LA Times Almost Gets it Right on Scientology

Michael Shermer of the LA Times almost got it right, starting his editorial with these words: 

Imagine reading this news release: “Hello, Jews. We are anonymous. Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. … Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind – for the laughs – we shall expel you … and systematically dismantle Judaism in its present form. …”

The rantings of crazed neo-Nazis, right? No. Substitute “Jews” and “Judaism” with “Scientologists” and “Church of Scientology” and you are reading from a statement issued by a group of anti-Scientologists calling themselves “Anonymous.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Shermer then indulged in his own brand of religious intolerance, passing judgement on Scientology beliefs as the self-proclaimed authority that he is not.

With the specious argument that other churches don’t “charge” for their services (No. Some tithe 10% of one’s income; some live off the interest of their 2,000-year long investiments and property; some require that one pay for attendance at high holy day services and for the religious training of their sons and daughters to be confirmed in the church or religion; some merely pass the plate), he fell into the same trap that intolerant, narrow-minded men of all ages have relegated themselves to. 

This country was founded on the philosophy of freedom of religion.

This is the country to which the Calvinists, Quakers and Huguenots fled when they found discrimination in Europse intolerable.

This is the country my own grandparents came to at the turn of the last century to escape the Russian pogroms–traveling in cattle boats, earning enough money in New York to bring over the family of eight, two children at a time.

These and so many more came here because they cherished the freedom to believe as they saw fit and the right to practice their beliefs.

Mr. Sherman succumed to the skeptic impulse (read compulsion in this case) of denigration of all belief.  He would have done well to have stuck to his first and accurate premise.

Americans in the 21st Century, and particularly those who profess to be the intellectual leaders of our civilization, would do well to recognize that the strenght of this country comes from its initial philosophical premises, and the very character of America is tainted by bigotry as it weakens the foundation of what made this country great.


4 responses to “LA Times Almost Gets it Right on Scientology

  1. Michael Shermer isn’t actually an LA Times reporter but the publisher of an anti-religious, anti-spiritual magazine which pretends to be “scientific”. So it isn’t surprising that he would attack the religiosity of Scientology, despite that fact that religious experts all over the world recognize it as a religion.

    What Shermer misses is that by attacking the civil and human right of Scientologists to believe as they see fit, he is also attacking is own right to not-believe. Maybe he should move to a country where beliefs, religious or otherwise, are forced upon the populace and disagreement leads to imprisonment or worse. Perhaps then he would appreciate freedom of thought and religion.

  2. Yes, whenever science becomes religion, as it has with Michael Shermer, any real objectivity goes out the window.

    As soon as one moves into the realm of religion, scientific skepticism will lead to atheism.

    Shermer reminds me of the gang of psychiatrists who were all pro-eugenics back in the 1920’s and 30’s, who lived to see their wishes put into reality in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany.

    Hatred like his should never have been given the forum of the LA Times. But because controversy is the religion of the LA times, he found a willing vehicle for his vitriol.

  3. From what I gather they attack not the religion, but the organization of “Church of Scientology” and “Religious Technology Center”. They promote Free Zone as better alternative for Scientologists.

  4. Scientology is based exclusively on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. In his work, Mr. Hubbard not only discovered the technology and philosophy of Scientology but also established an administrative pattern inclucing organization structure, ethics codes and other procedures. To try to divorce the Church of Scientology from Scientology is ridiculous. Hubbard specifically warned against splinter groups and so calling this Scientology is simply not accurate. As a Scientologist I say it is simply nonsense to say you are only attacking the Church of Scientology and RTC.

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