…the harm that Stone Age thinking has done and continues to do.
Here is a great article penned by Neil MacDonald, who discusses a new book (Lawrence Wright’s investigative book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief),that looks at Scientology and the power that it can wield in American society. And while granted that the Scientology kooks are the extreme, the same can be said to some degree for most of the other mainstream religions.
Take the Catholic Church. What other global organisation can you think of that as a matter of policy has for years shielded some of its members accused of and guilty of systematic child molestation.
Or, common to Catholicism and most sects of Protestantism, gays and lesbians are considered abominations.
Or take how, under the guise of Islam, how women and young girls are routinely descrimanted against, physically abused and prevented from the same opportunities as men.
Faith. The crimes committed in its name.
After the FBI uncovered evidence in the 1960s that Scientology had systematically infiltrated government departments with church spies, Scientology’s tax-exempt status was revoked, triggering a two-decade war with Washington.
According to Wright, the church in that time filed 2,500 lawsuits, swamping government lawyers. Scientology agents dug into the private lives of IRS staff, looking for evidence of drinking or marital cheating, then planted news stories on them.
It offered a $10,000 reward for dirt on the tax agency.
Eventually, the IRS backed down, defeated. But fight any temptation to cheer.
Effectively, what we have here is a profit-making machine that disregarded the law to pursue restitution of its tax-exempt status, which in turn made it even more potent, even more immune to the rules that govern the rest of us.
Yes, other big profit-making entities push government around, too — just take a look at Wall Street — but none has the body armour of a church.
Skeptical? Ask yourself this: If it were proved that senior employees of Microsoft, or Bank of America, had been sexually assaulting minors worldwide for decades, overwhelmingly young boys in their care, and senior company management had been complicit, either ignoring the abuse or actually taking steps to cover it up in order to protect the company’s image, how long would it be before that company would be facing a Justice Department strike force? Or bankruptcy?
Yet the Roman Catholic Church was, at most, dented by such horrific revelations. Individual priests have been charged worldwide, yes. But efforts to hold the church hierarchy responsible for the crimes that were covered up have been exceedingly rare.