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Anderson Cooper Keeps Scientology Honest!

Scientology - It must be real, they use beakersKudos to Anderson Cooper. There are few members of the main stream media who are willing to confront the "nuttery" of the church of Scientology directly. For those of you who have not been watching Anderson Cooper’s 5 part series, here is a video:

I highly recommend watching this series. Anderson not only discusses violence in Scientology, but he directly calls out it’s leader, David Miscavige. I found this series particularly interesting because I have had the opportunity to speak to a member of the Sea Org myself. The gentleman I spoke to over six months ago, confirmed that violence was a regular occurrence with the church. This former member personally described seeing a violent attack perpetrated by a ranking member of the church. As this person described, he witnessed an attack in a computer room within the celebrity center. Check out the video!

Anderson Cooper Investigates Scientology

Anderson Cooper has been investigating charges of abuse within Scientology for the past several months. This week, a four  part series will begin running on CNN. Here is a link to find out more.

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/25/scientology-a-history-of-violence/ .

Fascination with The Absurd

ScientologyAlthough I never agreed with the beliefs of Christianity and all other theologies on the planet I atleast understood why they came into existence. My personal belief is that religions came into existence to explain the unexplainable. The things that as human beings scared us were explained by beliefs and supernatural beings. Earthquakes, vulcanic eruptions, tidal waves and other natural disasters were scary and we needed an explanation for them. As pattern seeking humans we like to explain the unexplainable and sometimes a bad explanation is better than no explanation. This is unfortunately the foundation for religions on this planet. I don’t agree with them yet I still get it, but Scientology not so much.

How is it possible in this modern age a religion could be born from the mind of a science-fiction writer and believed by thousands maybe millions of people worldwide. We’re supposed to be living in the information age. A time when technology and scientific reasoning should rule over silly notions and whimsical fancies. Yet it is in this very same age that the beliefs of Scientology have been allowed to foment a foothold in the minds of millions of intelligent people. I’m not going to bore you with an explanation of what Scientologists believe, it’s all over the Internet. I like to say what Scientologists believe is crazier than the rest but frankly a virgin birth, resurrection, eternal life and a belief in the happily hereafter make it kind of tough.

I have personally spoken to a member in long-standing of the Sea organization, a particularly dedicated group of Scientologists. He has since left Scientology but told account after account of what he personally witnessed as physical and mental abuse perpetrated on members of the Sea organization by their leaders. I’ve also spoken to someone who was personally onboard L. Ron Hubbard’s yacht and was treated in a very bizarre manner. The person I spoke to was there on official legal business. This person was made to wait over an hour for L. Ron Hubbard to sign a document. Finally when the document reemerged from the bowels of the ship that Hubbard was on, it did not contain his signature only what was alleged to be his thumbprint. This person was forced to return the next day to actually get a signature because in a court of law a thumbprint just doesn’t cut it. I have a very close friend who went to the celebrity center in Los Angeles to apply for a job. When my friend showed up for the interview he was told he had to give his car keys to Scientologist parking attendant. When my friend asked why he needed to give up his keys to the parking attendant he was told it was incase the car needed to be moved because the parking lot was so full. My friend looked around the parking lot and  realized he was only one of about 10 cars in a virtually empty parking lot. My friend began to feel a little nervous and protested to giving his keys up at which point they said that’s our policy there was no choice in the matter. My friend decided not to apply for the job and left. Keep in mind I’m a nobody. I’m as far removed from Scientology as anyone can get. Yet I have three personal anecdotal stories about the weird internal goings-on in the Church of Scientology.

Of all religions out there I’ve always had a sneaky fascination with Scientology. Scientology fascinates me more than the others for one simple reason. When you ask a Christian if they really believe that Jesus was the son of God, born of a virgin, died for our sins, and was resurrected they will say, “why yes of course they do”, they have to. Although I don’t believe what they believe, they generally will not lie about what their beliefs are. With Scientology it’s a whole new ballgame. Ask a Scientologists if they actually believe that the evil galactic overlord Xenu really ever existed and released Thetans in volcanoes that are now inhabiting humans, they act as if you are mocking them.  Ask a Scientologists if they believe in a policy of disconnection which requires that they drop all connections to family, friends or those who have spoken critically of Scientology, to look at you quizzically. If you ask a Scientologists what the fair game tactic is all about they feign ignorance. They’re fair game policy simply states that anyone who opposes Scientology or speaks out against it is fair game to malign, insult, slander or publicly destroy. This is a practice handed down from L. Ron Hubbard himself. He writes about it in Scientology documents. Yet ask any Scientologist about these aforementioned policies and they will deny all of it. I find it amazing people who are alleged to be intelligent, don’t  see straight through this for what it truly is, a moneymaking scheme with megalomaniacs running it.

Director Paul Haggis quits Scientology

It’s a bad week for Scientology, it seems. Paul Haggis, the film director who directed the movie Crash (and won an Oscar for it) has quit the Church of Scientology after 35 years partly over the church’s position on gay marriage.

According to the article…

Haggis wrote a letter addressed to Tommy Davis, the head of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. In it, Haggis said he was disappointed by the church’s tacit denial of gay rights in the debate over California’s gay marriage ban.

The letter can be read on Marty Rathbun’s blog (Rathbun is another high-level Scientologist who left the organization).

Some excerpts…

As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego.


I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.


The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word.  Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.


You had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian Right. In order to contain a potential “PR flap” you allowed our sponsorship of Proposition 8 to stand. Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear.


And in [a 10-minute CNN interview] I saw you deny the church’s policy of disconnection. You said straight-out there was no such policy, that it did not exist.

I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification – I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.

You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church.


To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?

And that is when I read the recent articles in the St. Petersburg Times.  They left me dumbstruck and horrified.


I carefully read all of your rebuttals, I watched every video where you presented the church’s position, I listened to all your arguments – ever word. I wish I could tell you that they rang true. But they didn’t.

There’s plenty more of interest in the letter and Haggis sounds genuinely distraught over the hypocrisy and lies he’s seen from inside Scientology. The church will, of course, make every attempt to discredit him, insult him, humiliate him, and refute him because that’s what they do. If any organization qualifies as a cult, Scientology is it.

Says Haggis in the MSNBC article

“The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping others,” Haggis wrote. “I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too would be horrified.”

Horrified… as we on the outside all are.

Tommy Davis can’t answer questions

Speaking of Scientology, Tommy Davis, one of Scientology’s most obnoxious spokespeople, was interviewed by Martin Bashir on Nightline in a segment about Scientology. Bashir asks him an entirely legitimate question about Xenu and Davis dances all around the question, feigning offense, and refuses to answer the question. When Bashir clarifies that he’s just doing his job and is asking the question in the context of his other questions, Davis threatens to walk out of the interview… and when Bashir asks again, Davis, in a perfect, childish hissy fit,  does just that.

The Davis segment starts at 3:40 (video auto-starts at that point)…

I find it amusing that Davis has to say how offensive it is, but he’s not actually clear on why the question is offensive or how it offends… nor does he say that the whole Xenu story is untrue. He goes on with the “I’m offended” argument… over and over. My opinion is that he comes across as evasive, childish, and obnoxious.

It would have been quite easy to just say, “My religious beliefs prohibit me from speaking about that.” End of story. Davis does say that once, but he evidently felt the need to pile on the crap about how offensive the question is and how he’s not going to discuss perversions on the internet and how Bashir is intentionally trying to offend him.

It was a simple, direct, clear question about Xenu and it deserved a simple answer. Davis couldn’t provide one. He stuttered. He feigned offense. He threatened to walk out. He talked around the issue. …but he didn’t answer.

The general assumption is that Scientologists only learn about the Xenu story when they’ve reached a very high level in the church and are prohibited from talking about it to anyone who has not reached the appropriate level (ie… paid enough money). You can find out all about the story by searching “Xenu” at any search engine, but one of the most comprehensive sites is Operation Clambake, operated by Andreas Heldal-Lund from Norway.

So perhaps Davis was just following the tenants of the church’s dogma by not speaking about Xenu. If it wasn’t true, he could have simply said it wasn’t, but he didn’t do that. He avoided the question and refused to answer, throwing up smokescreens and running around in verbal circles. That indicates, to me, that the probability is pretty high that he actually does believe the Xenu story, but doesn’t want to (or can’t) talk about it.

…because that level of crazy is just bad press.

(hat top to Friendly Atheist)

Scientology Convicted of Fraud in France

A Paris court has convicted the “Church” of Scientology of fraud and has fined it over half a million Euros, though the court didn’t go so far as to shut it down and ban it from operating in France. The case has been under investigation for more than a decade, it seems.

Unlike the United States, France doesn’t recognize Scientology as a religion, but classifies it as a “sect.” Some other European countries classify it as a cult, which is probably more appropriate. Interestingly, according to this MSNBC article

Belgium, Germany and other European countries have been criticized by the U.S. State Department for labeling Scientology as a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

Score negative one for the U.S. State Department.

Though the Paris court couldn’t ban the Church of Scientology from practicing in the country due to a legal amendment that had been enacted shortly before the trial began, there is still hope for a ban because the amendment in question has been changed. This trial is complete, but any further charges brought against Scientology could possibly result in a ban.

Of course, Eric Roux, the Scientology legal representative (from the French Celebrity Center), says the “church” will appeal the decision and stated, “Religious freedom is in danger in this country.” However, I don’t think Mr. Roux understands one of the basic tenants of religious freedom.

You have to be a religion.

Church of Scientology banned from editing Wikipedia

Scientology SymbolI’m a big proponent of free speech, so this may seem contradictory, but I’m delighted that the Wikipedia “surpreme court” has decided to ban Wikipedia contributions by any IP address owned or operated by the Church of Scientology.

The “Church” of Scientology is well known for its efforts to remove any Scientology-related materials and criticisms from the internet for years, using tactics ranging from legal threats to “fair gaming” the providers of the criticism. What makes this more insidious than mainstream religions is that Scientology attempts to censor its critics rather than responding to the criticisms.

So rather than let Scientologists continue to edit Wikipedia with bias and censorship, the Wikipedia honchos decided that it would be best just to ban them altogether.

From the article…

Officially, Wikipedia frowns on those who edit “in order to promote their own interests.” The site sees itself as an encyclopedia with a “neutral point of view” – whatever that is. “Use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – or to publish or promote original research is prohibited,” say the Wikipowersthatbe.

They were going to just ban then from Scientology-related articles, but because of the tactics employed by the Scientologists to edit from multiple IP addresses, changing their addresses for different edits. The article calls this “sockpuppeting” and it’s not allowed, according to Wikipedia’s rules.

So… banned. I delight in the irony of an organization known for its censorship getting banned from peddling its tripe.

As the article mentioned, this happens at the same time that a “real” trial is opening in France against the Church of Scientology, charging them with “organized fraud and illegal pharmaceutical activity.” Here’s hoping that the overwhelming financial resources of the Church of Scientology aren’t too much for the French government.

I have high hopes.