Just kidding…But now that I have your attention…
I’m tired and I have a headache, which means I can’t read. So I just so happened to become an expert on available internet documentaries about Scientology. (I have no idea why.)
The fairest documentary concerning the genesis and gospel of Scientology (see what I did there?) is from an A & E Investigative Report in 1998.
This was back in the days when A & E did a lot more reporting and a lot less chronicling of sad and/or crazy people and/or criminals and/or ghosts (Hoarders, Intervention, Heavy, Storage Wars, Manhunt, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Paranormal State, etc…)
It should be noted that the guy making most of the good points in favor of Scientology, Mike Rinder, recently defected from the group and now actively campaigns against them. His defection, however, has more to do with a dislike of the head of the church, David Miscavige, then it does with the doctrine of Scientology.
It seems Miscavige is a bit of a tyrant. Who would have thought? He seems so nice when he’s talking to Tom Cruise.
Of course, if you’d prefer a little less “wow that was really fair and insightful” and a little more “Holy Hell, what is with these psycho fanatic cult people!?!?!” you’d do well to check out this documentary from the BBC show Panorama.
Or I can just boil it all down for you.
The debate about Scientology is really a debate about tax dollars. (What a surprise, right?)
Scientology declared itself a religion to gain national tax exemptions. Governments want that money and so they have attempted to crucify L. Ron Hubbard (Oops, I did it again) and make his “religion” into either a psychological self-help course (which would be taxed) or an evil cult (which would cease to exist).
You see. Governments don’t really care if you “fall victim” to brain-washing. (After all, they do some of that themselves.) They just want your money.
As for all those well-meaning, thetan-free, wide-eyed Hubbard devotes…they want your money too. A LOT OF IT!
YOU HAVE TO PAY A TON TO “ADVANCE” IN THIS WACKY RELIGION.
This isn’t exactly the collection plate at Catholic Mass. (Or as I used to call it, LUNCH MONEY! – Just kidding, God.)
Members of Scientology pay up to $250,000 to learn all about Lord Xenu and his gang of evil thetans.
As far as cash for services rendered, Scientology is right up there with Mormanism! Or psychotherapy (interestingly, the “pseudo-science” it decries).
It’s expensive. Although, as far as I know, no member of the religion of Scientology has been asked to pay with their life. (I’m looking at you, Muslims.)
(And I’m also looking at Christianity, now that I think about it. God really wasn’t in the mood to barter when Jesus was on that cross.)
It seems the Jews have the best track record when it comes to religious payments tendered. Their God trapped a guy in a whale for awhile. And faked Abraham into thinking he had to kill his son (OHHHH! GOTCHA!). And made his people wander in the desert for 40 years. But no straight-up sacrifices.
PLUS! Jews don’t need to take their member’s money because they already have everyone else’s! (Just kidding. Seriously. Seriously kidding.)
Now that I’ve alienated everyone except for atheists (“Hey, atheists! Why is there something instead of nothing?……still workin’ on that one, aren’t ya?”) and agnostics (“Pick a side, pansies. No more waffling. This is America. It’s not some Montessori school where there are no “wrong answers”, the kids call each other by their Himalayan spirit name and paint by numbers is considered fascist. Get in the game!)
Anyway, this whole tax drama would explain the, not one, but TWO BBC documentaries “investigating” Scientology just as the church was about to file for tax exemption. And you can take my word for it, they are anything but fair and balanced. Britain really needs a Fox News. (If you’re new here, that’s a joke.)
All that being said, the organization of Scientology is clearly designed to make money. You’d be hard pressed to find another religion which has actually filed a legal injunction in the United States claiming that the documents explaining their belief system are “trade secrets”. That’s like comparing the Koran to the formula for Coca-Cola.
My verdict: Scientology should be taxed like any other incorporated organization. Although some of the people that are violently anti-Scientology scare me more than the cult members. I mean, church members.