From: Gerry Armstrong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Religious is as religious says, not does
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 22:54:19 GMT
First an admission. I have for a long time been saying that Scientology is a religion, and moreover that it is unwise, unproductive, indeed unsafe, if you’re in conflict with the cult, to take the position that it is *not* a religion.
I know that many a.r.s. participants, and others of course, hold to the Scientology-is-*not*-a-religion position. I really hope that people holding that position can at least try another position, and see if it isn’t better. I think that if you were to try it for half an hour, or a month if you’re unsure, you’ll find that nothing has changed. And you can move on to positions that are wiser, more productive and safer, again, if you really are standing up to Scientology aggression, expansionism and its other antisocial policies, practices and actions.
In any event, I admit that I too held to the position that Scientology wasn’t a religion, and I think defended and fought from that position as well as I could. It used to actually upset me that a totalitarian cult with a murderous philosophy and an army or a navy of liars and bullies called itself a religion and seized all the benefits, privileges and advantages that had historically been granted to religions that, in my experience, had not been totalitarian cults and had embraced philosophies of wisdom and love. It used to turn my stomach that academic doxies were giving speeches, writing papers and selling books to explain how Scientology is a religion, while studiously omitting its belligerent totalitarianism and decades of irreligious behavior.
From my position, I spoke, wrote and published all sorts of things arguing that the cult wasn’t and, as operated, couldn’t be a religion. The following, for example, is an excerpt from a declaration I wrote and filed in January 1994 in Scientology v. Armstrong, Superior Court of California, Marin County Case no. 157680 (Armstrong IV):
The organization, as it has been and is operated, is not a church. It is neither a house of worship of God, nor a sanctuary for His children. Moreover, in Hubbard’s claims of scientific verifiability for his prohibitive psychotherapy he insisted specifically that Scientology’s efficacy did not, unlike religion, depend on faith. My Scientology involvement since I left from inside in 1981 has been with the organization’s power structure; that is, the few who control all personnel, communication and finance units and decisions, the organization’s litigation machine, intelligence and propaganda
bureaus, its private investigators, and all of those segments’ dirty tricks. My message has been that the power structure’s policies and actions to harass and destroy labeled enemies, its doctrine of opportunistic hatred, and its spreading of enmity are not religious, not effective, and have only brought the organization and Hubbard inevitable ignominy. My message is that the only religious act in the world is forgiveness, that Hubbard lied when he defined forgiveness as “condemnation,” that he miscalculated madly when he attempted to program himself with the idea that all men were his slaves, and then acted as if they were, and that the organization could just as easily be engaged in the emancipation of its members as their enslavement. I do not urge enmity among its members and former members even toward the policies and practices of defrauding and brutalizing the innocent, but do urge understanding and forgiveness. That I disrupt the power structure’s activities – its rewriting of history, daily fraud,
mockery of religion, use of the law to harass, assault on our justice system, abuse of the good, bullying of the weak, and intimidation of those who should be the weak’s defenders – I admit. These antisocial activities will continue to be disrupted until the organization realizes that such activities simply don’t work, and out of self-interest forsakes the litigation business, discontinues the war on the innocent, and either becomes religion or drops that immodest mantle. But the disruption flows only from the organization’s own antisocial actions, which rebound on their manufacturer if any target stands up, doesn’t duck and is willing to take a few hits. I have no intelligence bureau, propaganda apparatus, private investigators,
litigation machine and no hundreds of millions to finance them. I have no fair game policy, and no underlings to implement it if I did have
one. I have no lawyers willing to lie for a little lucre and no operatives to steal documents, frame judges, compromise jurors, trick, sue or destroy invented and then targeted “enemies.” Scientology’s power structure is a big, black pot desperately seeking kettles to tarnish.
Some years after writing this declaration, and making many other statements protesting that Scientology could not possibly be a religion, I read the US Federal Government’s position statement on the religiousness of religions and consequently rethought my position and changed it completely. The US says that only organizations themselves can determine if they are religious or not. I have no say in determining whether any organization other than my own is religious or constitutes a religion. Every wog in the world can take the position that Scientology is a money-grubbing scam and not a religion, and if that scam organization determines that it’s religious, brother that’s religion.
After I got over the initial shock, and the ridiculous impulse to fight the US on the religion angle, I accepted the fact that I’d been made wrong. I accepted, and I still accept, the reality that this greedy, sociopathic cult, filled with people who wanted me in particular suppressed and obliterated, is a religion. This reality is reinforced by the fact, of course, that the entity setting the religiosity bar in the dirt for Scientology to roll over is the government of the world’s most powerful nation with the most powerful military.
In every sense that Scientology is a religion it’s also a church. As Scientology has proven, a religion or church need not be a house of worship of God, nor a sanctuary for His children. Scientology and Scientologists, in fact, are at war with God, and at war with His children, who happen to comprise the entire wog race. That was a bit of a stumbling block for me, but I got over it pretty quickly when I understood that the US Government was deathly serious. Having war on God’s children be religious scripture and expression serves the US’s hegemonic interests, of course, because it has desired to make war on God’s children, and it would be even worse for the US if its wars on His children were viewed as irreligious. Scientology helps the US cover that base by making irreligion just as religious as religion.
As Scientology has shown, faith isn’t even in its technical dictionary. An organization can be a faithless cult of liars and sociopaths and it is every bit as religious and every inch as much a religion as say Judaism. This too serves the interests of US leaders who redefined, or allowed Scientology to redefine, “religious,” since these leaders, as history has shown, are themselves an association of liars. They, and the rest of the US Government, are not going to easily or quickly rethink their decision to make sociopathy “religious,” since that redefinition serves so many serious US interests.
Theologically actually, Scientology in the religion realm is both idolatry and diabolism or devilry. As Scientology has proven, idolaters can determine that idolatry is religious, and, again, brother that’s religion. Since idolatry is simply the worship of anything other than God, the opportunities for that religious practice abound and can fill practitioners’ lives. Diabolism, which clearly is Scientology’s core and dominant practice, is simply the worship of or affinity for a particular set of idols, a set that includes such things as evil conduct and evil intent.
I had thought, as I wrote in 1994, that the activities of Scientology’s power structure — the control and operation of personnel, communication and finance units, the organization’s litigation machine, intelligence and propaganda bureaus, its private investigators, and all of those segments’ dirty tricks — couldn’t possibly be religious in nature. But I have been corrected. Indeed, Scientology’s dictator David Miscavige, who really runs the litigation and fair game machinery, the espionage network and the whole war on God children, is the cult’s unquestionable “ecclesiastical head.” Warring on people, victimizing them, and getting others to war on people and victimize them, is Miscavige’s religious exercise, his Scientology ecclesiastical duty.
I admit that I truly thought in 1994 that the Scientology cult’s policies and actions to harass and destroy labeled enemies, its doctrine of opportunistic hatred, and its spreading of enmity were not religious. I was right then in logical terms, but Scientology and the US Government, have turned logic, when it comes to religion, on its ear. I am now thoroughly disabused of that idea no matter how logical it was, or still is. Scientology is a religion organized solely for religious purposes, and the cultists’ fair gaming and destroying people and spreading hatred are purely religious. Scientology’s policies and actions have indeed brought the cult and Hubbard ignominy, which was arguably inevitable, but that doesn’t change the
fact that all of those ignominious policies and actions are religious. Scientology’s policies and practices of defrauding and brutalizing the innocent are solely religious, because the cult has determined that it is organized for solely religious purposes and all it does is
This is the definition of “religious” in my big old © 1981 Webster’s Third New International:
adj [ME, fr. OF religieus, fr. L religiosus, fr. religio religion + -osus -ous – more at RELIGION] 1 : relating to that which is acknowledged as ultimate reality : manifesting devotion to and reflecting the nature of the divine or that which one holds to be of ultimate importance : exemplifying the influence of religion : PIOUS, GODLY (a ~ purpose) (a ~ man) (~ attitude) 2 : committed, dedicated, or consecrated to the service of the divine : set apart to religion (a Buddhist monk of a ~ order) (the ~ life of a nun) (~ offerings) 3 : of or relating to religion : concerned with religion : teaching or setting forth religion (~ liberty) (a ~ duty) (a ~ poet); also : SACRED, HOLY (a ~ book) (~ rites) 4 a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful (~ in his observance of rules of health) b : FERVENT, ZEALOUS Syn see DEVOUT
Scientology, of course, is not godly or pious. But, as the cult and its US Government ally demonstrate, being impious and ungodly are now religious conditions or states, no less religious than godliness or piety. The unsacred and unholy are now just as religious as the sacred and holy. Unfaithfulness is now just as religious as faithfulness, and as Scientology proves every day unconscionability, indeed the suppression and removal of people’s God-given consciences, is a core religious sacrament. The US Government promotes all that ungodliness, impiousness, unsacredness, unholiness, faithlessness and unconscionableness as religious in every country in the world, and criticizes and threatens any country that says otherwise.
An easy answer to the stupidity generated by the US’s decision to do what was necessary — pass any law, or take any contorted position — to ally Scientology and stop opposing it, is to get the Federal Government to conduct honest investigations and public hearings. Discuss and make a determination what religion and religious mean, if they are to have any legal meaning at all, and review the government’s position of allowing any organization, no matter how irreligious, to declare itself religious and consequently be a religion. Such an investigation or hearing is not going to occur immediately, of course, and indeed the US Government probably won’t do anything until the public really gets what Scientology is and gets really ticked about it.
In the meantime, both to move society toward tickedoffness and move the US Federal Government toward communicating, as well as for your own peace of mind, try out the idea that Scientology is a religion. You’ll save time, you’ll be happier and you’ll be finding something even the Scientologists cannot but agree with. Don’t spend another second arguing with the cult’s academic religious experts, or anyone else, over whether it’s a religion. Let them waste their time preaching to the choir. Just say, “Sure Scientology’s a religion. In fact Scientology’s being a religion is almost miraculous because it proves that religion inludes irreligion. It proves that organized sociopathy is religious and religion.” If the cult’s religious expert or apologist disagrees with what you’ve proven, ask the person to prove that these evils cannot be religion. Ask the expert to prove that even sociopathy, if it’s organized, cannot be religious and constitute religion.
Call Scientology what it is: a cult, a nasty cult, a dangerous cult, a totalitarian cult, a cult of greed, a bait-and-switch cult, a sociopathic cult. If someone says it’s a religion, say sure, in fact it’s a religion of suppression of religion, a religion of suppression of religious freedom and religious expression. It’s just as religious as the next religion, and it’s a cult of irreligion. It’s an anti-human rights criminal conspiracy, and, as I know for now, brother that’s religion.
© Gerry Armstrong