Cost of an Anti-Cult Affidavit by Stephen Kent: $ 11,000

Professor Stephen Kent, a professor at the University of Alberta, has emerged in recent years, as a traveling crusader against academic scholars of new religious movements who threaten the profession's integrity by, inter alia, appearing as expert witnesses on behalf of religious movements (see J. Gordon Melton's reply to Kent on this Web site).

Kent has recently appeared in Germany and Denmark to promote his crusade.

Anti-Scientologists have now posted on the Web his affidavit against the Church of Scientology in the well-known McPherson civil case. As far as I know, Kent has not objected to the posting, nor has he suggested that the document has not been faithfully reproduced. It is a document of 12.825 words (bibliography included). Of particular interest is the last paragraph:

"My curriculum vitae is attached to this report, and it lists all of my publications for the past ten years along with court cases in which I testified as an expert. For preparing this report I have been compensated at the rate of $200.00 per hour. I have worked approximately 55 hours on it. The exhibits that I plan to use in support of my opinion are included in my bibliography. "

Thus, the cost of the affidavit comes to $ 11,000. Readers familiar with Kent's private and public production will easily recognize that most of the affidavit is derived from Kent's previous works. At any rate, if Kent really thinks that experts in "cult" cases should make $ 11,000 for each 13.000-words document based on their previous works they write, he may be right after all and "academic integrity" may, in fact, be in serious danger.

Massimo Introvigne, Feb. 18, 2000

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