left biblioblography: What Price, Vendetta?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Price, Vendetta?


Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!

It is perhaps, no shock to anyone who knows me, that of all the religious hooey that alternately shocks, dismays, or provokes outrage from me, Scientology is in the top three.

I live in Mountain View, and right there on Castro Street, is one of their 'illustrious' churches. Usually, there's a very quiet member passing out literature in front of it, and there has been more than one occasion where Anonymous members donning Vendetta masks have protested it right across the street.

This is a sterling example of how religion gets a free pass in our society. Call yourself a religion, don the mask of 'religious persecution', and reap the perks.

(Having a cadre of lawyers as members probably helps, I might add.)

Now, I disagree with Michael Shermer's take on this particular ballyhoo. These people are dangerous - more so than most of the other fundies we deal with (regionally speaking of course: no doubt there's a few 'good ole boys' in various states who'd pronounce "JEBUS LUVS U!" while booting you in the ribs).

A core precept is Fair Game - put forth by the Mighty Profit Enron Hubbard:

In 1965 Hubbard formulated the "Fair Game Law", which states how to deal with people who interfere with Scientology's activities. These problematic people, called suppressive persons, could be considered "fair game" for retaliation:

A Suppressive Person or Group becomes fair game. By FAIR GAME is meant, may not be further protected by the codes and disciplines or the rights of a Scientologist.

Later in December of that year, Hubbard reissued the Fair Game policy with additional clarifications to define the scope of Fair Game. He made it clear that the policy applied to non-Scientologists as well. He declared:

The homes, property, places and abodes of persons who have been active in attempting to: suppress Scientology or Scientologists are all beyond any protection of Scientology Ethics, unless absolved by later Ethics or an amnesty ... this Policy Letter extends to suppressive non-Scientology wives and husbands and parents, or other family members or hostile groups or even close friends.

Hubbard made it clear elsewhere in his writings that the policy would be applied to external organizations, including governments, that were guilty of having interfered with Scientology's activities. He told Scientologists:

If the Internal Revenue Service (in refusing the FCDC [Founding Church of Scientology, Washington DC] non-profit status) continues to act up or if the FDA does sue we can of course Comm Ev [Committee of Evidence] them and if found guilty, label and publish them as a Suppressive Group and fair game ... [N]one is fair game until he or she declares against us.

The policy was further extended in an October 1967 Policy Letter (HCOPL 18 Oct 67 Issue IV, Penalties for Lower Conditions), where Hubbard defined the "penalties" for an individual deemed to be in a "Condition of Enemy":

ENEMY — SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.

When a man named Peter Goodwin in Hampshire, England purchased a high-level Scientology course for £250 and resold it to friends for £50, Hubbard personally issued an Ethics order which "withdrew any future help from Goodwin and his associates, (presumably for eternity), and threatened the most dire retaliations."

If you read further down the link, you will find that Hubbard back-pedaled a bit, changing stances as circumstances warranted. But I've no doubt there's more than a few Scienmythologists who'd have any SP's head on a plate if they could.

ABC News has this report:

Over the past few months, Anonymous has picketed and protested at Scientology centers around the world from Australia and Atlanta to Brussels and Boston. They've also hacked into the church's Web site, posted numerous videos on YouTube criticizing the church and have been accused of harassing church officials.

Now the church is fighting back with its own public relations onslaught, releasing a recent video titled "Anonymous Exposed," which identifies individual it said were members of the group and accuses them of being accessories to criminal acts that include death threats and destruction of property.

"We wanted people who were unaware of what's going on to know about the criminal acts permitted by their leaders," church spokeswoman Karin Pouw told ABCNEWS.com, adding that the church is working with federal and local law enforcement. "[The video] summarizes our position."

Anonymous (members), of course, deny many of these allegations:

"Anonymous contains all kinds of individuals, academics, college students, members of law enforcement, media professionals and blue collar workers," a 25-year-old member of Anonymous with a computer science background told ABCNEWS.com in an e-mail, on the condition that he remain unidentified. "We are united by a mind-set, not by a membership card… We have no leaders and adhere to the true definition of a collective."

Responding to claims made in the church's video and statements from Church of Scientology leaders equating Anonymous with domestic terrorists, the Anonymous member wrote:

"Anonymous does not support, encourage or condone threats of violence in our campaign against Scientology. The 'bomb threat' video was reported to the FBI and to the media as soon as it was seen on YouTube. They were both told that this video was not produced by Anonymous."

So of course, Hubbardologists have made the usual spurious claims. Cries of 'persecution!', etc. Denial-of-service attacks launched at their websites. Then again, cry me a frelling river. Weren't these the same assholes who launched a 24 year attack on the IRS, using 'terrorist' tactics until they became tax-exempt? Yes, they were.

Boo-fucking-hoo, then. Turnabout's fair play, as the saying goes.

Once again, some UFOologists dive under that ridiculous umbrella of protection that is provided via government sanction, proclaiming an argumentum ad numerum as sufficient grounds to protect them against criticism no matter how rightful that critique might be, giving them a degree of cart blanch that non-religious aren't allowed to have.

In short, the nutters among us get more privilege. More protection. More say.

It is to cringe.

Till the next post, then.


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Stardust said...

This just shows that all the stars that people idolize are not very smart and actually quite crazy (as Tom Cruise has illustrated in recent years.) They aren’t even smart enough to see that their money is what these creeps want, just like all of the other religions where their gods need money to exist. Tom Cruise is the one who “doesn’t know psychology” as he has accused others of not knowing, because they say crazy people don’t understand they are crazy, and T.C is definitely a fruitcake.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Problem is, people feel a need to latch onto any authority figure, regardless of how lame the authority is.