Shaming Scientology

Conservative MP for Surrey Heath Michael Gove argues that the Scientology cult needs a good shaming. After tonight’s hysterically funny episode of South Park (one of the most inspired in the series’ run) they just got a good dose of that.

Scientology’s use of legal threats and high-powered celebrities can’t protect it from public ridicule. At the same time, this seemingly silly little row also exposes the way in which religion is being used to strangehold free speech:

The whole climate in which religion is discussed has chilled notably in the past few months. After the Danish cartoon controversy, the momentum is with those people who use their particular, narrow faith to silence other voices. If you doubt that’s so, just ask why no British newspaper felt that it could reproduce those cartoons. And reflect on why the British and American governments had to apologise for the offence caused. What were governments doing saying sorry for the independent actions of free citizens? Bending before a very ill wind.

When the House of Commons debated the Religious Hatred Bill, the argument was made that criminalising what one said about faith would have a chilling effect on debate overall. And, even without the law having been passed, one section of our community has succeeded in just that aim.

I’m sure that Trapped in the Closet is wildly offensive. I certainly hope so, anyway. Because the one thing that Scientologists need more than anything else is ridicule. A religion founded by a science-fiction writer in the 1950s which invites its followers to believe in an inter-galactic tyrant called Xenu and offers them the chance to control time itself by becoming “Operating Thetans” deserves nothing less.

The double standards of political correctness in which religions (religions that aren’t Christianity) are absolutely sacrosanct from criticism or ridicule must end. In a free society, religious beliefs are as much a part of the public sphere as anything else, and while making light of religion may not always be in the best taste, it is part of accepting a free society.

One thought on “Shaming Scientology

  1. I’m an equal opportunity mocker when it comes to religion. Although I have to say that Christianity would get mocked less if Pope B Dizzle started paying for the severed heads of infidel cartoonists.

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