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Scientologists accused of misrepresenting themselves during the terror attack crisis
September 18, 2001 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Scientologists accused of misrepresenting themselves during the terror attack crisis This cult filled with terrible people (at the top) and saps below. Note the service they claim to provide during the crisis. The problem is that in America (unlike German, say) any one claiming to be religious gets away with whatever madness or evil they want.
posted by Postroad (25 comments total)

 
I do not agree with what you have to say,
but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." (Patrick Henry)

Even closed-minded generalizations which call the beliefs of others a cult. I don't like the Scientologists, find what they think and believe and their tactics to be a cross between silly and offensive. But saying "This cult is filled with terrible people (at the top) and saps below." is mean-spirited and not helpful. While I'd rather they went away altogether, I'd rather be in America than Germany (on this issue) no question about it.

Not that you don't have a right to say what you think. ;)

oh, and by the way, your link appears to be broken. No such host.
posted by terceiro at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2001


They're not even a cult. They're an elaborate pyramid scheme. The only reason they haven't been outlawed is because they hide behind a thinly-veiled mask of religion. I say, arrest the bastards.
posted by chason at 10:36 AM on September 18, 2001


Scientology is so protective of their 'reputation' that just watch--they'll sue the NMHA. A 'religion' that began as a bar bet by a pulp science fiction writer has little reputation to begin with, but they seem lawsuit-happy to an extreme.
posted by jaustinspace at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2001


They'll also threaten the AP and any paper carrying that article.
posted by bkdelong at 10:57 AM on September 18, 2001


The trouble is, they've got plenty of financial backing to support their eager legal beagles. By labeling themselves a religion (hiding behind it, in my view) they are able to avoid heaps of government regulation and scrutiny.

Perhaps I should set up my own company and do the same! Crap... I'm not a wacko, I guess that counts me out.
posted by campy at 11:02 AM on September 18, 2001


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." (Patrick Henry)

I was under the impression that that was a quote from Voltaire.
posted by poseur at 11:03 AM on September 18, 2001


Make no mistake, Scientology is a harmful cult, not a religion. Its leaders are, in fact, terrible people. Its followers - well, I certainly can't figure them out. The "Church" of Scientology attacks anyone who portrays them in a negative light. They have stifled most of this criticism with a combination of scare tactics and harrassment by any means possible, mostly by a flood of legal action. As someone said earlier, it's a pyramid scheme, and one masquerading as a nonprofit, tax-free religion!

But don't take my word for it.

And just to be fair: their word.
posted by Beefheart at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2001


Just an example of "faith-based" social services, isn't it?
posted by fpatrick at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2001


Actually poseur, neither of you are right. That quote has been wrongly attributed to Voltaire for a while but was actually written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in the book "The Friends of Voltaire".
posted by statusquo at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2001


dude! you linked to them! they will see the logs! they will find us! we are doomed!
posted by th3ph17 at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2001


i hear a lawsuit coming, guys. better stop slandering the good old scientologists.

on a totally unrelated note (*cough*), i am an unsuccesful writer, writing mostly crap-fiction. i was thinking of writing a bible, and launching a church, so my profits would be tax-deductible. what do you think? it could work, right?
posted by mich9139 at 1:08 PM on September 18, 2001


Only if John Travolta gets to star in the even-crappier movie adaptation...
posted by owillis at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2001


Not that you don't have a right to say what you think. ;)


Actually one of the rights you don't have is to commit fraud. This is just like the "cult awareness network" organization they bought. What most people don't know is when you call there you're dealing with Scientologists, who are widely perceived as a cult.

Now they've set up a recruiting hotline shamelessly using the terrorist attack for their own means and obstensibly stealing calls from a real mental health organization. Its not surprising as one of the tenets of Scientology is to defraud the field of psychology. Another tenet seems to be the ends justify the means.

There could be a real lawsuit over this, all it takes is a class action suit of people thinking they were calling the National Mental Health Association (NMHA).

I don't believe this is a first amendment issue. They are arguably committing fraud and purposely misrepresenting themselves. Its not like someone is trying to stop them from throwing a parade or a convention.
posted by skallas at 1:43 PM on September 18, 2001


XENU do are punish infidels!!! And XENU much punish do coming future!!!
posted by blackholebrain at 2:52 PM on September 18, 2001


Haha, the thought of church suing us for slandering them here on this post makes me think of Jay and Silent Bob. Oh well, sorry for going way off topic, I just couldn't resist.
posted by rift2001 at 3:45 PM on September 18, 2001


Scientology is a harmful cult, not a religion.

Same difference.
posted by rushmc at 5:20 PM on September 18, 2001


Scientology is a harmful cult, not a religion.

Same difference.


Yeah those damn litigious lutherans and their recruitment schemes!

I don't see a difference between a harmful cult and a harmful religion but I certainly do see a difference between Scientology and their ilk compared to non-fundamental religions.
posted by skallas at 5:48 PM on September 18, 2001


What's a non-harmful religion? Setting aside such blatant things as crusades and inquisitions, there is the little matter of the damage they inflict on human dignity, integrity and understanding.

The only difference between a "cult" and a "religion" is a couple hundred years...
posted by rushmc at 8:09 PM on September 18, 2001


Actually you're forced to put aside things like the crusades and inquisitions because we're talking about modern religions in modern times. I think its fair to presume that both those events are products of their time as much as their religion. Human rights are only a recent development in the timeline of civilization and religions have adapted to that somewhat secular concept. I think we can credit the enlightenment philosophers for starting the human rights movement and most of them were skeptics or deists. Ironically, after all the rhetoric of golden rules and such it was deists who made real strides in universal human rights.

That said, religion is a very adaptable beast. The exception is the fundamentalism, by its nature it resists change and focuses on a completely different social ideals. If you put aside straw men and stereotypes, you'll find the average theist either embracing modern cosmological theories or being baffled by them. Its a minority that takes the old myths as real events. Realistically, the myths and stories provide a philosophical ground to explore one's reality for a lot of people.

I definitely don't see theists or their cosmologies as harming subjective ideals like dignity and integrity. You'll find both theists and non-theists alike claiming that their current status has helped them with dignity and integrity. Though I'm sure a non-theist like yourself sees no dignity in the theists approach and I'm sure the theist sees none in your approach too.

As far as understanding goes are you talking about scientific cosmology? I assume you are. Theists aren't suddenly incapable of understanding science. They might be more wary of theories with little footing in fact like abiogenesis and better theories like the big bang, but non-theists especially the materialist atheist embraces a lot of unproven theories almost with a faith-like conviction.

I'm not suggesting there's some magical middle ground between science and religion. I'm claiming that things certainly aren't as cut and dry as you suggest and that religion itself is not an attack on dignity or understanding. The Arch-Conservative face of Catholicism has endorsed evolution, maybe not as much to your liking, but its a good example of how if a religion wants to survive it must bend with the ideas of the time.

Personally, I find both theists and atheists too smug in their beliefs and cosmologies. I'm equally scared of a society run by hard atheists as I am a theocracy. Too many assumptions and too much hubris. Anyone with all the answers is someone to avoid at all costs. Maybe my agnostic colors are showing, but both camps seem to have a lot to gain by perpetually hating each other. Everyone needs an arch-enemy to feel good about their fight and have someone to mock.

The only difference between a "cult" and a "religion" is a couple hundred years...

Winners tend to write history. Credibility is built over time. No surprise there.
posted by skallas at 9:04 PM on September 18, 2001


Actually you're forced to put aside things like the crusades and inquisitions because we're talking about modern religions in modern times.

Who is this "we," Kemosabe? It might be convenient to limit the discussion of the nature of religion to those operating within your own lifetime, but it DOES tend to give a rather skewed picture of the phenomenon. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples that make my point in "modern" times, which is why I excluded the crusades and inquisitions.

You also presume too much if you are trying to pigeonhole me as an atheist, as opposed to an agnostic. It is quite easy (I should think almost unavoidable) to be agnostic re: the God question yet anti-organized religion. Hell, I know many people who categorize themselves as "religious" that are anti-organized religion.
posted by rushmc at 9:34 PM on September 18, 2001


rushmc, I wasn't arbitrarily dismissing the past. I was trying to say that the political and social attitudes of the time are as much contributors to those tragedies as the popular belief system of the time. You don't need religion to murder and you don't need murder in religion.

Essentially, I don't buy the causal explanations for the evils of religion. It certainly is a contributor but its part of the social landscape. Martin Luther King, Jr didn't fight for civil rights because he was a Reverend. Joe Stalin didn't slaughter because he was a communist, etc.

I think its fairly easy to pick on organized religion. Its far easier to pick on cults and even easier to pick on zealots of any faith, culture, cosmology, hot button issue, etc.

Going back to the topic, I'd like to hear from you why religion, organized or not, is just as bad as a harmful cult like Scientology.
posted by skallas at 10:00 PM on September 18, 2001


www.xenu.net for the TRUTH about the criminal cult of $cientology.
posted by BlitzK at 3:31 AM on September 19, 2001


i heard michael moore was having a time of baiting the scientologists. something to do with extreme negligence/manual worker/manslaughter/denial/further death/further denial. sorry no link.

off-topic tastic

well, there's a great series on uk tv at the moment called 'testing god'. it is on channel 4, who usually have a good online presence, but in this case have precisely bugger all in the way of background/further info. book on the way no doubt (i hope).

one of the arguments i like to hear repeated goes like this:
science has *proved* there is no god. the core of modern science is the stark world of physics. one of the pillars of modern physics is the understanding of quantum phenomina. Probably the most important tenet of quantum physics is that of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. HUP states: 'that the position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory.'So nothing is certain, that is the core of modern science.

The recent programme also engaged fuzzy logic to further compound the argument. there is no absolute truth etc.

everything's gone fuzzy!
posted by asok at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2001


I'd like to hear from you why religion, organized or not, is just as bad as a harmful cult like Scientology.

Anything which encourages people give up their birthright as thinking, reasoning creatures and turns them into fantasy-believing sheeple (love that new word!) for purposes of power and profit is bad. Since Scientology AND other religions fit this description, I deem them bad.
posted by rushmc at 7:20 PM on September 19, 2001


Ok, it seems that this thread is long over, but I feel that I should post some links that are still working. Frankly, I don't think it's a coincidence that the media (especially FoxNews) has been deafeningly silent about this and that most articles relating to this have been moved around or taken offline really quickly. Here is the press release on the NMHA website. It was also picked up in reports by WSTP-TV (Florida) and by the St. Petersburg Times.

I'd post more but Scientology scares the crap out of me.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 5:10 PM on October 6, 2001


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