From a Facebook discussion on the article,
Well, I guess Scientology IS a real church! I don't fault them for only now getting around to forced labor and human trafficking; the Protestants and Catholics are a lot older and were doing this stuff all over the world 1, 700 years before the Scientologists had a chance to catch up. I guess it'll take them a century or so before they start burning people at the stake.
stuffington has a serious dog in this fight. they're beholden to Big PhRMA, over diagnosis and the over-prescription of psych drugs. They refuse to listen to those of us in the Mad Pride movement who ask them, repeatedly, not to use ableist slurs against us such as "crazy, loony, etc" and, in fact, allow readers to rate articles as "crazy." Their op eds on psychiatric survivors make us sound like out-of-touch malcontents who want to let seriously mentally ill people just run the streets without supervision or treatment. In other words, they put words in our mouths and voice agendas for us that aren't ours. Scientology has pointed out, quite correctly, that the medical industrial complex and psychiatry are actually killing and maiming more people than they're treating with very dangerous chemical restraints and questionable procedures. Now, Scientology is a BS cult, as far as I'm concerned, but not much better or worse than any other denomination in terms of abusing its own congregation.
But they ARE right about psychiatric abuse.
It is in stuffington's best interests to heap on to the notion that Scientology is quackery because of their own ties to Big PhRMA.
You haven't noticed, since you're able-minded and assume stuffington is liberal and does good.
but for people like me, stuffington is absolutely toxic propaganda.
That's not a paranoid rant, either, so please don't dismiss me as a mentally ill crack pot, one of the stereotypes stuffington will use and exploit to shut anybody up who disagrees with her.
You don't think I meant Protestants and Catholics STOPPED 1,700 years ago, do you??? I meant that's when they STARTED! They're MUCH more sophisticated, sneaky, institutionalized and political NOW! I just meant they have a nearly-two-century jump on Scientologists, who are exhibiting the rudimentary behaviors of a religion and look Primitive, by comparison. Oh, no! I never meant to imply Protestant and Catholic institutions were BETTER now! HAHAHAHA that would be deluded! You DO know what happened to Kato in Uganda, thanks to Protestant "missionaries," right? And you MUST know about the thousands-year-old priestly perk of covered-up pedophilia in the Catholic institution, right??? Multi-generational trauma among Native peoples? Pat Robertson's diamond mines? and it goes on and on, religion after religion....
Scientology is a CHURCH, therefore, I compared it to other churches, not temples, mosques, etc.
Indigenous spiritual practices are not institutions, therefore I am not, necessarily, comparing them to religious institutions, although many practice very ignorant, superstitious and devastating beliefs, such as calling people with disabilities, Queer people and people with alternative mental states "demonic" or evil.
A quick internet search will result in hundreds of citations of Buddhist, Hindu Muslim and Jewish violence and oppression. Rastafarians actively promote hunting down and murdering Queer people, through songs and rhetoric.
I AM a Unitarian Universalist, and I can tell you, first hand, that the academic and economic elitism within the Association automatically marginalize, ignore, ostracize and look down on folks who cannot aspire to middle class status, standardized UUA behavior or speech or academic and economic advancement.
EXAMPLE: When I left a homeless shelter in a major city and joined a HUGE and influential fellowship there, I asked where and how to register to vote. A member of the Church board LITERALLY clucked her tongue at me, because I didn't know. I said, It makes more sense to congratulate and support me for wanting to vote than for disapproving of the fact I don't know how. I've only lived in this state 5 weeks and was in a homeless shelter nearly the entire time (after my biological family threw me out for being Queer, a week after I arrived in the state for their "help," because I was sick). I know where all these offices are: Social Security, Food Stamps, Public Transportation, Public Housing, as well as all the food pantries, soup kitchens, free thrift stores and dumpsters with food in them I can eat. I was a little busy, surviving, to research how to vote. I can site dozens of other such encounters personally, and among my friends and associates. This is a typical encounter of marginalized people who try to participate in local UUA fellowships. They're great at forming committees to talk problems to death and raise a few funds to send far from their local communities, but they don't provide much help to local people's needs. I think they're afraid of contracting head lice.
One can always find exceptions to every rule (unless it's a natural law, but I'm talking social). Many Quakers, Mennonites, Amish and other Anabaptist practice strict gender segregation, forced heterosexuality and, in many cases, extreme isolation from the general population. But, yes, they are a bit less literally violent and oppressive. But they are tokens, held up as examples of how wonderful religious institutions are. People can comfort themselves in their own religions' problematic histories by lifting up examples of how terrific religious institutions can be by holding these up to admire, while ignoring the vast numbers of hate mongers who hide behind nonprofit status to destroy people's lives, simply because they are too afraid to live and let live.
The "progressive" religious comfort themselves by living under the illusion that, just because their particular church appears, to them, to be enlightened, helpful, courageous, whatever, that religious institutions are good things. They refuse to look at the hate, violence, terrorism, greed, abuse, etc. of religious institutions as a whole.
Religious institutions are BASED on xenophobia, fear, threats, self-aggrandizement, separating the assembled from those beyond their circle, cliques, clans, etc. It's a fundamental basis for why they exist.
If religious institutions were actually committed to social justice, social justice would barely exist. EXAMPLE: On the 2000th anniversary of the traditional date of Jesus' birth (not the actual calendar date, which nobody knows), Bethlehem, the purported town of his birth, was drenched in violence, as the Israeli Army invaded and attacked Palestinians, who defended themselves with rocks. IF RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS had ANY validity as agents for social change, here's what would have happened:
Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, the Pope and probably the Dali Lama would have mobilized congregants to fly to Bethlehem and guard human lives. I mean: every soldier, every Palestinian, every local human on the street would have had a religious person as a human shield, standing between that person and the bullets, bombs and rocks. The effects would be immediate. The whole world would know. The violence would have stopped IMMEDIATELY. Bethlehem would have been restored. SERIOUS diplomatic negotiations, not just rhetoric, would have begun and we would have peace in the Middle East right now.
Instead, the "religious faithful" stayed away in droves. Shop keepers, whose entire year's income depends on the tourist industry, went homeless. Nothing changed. That was the Second Thousandth Anniversary of the supposed "son of G*d?" How was that acceptable?
Scientology is acting just like a church.
Sam, I am not hitting anybody with anything. I am simply defining. I actively choose not to participate in religious institutions precisely because of the historical, and current, damage they cause. I won't participate in cult-like or leadership-following institutions for the same reasons a la, the Communist argument. I get to judge, as in discern, where my loyalties lie and to what I invest my energies. Nationalism and religious institutions are outmoded, destructive and divisive social constructs in the global world. "We" are not better than "they;" we're just DIFFERENT.
And I absolutely get to judge what is beneficial and what is harmful to me as a woman, as a Queer, as a person in poverty with serious disabilities and challenges. I refuse "help," for instance, from that Queer basher, Jeromy Irons and his ironically named "Joy Junction," because I will not be forced to pretend to believe something I don't and I will not tolerate superstitious discussions about my gender and orientation. Food I get from a dumpster is much easier to digest than day-old culls from a grocery chain, if I have to be locked in a sanctuary and harangued with propaganda about how sinful, unworthy, evil, wicked, dirty and inadequate I am, as happens at Philadelphia Ministries in the War Zone, where the tenants of his "shelter" are forced to work for free AND give him their food stamps.
Transexual Navajo women are being murdered because of the indoctrination of xian missionaries who've so corrupted traditional Navajo beliefs that many now think Queer people are "monsters," rather than sacred members of society.
I refuse to step up to a woman-hating homophobe with my glass jaw stuck out, just waiting to be sucker punched by some self-righteous bigot who thinks I'm possessed by demons or a pedophile.
One or two sociopaths preaching hate are not the problem; the problem is the vast following of torch-wielding zealots who follow them. Pat Robertson should NOT have non-profit status! None of them should.