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Abuse? In my Church?

July 15, 2009

Okay, humor me for a minute. Let’s say you are a member of a small Christian Church. You go to church every Sunday and you are active in church volunteer programs. You don’t know the pastor well, but you enjoy his sermons. Then one day, scandal hits the community. Four young men have come forward, claiming that they were abused by the pastor when they were boys. A local paper is preparing to run a story. You go to church that Sunday and the pastor devotes his sermon to a vehement, strident denial of the charges. He viciously attacks the young men, calling them “agents of Satan.” He claims they are “trying to destroy the church.” He reads sections from their private confessions to prove how “sinful” they are.  And finally, he forbids anyone in the congregation to read the upcoming newspaper articles. If you do, you risk ostracism from the church, and shunning by other members, not to mention eternal damnation.

Given that scenario, would you:

1. Keep your nose down, refuse to read the newspaper articles and keep quiet, lest you damage your standing in the church.

2. Read the newspaper articles anyway, and if the charges seemed credible, press for a full investigation of the pastor, or.

3. Run, not walk, to the nearest church exit.

Well, guess what? Many former Sea Org Members and former top executives have come forward, charging a pattern of systemic physical and emotional abuse at the highest levels of Scientology. And you will no doubt go straight to hell if you follow this link to a three-part expose that recently appeared in the St. Petersburg Times.

You can read the articles yourself and form your own opinions. But as interesting as the articles themselves was the Church’s strident, vehement denial. While actually admitting that there has been a pattern of physical violence and draconian punishments in the Sea Org, they denied that the current leader, David Miscavige, ever had anything to do with it. And yes, they produced information from the PC folders and Ethics folders of those accusing the Church, listing out “crimes” they had confessed to. They labelled the accusers as “criminals” who were “trying to take over the Church.”

And just before the articles appeared, they called in OT VIIs to Flag and let them know that they were not to read these articles. If they did, they would be taken off the level.

Like our fictional pastor, this over-the-top reaction seems to scream “guilty.”

So, returning to my original question, what will you do?

1. Keep your nose down, refuse to read the newspaper articles and keep quiet, lest you damage your standing in the church.

2. Read the newspaper articles anyway, and if the charges seem credible, press for a full investigation of David Miscavige and the Church Sea Org hierarchy, or.

3. Run, not walk, to the nearest exit.

Over to you.

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One Comment
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    April 19, 2010 1:45 am

    I choose 2) and 3) thank you. 🙂

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