Opinion: Scientology on the war path

POSTED: 10/25/11 3:19 PM

Scientology, the pseudo-religion founded by science fiction writer Ron Hubbard is on the war path again. Let’s rephrase the last part of this sentence: …is still on the war path. The Huffington Post published a story about this so-called church that sheds light on the way its top brass thinks and operates.

Get this: Scientology set up an extensive spy-operation against the makers of South Park, an animated sitcom that airs on the comedy central network. South Park has a reputation for using crude language and Monty Python like surrealism. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker – and their friends – became the target of Scientology snooping after they took the Mickey out of the church in a South Park episode that aired for the first time in 2005.

In it, one of the characters is identified as the reincarnation of Ron L. Hubbard. He criticizes the acting skills of Tom Cruise, who locks himself in a closet and refuses to come out. The humor of this absurd scenario was wasted on Scientology-executives.

The Huffington Post obtained documents from former Scientology-executive Marty Rathbun that show that Scientology-supporters had to look for incriminating material with the potential to reveal weaknesses in the lives of Stone and Parker.

Rathbun says that Scientology was hunting for phone records, bank data and personal letters. Church-members sifted through public records, but also through garbage bags Stone and Parker put on the streets.

The South Park episode resulted in a row between actor Tom Cruise (like John Travolta a known Scientology-member) and Paramount. The film company did not only produce the Tom Cruise hit movie Mission Impossible III, it is also a daughter company of Viacom, just like comedy central, the station that broadcasts South Park.

Cruise only wanted to do promotion for the movie if Viacom made sure that Comedy Central would not air reruns of South Park’s Scientology satire. Viacom obliged to the astonishment of Stone and Parker. The episode is still available on the internet.

Rathbun did not know whether the snooping activities around Stone and Parker yielded any results. He announced that he will reveal more Scientology-secrets in the near future.

But then, who wants to know more Scientology-secrets? It is a public secrets that this so-called church consists of a bunch of creeps with a nazi-mentality when it comes to hunting down people who dare to criticize the organization.

Scientology has a lot to protect: its estimated annual income of $500 million for instance. Due to its tax exemption status in the United States, Scientology does not have to file tax returns, so the estimate could very well be on the low end of the scale. But with so much money behind it, scientology has a lot of leverage, and quite some people, including the South Park creators, have experienced this. Fortunately, Stone and Parker have the last word, because their Scientology-satire, a 21-minute must see, is still available on southparkstudios.com

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