There’s three types of people in Los Angeles: Those who are Scientologists, those who don’t know about Scientology, and those who hate Scientology.
While I have nothing wrong with being skeptical of any organized religion, I often wonder if Scientology receives an unbalanced amount of criticism that, quite simply, may verge on bigotry. If people so viciously attacked Christianity, Islam, or Judaism with the same amount of vile, they’d be considerered racially intolerant. Especially in a city as diverse as Los Angeles, why is there a free pass to degrade and demean any particular group or culture?
Certainly there are questionable practices by the Church of Scientology, just as in any other religion. Every religion has restrictions, rules, and beliefs that, to nonbelievers, may seem unusual. For example, is their secretive nature any more troubling than the Catholic Church’s cover up of child sex abuse? Is Scientology’s apprehension to using psychiatric medication any more appaling than Christian Scientists refusal to use medication of any kind, even in life or death situations? Is there belief in an alien origin any crazier than believing Moses parted the Red Seas or that Noah was able to fit two of every animal on his Ark? Male Orthodox Jews, for example, refuse to touch most women because they’re considered uncleanly, and won’t even shake their hands in business settings.
I’m not advocating for anyone to take the time for a stress or personality test the next time they walk by a Scientology Center. Nor do I think people shouldn’t discuss Scientology… but I do think people need to reevaluate how harshly they question Scientology’s legitimacy, and come to their own conclusions by doing some research, not relying on hearsay and gossip, and having an open mind.
On a related note, Isaac Hayes recently left his role as the voice of Chef on “South Park” due to an episode that pokes fun at Scientology, saying “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects (religious) beliefs and practices.” (“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone’s response: “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology… He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.” source: Associated Press/Yahoo! News)