At the weekend, News.com.au published a piece by The Punch’s Daniel Piotrowski. Dan took a tour of the Church of Scientology in the Sydney suburb Glebe and wrote a piece about what he saw.
In the piece, Dan described eerie corridors intentionally filled with white noise, hardcore study camps, and said he found the place “bewildering”. He pointed out that Census figures show the Church’s following in Australia has shrunk recently.
On Saturday morning, representatives of the Australian Church of Scientology, Vicki Dunstan, told Dan the piece “ridiculed” the Church. So The Punch has given Scientology spokeswoman Virginia Stewart room to reply to the piece, below.
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If you missed Puncher Dan Piotrowski’s excellent news.com.au piece on his day with the Church of Scientology, slap yourself on the wrist and go and read it now.
Anyone know any scientologists? Is anyone out there a scientologist themselves?
Whatcha all up to today? Keeping dry, we hope, if you’re on the east coast.
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Call it second sight. Call it bullshit. I know the exact moment when Tom Cruise decided he’d have Katie Holmes.
It was in the excellent 2005 movie, “Batman Begins”. Ms Holmes, playing public attorney Rachel Dawes, is strapped in a basement in a tight, heaving dress. The diabolical Dr Jonathon Crane stands over her wearing a creepy hessian mask.
She looked extraordinary. But it was Tom Cruise, not Batman, who decided to rescue her.
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Imagine the scene in the Church of Scientology’s PR department at the moment. Apoplectic managers and scared juniors, admin staff desperately scrambling for the ‘When A-Listers Go Rogue’ risk management documents. An albino Thetan grimly tapping the Holmes/Cruise file.
They’re going to need auditing right through the next few reincarnations to get over the trauma. “Remind me again why Valium is bad?” they might be asking.
Katie Holmes’ split from Tom Cruise is just the latest scandal to hit the church/cult/franchise. The brightness of the Hollywood lights ensure all shadows are cast long.
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After five years, the marriage of Oscar-nominated bouncer-on-televised-couches, Tom Cruise, and Dawson’s Creek star Katie Holmes, blew up at the weekend.
Now, analysing a celebrity relationship isn’t The Punch’s forte and it never will be. Not quite sure what their problem was. All we know is it’s awful that their child’s home is a broken one.
Regardless, the Power Couple’s meltdown has provided another flash of insight into the disturbing reality of the religion-cum-cult of Scientology. Even if that insight comes from gossip websites, who claim that Holmes was afraid Cruise would drag their five-year-old daughter Suri further into the “church” of Scientology.
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Census statistics show Scientology is on the wane in Australia. According to Lateline, there are just 2163 aspiring Thetans, which is down 13.7 per cent from 2006 numbers.
Meanwhile, there are more pantheists, Jedis, and Rastafarians. It’s not clear why there are fewer Hubbards in the cupboard. Maybe Katie Holmes know; Scientology is reportedly a factor in her split from the ever-enthusiastic preacher Tom Cruise.
Have you met any Scientologists on your travels? How about a Jedi? Anything else on your mind today?
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Last week’s Senate inquiry into the private member’s bill, the Tax Laws Amendment (Public Benefit Test) Bill 2010, was only allowed to run with the credence and terms of reference of a broad ranging review of the tax exempt status for all charities and religions in Australia.
A very different story became apparent when questioning began. It was heavily slanted with witnesses against one religion under the guise of a tax inquiry.
Senator Doug Cameron notably kept his questions on track and asked intelligent, direct and reasoned questions.
But despite repeated reassurances by Liberal Senator Alan Eggleston as the inquiry Chair that “the behaviour of specific individuals and organisations is not within the terms of reference of this committee”, five former Scientologists were invited by Senator Xenophon to appear before the committee where they, to put it colloquially, dumped a bucket on the Church.
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There are few modern politicians enthusiastic about using the powers of parliament to interfere in religious belief.
And there is a good reason for this. Politicians have no role to play in people’s personal belief systems and most agree with this.
If members of a church are seen to have offended against the laws of society, then society has ways of providing redress through the institutions of the law.
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The Federal Government should immediately remove the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status. Why on Earth (or anywhere else in the Galactic Confederacy) should taxpayers be supporting the dream of a wacky science fiction author? Why, when governments are struggling to adequately fund emergency departments, should it be neglecting to collect a share of money from this pseudo-scientific behemoth?
This outrageous loophole for religions must be closed. For all religions. The Government should bite the bullet and take tax-free status away from the Catholics, the Christians, the Muslims, the Buddhists. It must start taxing religions.
South Australian senator Nick Xenophon and a bunch of brave ex-Scientologists have made some allegations of appalling behaviour by the Church of Scientology under the protective blanket of Parliamentary privilege.