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Censorship The Courts Your Rights Online

Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology 426

eldavojohn writes "It's a lengthy read, but Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker has released a 26 page expose on Scientology. In a world where such innocuous sounding words as 'squirrels,' 'security-checked,' 'disconnection,' 'contra-survival,' 'suppressive persons,' 'clear' and 'open season' carry very serious and heavy baggage, director Paul Haggis has exited after thirty four years of membership and massive funding. Now he speaks at length of Scientology's controversies. From how celebrities were recruited with a 10% commission by a worker at Beverly Hills Playhouse to the current investigation by the FBI of physical abuse and human trafficking, Wright draws surrounding histories and accounts of the Church including Anonymous' crusade. The length of this article reflects the unusually large number of individuals (12 cases of physical abuse) cited as testimony of Scientology Leader David Miscavige's inurement and physical violence. The case remains open as the FBI collects data and testimony — especially in relation to Sea Org. Most disturbing are the disappearances of people that the New Yorker piece enumerates. The piece concludes with the author's interaction with the Church that results in several conflicting foundational statements from its stance on homosexuality (Haggis' original reason for publicly leaving it) to almost all details of L. Ron Hubbard's naval service and discharge. The article ends with Haggis' quote: 'I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.' You can find summaries of the lengthy article and its suspected results along with corresponding reports listing politicians involved with the Church. Copyrighted work, leaked government documents, PS3 encryption keys and everything else has been posted on Slashdot but only the Church of Scientology has forced comments out of existence."
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Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology

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  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:28PM (#35203306) Journal

    Copyrighted work, leaked government documents, PS3 encryption keys and everything else has been posted on Slashdot but only the Church of Scientology has forced comments out of existence

    One of the groups behind each of those bits of information will kill you for doing it. I'll let you guess which one.

    But the whole story is about Scientology, and it even talks about Scientologists killing people, so what's to guess?

  • Hrmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SniperJoe ( 1984152 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:30PM (#35203330)
    When did freedom of religion become freedom from rule of law? As an incredibly disenfranchised Catholic, I am disgusted by some of the things that my church has done and failed to do. Where are the criminal charges related to the many abuses that people (especially children) have suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church? I ask the same question about Scientology. I am not trying to troll, I'm just trying to understand.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @06:02PM (#35203704)

    It's always been a mystery to me how an organization that is so clearly a cult managed to get status in the United States as a legitimate religion.

    I've always wondered how people can use the phrase "legitimate religion" with a straight face.

  • Have you read over his charges?

    This is rape by Swedish definitions. There are two different women who consented to have sex with him, but in the course both demanded he wear a condom, and he refused. He also didn't disclose to either that he was having multiple sex partners at the time.

    So he didn't violent force his way on a woman by US standards, but put women at risk of STDs by refusing to wear a condom while having multiple sex partners. By those standards, and with the testimony of these two women, he would be found guilty. That is why he is ducking Sweden and won't show up for his warrants.

    And frankly those charges are in line with him being an asshat.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @06:17PM (#35203878) Homepage

    Yes and no. There is such a thing as a dangerous cult, and there's also such a thing as a totally harmless new and/or tiny religious group. Many researchers have done work on how to tell the difference, and created tools like this questionnaire [] to tell the difference (Disclaimer: The author of that questionnaire, the late Isaac Bonewits, was a close friend of many people I'm acquainted with). And yes, the official Church of Scientology rates very badly in nearly all of those measurements.

  • by eyrieowl ( 881195 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @06:49PM (#35204218)

    When Haggis joined, he had no gay daughters. He probably didn't care much either way back then. However, his views had since evolved, and he probably believed the church had clarified away those now troubling doctrines. He'd allowed himself to become personally invested in those repudiations, those edits. However, he felt betrayed when he realized that those repudiations were likely just window dressing. I don't think that's b.s. He was very arguably being a bit naive, but, taking his cult at its word, he legitimately felt betrayed.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @07:26PM (#35204554)

    Makes you wonder where the heck people get the money to spend on the courses.

    You only need to make a penny a year and over the course of a billion year contract the fees are no problem with loads of cash left over.
    But seriously, people who are in cults don't have normal expenses; you can rent a cheap room, live off instant noodles and pay $400K over 15 years if your day job's salary is only $40K.

  • Re:Hrmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @07:55PM (#35204782)

    The so-called Dark Ages in Europe did not begin with a Church Council, and they certainly weren't caused by the Church. By 431, the fall of the Western Empire was already well in hand and Rome had already been sacked by Alaric in 409.

    Also, the Church never, ever ruled all Europe. The pope certainly made some claims about overlordship, but the states of Europe were quite securely under the control of secular authorities from start to finish.

    The fall of the Empire began with the failure and slow dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, a process that started well before the Christan church became the official religion of the Empire. This process occurred for many reasons like demographic shifts and economic failures based on the unsustainablity of the conquest and slavery-based Roman economy. I assure you, no matter what you may think of classical philosophers, their existence or lack thereof had little to do with the fall of the Empire.

    As for cruelty, considering Ancient Rome pretty much made a science out of painful ways of killing people, for instance mass crucifixions, I don't think that any supposed cruelty of the Christians would have even made a ripple in the mood of the times.

  • by roca ( 43122 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:01PM (#35204818) Homepage

    You're quite right, except that most Christian groups (certainly most Protestant-based groups) don't want to control your mind. They want you to believe certain things, because they think those things are true. But they want your ultimate loyalty to be to God, not people or their institutions. In the Protestant tradition, you can reject the authority of any given group and still retain your salvation.

    To me, that's the most useful indicator of a cult: does the group acknowledge that salvation is possible outside their particular institution? In other words, do they allow forking? Most Protestant groups do. Even the Catholic Church does these days, in a way (they see other Christian groups as definitely inferior, but acknowledge that salvation is possible with them).

    The distinction is important for the same reasons forkability is important in software. Groups denying that salvation (or "enlightenment", or equivalent concepts) exists outside their institution maintain enormous power of their members, and that power is easily abused.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev