Totalism https://www.xenu.net/archive/infopack/7.htm
AlanzosBlog: “Are you a Christian, Mark? As long as we’re constantly talking about one group’s beliefs and practices, let’s get it all out on the table, shall we? It’s only fair. If you’re not a Christian, are you Jewish or Atheist? Ted Reinhardt, the front man for “Cult Tours”, has been very upfront about being a devout Muslim. I’m a Buddhist. I was studying Buddhism before I got myself into Scientology and I went back to it when I got out 20yrs ago. So, what ideology do you adhere to?”
Mark Bunker: “Does it matter? Knowing you’re Buddhist doesn’t explain why you use Freedom Magazine videos as a valid source of information on your website. It just shows you’re a dick and that is the important characteristic you possess.”
AlanzosBlog: The reason that it matters, Mark, is that long time anti-Scientologists such as yourself are usually inspired in their decades-long crusades by their own ideology. They will go after Scientology, not for anything illegal, but because Scientologists believe something different than you believe.
This not only becomes a distraction to prosecuting actual criminal acts, but when this kind of pinheaded chauvinism is given government power, even city council power, it is dangerous for minorities. Since you are a city official now, and you spend so much time trying to whip up people to persecute others for their religious beliefs, you should disclose your own religious or ideological beliefs so voters can be more informed.
So are you a Christian, Mark?
Mark Bunker: “Here’s the important point. You labeled me an anti-Scientologist which I am not. I have no problem with Scientologists. The fact is that I have many friends who are former or independent Scientologists and am always willing to give current members the benefit of the doubt even when they label me an SP. I can differentiate between the person and the indoctrination.”
“I have no reason to believe that Paris Morfopoulis is anything but a good person, family man and citizen. That he approached me on the street to say horrible things to me when I have never done that to him stems from Hubbard’s “always attack, never defend” attitude and years of TR bullbaiting exercises in the Scientology organization and displays why people think Scientology itself is a cult. Who behaves like that? Well, someone whose worldview is shaped by a delusional conman like Hubbard. Doesn’t mean Paris is a bad person but I choose not to behave in that way myself.”
“Beliefs aren’t the problem. You can be labeled a Republican or Democrat and make assumptions about someone who is a member of the other party but that doesn’t paint a full picture of “the other.” I have plenty of friends who I disagree with on both sides. I have also met some followers of Q which is just as nutty as believing L. Ron Hubbard was a remarkable humanitarian who unlocked the secrets of the universe and for a substantial sum of money he can teach you how you can control matter, energy, space and time just like that rascal did while he was hiding out from the feds in a desert compound for the last 10 years of his life.
“Call me what you like. Imagine I am Rastafarian if you wish or a Wiccan or Southern Baptist or Jewish. What I oppose is Scientology’s fraud and abuse which I don’t believe deserves to be tax exempt.”
AlanzosBlog: “That he approached me on the street to say horrible things to me when I have never done that to him stems from Hubbard’s “always attack, never defend” attitude and years of TR bullbaiting exercises in the Scientology organization and displays why people think Scientology itself is a cult. Who behaves like that?”
“You just called me a “dick” for taking a position you disagreed with.
“Who are you to decide who holds a “belief” vs who has been “indoctrinated”? Who are you to slur someone else’s religion as a “cult”?
“As a private citizen, you can say whatever you want. But as a public servant, you can’t. You don’t have the power to delegitimize anyone’s religious beliefs as long as those beliefs are legal.”
“Whether you’re a judgy Christian, an arrogant Atheist, or a fervent Jew fighting “false prophets”, your personal beliefs can not be used to deny the rights of minorities to engage in legal behavior.”
“And as an elected office holder, you are simply running a religious persecution campaign, and it is a violation of your oath of office.”
Mark Bunker: “You edited your comment but I wanted to respond to what you originally wrote which was:
“You just called me a “dick” for taking a position you disagreed with. Who are you to decide who holds a “belief” vs who has been “indoctrinated”? Who are you to slur someone else’s religion as a “cult”? As a private citizen, you can say whatever you want. But as a public servant, you can’t. You don’t have the power to delegitimize anyone’s religious beliefs as long as those beliefs are legal. Whether you’re a judgy Christian, an arrogant Atheist, or a fervent Jew fighting “false prophets”, your personal beliefs can not be used deny the rights of minorities to engage in legal behavior. And as an elected office holder, you are simply running a religious persecution campaign, and it is a violation of your oath of office.”
“I called out your dickish move of relying on Scientology propaganda from Scientology’s Freedom Magazine to smear former members. It’s not because of your beliefs because after all you are Buddhist and as far as I know Buddhists don’t generally behave that way. At least they don’t do Training Routines or follow policies that are meant to “shatter suppression.”
“Who am I to slur someone’s religion as a cult? Well, I don’t. I believe I told you that. But how about Heaven’s Gate? Jonestown? Can someone call those deeply held religious beliefs a cult? Do you have to wait till everyone kills themselves before you mention that maybe there was a problem there that someone should have noticed? I am not denying anyone their rights to believe in anything they want including Hubbard and his tech. I haven’t passed or even proposed any laws that would abridge anyone’s religious freedom. As for indoctrination, Hubbard created a mind-control factory that sucks you in and promises “truth revealed” if you just hand over your wallet. You are love bombed, taught to only rely on what Hubbard said, learn Hubbard’s loaded language to set you apart from the outside world and as you progress you come to believe what Hubbard wanted you to believe. “That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others…” unless it’s about Scientology. In that case the speaker is Fair Game and must be destroyed.”
“I’m not running a “running a religious persecution campaign.” I’m speaking freely as an individual as I have always done. I am not denying the rights of any minorities.”
AlanzosBlog: “You are now comparing Scientology to the AntiCult stereotypes of Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate, trying to get people to believe that Scientology is headed to mass murder and suicide.
“Scientology is nothing like these groups, but that’s not what you want people to believe. In your AntiCultist hysteria, you are trying to whip up the people of Clearwater into a moral panic against Scientologists.
“Whether it’s in the Jim Crow South, or today’s downtown Clearwater, this kind of stereotyping and dehumanization of minorities should never be allowed at any level of government.
“You should resign now.
Whether Mark Bunker is a Christian, or a Jew, or an Atheist, he is certainly an AntiCultist.
Five or six years ago, I would have repeated everything Clearwater City Councilman Mark Bunker said here.
But I have since questioned the hysterical beliefs of AntiCultism, just as I questioned the beliefs of Scientology earlier.
I have come to see that even though there are several suspected criminal acts by specific individuals connected to Scientology and the Clearwater Police Department which must be investigated, getting that done never requires anyone to stereotype and dehumanize all members of Scientology, the vast majority of whom never harmed anyone and never would.
AntiCultism, as displayed here by Mark Bunker, can not be allowed to rise to power in the United States. Just as AntiDemocratic forces should be cleaned out from the government in the United States, so must be AntiCultism. It is antithetical to American ideals.
I repeat here.
Mark Bunker should resign.