Not a happy Guy Fawkes Day for Scientology
Happy Guy Fawkes Day – a time to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ mask wearing Project Chanology anti-Scientology action and the St. Petersberg Times extraordinary expose’ of Scientology.
Monday, St. Pete documented the group’s strenuous efforts to track down, spy on and bring back members who tried to leave, and the measures applied in some cases to those retrieved.
Two Scientology Web sites were reportedly hacked on Tuesday – allegedly the work of Anonymous (Project Chanology), the Internet-based group whose public activities have come to be associated with wearing Guy Fawkes’ masks. The approach and techniques involved may have broad application, Wired argued in a recent profile:
But if Project Chanology fails to upend Scientology in particular, it may yet change the landscape of political activism in general. Already some Anons are applying the Chanology formula to other targets. Operation Didgeridie and Project Cntroll are gearing up to troll the Australian and Chinese governments, respectively, for their Internet censorship policies. And when post-election unrest broke out in Iran in June, Why We Protest dedicated a whole wing of its forums to online activism in support of the Iranian opposition.
Scientiology is also beset by more traditional setbacks.
Last week a French court fined Scientology almost a million dollars amid news of the resignation of high-profile member Paul Haggis.
Yet it may be the relentless parade of revelations about the Church’s essentially ludicrous core beliefs and sociopathic practices that do it the most harm. Consider the current introductory paragraph of the St. Petersburg Times series:
Scientology leader David Miscavige is the focus of this special report from the St. Petersburg Times. Former executives of the Church of Scientology, including two of the former top lieutenants to Miscavige, have come forward to describe a culture of intimidation and violence under David Miscavige.
Right on target, at Religion Dispatches, Gabriel Mckee wrote:
Religious fraud is one of the most ancient pitfalls of faith. The Didache, one of the earliest ecclesiastical texts, warns the first Christian communities against itinerant prophets who demand money in the name of the Holy Spirit. The Church of Scientology has built a business and a religion on that kind entrepreneurial charlatanism. But their business model requires good PR, and good PR requires a tight lock on secrets. At the moment, Scientology doesn’t have many secrets left, and it’s beginning to feel the impact of that liberated information.
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