Scientology is under fire for using the ANZAC legend to raise money.
The RSL has branded the campaign a disgrace and the Department of Veterans Affairs has now waded in, launching an investigation.
It is a fundraising campaign called the Scientology ANZAC.
For a donation of $10,000 you can help build a new Scientology centre in Auckland, New Zealand, and you will be awarded the title ANZAC.
"It's a very important word for the Australian people and the veterans and the service community, and, and this is pure abuse,” said John King, RSL National Secretary.
Scientology has long recruited A-List celebrities to attract new members but cashing in on our diggers is surely a new low.
We called to ask why they chose to do it, but they hung up without making any comment. They have also not responded to written questions.
Members of the public were more forthcoming with their assessment.
"You're using heroes in an absolutely pathetic way... it's disgraceful,” said one young man we showed the Scientology ANZAC flyer to.
"I think it should be removed,” said a Kiwi woman and her Aussie friend.
The Department of Veterans Affairs told us: "DVA has not received an application for the use of the word' Anzac' in this instance. In any event, it would not be allowed to be used in this way."
In addition, Veterans Affairs told us they have launched an investigation into Scientology and will demand an end to this abhorrent campaign.
So why did Scientology think they could misuse the ANZAC legend?
One reason might be that they regard themselves as the ultimate fighting force in the Universe and that Scientology is the last line of defence for mankind in an intergalactic war that's raged for trillions of years.
“The fact is the word ANZAC was claimed by mere mortals,” said King.
The RSL called on the Veterans Affairs Minister to take strong action against Scientology.
“"They're (Scientology) a world organisation and therefore by taking strong action against them it will set up a visual and mental approach that nobody should abuse or hijack the word ANZAC. It's very much ours and the Kiwis,” King said.
Possible punishments include hefty fines here and in New Zealand.
‘This term was not used for trade purposes, but for internal use only.
‘The Church in Australia and New Zealand recognises the historic important of ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps). We used this term in the spirit of cooperation between the two countries for an internal event.
‘We mean no disrespect to anyone, particularly those people who gave their lives for both countries.
‘We have the upmost respect for the meaning of ANZAC and would not seek to denigrate what it represents.
‘If we have offended anyone we apologize.’
FURTHER RESPONSE FROM REPORTER BRYAN SEYMOUR
‘I do not understand your response. The attached fundraising flyer was disseminated in order to maximise fundraising.
‘Please respond with a full description of how many people and how many jurisdictions have seen this advertisement?
'How many people have paid the fee to be awarded the title of Scientology ANZAC?'
‘By “the term”, do you mean the use of the word ANZAC?
‘Regardless of your intent, do you accept that your misuse of the ANZAC legend, and the accompanying artwork and presentation, is deeply offensive to all Australians and New Zealanders and is illegal?
‘I believe an on-camera apology is required – when can I film this?’