Walking Like a Duck
The famous “duck test,” attributed to “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), goes something like this: “When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”
The Church of Scientology likes to style itself as a “religion.” But does it walk and talk like a religion?
Over the last year, revelations by former insiders indicate that Scientology is acting like anything but a religion. But lately, it’s not just former staff who are revealing some very un-religious behavior, it’s the Church itself. They are so busy denying everything that they perhaps haven’t noticed what they’ve admitted to.
Case in point: when former RTC insider John Brousseau blew the Int Base, he took with him his own personal photographs, taken with his own camera, of David Miscavige’s private gym, his personal tanning table, and his custom motorcycle. So Church minion Warren McShane swore out a complaint to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. The Church is now denying that McShane ever made such a complaint (despite it being public record). And no wonder. Here are some of the gems.
The complaint stated that photos of Tom Cruise’s and David Miscavige’s lavish custom motorcycles were “proprietary in nature related to the internal operations and projects of the Church of Scientology.” So making custom motorcycles for the Church leader and for its biggest contributor is a Church project? Really? And that is a religious project because…?
The complaint goes on: “JB’s internet computer was different from other employees, in that it did not have any filters and JB could search the internet without restrictions.” Ah. So other employees of the Church cannot search the internet without restriction and have filters on them. Sounds very religious to me.
And this: “His ability to come and go from the facility is in contrast to other church members/employees, who do not enjoy the same freedom of movement.” Which is a nice way, I guess, of saying that they are on lockdown and cannot leave the Base without permission or come and go as they please. Sure, religions lock people up all the time.
And there’s more: “Mr. McShane told me RTC had previously contracted with a private security firm in the State of Texas, to monitor Mr. Rathbun’s activities.” Sure, using parishioner donations to hire private detectives to follow errant members. Very religious.
And here’s the famous “blow drill” verified: “Mr. McShane summoned (4) church members/employees who know JB the best and sent them to Texas to attempt to contact him and perhaps persuade him to return to the facility in Hemet, CA.”
Then there was the so-called legal “victory” in the Headley case, well summarized in this article
The article notes that “the alleged abuses themselves, which the church once tried to hide, have again become a matter of public record.”
“Most organizations would consider the practices themselves to be a failure, and they would take steps to persuade the world that real change was taking place to prevent further abuses. For Scientology, winning the right to continue these behaviors is considered ‘victory.’”
“Other practices that made it into court records include:
- Sleep and food deprivation of Sea Org employees;
- Heavy and demeaning manual labor as punishment;
- Screening and censorship of employee communications;
- Threats of job loss for those who refuse abortions;
- Physical and procedural restrictions on the ability of Sea Org employees to leave;
- Church-enforced “Disconnection” (utter rejection) of former Sea Org employees by their families; and
- Harsh discipline against Sea Org employees who voice a desire to leave.”
And let’s not forget the Church rebuttal to the first of the Saint Petersburg Times exposés.
The article notes that “Davis said his own internal investigation found that Rathbun attacked 22 Sea Org members in the years before he left the church — 50 instances in all.
“The violence played out at the church “base” outside Los Angeles in 2003 and 2004, the church says….Back at the base, the church said, Rathbun instituted a ‘reign of terror.’”
So while denying that Miscavige ever beat anyone (despite dozens of eyewitnesses coming forward), they do admit that the Church tolerates an environment of physical abuse.
So its not just detractors accusing the Church of bad behavior. In a desperate attempt to stem the tide of truth, Church spokespeople are losing track of who has told what lies, and are starting to inadvertently admit the truth about what goes on.
So let’s summarize. Have you ever heard of a religion that:
- Physically and emotionally abuses its staff?
- Imprisons staff in re-education camps?
- Uses heavy and demeaning manual labor as punishment?
- Uses parishioner donations to support the leader’s lavish lifestyle?
- Enforces abortions and divorces on its staff?
- Screens and censors employee communications?
- Deprives its staff of food and sleep?
- Restricts the freedom of movement of staff, and chases after them if they leave?
- Spies on whistleblowing ex-members with private investigators hired with Church funds?
- Disconnects families?
Does that sound like a religion?
Or does that sound like a cult?
“If it walks like a duck…”