Saturday, June 27, 2009

St Petersburg Times - Readers Write

I've nothing much to add to the St Petersburg Times reports on the allegations of Miscavige's violence towards his employees, except to say that we at the Beacon can't quite fathom how the Church can play its "you should have spoken to us" card when, in fact, the newspaper did speak to them, and put the Church's side of the story across too.

Do pay close attention to the Tommy Davis interviews. Along with continuing the performance many of us first witnessed on the Panorama documentary, Davis also offers up further examples of his "almost lying". He describes the accusations as being "increasingly bizarre" in the same way that he said that the OT3 mythology, too, sounded pretty weird, as if the oddness in some way negated the possibility of the existence of either Miscavige's behaviour or the belief in you-know-who. Of the alleged victims, Tommy does not say that they weren't beaten by Miscavige, only that Tommy has spoken to them, and they will say they were not beaten by Miscavige. There's a choice moment where he starts to say "factually..." and then quickly changes tack to the less certain "I have signed affidavits from these people". He also tries to have his cake and eat it. His sorry show of denial begins by declaring that the Sea Org is a highly disciplined religious order, that they are "tough sons of bitches". It's as if he's saying "these guys shouldn't complain, because it's what they signed up for".

Much has been made of Rathbun and Rinder being "ex-scientologists" as if leaving the church instantly invalidates whatever they may say about their experience (for what it's worth I suspect they both class themselves very much as practicing Scientologists, and they have every right to). The Church has suggested that they have both talked up their position in the church, but their positions were well-known. The Church has suggested that they were incompetent, and were fired from the church, rather than left of their own volition. Rinder, according to Davis, is psychotic. So we have high-up members of the church who, according to the church itself, were incompetent and mentally ill. How could this have happened under the watchful eye of Miscavige with all his micromanagement and sec checks? How does someone with as much auditing therapy under his belt as Rinder end up so mentally ill that the Church's own spokesperson declares him psychotic? To suggest that Miscavige was blind to this incompetence and sickness seems as unlikely as L Ron Hubbard himself failing to ensure that the books he was slaving over were being edited out of all functional use prior to being published.

The article has led to a number of responses, mainly from scientologists complaining that the paper is biased in its reporting, and that they should run articles about all the good the church is doing. Well, we know why they don't. The rest have been from individuals writing to thank the paper for such focused and unflinching reporing. This letter in particular stood out, because it concisely makes very clear the "big picture" problem that people have with the Church of Scientology and what it does to people.

Irrational movement
Thank you for your excellent, thorough expose of Scientology. It makes for absorbing reading and, appalling as the Lisa McPherson pictures are, one sees evidence of careful research and the  professional restraint from any sensationalism.
Religion, cult, whatever one calls it, this description — its history and its astonishing growth and power — is a remarkable case history of the power of man's imagination and his infinite cunning. For here is a vivid picture of what happens when men and women deliberately turn away from reason. Here we see the scope of human gullibility and of human greed.
Scientology's goal is "to create a world without war, insanity and criminality." It opposes itself to psychiatry, whose goals are dismally opposite, seeking to make men and women "drugged or robotized" so they can be controlled. The result is vividly presented in the St. Petersburg Times account.
Lisa McPherson, terribly ill, was certainly "drugged and robotized" and deprived of proper care. Stripped of her money to pay for what care the organization gives her, and for any education in its tenets, she stands as a tragic symbol of what a determined, irrational, emotional movement can do to human beings.
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon

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