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i'll not get into another diatribe on my views on organized religion, or in this case, a well organized cult of fraudulent schemers. i agree that one has the right to practice whatever religion you feel fit for you, provided it does not harm to others. this seems to be a big problem for a lot of them. another is money. any religion carried out in such a way as to extort money from its followers should be considered a business venture and made to fully pay its share of taxes and fully disclose its sources and expenditures.
any religion whose founder is quoted as saying "If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion" is probably not making any attempt at really helping people. making money over actually helping people is a sentiment that i think can be applied to far too many religious figures. whether you're a science fiction writer in the 1940s or a fraudulent faith healer earning $4.3 a month makes no difference if you extort, use, lie, cheat, threaten or bully your way in to power.
when i moved to vancouver and found out there was a scientology center right by Harbour Center, one day i figured "well let's see what all the fuss is about." i'd be inclined to say that the experience of being quickly surrounded by members oblivious to any sort of personal space, ushered into the back of the building and placed in a private theater and made to watch an hour long video outlining, not a religion or a cause, but a sales pitch to buy buy buy and give them all your money for the promise of secrets revealed, screams cult indoctrination to me. i say this with conviction, though not any official authority, after having dealt with the issue of cults and religious indoctrination in several sociology, anthropology and religious history courses. they pretty much hit the nail in about as close to the center of the head as you can get. i actually stayed for the entire hour of the video just to see of there was anything informative at all in it. no. i also spend a good portion of the time wondering if they were watching me through some windows in the back of the theater. when it was over, no one came to collect me, so i left and ran into the man who'd greeted me at the entrance who was all too eager to hear me extol the virtues of buying a half dozen books to become enlightened. he didnt say it in those words exactly, but you get my drift. i told him the video had not told me anything about scientology, and i asked very directly what it was. he told me in a somewhat roundabout way that it provides common sense values to guide you through life. my response was "i dont need to buy common sense, i've got my own." and with that i was immediately shown the front door.
you think if i'd offered him $5 he would have told me something else?
i for one fully support the actions taken by Anonymous in confronting Scientology and hope that the goals for the group of exposing the deceit of Church members and its discontinuation of it as a tax free entity are successful.
info on further protests here.