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August 16, 2008

Operation: Cult Fiction

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Due to my annoying habit of speaking in paragraphs, I did not quite complete an idea I was trying to advance on the Michael Coren Show. In response to (justified) concerns about anti-Catholic bigotry, I wanted to draw a line between criticism and contempt and - more importantly - between theological disagreement and arbitration of such disagreement under the law. I pointed out that I am Protestant and that this means by definition I am in disagreement with aspects of doctrine and hierarchy advanced by the Roman Catholic church. That is, after all, the (human, to our mind) institution against which we are protesting.

It is no business of the government to intervene in religious disagreements of this kind. Incitement to violence... actual violence... is another matter entirely. It is true any number of bigotries are tribalism dressed up in theological language. It is also true many take whatever their creed as justification for mayhem and slaughter from lone maniacs to psychopathic state-actors. But mere disagreement about the truth cannot be the province of the government, let alone rogue bureaucracies or criminal bureaucratic cliques acting with the power of the government.

My creed holds I must have the freedom to be wrong; to deny salvation itself. It holds that the nature of salvation is such that it may only be discovered and accepted as a free gift. My virtue cannot be legislated, let alone the fate of my soul.

Scientologists should be free to believe whatever outrageous UFO nonsense they wish. But I must be free to describe their UFO nonsense in those terms and be free to discourage the overly credulous from believing Scientological faith and practice where a high credit card limit may purchase their ersatz salvation. Once the government steps in to say that my disagreement may bring Scientology into hatred and contempt I can only reply, yes, that is the precise idea. There are many ideologies that should be brought into hatred and contempt, must be if liberty - civilization itself - is to survive. That our law is incapable of distinguishing between opposition to an ideology and incitement to violence against the con artists and rubes who advance it is to show not only badly written law but a Canadian Establishment that has lost the capacity for reason.

Agent Bedhead has thoughts on Tom Cruise and informative links on the wagon to which he has hitched his star. Enturbulation explains today's Cult Fiction event and hosts links to protests in your area, including Toronto.

The people who do join Scientology and pay for their services do so in the hopes of gaining increased intelligence and improved personality. Unfortunately, Scientology doesn't deliver. Instead, Scientologists (when they finally reach the higher levels) are sold a space opera theology about alien spirits infesting their bodies - after having spent tens of thousands of dollars on Scientology courses and auditing sessions. The cost of reaching the highest level of Scientology's secret knowledge, OTVIII (or Operating Thetan level 8) is estimated to be at least $277,010 and could be up to $376,500. It is a "bait-and-switch" scheme.

Ask yourself: What kind of "church" sues to prevent public discussion of its theology? What other cults use thought crime legislation to enforce opinions that cannot win converts by reason and example? What other ideologies dismiss disagreement as false consciousness and insist on the power to indoctrinate the children of their opponents?

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 16, 2008 07:47 AM

Comments

"...our law is incapable of distinguishing between opposition to an ideology and incitement to violence ..."

Forgive the misquote, but this proposition captured my imagination.

Laws, in every land, used to be simpler. Now they are so complicated as to be incomprehensible. Even law specialists constantly debate their meaning. Yet we have run into a situation where the law needs to be even more finely differentiated. Why is this?

People naturally seek legal advantages that are unique to themselves. That's fine so long as their personal interests parallel societal interests. Even then this behavior brings more mischief along, and corrective action is required when the law becomes incapable.

In the scenario where politicians see no source of harm nor any revenue enhancement to themselves, the public has to put up a might roar to get the legislation they need. Congratulations for being part of the solution.

Posted by: HelenW [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 07:45 PM