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As I hope many people already know, John Lindstein filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and David Miscavige on the 25th of November this year. A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mr. Miscavige.

The document details Scientology 'business' practices that should be more or less common knowledge by now: human trafficking, child labor, imprisonment, providing abhorrent living conditions and zero compensation to their 'employees' (hereafter referred to be the only word that can give proper justice to what is done to those unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of the 'church': slaves).

This is only the latest chiming of the alarm in recent years. In October, Clair Headley filed a suit with similar charges - though not naming Miscavige personally - and the date for her jury trial has been set for 2010.

I think 2010 ought to mark the end of the last full decade that any respectable nation continued to harbor the 'Church' of Scientology or to recognize it for anything other than what the evidence has plainly shown it to be: a front & money laundering agency for an organized criminal syndicate & pyramid scheme.

Nevermind the ridiculous occasional outbursts of Tom Cruise (a man I far more pity than anything else) or the laughable space opera fiction regarding Xenu - what Scientology does to it's members within the confines of it's 'bases' is more repulsive and malevolent than much of what Al Capone's thugs did during the prohibition era. It's been a matter of public record ever since the debacle that was Operation: Snow White that Scientology's core membership not only has no qualms about breaking the law, but also that many of it's tenets expressly demand that 'church' members engage in brutal campaigns of harassment, browbeating and other forms of coercion / intimidation ad infinitum.

That the organization has survived the death of it's founder and lives on to this day with a strong pulse is shameful. A just society cannot exist in symbiosis with such an entity.

The 'Church' of Scientology is a cancer that needs to be carved out and discarded.

David Miscavige is a psychopath that needs to be imprisoned.

Here's to 2010. I look forward to it if for no other reason than these impending court cases; if / when Mr. Miscavige is prepared a room in the iron bar motel, I'll go to my grave with a grin on my face. I imagine that the sheer scale of the Scientology enterprise will be it's Achilles Heel - it's simply impossible to dispose of the evidence that such a kingdom is constructed of.

Cheers.

If you have friends or family that were taken from you by this particular racket, here's another to hoping you'll get them back in the near future.

Originally posted to Kevin R Brown on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:00 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I too would like to see Scientology (7+ / 0-)

      tossed onto the dustheap of history, but this bizarre cult cum criminal conspiracy has inexplicable staying power.  Somehow they've found a sufficiently widespread weak point in human psychology to continue to rope people in.  I wish I could figure it out.

      •  You can't because you're a decent human being (5+ / 0-)

        If you were a sociopathic nutjob, it would all just look like the smell of fuckin' opportunity to you.

        That's why sometimes there is no "both" sides of a story.  There's just the side that's true. Anything Scientology sociopaths say about themselves can be ignored with no risk to your conscience -- they are always lying to you.  All the time.  Every day.  Because an organization like that draws sociopaths who feed on the decent and relatively helpless amongst us who abide by what we believe to be right.  There's a vast stripe of our populace who are not sociopaths but are not skeptics who get roped into this stuff every day.  Sociopaths know it; skeptics try to warn the rest of us, and in the end more people are rooked, ruined, and taken advantage of.

        Scientology is a sociopathic organization that should be dissolved immediately.

        I don't think you can comprehend how much I fucking hate George W. Bush

        by slippytoad on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:03:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not the perpetrators I can't figure out . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snazzzybird, kurt

          it's the victims.

          •  they're easy to figure out (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Vincent

            they want to belong to something, they may be vulnerable, and so on. just like any fringe religion. the 'faith' speaks to them so they give up a lot.

            disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

            by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:46:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Scientology does psychological testing... (0+ / 0-)

            and uses that process to identify target individuals. People who have been through high-stress problems, such as cancer survivors, or who have had family losses are their fresh meat.

            This organization is ripe for application of the R.I.C.O. civil and criminal statutes.

            Church ??? Hell, no.

            BTW: years ago, the F.B.I. got a warrant and raided the office in D.C.

            At about the same time there were three different homicides, where these cult members died under suspicious conditions.

            It seemed clear that the leaders of Scientology were largely sociopaths and paranoids. Obsession with their schemes was the standard mode of thought.

            Such as Tom Cruise ??? Refer to "histrionics" and you're getting the main idea. He can fake emotions by the ton. Stopping it, not so much.

            Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

            by vets74 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:12:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not so eager to... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vets74

              ...be harsh on Mr. Cruise. I see as him as much a victim of the Church as anyone else.

              From what I've read, Tom is apparently very insecure and socially phobic. The church laid it's hooks into those vulnerabilities and exploited them - and now he's their brainwashed lackey and scapegoat.

              The church takes his money, gets to use his image and clout and can simply duck behind him for use as a scapegoat when things go south. They've convinced him that the only people who are qualified to actually give him the help he needs (psychiatrists) are evil, and that anxiety suppressing drugs are evil.

              It's revolting to me.

      •  They also have TONS OF MONEY. Back in the 70s, I (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt, Clio2, Bonsai66

        had a friend who worked for a bank who could view just one of their checking accounts for one of the locations and it was in the HIGH millions - DAILY.  That creates staying power, plus lots of ability to promote itself.

  •  LOL, Scilons! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, vets74, Anjana, Pris from LA

    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" - Diderot

    by Reverend Floyd on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:06:02 AM PST

  •  I suspect this superstition will linger on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anjana, Pris from LA

    but it would be nice to see the perpetrators of some of these practices sent to prison.

    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do. " Oscar Gamble, circa 1980

    by Spider Stumbled on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:08:10 AM PST

  •  While it may be a racket (15+ / 0-)

    my take is that it's only recognized as such because of the relative proximity in space and time of its founding. As opposed to, say, EVERY OTHER RELIGION, which are untouchable simply because they're thousands of years old.

    Put it this way, if scientology had a leader who wore a hat like this, would be find it more or less scary/ dubious?

    •  Mythology aside, it's not a religion but a cult (12+ / 0-)

      The mythology (teachings) of Scientology is no more ridiculous than any other, I agree. Even though the founder did it as a scam, not unlike Mormonism and who knows what else. For all we know Christianity was created as a tax dodge.

      But Scientology is not a true religion for one simple reason: they keep their tenets a secret from their followers, only an elite few are allowed full access. Pretty much a textbook definition of a cult.

      Are you shaking or biting the invisible hand?

      by puppethead on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:15:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The founder, L. Ron Hubbard, a lifelong major (9+ / 0-)

        drug abuser and mediocre science fiction writer, famously stood before a sci fi writers' convention in Washington, D.C. in 1949 (or maybe 1950?) and told them they were all fools--that the only way to make real money and power was to claim that their inventions were REAL. He then went right out and did that.

        It really is incredible that Scientology has been able to fool so many people.

        •  One could make that argument (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, ukit, kestrel9000, Anjana

          about any religion, really.

          I don't exactly see the difference between this and the mandatory tithing some churches do, or the selling of indulgences in centuries past, etc.

          disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

          by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:36:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is true (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kestrel9000, Anjana

            All religions are equally ridiculous but some are more equally ridiculous than others.

          •  I don't know a lot of churches... (5+ / 0-)

            ...that do mandatory tithing anymore.  The Mormons, maybe - and I do critique this aspect in another comment - but I can't think of any other Christian church off the top of my head that has anything like a mandatory tithe in order to be able to participate in the full spectrum of the religion's practices or fully understand the church's theology.

            Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

            by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:39:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  my aunt's "nondemoninational" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kestrel9000, Clio2, Anjana

              apostolic church did, was one of the reasons she ended up losing her house. But they aren't affiliated to any larger group.

              disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

              by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:40:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, there are some splinter churches that do... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kalmoth, Anjana

                ...I have no doubt about that.

                But I'd be willing to wager that the vast majority of Christian churches would condemn such a mandatory tithe, particularly if it resulted in a congregant losing his/her house.

                Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

                by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:42:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Look at Europe. (0+ / 0-)

              In numerous nations, churches are still tax-supported. Which means, mandatory tithing. In Germany, if you are a declared member of a church, the state collects cash on their behalf.

              So, your "mainstream" churches aren't against mandatory tithes in principle. They're just not very workable under the American system -- you're likely to drive away members and receive less money if you do. But the Lutherans and RCC are perfectly willing to use the tax-man when he avails himself.

          •  Well, except Scientology's 'tithes'... (7+ / 0-)

            ...Cost thousands of dollars. In single lump sums, up front, or in the form of never-ending servitude beneath the church's heels in it's labor camps.

            Perhaps that was also the case of early bronze age religions during the medieval period - but we're not in the medieval period anymore, and what Scientology does to it's members is significantly worse than passing around a collection plate.

            •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RandomSequence, Anjana

              but I consider it an actual religion and not a cult.

              disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

              by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:43:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Significantly worse than what was just (0+ / 0-)

              revealed about what happened in RCC associated orphanages in Ireland until the 70's?

              Apparently Ireland's "medieval period" ended just a few decades ago.

              •  I'm not defending Catholocism... (0+ / 0-)

                ... and I'm opposed to religious superstition and servitude on all fronts. You'll note that many instances (like you one you cited) are isolated, however, whereas Scientology's very existence as an enterprise is dependent on the free slave labor it uses and the money it extorts from members.

                Perhaps it isn't so different other religions, but that's another argument for another story. This is about, specifically, Mr. Miscavige's exploits, and the worthiness of the lawsuits being brought to bear against him.

                •  Isolated??? That's ridiculous. (0+ / 0-)

                  What's isolated is the exact opposite -- that in the last few decades, it's become significantly harder for churches to abuse their "congregants". It's part and parcel of the history of most churches.

                  I'm not defending Scientology -- but it's only the extreme edge of religious practice. It's not watered-down, castrated, or otherwise bound like the mainstream groups have been in the recent past (recall that Vatican II was in '62!)

                  You can't look at these things in isolation -- religons won't. How much you wanna bet that you'll find amicus briefs defending Scientology from "mainstream" religious groups?

                  •  If you're expecting me to defend the practices... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Timaeus

                    ...of the Vatican, you're barking up the wrong tree. :P

                    I don't practice a religion, and advocate against practicing religions.

                    Scientology is different, however, from many maintstream religious groups, in same way that ministries like the Westboro Baptist Church are much more radical than most mainstream Baptist churches. For example: If I wished, I could go into any local Christian church, regardless of demonination, and listen to whaever nonsense, undergo confession, etc, without ever being asked for a dime. If you walked into a Scientology 'church', on the other hand, you will be given a sales pitch ended with a hard close and they will attempt to rob you of every penny you possess, right on the spot.

                    It's a tangible, significant contrast in approach and ruthlessness. How many Christian slave labor camps can you name that operate in first world industrialized nations, right now? Every single one of Scientology's RPF facilities is a slave labor camp! There's an order of magnitude more severity and barbarism in the Church of Scientology's operations.

                    •  No, they have their slave labor camps (0+ / 0-)

                      usually in 3rd world countries, usually run through a series of intermediaries.

                      You are right about that -- the Scientologists lack sophistication. My guess is that it's because they're still so small -- they can afford to directly run their crimes, rather than farm them out to "movements" or "allied churches". They treat their first worlders with respect still.

                      It's the problem of starting a small business -- when you run a small business you lack plausible deniability. You do the kickbacks yourself, rather than hiring a lawyer who hires a lobbyist who handles the kickbacks for you.

                      •  And again... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...many of the radical groups of Christians overseas are run independently of any central structure. There is no 'Mr. Miscavige' you can point to who is guilty of creating an organized enterprise designed to line his pocket and satiate his thirst for power when it comes to the Christian religion.

                        I've heard of many atrocities being committed in recent years by radical Christians (witch hunts being the most prominent), though I have to say I have not heard of fringe Christian groups that construct slave labor camps. Do you have any evidence or testimony to support that claim?

                        The Roman Catholic Church has plenty of blood on it's hands through encouraging superstition over condom use in Africa, but again, this isn't an article about the injustices of religious organizations. I haven't intentionally tried to omit the transgressions of religious bodies.

                        I'm lending support to one specific group of individuals who are very courageously trying to stand up to a monolithic entity (call it a religion if you want; I'll continue to call it a racket) that denied them their basic human rights.

                        •  Argh, you're over-reading. (0+ / 0-)

                          It's a fine thing you do in pointing out a particular miscarriage.

                          It's a terrible thing if you imply that it's peculiar to one particular group.

                          Read up on groups like The Family, their links to groups that are guilty of the worst atrocities -- all the way to slave labor camps.

                          Like I said -- it's good to knock out the small businesses giving kickbacks. But to pretend that the giant corporations that own Congress are somehow better -- well, that's a terrible thing to do.

                          And yes, that's a metaphor.

                          •  Well, here's my problem: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomSequence

                            'Religion', 'Religious' and 'Religiousness' mean different things to different people. It's sort of a vague term. Sam Harris, for example (who's writings I highly respect and agree with), feels that orthodox religions have effectively hijacked the idea of religiousness and perverted it to their own ends. Many perfectly moral individuals, and even secular individuals among them (though I myself part company with that crowd of secular individuals), feel that it is wrong to pin blame on religion or the religious experience itself for the ills caused by any one person or organization.

                            So, if I state that the Church of Scientology is simply another religion, I open an entirely new can of worms that has nothing to do with the issue at hand that is impacting real lives right now because people have philosophical disagreements over how, exactly, to define religion.

                            'Criminal racket' is not a vague term, and it describes the Church of Scientology's efforts in unambiguous detail. Nobody philosophically ponders over what organized crime does, or whether it's the cause of any ills: I am immediately beyond the initial hurdle that typically shields the practices of groups like the Westborough Baptist Church, The Vatican, the Mujahideen, etc.

                            Call it branding if you like. Had I been around a few thousand years ago, I'd have branded the burgeoning Christian church the same way - unfortunately, I missed that opportunity.

                            I have no intention of missing this one.

                          •  Very good point. (0+ / 0-)

                            But I like to make the big Mob distinguish itself from the little Mob.

                            That's another tactic -- you get them to agree that your local gang-bangers are "terrible, monstrous", then point out that the group they belong to (say, the Italian Mafia or Congress) do the same things at much much larger scales. That in point of fact, for every kid caught in inner-city crossfire, hundreds are killed by international arms-dealing abetted by the international gangsters that they so piously adore.

                            So, we're not at cross-purposes -- just cross tactics.

          •  Do most churches... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus, esquimaux, Son of a Cat, wa ma, Anjana

            ... have procedures for dealing with friends/family of adherents, who try to convince them that Scientology might not be good for them?

            Scientology does.

            Regards,
            Corporate Dog

            -----
            We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

            by Corporate Dog on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:47:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  If you ignore the details (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus, esquimaux, Clio2

          (like Xenu and e-meters and body thetans), it's a compelling rap:

          1. You should feel as if you have more control over your life;
          1. You have the innate power within you to control your life, and to have the life you want to have;
          1. We can teach you how to harness that power.

          I think that's basically what gets people in the front door.  It's the same rap that draws people to that idiotic "kabbalah" b.s. that Madonna is into, or makes them want to buy The Secret.

          "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

          by Pesto on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:43:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  you know if you want The Secret enough (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, Little Lulu

            you should be able to just will it to your door after you hear about it on Oprah by the force of your mind.

            disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

            by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:48:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Pesto, the first thing they do is give you a (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clio2

            "Personality Test," which tells you all about yourself and who isn't interested in everything about THEMSELVES???  Brilliant.  L. Ron Hubbard.  Really brilliant and diabolical.

          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            0wn

            the same promises as the legion of self-help books and systems the world over. Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich," EST, the Reverend Ike, etc., etc., etc.

            Self-help scam recognition should be part of any course of study in critical thinking.

        •  Interesting spin you put on reality (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomSequence

          What L Ron Hubbard was quoted as saying, by three different science fiction writers, at that convention, was "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is!"

          Interesting how you change that to say "invention", in an attempt to distinguish Scientology from a "real" religion.

          Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:14:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your version of the quote isn't materially (0+ / 0-)

            different from mine.

            And do you deny that he invented the "religion"?  Are you serious?

            No, of course not.

            •  It is materially different, because of the word (0+ / 0-)

              "religion", which was absent from your version.

              All religions are deliberately invented.

              You seem to want to avoid calling Scientology a religion (even in your response, you put it in quotation marks).

              Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

              by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 03:01:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  in a century (0+ / 0-)

        scientology will have split into several denominations/sects. Just watch. Well we cant, most of us will be dead. But still.

        disclaimer: I oppose the escalation and any contrary discussion of said escalation is just that.

        by terrypinder on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:39:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The textbook sucks. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catesby

        Religious practices exist on a continuum. "Secret teachings" are common -- among the Hasidic, mystical training is only allowed to the most senior, yet is a crucial element of the movement, for example.

        Most Catholic theology is inaccessible to most followers -- and even the central scripture was kept in the "secret" language of Latin well into this century. Recall that wars where fought over opening up access into the "secret" scriptures. Many Buddhist sects distinguish between the training for the lay population and the meaning to the initiates.

        Cults are "True Religions" -- they are at one end of a continuum of a set of practices that are common to religions -- nay, that are central to religions.

        One can argue that it is "Very Truly A Religion" and that mainstream religions edge towards not being religions at all.

        Remember that the prototype for religions where the Greek Mysteries back in classical civilizations. "Secrets" and "Initiations" were central to the classical religions, including primitive Christianity.

        The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied,
        "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
        Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."

        A plain reading of passages like these suggest that pre-Christianity was riddled with secret teachings, meanings held by initiates against the rabble of followers. Of course, theologians have spent millenia trying to explain away the parables...

    •  Emperor Palpatine... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kalmoth, ukit, vets74, Neon Vincent, Alec82

      ...after his run-in with Jedi BMF Mace Windu.

      The next Single Payer Happy Hour is 12/18/2009 because of the Winter Holidays.
      Bernanke wants to gut SS and Medicare.

      by Pris from LA on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:15:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Mormons have a similar problem (6+ / 0-)

      We're more familiar with the history of their claims, so they're less insulated from criticism than Christianity, Judaism and Islam...despite the similarly outrageous claims.

    •  You never miss a chance, no matter (0+ / 0-)

      how far-fetched, to bash the Catholics, do you?

      That makes you an intolerant and ignorant bigot, not the snarky genius you think you are.

      •  Me? (7+ / 0-)

        When did I ever bash Catholics before? It's not my fault their leader wears a goofy hat and carries a staff with a dead guy hanging from it.

        Why is it OK to bash Scientologists, and not Catholics?

        •  Bashing is OK for me, but not for thee. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder
        •  Exactly. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ukit, Xerxes, 0wn

          All you did was post a picture of Ratzinger wearing the attire he often chooses to wear.

          That someone should consider the mere posting of such a picture as "bashing" is, I think, quite revealing.

          Unfortunately, one cannot reason with religious people.

          Medicare for everyone.

          by Night Train on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:39:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's play "word substitution." (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, vets74, martydd

            Which of these is likely to get you HRed?

            Unfortunately, one cannot reason with religious people.

            Unfortunately, one cannot reason with Muslims.

            Unfortunately, one cannot reason with African-Americans.

            Unfortunately, one cannot reason with Democrats.

            In short: be a little more careful with that broad brush there.

            Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

            by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:41:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What are you getting at? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ukit, 0wn

              That there is an equivalence between being African American - something that you cannot change (unless you are Michael Jackson) - and being religious, which is something that one is by choice?

              •  I'm just pointing out bigotry. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                martydd

                Anti-religious bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                Would "Unfortunately, one cannot reason with Muslims" have gathered HRs? I'm inclined to say yes.

                Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

                by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:47:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Aren't Muslims a subset of religious people? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  0wn

                  Seems to me that he already covered them.

                  I finally put in a signature!

                  by Boris Godunov on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:50:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I can kind of see that . . .. (0+ / 0-)

                  I suspect that the correct, non-hide-ratable phrasing would be "Unfortunately - like is the case when dealing with adherents of any religion - one cannot reason with Muslims"

                •  Obviously you can reason with them (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terrypinder, Clio2

                  since 90% of the population is religious. And we all live our lives in remarkably similar ways irregardless of our theology (or lack thereof). But that doesn't mean their beliefs, when it comes to religion, are correct.

                  My point was just that things only seem "normal" when they reach critical mass. Once upon a time, Christianity was considered a cult not unlike Scientology by mainstream society, which worshiped different Gods. Now Christianity is normal, Scientology is kooky, and ancient Roman theology is a kooky historical footnote.

                  So which is right and which is wrong? IMHO, they are all wrong.

                •  Anti-religious bigotry is just as dangerous as ra (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ukit, RandomActsOfReason

                  ..

                  Yes, it is important to disassociate people from their ideas -- it is wrong to say that religious PEOPLE can't be reasoned with, primarily because it simply isn't true. It's plainly a stupid thing to say; none of us are reasonable all the time, and so it would be more true to say that human beings can not be reasoned with.

                  But it would be perfectly fair to say that RELIGIOUS ideas are unreasonable and unworthy of discussion -- right or wrong, it's a fair position. Or that reasoning with religious people over their religious matters is useless -- generally true.

                  But let's see:

                  Anti-communist bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                  Anti-Republican bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                  Anti-Teabagger bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                  Anti-Maoist bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                  Anti-Nazi bigotry is just as dangerous as racism, sexism, or any other -ism.

                  Isn't the liberal position that ideas exist in a global marketplace -- that all ideas should be open to criticism and outright battle?

                  Leaving aside hyperbole, religion is much more like my examples than yours.

      •  Bad things should be "bashed." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000

        And Roman Catholicism is a bad thing.

        Medicare for everyone.

        by Night Train on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:36:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is Ratzinger not the scariest dude? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssgbryan, terrypinder

        Is Catholocism, in all reality, anything other than another vast scheme to fleece people of their cash?  Look at where that dude lives.  Are all catholics stinking rich?  Does the church do anything that anyone is aware of other than take lots of dough and shield child molesters amongst its ranks?

        In his opinion and mine, religions are con jobs perpetrated by sociopaths like Hubbard.  And because it makes good money the con job took on a life of its own and pretty soon history was being made.

        It's well known that the early decades of Christianity were just as wacky as Scientology.  It's fuckin' apples to apples.  Please grow up and get over your outrage.

        I don't think you can comprehend how much I fucking hate George W. Bush

        by slippytoad on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:09:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not so sure (0+ / 0-)

          Some religious movements really do get started at the gass roots. Some even by people who are dissatisfied with a hide-bound and/or corrupt existing religious establishment and hope to make better lives in which they can feel closer to God.

          Historically, however, such religions do tend to grow into hidebound establishments of their own, sparking their own reform movements and inner divisions.

          The Catholic Church is quite a a rare example of a centrally-directed religious establishment that apparently began as a grass-roots movement before becoming thoroughly institutionalized and has survived more than a millenium (according to its own definition of continuity, anyway).

          I'm no religious scholar, but I don't think Judaism or Buddhism or even protestant Christianity were originally about making money, either, if you read the lives of their founders.

    •  that's a scary picture... (0+ / 0-)

      Move over, Palpatine.

    •  That man looks scary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vets74

      As all fuck.

      I don't think you can comprehend how much I fucking hate George W. Bush

      by slippytoad on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:03:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No hats, but it looks like they got capes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomActsOfReason

      Apparently inspired by Tom & Katie:
      Capes!

      I vote for more scary.

    •  Pope Palpatine is not amused. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vets74, Pris from LA

      Pope Palpatine

      "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

      by Neon Vincent on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:09:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And an ex-Nazi at that..... (0+ / 0-)

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:14:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Xenu on the attack! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, kalmoth, kestrel9000, Norbrook

    Quick!  Scan the stars for DC-10's!

  •  How is Scientology different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Raven, Alec82
    from other "false" religions?
    •  It Was Fabricated By One Science Fiction Writer (9+ / 0-)

      in recent times.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:12:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  L Ron Hubbard once complained (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, kalmoth, vets74, Clio2

        he wasn't making much money for his sci-fi writings (in the golden age of sci-fi magazines), and that if you want to make any real money you should start your own religion. He wasn't joking. He went and did just that.

        Revelation speaks of "those who claim to be Jews and are not, but are liars." I've always wondered how many American "Jews" are of this group. -- A RW blogger.

        by Kimball Cross on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:27:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What is the cut off date (0+ / 0-)

        to determine "legitimate" religions - and are you implying that no new religions can ever be created from now until the end of time?

        Why?

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, for one thing... (15+ / 0-)

      ...legitimate religions don't charge for their services.

      I can go into virtually any Christian church any Sunday during the year and participate almost completely (some don't like you taking Communion/Eucharist) without having to pay even a dime.

      Scientology charges obscene amounts of money and requires a commitment from the member in order to get deeper information about the religion's tenets, and restricts knowledge about the religion's theology (such as it is) to deep initiates. Other religions' holy texts - the Bible, Torah and the Talmud, the Qu'ran, the Vedas - are available for free with a simple google search, with not only the religions' permission but with their outright blessing.

      There are legitimate criticisms to be made of contemporary religions, but to suggest that they're on the same level as Scientology - which is a criminal racket - is a bridge too far.

      Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

      by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:14:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like a mystery religion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomSequence

        So what? Why does a religion have to follow the same patterns the others do?

      •  ^^ This ^^ (0+ / 0-)

        ...is also a compelling case.

      •  I know many Mormons who pay (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux, kurt, vets74, Clio2, Alec82

        a great deal, in fact 10 percent of their pretax income to become fully included in church activities.

        •  And I've got issues with that, too. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          esquimaux, kurt

          I think any religion that requires that its members contribute financially in order to receive full religious services is in the wrong for doing so. All religious services should be free to all who seek them.

          That said, Mormonism still asks only 10%. If I don't make a lot, that's only 10% of not a lot - not my entire paycheck. I agree that it's bad, yes, but it's not abusive on the level of Scientology, where the services often cost more than a person can pay, and people offer up themselves in slavery to the religion in order to get the services.

          (Full disclosure: I'm not a Mormon. I'm an Episcopalian.)

          Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

          by mistersite on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:30:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow, (0+ / 0-)

            I can't find it in my heart to call 10% "only," even if it is less than Scientology charges.

            They also have to pay taxes like the rest of us on top of that. Would you have the disposable income? I wouldn't. Actually...that's one reason I don't belong to a church myself, even though I'm emotionally attached to my grandmother's (very Establishment) faith...

            I know they would hit me up for substantial regular donations -- which is fair, but I don't feel I can afford this.

          •  What is the percentage cut off (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rieux

            that distinguishes "legitimate" religion from "illegitimate" religion - and who determined the rate?

            Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:21:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  So? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          esquimaux, Clio2

          You don't have to pay that money to learn the story, principles, beliefs, etc of mormonism and what they believe in.  That is free.  Hell, mormons go door to door handing out their literature.  Scientologists have NEVER done that.  They only SELL their literature and expect you to pay to learn about their religion.

          •  They've given me several of their books. (0+ / 0-)

            For free. They are quite ridiculous material -- but from pamphlets to full books, I can tell you they will give them to you if they see a chance to hook you.

            You want to claim that they're both master salesman and incompetent buffoons at selling -- the truth is, they're in the middle, willing to give you a hit for free if they think you'll become a paying customer.

            Much like other organizations I can name.

            •  I have ordered material from them as well... (0+ / 0-)

              ...And, frankly, it's dishonest to claim that the literature they give you is a transparent description of their religious beliefs or practices. They give you a DVD full of advertisements for their various orgs, a pocket book with a few excerpts from the much larger 'Way to Happiness' volume and a brochure with ordering information.

              All very nicely presented & shipped in a large, folding cardboard carrier.

              Their website provides more 'information' than any of the materials they pass out. And, of course, there's also the fact that all of the materials were transcribed, laid-out and prettied-up by human beings chained to desks and working 16+ hours with no pay.

              The Mormon missionaries are paid and they give out full blown volumes detailing their beliefs that were not typed out by slaves.  

            •  Fail. (0+ / 0-)

              First of all, where did I claim they are master salesmen AND incompetant buffoons.  I said nothing CLOSE to EITHER of those things.   You are creating a false choice and then attacking that.  It's a strawman fallacy and completely dishonest.   You are like the people who responded to legitimate Bush criticism by saying "You want to claim Bush is an idiot but then also claim he's a master manipulator."  Of course, all this was just a distraction to avoid the actual point/arguement at hand.

              Second, I've NEVER heard of someone getting Dianetics, the most basic scientology text, for free.  It is ALWAYS for sale.   If they gave it for free they probably wouldn't have to hook people with those free "stress tests".

              •  I think... (0+ / 0-)

                ...He meant the free 'Way to Happiness' advertising package. I have the same thing.

                It's silly to equate it to the materials passed along by Mormons.

                •  No, I don't. (0+ / 0-)

                  I have several BOOKS of their material given away free to me by some of their top salesmen -- at Clearwater level, no less. Not the low level bullshit.

                  It depends on where they see they can suck you in -- no, they give crappy pamphlets to folks they see as future serfs. They give better material for folks they want to put in at higher levels of their pyramid scheme.

                  Just like in any religion -- some folks get the crappy scriptures with the standard middle-class "interpretations", and some folks get the full on Thomas Aquinas style theology crap.

                  It's all crap, but there are differing levels of sophistication depending on the sophistication of the mark. You don't sell a C.S. Lewis on "poor Jesus, mild and meek" -- and you don't push Augustine and the theologians of Salamanca on the pew kneelers who's major function is to bring in tithes.

                  It's silly not to see the underlying pattern that ties all these folks together. Where do you think the Mormons came from? Do you know their history -- from the massacres of the "gentiles" to their treatment of minorities... ??

                  I'd bet that if the Scientologists ultimately found themselves in charge of a large scale group in a 100 years, you'd see them reorganize themselves along more mainstream lines. The pyramid scheme structure has to be softened once you're growth rates lessen.

                  •  They are 'large scale'... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...They have organizations spread worldwide, if centrally organized & controlled. All that your positing is conjecture.

                    I'm afraid I do not believe your story about simply being handed high level materials, either. Every single other anecdote I've heard has given corroborating testimony that the higher level courses & materials can only be obtained at great expense and by participating in the 'Church's' programs (as far as distribution from the 'church' itself is concerned, of course).

                    •  It's not high-level... (0+ / 0-)

                      no Thetans or Xenu or such crap. But more sophisticated than the crap they give out to most people. "Sophisticated" -- not complete. Sitting somewhere on some shelf from a decade back.

                      Terribly written as well -- they lack the philosophical or aesthetic sense of the older religions who have had centuries to develop Aquinas's, Augustines, DaVinci's, even CS Lewis's.

                      The worst are their paintings. It's all pulp 50's covers of sci-fi books and they frame it as if it were a great work of art in their living rooms. God knows how much they pay for the crap. Even their high level folks are at the artistic level of a backyard shrine built by a middle-class hausfrau in S. Florida -- gilt and crap.

                      But it's pretty easy to read through the lines. If you read The Way to Happiness -- it's obvious from the inner cover blurbs what they're up to. You'd have to be a moron not to see the what their program is.

                      But since 90% of the world is religious -- we can calculate quite well what the ratio of morons to even mediocre minds is.

                  •  The problem... (0+ / 0-)

                    The "church" of scientology owns any and all technology and materials used by the church.  All of their writings are considered copywrited material and owned wholly by the church.  

                    Therefore, it is not possible to break away and form their own version of scientology.  They would be sued for copywrite violations and for stealing church materials for their own use/profit.

                    Meanwhile, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has an owned copywrite on the bible.  Nobody has made it illegal to copy Church practices.  Nobody can be sued for making their own "translations" or edits of the bible.  And the bible (or any other major religious text) is widely available for anyone who is interested to read ...and that is the basis for ANY of the Church's teachings/practices regardless of whether someone sees them literally or figuratively.

                    Scientology is founded on secrecy and paying your way.  People who have blown have taken years to mentally break away and all say the practices early on are similar to brainwashing.  Those who have attempted to audit on their own have been threatened with legal action by the church and declared enemies and "fair game" for attacks.  

    •  Well, I'm an atheist... (6+ / 0-)

      ...so I don't disagree that it is fundamentally different (in terms of it's faith-based belief system) than more established religions.

      However, to my knowledge, there are not enormous Christian, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim slave labor camps operating in the United States. That would be one difference.

      •  People work for free? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross

        Sounds like EVERY religion, or charity that I have hear of.

        •  I hope you're just kidding (6+ / 0-)

          The Church of Scientology has children from the age of 8 upward literally building their grounds with hammers, nails and paintbrushes.

          16+ hours a day per week, with no breaks, little sleep, no vacation time, etc. And you aren't feeding the poor - you're constructing offices for people to lounge in or advertising for the Church.

          It is not charity work.

          •  I was not joking. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, Clio2

            I am unfamiliar with Scientology's forced labor camps.

          •  I'm sure they see it as the equivalent of (0+ / 0-)

            building Cathedrals to the glory of the religion.

            Fairly common in the history of religions. They're just got late to the game of enslaving folks -- their cathedrals aren't built yet. They also lack aesthetic sense -- they're the damn ugliest religious building in history, only competing with the Mormons.

            Slavery is bad -- slavery for ugliness's sake is even worse.

            •  And when was the last time the Vatican... (0+ / 0-)

              ...had a Cathedral erected by slave labor, out of curiosity?

              I'm interested in helping people that are being taken advantage of TODAY, not demanding restitution for wrongs that were done centuries ago.

              •  How can you tell in countries in perpetual (0+ / 0-)

                civil war -- partly due to church factions supporting right-wing extremists? Where has the funding come for churches in C. America, the Caribbean, Spain, etc?

                There are BILLIONS of people being taken advantage of today. It may be more dispersed -- when you have a hundred million worshippers at your disposal, you can afford to treat most of them a bit better -- but robbing 5 for a dollar, or 1 for 5 dollars, how do you make an ethical distinction?

                Sure, try to stop the Scientologists -- they're a good example of what's wrong, and they have a hell of a lot wrong among a concentrated group. But if you think they're particularly wrong -- that they're "different" rather than just a tactical target -- you're fooling yourself and everyone else.

                •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...there's this thing called the 'burden of proof'. If you make a claim, you own that burden. If you want to claim that the Roman Catholic Church is currently building cathedrals overseas using slave / child labor, fine - but it's not up to me to do your research for you. You've got to meet your own burden.

                  •  What do you mean by currently? (0+ / 0-)

                    We know that they were doing it 30 years ago -- which is a pittance in the history of a Church that goes into antiquity.

                    And I'm not picking on the RCC -- they're just a good example because they're so large. We know that that Wahhabi's have the entire nation of Saudi Arabia enslaved, that slavery is legal in SA and they continue to import slaves. Or the Sudan, or Mali, or... So we know that many sects in the Muslim world (not fringe groups) continue to enrich themselves on the backs of human slavery.

                    We know that The Family is associated with several large, fairly mainstream Christian groups in the US, and also associated with African groups that continue to oppress their people and rob them blind.

                    You want more? You want to look into religious groups in Israel living on stolen land, justified by God's Word? I shudder to think what happens in the hinterland of Russia, or what the Moonies still do in S. Korea.

                    I mean, really. There's a big world out there, and five minutes of googling will find a wealth of atrocities tied to fairly mainstream religious groups, their subsidiaries, their allies, etc.

                    Basically, normal human behavior, but done in the name of some god, prophet, statuette, scripture, etc. An extra cover for the con-man.

    •  Many reasons. (5+ / 0-)
      1. Scientology charges money to not only learn about their most basic principles, but to advance in the Church and achieve "clear"...their version of enlightenment.  On top of these fees, they also ask for donations.
      1. Scientology considers any learning of its materials, outside of their established profit structure to be copyright infringement.  Scientologists are not allowed to discuss specific teachings, ideas, etc of their church.  Meanwhile, every other religion out there today is open about their beliefs and you can look online and read their teachings/documents/rules without threats of lawsuits.
      1. Scientology is heavily dependant on selling selling selling.  Scientologists who "work" for the church have to constantly bring in more and more people.  The organization is very stat heavy and you can be punished/disciplined if your numbers aren't always improving.  
      1. Scientology's early teaching have been discovered to be very similar to common techniques of hypnosis and/or brainwashing.  
      1. Scientology has a policy of disconnection from families.  If you leave the church and speak against them, your family (if they are still in the church) can not communicate with you.  Some people higher up in the church leave, never speak against the church, and are still considered enemies of the Church and suffer disconnection.
      1. Critics of scientology are literally enemies and scientology teachings say that these people must be distroyed.  While the church claims this "fair game" policy no longer exists, that is on paper only.  In practice, this still exists as a very common and serious method for scientologists to harrass, lie, and attempt to destroy the lives of people they consider enemies.
      1. Scientology has a "labour camp" where they send people to punish them (or "rehabilitate" them). I believe they are called the RPF and you can read all about their brutal behaviour anywhere on the net.
      1. Scientology forces female members to get abortions if it is believed having a child will take away from their loyalty to the church.
      1. While Scientology claims to be about helping humanity...this is only when it comes to furthering their anti-psychology needs (ie. detox centers) and/or rectruiting (criminal rehabilitation).  People who are poor, homeless, etc are openly looked down on as lesser beings by scientologists.
      1. Scientology openly hates psychology and any medications that help mental disorders.  They compare psychologists to hitler and psychology to the hollocaust and internment of jews.  You can find reports regarding people who have died, or almost dies, because scientology wouldn't let them take medicine that could help them (or they would risk being kicked out or sent to RPF).  Hell, even John Travolta and his wife denied his sons Autism and for years claimed it was some disease that nobody in the family OR medical community said was possible.  His kid died and there are many questions about whether or not he was getting the medical help he needed and why travolta's would so willingly lie for years about it.  

      So please, ask again how scientology is different from other religions.  It only shows your ignorance of just how dangerous of a cult scientology is.

      •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

        Scientologists who "work" for the church have to constantly bring in more and more people.  The organization is very stat heavy and you can be punished/disciplined if your numbers aren't always improving.

        The perfect church for a corporate society.

      •  Hmm, 8 out of 10 are standard religious practices (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomActsOfReason

        to one extent or other.

        Have you never heard of monasteries? Or orphanages? Or evangelism? Or state-enforced tithes? Or church "charities" that are open recruitment stations?

        It's only a difference in quantity -- not quality. The fact that you think so shows how ignorant you are of the nature of cult and how it is the central facet of most religious traditions. Just go look into some Catholic lay movements, for example. Every religion has exactly these qualities (we can except the "force abortion") to some extent, and they usually have sub-movements that have them to very large extents.

        •  Nice try. (0+ / 0-)

          If you are trying to defend scientology, which is very modern, to practices in medieval times...you are barking up the wrong tree.  

          Second, monastaries are voluntary and people are free to come and go as they chose.  There is no disconnection.  In fact, one of the criticisms of the catholic church is that they ALWAYS consider you, say, a priest...even if you leave the cloth and get married.  You just aren't allowed to ACT as a priest.  They don't seperate you from your friends and family then go out of their way to "destroy" you.

          Third, there is a HUGE difference between evangelism, or sub-sects to Scientology which is the WHOLE ORGANIZATION.  you are using small, fringe groups to compare to the ENTIRETY of scientology.   There is no sub-group for Scientology, they all must follow the policies of the main as Hubbard supposedly wrote.

          •  Not "defending" scientology -- you idiot. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rieux, RandomActsOfReason

            If I were defending scientology, I'd "defend" the indefensible practices that were posted. I'm just knocking down the implication that they are "different" from other religious groups, that their practices are IN SUBSTANCE different.

            As I posted, it wasn't long ago at all that the RCC for example (not that they're unusual) were associated with groups that were enslaving Irish children. Sure -- today leaving a monastery or nunnery is nominally a free choice. But imagine having entered one of these institutions as a young girl (happening until very recently) and then being given the choice to leave and enter the world without an ounce of support? Yeah -- free choice, like Liberterian free choice.

            And yes, I know women TODAY who were traumatized and still recovering from that "free choice" by being turned out of the only family they ever knew.

            Or we have the example of Sarah Palin's church funding the expulsion of "witches" from African towns. Real "fringe" -- they have their hooks in a presidential campaign, and you have the chutzpah to call them merely fringe.

            Try to be an outspoken atheist in many small towns -- you'll see the politics of personal destruction in full force. There are plenty of stories of atheists, Jews, and even Catholics having their lives made hell by the local townies who didn't approve of their "unorthodox" choice in loyalty.

            Pretending that Scientology isn't just a particularly concentrated form of religious abuse -- but is somehow unique -- is just a LIE. To pretend that it is somehow an aberration rather than a continual pattern seen in the history of religious organizations is a LIE.

            It's at the level of decrying the barbaric Muslims from the pulpit of your local Southern Baptist church, while you have cells from the local Joel's Army proselytizing in the pews.

            •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

              I see your point.  However, I would argue that Scientology's abuses are systemic and are part of their policies.  No matter who you are or where in the world you live, the policies are the same and so are the stories.  This isn't just a few extremists or "bad apples" which you are describing...this is the fundamental institutionalization of abuse, manipulation and brainwashing as approved and passed down from the top of the church.

              This isn't a few nutcases, or small town yocals taking matters into their own hands.  The equivalent would be if the pope passed edicts declaring that anyone who speaks against the church should be harassed and "destroyed" by ALL Catholics...and then ALL Catholics followed those orders to the letter.

              I never made any claims that what scientology does has been "unique".  I only claim that it is different and worse because these abuses are world wide and are part of official church policy as written by hubbard and enforced by "church" leaders.  

      •  In other words, Scientology = 10th century Church (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux

        What you're really saying is that Scientology is an immature religion? Because, it seems to me you are describing most religions a few hundred years ago (and, in the case of modern Islamic or Christian extremists, the current day, when they get their way).

        See, the problem with the deference and unique privilege the concept of "religion" holds in our culture prevents us from critically evaluating the fundamental problems that absolute belief systems present. Scientology is just one extreme on a continuum of religious systems and behaviors.

        If not for the unwillingness to apply equal standards to all religious beliefs, Scientology would not enjoy the unique protections afforded to it as a recognized "religion" in the US.

        If you are not willing to critically evaluate ALL religious beliefs using the same criteria, you come off as rather hypocritical with regard to Scientology.

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:42:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Damn right! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomActsOfReason

          See, the problem with the deference and unique privilege the concept of "religion" holds in our culture prevents us from critically evaluating the fundamental problems that absolute belief systems present.

          Preach it, brother!

        •  Using your logic. (0+ / 0-)

          I guess people today, who don't know any better, should get to own slaves.  Because, you know, it was once accepted as common practice, so it is hypocritical to then keep ME from owning a slave if people were allowed to do it a century or more ago.

          That is idiotic.  Scientology wasn't started 300 or 3000 years ago.  It was started only decades ago.  Therefore, they should know better than to use practices that were common religious practice hundreds of years ago.

          Sorry, that is no excuse.

          •  It is hypocritical if you do not apply the same (0+ / 0-)

            standards to all religions.

            You are inverting the argument. The argument is not that all religions should be allowed to practice the odious practices of Scientology.

            It is precisely the opposite - ALL religious organizations should be subject to financial accountability and scrutiny same as any other nonprofit organization, and should lose their tax exempt status if they do not observe the same standards all other tax exempt organizations have to observe - and, both churches and their leaders they should be subject to exactly the same criminal laws - both institutionally and individually - as any other American organization or individual.

            They aren't. Not even in theory, but certainly not in practice. That's the problem.

            Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 03:52:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think that that this point of contention... (0+ / 0-)

              ...might just be a matter of framing.

              I don't think that Rosencrantz is trying to excuse religious bodies, and I know I'm certainly not.

              What's being said is that if you were to compare the Church of Scientology to the Christian religion or even the Roman Catholic Church, and then compare it with an organized criminal racket like the gang operated by Al Capone during the prohibition era, the Church would make a better fit with the latter. It is centrally organized, it's controlled by a singular figurehead (even the Pope of the RCC doesn't speak for every Roman Catholic), it promises retribution against anyone seeking to break away from it, etc.

              That's not to say that any one religious body doesn't also carry some of the characteristics listed above - simply that the Church of Scientology shares everything in common with a criminal racket, and so that is the category in which I think it belongs.

            •  I would disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              You see, time moves forward.  And while I understand your view that I am being hypcoritical, I think YOu are the one inverting the arguement.  

              I would argue that religion has changed throughout the centuries and while abuse WAS very commong in hindsight, at the time those religions were started, that was how it was.   As times changed and people's attitudes toward what is right and wrong, and what the place of religion should be, the different religions have had to evolve and essentially become much more liberal to fit with social standards.  

              So I find it highly illogical that you would then say that any and all religions should follow the same path no matter when they were started.  That makes ZERO sense.  The methods and abuses of scientology are occuring in more modern times and when society has already deemed those actions unacceptable.  That could be why scientology tries to be so secretive and threatens to sue anyone who talks about church policy or "doctrine".  That could also be why many countries do not recognize Scientology as an actual religion.

              Sorry, but I don't buy your arguement that it is okay to commit certain abuses TODAY because other church's did it centuries ago.  I also don't buy the arguement that because a handful of fundamentalists and extremists in other religions act a certain way, it must be okay or acceptable for an ENTIRE church to act that way and actually make it official church policy to act that way.

              And that doesn't even touch on the fact that scientology fits the definition of "cult" and that many of the techniques they use to "train" members are extremely similar to brainwashing techniques.

              •  It's hard to argue with that (0+ / 0-)

                So it's fortunate that I don't make any of the straw men arguments you have invented.

                So I find it highly illogical that you would then say that any and all religions should follow the same path no matter when they were started.

                Then, how fortunate for us both that I said no such thing.

                I don't buy your arguement that it is okay to commit certain abuses TODAY because other church's did it centuries ago.  

                Then, how fortunate for us both that I made no such argument.

                I also don't buy the arguement that because a handful of fundamentalists and extremists in other religions act a certain way, it must be okay or acceptable for an ENTIRE church to act that way and actually make it official church policy to act that way.

                Then, how fortunate for us both that I made no such argument.

                You know, you really don't need me if all you are going to do is erect imaginary straw men to argue with. You can play with yourself and leave me out of it.

                Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 09:30:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  The inhumane way it treats its believers, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Clio2

      esp. those who work as staff at many of its outposts.

      Other religions may not be perfect but for the most part they treat their devotees as human beings who are free to come and go as they please, rather than trying to force them to stay against their will. Other religions encourage incorporating God/scripture into all aspects of one's life, but most of them don't try to take over people's lives with work 24/7 or punish them when they're not up to such demands. Other religions may not approve of criticism, but for the most part they recognise that critics have the same right to free speech that they enjoy and do not seek to suppress them or write them out of the lives of their loved ones. Other religions ask for donations from loyal followers to do the church's work, but for the most part they do not force believers to go into debt to make such donations or question the faith of those who do not.

      There will, of course, be fringe minorities in most religions that DO practice some or all of these acts, but it appears to be standard practice in Scientology.

      •  I have to disagree with you, in particular (0+ / 0-)

        on this point:

        Other religions may not approve of criticism, but for the most part they recognise that critics have the same right to free speech that they enjoy and do not seek to suppress them or write them out of the lives of their loved ones

        Are you serious?

        What religion has ever done this, that is not forced to do so by secular law?

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:44:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  To the contrary. (0+ / 0-)

        Other religions may not be perfect but for the most part they treat their devotees as human beings who are free to come and go as they please, rather than trying to force them to stay against their will.

        What are you talking about? A huge proportion of religions do precisely this.

        How many children do you know who "are free to come and go" from religious education?

        Even if you (baselessly) limit matters to adult adherents, the phenomena you describe are common in the history of both Christianity and Islam--and no, not only in "fringe minorities."

        Your comment is just selection bias and favoritism toward certain popular religions. I mean: "recognise that critics have the same right to free speech that they enjoy and do not seek to suppress them"?!? Are you seriously not aware of the major instances in which huge religions have done precisely that?

    •  Scientology is a "religious" version of (0+ / 0-)

      its predecessor Dianetics, i.e. it's Dianetics gussied up and formed into a corporate entity and claimed to be a religion.

      Dianetics was in essence a peculiar psychotherapy regime.  If you look at the Dianetics/Scientology teachings and therapy regimes that Hubbard created in a comprehensive way, in their origins- their assumptions about people and their problems- they presume people to be suffering from an array of symptoms that are those of mild forms of schizophrenia.  The various therapeutic regimens are efforts to train away behaviors and feelings resulting from those symptoms.  Just read the descriptions of what the desired end of each therapy regimen is supposed to be- for example, the state of Clear is that you no longer have aural or visual hallucinations.  Operating Thetan is overcoming physical and psychological disassociative conditions.

      In short, Scientology is a therapy group that diagnoses every newcomer as a mild schizophrenic.  (That's what their "Oxford Diagnostic Test" does.)

      The original Dianetics Foundation (it collapsed) was recognized at the time as an assembly of a lot of people with mild schizophrenic symptoms.  Hubbard's first wife and his children apparently considered him a high functioning untreated, often mild but fairly dangerous, paranoid schizophrenic.

      It's hard not to see the signs of the disorder typical of his times- he was a recluse who liked darkened rooms and very high control of his environment, he was a smoker, he did use drugs which he forbade.  In his teachings, real illness does not exist- even cancer is essentially psychological/neurological.  He denied being mentally ill absolutely after his wife tried to get him committed- and Scientology nominally bars the mentally ill, closeted homosexuals, etc.   His "scientific" work is all pseudoscience and nonsense- he discovered that tomatos scream when sliced.  He built an organization or religion that is in essence inmates running an asylum.

      Scientology is a hangover phenomenon from the American social and religious upheaval and paranoia of the Cold War era.  It has prospered best in cultural transition places where a lot of people are leaving fundamentalist-type culture and some just can't quite leave it behind.  Places like L.A. and western Florida.

  •  Get rid of the Moonies, too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, kurt, Clio2

    Scientologists are just creepy crooks with a cult racket. The Moonies are far worse, because they believe that will take over the world.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:15:40 AM PST

    •  No, you are wrong. They are not "just creepy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kestrel9000, crankyinNYC

      crooks." They destroy thousands of lives. They are much WORSE than the Moonies.

      •  Think so? (8+ / 0-)

        I've been tracking Sun Myung Moon's operation for a long time. They are devastatingly effective. In some of our cities they hold complete monopolies on certain industries, using slave labor to bust unions, marrying people off to strangers, "disappearing" children so that their parents never find them again, owning the Washington Times and using it as a political weapon, buying off congressmen, subverting our politics and promoting some kind of cold-war redux, through the use of Korean CIA brainwashing techniques.

        Let's not play "who's the worst cult?" here - they're both horrible, criminal enterprises and they are extremely dangerous - and very well funded.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:40:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  All Religions (0+ / 0-)

    Are Scams.  Yes, even the Jesus one is a scam.

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:38:26 AM PST

    •  Religion isn't the issue here. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, Bulldawg, esquimaux, kurt, Clio2

      The conduct of the 'Church' of Scientology is - and more specifically, the conduct of Mr. Miscavige. I don't believe in the Christian myths either, but that has no bearing on what happens in places like 'Gold Base' or any of the myriad labor camps Scientology operates.

      •  It is the issue, because it gives them legal cove (0+ / 0-)

        if not for the legal protections afforded by the designation "religion", there would be no problem shutting Scientology down as a criminal enterprise.

        It is our hypocrisy, granting special privileged, exemptions from accountability and reporting, immunity in practice if not in law, to religious organizations over all other organizations in our society, that granted Scientology the ability to operate its global racket.

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:46:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well then.... (0+ / 0-)

          ...seek out stories of Christians, Catholics, Jews or Muslims that are filing suits against their religion (awfully tough to do when they're so decentralized, unlike Scientology) for forcing them to do work for no money since the age of 8, and promote those stories yourself.

          Don't come bitching at me to do your activism for you.

          •  Huh? Who was "bitching" at you? (0+ / 0-)

            What are you talking about? Was that directed at another commenter?

            It is the legal protections the US government grants Scientology as a "religion" that keeps them in business.

            Do you disagree with that statement?

            I certainly was not disagreeing with your diary, nor your opposition to Scientology, which I have been fighting for a couple decades.

            Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:59:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would say... (0+ / 0-)

              ...That it is more likely the clout that Scientology has (financial and otherwise) that keeps them going, as well as perhaps some apathy on the part of the FBI.

              I'm not familiar with the United States legal system, though, or exactly what rights are imparted on organizations by being recognized as religions (I know that part of those protections is tax exemption, and I think that's bullshit, for Scientology or any other religious body).

              And no, my comment about bitching was misdirected. You have a username similar to RandomSequence, who's for some reason demanding that I also address all of the wrongs done by the Roman Catholic Church (which I have no problem doing - but this article is strictly dealing with the subject of Scientology).

              Apologies for the mix-up.

              •  No prob on the mixup. Re: US legal system (0+ / 0-)

                religious organizations, uniquely, enjoy not just tax exemptions (which non-profit organizations also enjoy).

                All other tax exempt organizations are required to submit regular, detailed financial reports to the IRS documenting where every penny goes - and, they have to meet certain criteria regarding the ratio of $ that go towards legitimate charitable goals as defined in their application for tax exempt status.

                Under a special section in the tax code, Section 7611 of the Internal Revenue Code, religious organizations are not required to submit any financial disclosure information.

                Religious organizations, missions and missionary organizations do not have to file Form 990's.

                They are exempt from essentially all scrutiny of their expenditures.

                In fact, there are very limited circumstances under which the US government, not just the IRS, can investigate any religious organization for any reason,

                Religious exemptions, alone among all US organizations, forprofit or nonprofit, are exempt from requirements that they adhere to nondiscrimination law - even if they receive direct federal funding (which, essentially, they all due indirectly anyway, by virtue of their tax benefits).

                Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), religious organizations are exempt from zoning laws, resulting in churches, missions, parking garages, monuments, being built wherever they feel like it, using whatever design they feel like, with no regard to local rule or community rights or adjoining properties.

                RFRA goes even further, preemptively voiding and invalidating any law that impinges on any religion's freedoms - even if inadvertently (say, by restricting, for safety reasons, the ability for a megachurch to build a massive parking lot and a three-lane access road to it right next to a busy toddler playground.)

                In 2007, a ski resort was blocked from using environmentally friendly reclaimed water for artificial snow creation, because nearby Native tribes believed this would infect tribe members with "ghost sickness" because the (cleaned and processed) water would have previously have been used by hospitals and mortuaries (as opposed to rain falling on them, which would be the same thing).

                If such anti-scientific superstitious nonsense had been promoted by any group except a religion, it would have been summarily rejected. But, because it was a "religious" belief, it was accepted, and the resort ended up using more environmentally harmful pumped fresh water.

                Even in dire pandemics, religious organization followers are exempt from vaccination - even in cases where a state of emergency has been declared and vaccination is mandatory.

                In fact, the US military grants religious exemptions to US soldiers who refuse to get vaccinated for infectious diseases on religious grounds, even when it clearly endangers the health or even lives of their fellow soldiers.

                Many states exempt religious parents from being held criminally liable if their child dies because of legally determined neglect due to religious practices.

                That's just touching the surface.

                Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 03:45:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Hard to believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    this scam has lasted this long.    They are much more obvious  as hucksters  than the scammers  at the fringes of christianity  and islam.

  •  It would be a true service to humanity to (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bulldawg, vcmvo2, kurt, Corporate Dog, Clio2

    outlaw that "church."

    I was involved for a year and discovered that the followers of L. Ron Hubbard (who was a true genius, IMHO - figured out how to get people to happily PAY HIM TO WORK FOR HIM!) are really sinister and slightly insane, IMHO.

    I tried to get a refund for a "course" and was taken, by a woman in uniform (!) to a basement room where she locked the door and told me over and over again that, "you will no longer be protected by the Church of Scientology" if I continued demanding, LOUDLY, that I wanted my money back.  Protected from what she wouldn't say, just a repeated warning saying the same thing.  Very bizarre and very scary.  I beat a hasty retreat and never went back, even when they called and told me to "come and pick up your check."  No thanks.  Especially since they refused to MAIL it.

    It ain't no church, that's for certain, but it calls itself that just for tax exemption.

  •  HEY, tell me more about the Xenu. (0+ / 0-)

    That is so fascinating!. It must be true, it must, it must!

    Where do I send my money?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:08:12 PM PST

    •  agnostic, Scientology doesn't really promote (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bulldawg, vets74, Clio2

      any belief to it's paid members.  It's busy promoting "going clear."  The deal is, you are damaged from birth by all sorts of stuff, like medications and verbal abuse and even accidentally bumping into furniture.  You pay for individual "courses" that teach you how to "clear" yourself of all the boo-boos you've encountered in your life, therefore giving you a fresh start to create your own perfect life.  Of course, the first course is really cheap and when you "graduate" from it, you're taken to the REGISTRAR.  Surprise, surprise, that registrar knows just how to sign you up for your NEXT MORE EXPENSIVE COURSE.  In fact, if you don't have the money, you're told to get your family or friends to pay for you.  AND you get to work around the facility, too, for FREE!  Because that would "make L. Ron proud!"  And we all want a dead founder (they tell you they're expecting him to come back) to be proud of us, don't we?

      Brilliant.  Simply BRILLIANT.

      •  I met some true believers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clio2

        several years back. They reminded me of an Opus Dei clan that I know.

        Being mostly ignorant on many subjects, there is one thing I do know: I HATE blind faith sought by so many belief structures.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 12:26:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why is Mormonism not beicg annihilated as well? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bulldawg

    Biggest crock of bullshit of them all.

  •  BTW: the key is "External Locus of Control." (0+ / 0-)

    That's the psychological process that gets abused by Scientology and other cults.

    They target individuals who believe that the events of their lives are controlled or strongly influenced by overpowering persons or circumstances.

    Control is "external" instead of "internal."

    The "Engram" concept focuses on fantasies that events from such as prior lives do the controlling.

    Then a Scientology "course" or other paid "class" or "retreat" will "clear" this cowering Fool from his money.

    Hypnosis is used to convince the Fool that his or her Engrams are real. That use of hypnosis is unique.

    All of these cults share one principle: that there is only one Sin -- leaving a Fool and his money unparted.

    Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:41:48 PM PST

    •  I would disagree... (0+ / 0-)

      ...That everyone that Scientology managed to sink their teeth into is a 'fool'. Lots of people who are vulnerable to exploitation are also very intelligent; thinking yourself 'above' people who've been deceived tends to be a weakness in and of itself.

      •  "Fool" is a commonplace usage for con games. (0+ / 0-)

        The target/fool is the one who gets conned.

        Its used all over the world.

        Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The GOPer Base

        by vets74 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:37:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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