Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tom Cruise's Responsibility for Scientology's Abuses

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) is bestowing its humanitarian award on Tom Cruise at a swank dinner in Los Angeles on May 5.

The award has provoked controversy. SWC is a high-profile Jewish human rights organization devoted to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and promoting tolerance, and there has been a stream of reports on violence and abuse in Scientology, and in some cases, criminal activity in the mainstream media. Lawrence Wright's revealing article in the New Yorker on Scientology-defecting Oscar-winner Paul Haggis is the most recent.

A key question is: What is Tom Cruise's responsibility for Scientology's violence and abuses?

Danielle Berrin at the Jewish Journal spoke with SWC Board Member, film director Brett Ratner:

“Tom Cruise cannot be responsible for an entire religion,” film director Brett Ratner, who sits on the Wiesenthal’s board of trustees said to me by phone last week. “You can’t say he’s the reason the religion is doing what it’s doing. That’s like saying, ‘The Jews killed f———Jesus; why am I a Jew?’”

Ratner is flat-out wrong. There is one man who is responsible for the entire religion, or as it is known in Israel, the cult of Scientology: Tom Cruise's best friend, "ecclesiastical leader" David Miscavige, who pimped out motorcycles for Cruise and himself using Church (slave) labor - arguably a case of innurement.

Scientology is quite small, having to shrunk to around 25 - 30,000 active adults. Tom Cruise is the second most powerful figure in Scientology after Miscavige. Arguably he is its most powerful member since Miscavige lives in fear of displeasing him.

Cruise is the mega-promoter of Scientology and its main ambassador to The Wog World as Scientologists denigratingly refer to billions of us living on planet earth: He is Hillary Clinton to Miscavige's Barack Obama; Condoleeza Rice to his George Bush.

Everyone knows two things about Cruise: He is a film star, and he is a Scientologist. Over four million people have viewed the now infamous video "Tom Cruise on Tom Cruise Scientologist." Scientology claims he has spread Scientology teachings to 1.1 billion people.

There is no Jewish or Catholic celebrity that has remotely this much power in relation to their religions.

Tom Cruise's responsibility is to speak up about the abuses in the Church he loves.

Surely he doesn't want it stained by the violence and abuse now reported by over 1450 first-person accounts from former Scientologists, some of which have been read into the proceedings of the Senate of the Australian Parliament.

Tom Cruise is not slamming teenage girls into walls to coerce them into abortion or interrogating Scientologists for weeks driving them to psychotic breaks - that is Miscavige's work and his responsibilty.

After citing hair-raisingly hateful statements from L. Ron Hubbard, the astute Sarah Green asks What does Tom Cruise Stand For? She writes:

Perhaps Tom Cruise should be given the award. First, however, I would ask that he give a “yes” or “no” answer to this question — without any equivocation or evasion: “Tom, do you reject these statements of L. Ron Hubbard’s?” (followed by a selection of hateful writings such as those presented above).

It would be interesting to hear his response.

Tom Cruise is not responsible for L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige's violence and abuse. If he is guilty of anything he is guilty of "willed myopia", as Paul Haggis describes it. Like many Scientology celebrities he simply refuses to see Scientology's abuses. Perhaps he actually believes the party line that all victims of Scientology are nothing but liars.

Tom Cruise has enormous responsibility to use his great power to acknowledge and end Scientology abuses. Let us hope that he will soon join Paul Haggis in doing so.


Danielle Berrin and director Paul Ratner have a history. She wrote a profile on him which Jewish blogger Luke Ford called "her best article yet."

Ratner put the moves on her. Luke Ford expands on what Danielle has called her sordid past with Ratner. Danielle and Brett have buried the hatchet. Here is a picture of them together at last year's Wiesenthal Center award dinner.

Photo credit: The Jewish Journal

Sarah Green: What Does Tom Cruise Stand For?

What Does Tom Cruise Stand For?

By Sarah Green

Until I read Danielle Berrin’s excellent blog post a couple of weeks ago (”Should the Simon Wiesenthal Center Honor Tom Cruise?”), I only knew that Scientology was a rather kooky celebrity “religion.” I was amazed at what I read in Ms. Berrin’s post. Under FBI investigation for human trafficking? This led me to read the New Yorker article she references; then I discovered that there is an enormous amount of evidence available to show that Scientology is a highly manipulative, very crass organization whose primary goals are to make money and to achieve good “PR” by presenting themselves as worldwide “humanitarians.” Through this phony “humanitarian,” cynical “human rights” schtick, Scientology is able to recruit more paying converts.

Scientology’s ethos is very far from humanitarian, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center should not collude with this “church” in advancing that agenda. For Scientology, this award would be more than just something nice: It would be an incredible victory and moneymaking opportunity.

In the past two weeks, I discovered many, many press releases and Scientology Web sites in which the organization’s late founder, L. Ron Hubbard, is described as a humanitarian on a par with Rev. Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. But on the many other Web sites dedicated to exposing Scientology’s vicious, racist, illegal and immoral beliefs and activities, I learned that Scientologists take the sayings and writings of their founder to be absolute, infallible, inflexible dogma. Many of Hubbard’s views were remarkably Hitlerian.

Let me give you a small sample:

“There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the Tone Scale [e.g. gays and lesbians, who Hubbard is describing here], neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the Tone Scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow.” — Hubbard, “Science of Survival”

“The sudden and abrupt deletion of all individuals occupying the lower bands of the Tone Scale from the social order would result in an almost instant rise in the cultural tone and would interrupt the dwindling spiral into which any society may have entered.” — Hubbard, “Science of Survival”

“A Venezuelan dictator once decided to stop leprosy. He saw that most lepers in his country were also beggars. By the simple expedient of collecting and destroying all the beggars in Venezuela an end was put to leprosy in that country.” — Hubbard, “Science of Survival”

“A truly Suppressive Person or group has no rights of any kind and actions taken against them are not punishable.” — Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 1 March 1965, HCO (Division 1) “Ethics, Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists”

“Psychiatry” and “psychiatrist” are easily redefined to mean “an anti-social enemy of the people.” This takes the kill-crazy psychiatrist off the preferred list of professions. ...The redefinition of words is done by associating different emotions and symbols with the word than were intended ... — L. Ron Hubbard, HCO PL, 5 October 1971, PR Series 12, “Propaganda by Redefinition of Words”

There are many, many other examples of such hateful ideas being promoted by the organization’s founder.

It is true what Rabbi Hier says about “guilt by association.” However, the beliefs of Scientology are utterly repugnant. Jews of all people should be highly attuned to the dangers of such beliefs, and critical of anyone who would not immediately reject and repudiate such beliefs. It way well be that Tom Cruise is a nice guy who has given away a lot of money. As a Scientologist, however, he must embrace Hubbard’s views without the slightest question. Any deviation from those views is seen in Scientology as a “high crime.”

Perhaps Tom Cruise should be given the award. First, however, I would ask that he give a “yes” or “no” answer to this question — without any equivocation or evasion: “Tom, do you reject these statements of L. Ron Hubbard’s?” (followed by a selection of hateful writings such as those presented above).

It would be interesting to hear his response.

Note: This excellent piece by Sarah Green is a letter to the editor published by the Jewish Journal. Like many she thought Scientology "kooky" but harmless. Thanks to Danielle Berrin's article she now knows better.