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Journal of No. 118


October 27th, 2009

Scientology in the news @ 06:37 am

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Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis, a 35-year member of Scientology, leaves the church. Discontent with the San Diego branch's support of Prop 8 led to a voyage of discoveries about Scientology:

The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping others. I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too would be horrified. But I know how easy it was for me to defend our organization and dismiss our critics, without ever truly looking at what was being said; I did it for thirty-five years. And so, after writing this letter, I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me. I will always take their calls, as I always took yours. However, I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer be a part of this group. Frankly, I had to look no further than your refusal to denounce the church’s anti-gay stance, and the indefensible actions, and inactions, of those who condone this behavior within the organization. I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.



Fined for fraud in France: The case was brought by two former members who said they were cajoled into spending 21,000 euros and 49,500 euros on personality tests, vitamin cures, sauna sessions and "purification packs."
Seems a little pricey, but in what sense is it fraud? Did they not receive their vitamins and personality tests? Perhaps my American upbringing is too strong -- is it wrong to take money from suckers?


Martin Bashir & Nightline on Scientology. Bashir badgers a church spokesman about Xemu. But since you have to give the church a lot of money to hear about Xemu, the spokesman isn't going to give it away for free, so he walks out (near end of that clip). But how would it play if Bashir was badgering an orthodox Jew about the proper pronunciation of YHVH? Scientology may be a 'public faith' in Bashir's words, but does that mean a religion can have no mysteries reserved to the initiated?


Lack-of-God knows I have no love for Scientology, but I think the collective we should either grant it the same respect we grant to the mainstream religions, or we grant mainstream religions as little respect as we grant Scientology.
 
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:October 27th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
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...I think the collective we should either grant it the same respect we grant to the mainstream religions, or we grant mainstream religions as little respect as we grant Scientology.

Oh so agreed! I had exactly the same thoughts watching that clip.
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From:swmartin
Date:October 27th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
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It's kind of hard to give Scientology any respect when it's so obviously designed as a profit-making scam. The same charge has been levied at many mainstream religions, often with good reason -- anyone want to buy some indulgences? But those money-making systems usually accreted onto pre-existing religious organizations and were routinely (and often successfully) targeted by internal reformers. In contrast, Scientology really appears to have been a scam from day one, and is notoriously shameless in its methods of requiring money from adherents to gain access to the religion's mysteries.

I do believe that many European countries tend to go a bit overboard in persecuting the Scientologists. But I also appreciate the fact that, from almost everyone else's viewpoint, we Americans are almost ridiculously tolerant of wacky cults.
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From:dogofthefuture
Date:October 28th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
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I'll take the latter, but since I know it's gotta happen, we have to put up with Scientology. That said, I'm still bummed that Clinton rolled over and had the IRS give them a tax exemption after 40 years of refusing to.

Journal of No. 118