“Mr. Cruise, come out of the closet”

chefThe voice of South Park‘s Chef, soul singer Isaac Hayes, has quit the show that centers on four foul-mouthed fourth graders. The reason: South Park inappropriately ridicules religion. Say what? Since when?!?

Here is a thorough account of the story from Reuters (my past posts dealing with Scientology can be found here and here):

Soul singer Isaac Hayes said on Monday he was quitting his job as the voice of the lusty character “Chef” on the satiric cable TV cartoon “South Park,” citing the show’s “inappropriate ridicule” of religion.

But series co-creator Matt Stone said the veteran recording artist was upset the show had recently lampooned the Church of Scientology, of which Hayes is an outspoken follower.

“In ten years and over 150 episodes of ‘South Park,’ Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim[s], Mormons or Jews,” Stone said in a statement issued by the Comedy Central network. “He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show.”

He added: “Of course we will release Isaac from his contract, and we wish him well.”

In a statement explaining his departure from the show, Hayes, 63, did not mention last fall’s episode poking fun at Scientology and some of its celebrity adherents, including actor Tom Cruise.

south park three boysAs blogger Andrew Sullivan joked, the episode “Red-Hot Catholic Love” wasn’t enough to drive Hayes from the show. Nor was the show that started it all, “The Spirit of Christmas (Jesus vs. Santa).”

The Scientology episode, which is available at South Park‘s homepage (for the time being) and through this site, is just as much about making fun of the alleged closeted homosexuality of actor Tom Cruise (who is also a Scientologist), but the plot certainly centers on Stan and his rather unusual experience in the group.

I’m glad Reuters and others have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of Hayes’ claiming that his departure was solely based on the show’s clear hostility toward religion. They obviously were helped out a bit by Stone’s statement, and it will be interesting to see if this story picks up any momentum. No lawsuit has been filed against the show that I know of, largely thanks to American judicial precedent that allows liberal use of satire, especially toward those who are in the public limelight.

While I certainly do not think it’s nice to mock another person’s religion, or life philosophy as Scientologists put it, and Scientology is indeed viciously mocked by South Park in this episode, it is certainly within the realm of comedy. As long as the comedy is actually funny, and in this case it’s hilarious, I’m OK with it.

One item that might be worth exploring in follow-up reports is the actual status of Scientology as a religion. Yes, Scientology has established tax-exempt status and walks like a religion, but it does not always talk like a religion. Scientologists have left comments on this blog that “many people practice Scientology and their chosen faith.” This includes Hayes, who says he is a Baptist by birth and that he considers Scientology an “applied religious philosophy.”

Perhaps the Internal Revenue Service needs to take another look at the group’s status as a religion?

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  • http://www.intheopen.blogspot.com pilgrimscrybe

    I have a bit of a different take. Last year, when all the hoopla developed over Tom Cruise’s evangelistic efforts on behalf of Scientology, I actually sympathized with him. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating Scientology. In fact, I think it’s directly opposed to Jesus and his teachings. But, as this blog’s Doug LeBlanc pointed out awhile back, there’s a common attitude in Hollywood and the media: “Believe whatever you like, but please show the decency not to persuade anyone else to believe it.” I had to reflect how many times Christians have been called weird, not taken seriously or harshly criticized because we publicly advocate our beliefs. The caustic and harsh comments surrounding Cruise were a sober reminder of how hostile our culture is towards evangelistic endeavors.

    I also feel sympathetic towards Hayes, but for a different reason. If Hayes really felt that strongly about respecting and honoring religious beliefs, he made a questionable decision when he originally joined the “South Park” cast. But, according to Hayes, he’s had a change of heart. Even if Stone’s right and Hayes quit because of the Scientology episode, if Hayes has really had a change of heart then it seems his experience has given him sympathy with people of other faiths whose religious beliefs have been insulted as well. And that is a process I periodically find myself going through – Cruise, a case in point.

    My .02 worth, anyway. Blessings.

  • Fred Carr

    Not sure how this comment, “many people practice Scientology AND their chosen faith.” would lead one to think that Scientology is not a valid religion.

    It’s not unheard of in the far east to be practicing members of more than one religion. In fact it wouldn’t raise any eyebrows whatsoever.

    fred
    scientologist

  • Stephen A.

    “Oh my God, Children!”

    I find his outrage amusing, as do the creators of this show, since they have portrayed conservative Christians as lunatics and hypocrites and even (in the case of the Mel Gibson episode) closet Nazis, mocked Mormonism and Joseph Smith in a most insensitive way, have shown God as a hideous hybrid beast, and have pretty much gone after all other religions and racial groups with reckless abandon (often in very funny episodes, I must admit.)

    It says a lot for a man’s religion that 1) he, or it, can’t take criticism or ridicule and 2) he finds no problem singing about eating his character’s “big, salty chocolate balls” and plotlines showing his character bedding every female on the show.

    (p.s. 75-word sentence. A personal best!)

  • http://www.urbanangel.net andy chamberlain

    I think it would have been better for Hayes to be honest and say he quit because South Park had a go at his own faith – Scientology. What will give this story extra steam is the fact that he says he is making a point about ‘intolerance and bigotry’ – and people will look at the other episodes of South Park and think ‘hypocrite’. Better to be honest; I would not have blamed a Christian for quitting from working on South Park after the offensive references to Jesus, and I would not blame Hayes for quitting if he feels his faith has been unfairly maligned.

    PS Has Islam been given the ‘South Park’ treatment yet? Is that due any time soon ;-)

  • http://religiononastick.com The Cleric

    I’m interested in the disconnect between Hayes’ frustration over the show making fun of his “applied religious philosophy” and the bashing of his personal Lord and Savior, which must be perfectly acceptable to him.

    And I think Matt and Trey are smarter than to do Islam…at least for now.

  • http://anklebiter.net/log brian

    And I think Matt and Trey are smarter than to do Islam. . .at least for now.

    If only because they value their lives.

  • http://dpulliam.com dpulliam

    South Park has not exempted Islam from its humor. Check out the following from Wikipedia:

    Religious humor

    South Park often satirizes organized religion in such episodes as Super Best Friends. According to the episode “Red Hot Catholic Love”, virtually all the major and recurring characters in South Park are Roman Catholic, except:

    * The Broflovskis (Kyle’s family), who are Jewish.
    * The Harrisons, who are Mormon (only appear in one episode).
    * Chef, who converted to Islam in “Chef Goes Nanners”, denounces his “slave name” and changes it to Abdul Mohammed Jabbar-Rauf Kareem Ali, an obvious combination of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mohammed Ali. Later on in the episode he gives up Islam.
    * Chef’s parents, who practice Voodoo and Occult rituals (though their precise faith is unknown).
    * The Super Best Friends – a satire of the Super Friends cartoons. The founders of all the world’s major religions are super best friends with each other and use their special powers to fight evil (except Buddha who doesn’t believe in evil)
    * God, who claims to be a Buddhist.
    * David Blaine — before South Park “exposed” the Church of Scientology, there was David Blaine’s cult/religion, Blaintology, an episode with commentary suggesting there is no difference between magic and miracles (i.e. the miracles performed by Jesus Christ are as real as the tricks performed by David Blaine).
    * Stan, who in one episode was claimed to be a reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard from The Church of Scientology, but denounced it at the end of Trapped in the Closet.

    In the episode “Probably”, it is claimed that the only people who get into heaven are the Mormons, though this changes in “Best Friends Forever” when God decides that the Mormons aren’t tough enough to go against Satan’s forces. Hell doesn’t really seem so bad either, having orientation and luaus. The episode “Best Friends Forever” also asserts that Japanese people don’t have souls, nor do “Gingers” (red heads with freckles) according to “Ginger Kids”.

    I can’t think of any specific episode that dealt with Islam, but I’m sure there is one out there. Matt and Trey are honest enough to be equal opportunity comedians.

    And Fred, out Scientologist friend, please note that Scientologists on this blog have maintained that Scientology is a life philosophy, not a religion. I am aware that some people maintain belief in multiple religions. The Life of Pi was one of the best books I read last year.

  • http://www.religion-spirituality.org/ Religion-Spirituality.org

    I’d say he was also terrified of what his Scientologist peers would say to him. Clearly Scientology has a tight grip on him. If you dish it out about other religions you have to expect it to come around to your own.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    No lawsuit has been filed against the show that I know of

    The episode even ends with Stan (one of the children on the show) staring into the camera shouting “Sue me! Go ahead and sue me!” Of course, the Scientologists can’t sue, because that would attract even more public attention to the claims about their doctrines that are at the heart of the episode.

    My suspicion is that Hayes’s fellow Scientologists pressured him to quit as the only way they could think of hurting the show.

  • http://weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/ ELC

    The episode even ends with Stan (one of the children on the show) staring into the camera shouting “Sue me! Go ahead and sue me!” But the credits list only “John Smith”. Over and over and over again. Except for the occasional “Jane Smith”. :-)

  • Stephen A.

    There was an episode, however, in which the kids accidentally get shipped off to Afghanistan, and meet up with Bin Laden, who rants and raves in front of a TV camera in a cave saying “Ooglie booglie, ooglie booglie.” The religion isn’t mentioned much, but the Afghans and Arabs aren’t portrayed that well.

    Of course, did anyone see “Team America” by these same folks?

    (Am I a fan of this show or WHAT?!)

  • c.tower

    Parker and Stone noted in a recent interviewin TIME that when the show started, all anyone ever talked about was how vulgar the show was- and now, all anyone talks about is the social commentary (in spite of the fact that the show has gotten even more vulgar over the years)! They also referred to having done an animated Muhammad “5 years ago”- I don’t follow the show, does anyone know what episode they’re referring to?

  • D Rathan

    C. Tower, they mean this episode.

  • Fred Carr

    dpulliam – “please note that Scientologists on this blog have maintained that Scientology is a life philosophy, not a religion.”

    Scientology is a philosophy of life. It is a religion as well. I seriously doubt there are any Scientologists that are stating that Scientology is not a religion.

    Fred

  • D Rathan

    I seriously doubt there are any Scientologists that are stating that Scientology is not a religion.

    …except for L. Ron Hubbard.

    Full article here.

  • Fred Carr

    Hmmm…D Rathan back at it again. Why don’t you put up all the quotes of Ron calling Scientology a religion. And also where he clearly describes how it is different from western “religion.”

    Also I’m not sure apostates opinions make for good scholarship. Why don’t you post all the various articles by religious scholars stating Scientology is a religion?

    These are rhetorical questions by the way.

    Fred

  • D Rathan

    I dont really have that much interest in typing a lot anymore, so I will give this tired argument exactly one try. I appeal to your “confront” skill, so that you dont dismiss the thought as “entheta” off-hand, before giving it at least a single tiny little chance to reach your reasoning centers first, and after that, you may let it go, and wash off the entheta in your next audit, get squeaky clean again. Here I go:

    God talks to me. Inside my mind. I hear his voice, he tells me what is true and what is false. No, not metaphorically, not a symbolism, God actually, really really talks to me. In english. He has a foreign accent. Deep baritone voice. I dont control when God talks to me, but when he does, I always listen. He told me its my duty to pass his Word to others. He told me, its my job to tell people what He wants them to do. Ok. Thats the statement.

    Do you believe it? Yes, why? No, why not? Prove its a lie. How do you prove it? Do you ask -me-? Of course not, I’ll just say yes, and what does that prove? Nothing, so… how can you, with no direct access to my mind, tell for sure whether I hear God’s voice or not? And notice something very important: if you cant prove I’m lieing, then automatically, it means that there is a certain finite probability that I’m telling the truth! And then you have to deal with the possibility that God actually talks to me, which means, you’d better do I as I say, er, as God says.. So its important that you are able to prove me wrong. Not to others, but to -yourself-.

    So, how are we going to do that? How do you determine what is true and what isnt, when the direct source is unverifiable by definition? Answer: what we do then is seek for -indirect evidence-. Dont ask me if God talks to me, I’ll just say yes. Instead, ask me what God thinks about the newest Seinfeld spinoff. If I answer right, you have a tiny bit of indirect evidence that maybe I’m telling the truth. Else, you have a tiny bit of indirect evidence that I’m lieing. Do this over and over, until enough indirect evidence piles either way, how much? whatever it takes to satisfy you, to make you confortable that you are not just taking me at my word, that by believing, or disbelieving in me, you are being your own person.

    So.. talk to my childhood friends. Ask them if I always claimed to have heard the voice of God inside my head. Talk to my associates. Ask them about a time when I made a bar bet that I could claim God talks to me and none would be the wiser. If God is all knowing, ask me to ask him who’ll win the next superbowl. Referential evidence. Referential. Never direct, never. If you ask direct, I’ll just say yes. Proves nothing. Follow me so far?

    Good. Now imagine my childhood friends tell you I never claimed such thing, my associates tell you I’m a loonie, and I miss the superbowl prediction. So you come to me, and tell me those results. And then I reply to you saying “God told me, that my childhood friends are actually being mind controlled by Satan, they just dont know it. Its so sad. And my associates? They’re demons in human bodies. Biologically identical to humans, but their soul, .. and their very minds, are demonic. Its no wonder they said those lies about me. The superbowl? I was just testing your faith. God wants faith and devotion, God doesnt like people who question his will. Btw, dont go around putting those tests, anymore, God doesnt like that either.”.

    What have I just given you?? DIRECT testimony. What did we just say about Direct testimony? Its worth exactly nothing. Found a logic flaw yet? “Your honor, my client states he didnt do it, and I submit that as Evidence A. Your honor, Evidence A proves that my client is innocent, so I move to dismiss the charges”. Follow so far?

    Alright, the payoff: When Hubbard claims anything about himself, its DIRECT. When others claim things about Hubbard, its INDIRECT. When scientology says anything about itself, its Direct. When others tell you anything about Scientology, its indirect. When Hubbard tells you that -anything- at all apostates say is a lie, he’s nulling the -only- worthy testimony about him, and when he tells you that only the Church has the truth, he’s giving value to the only testimony that has none.

    I wont type this again, or explain it a lot, because I’m not such fan of my own voice, but I just wish you will consider it, and remember it, next time you hear an apostate talk.

    Just question things, you have the right to. That is all.

  • Kevin

    “Apostate” is religious talk, Fred. If your Scientology were merely a lifestyle choice, or whatever you call it, your group would use “former Scientologist” or something more neutral to describe such persons as you group D Rathan with. Moreover, by requiring the belief that everything an apostate says is untruthful is cult/sect talk. There may be excessive negativity to take into consideration in their statements, but assuming that it’s a given falsehood is a non sequitur, only of benefit to the cult/sect.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    My response is “So bloody what?” Would Sullivan have insinuated hypocrisy on the part of a Jewish actor who quit over “The Passion of the Jew”, but ignored mockery of Christianity? Would he consider that he himself was being hypocritical if he complained about a “homophobic” show, but not about assaults on the Catholic Church? And if someone does not complain about mockery of his own religion, who will?

    In the 60s and 70s, we had a plethora of protest marches on behalf of persecuted Soviet Jewry, and I do not remember any criticism of the organizers because they did not bring up what was happening to Christians, Moslems and Buddhists– to the point where Buckley issued a public call to “leaders of Jewish organizations” to put pressure on the White House to exert pressure on behalf of Christians in the USSR “because apparently they are the only ones who have the guts.”
    We have seen plenty of examples of the popular attitude that Christianity is fair game for ridicule, but not any other religion. Why single out Isaac Hayes?

    Oh, and there have also been cases (e.g. Our Lady of the Roses in Rhode Island) of attempts to impugn the “religious” character of Wiccan groups because some member also belonged to a Unitarian congregation.

  • jay grelen

    To insert myself as the resident Southern Baptist stick in the mud, read the fourth verse of Ephesians 5 (New American Standard):

    “…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

    I understand that I am rather unsophisticated in these matters but Scripture is plain about purity and about what we take into our hearts and what comes out of our mouths.

    I understand that SouthPark is pop culture, and someone needs to keep tabs on pop culture generally, but at a time when many of us lament the coarsening of our culture, should followers of Christ be consuming fare such as this? (Well, it presents truth, exposes hypocricy, opens dialogue. Hmmm, the Bible does that. Might we spend that half an hour reading Scripture rather than watching SouthPark?)

    This is not a criticism of those who do watch the show, but can one seriously argue that SouthPark is something that is pure and holy, the sort of thing on which we should dwell and meditate? Should followers of Christ really patronize a program that makes fun of Jesus and Christians? (I base that on reports in GR and the MSM, since I’ve never seen the show until this morning when I watched the Scientology link provided on GR.)

    The show is irreverant, vulgar, blasphemous. So why are we watching it? Why are we calling ourselves “fans” of the show? Read the first 10 verses of Ephesians 5, which are very specific about how believers are to live. Does viewing SouthPark contribute to our efforts to live holy, pure and blameless lives?

  • Stpehen A.

    From Variety: (http://www.variety.com/VR1117939918.html)

    ‘South Park’ feeling some celeb heat?
    Cable net abruptly pulls repeat of Scientology episode

    The battle between “South Park”"South Park” creators Trey ParkerTrey Parker and Matt StoneMatt Stone and Scientology is escalating.

    The dust-up gained steam last week when Isaac Hayes, a practicing Scientologist who has long been the voice of the character Chef, quit after objecting to a “South Park” episode called “Trapped in the Closet,” which lampooned both the religion and Tom CruiseTom Cruise.

    The skirmish continued this week, when Comedy CentralComedy Central abruptly pulled a repeat of that episode that was scheduled to air Wednesday evening. Showing instead was another memorable segseg which featured Hayes’s character, called “Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls.”

    Blog reports pegged the mysterious episode switch to objections raised by Cruise, who, the reports stated, threatened to not promote “Mission: Impossible 3,” the summer tentpole for ViacomViacom-owned Paramount.

    A spokesman for Cruise denied that Cruise had ever made such a threat. “He never said any such thing about ‘Mission: Impossible 3,” the spokesman said.

    While the “South Park” creators didn’t directly comment on Comedy Central’s decision to pull the episode, they issued an unusual statement to Daily Variety indicating the battle is not over.

    “So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!”

    The duo signed the statement “Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu.”

  • Stpehen A.

    Jay, all of us (many of us involved in various media, anyway) need to watch Pop Culture, and yes, I believe the show is at times funny. Frankly, where in the media do we get even *moderately* serious analysis of Scientologists’ faith? I wish we did elsewhere, but frankly, few are willing to touch Scientology, and now we know why – they are apparently litigious thugs.

    For all its filth, it does, in fact, hold a mirror up to society. Not that I would cry if it disappeared, or if the media started doing its job again by exposing “political correctness” for the totalitarianism it really is, but until then, I’ll drop in for a few laughs.

  • Stpehen A.

    More, from the NY POST:

    “Hollywood bully Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night’s cablecast of a controversial “South Park” episode about Scientology by warning that he’d refuse to promote “Mission Impossible 3,” insiders say.

    Since Paramount is banking on “MI3″ to rake in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, the tactic worked.

    The “South Park” episode, “Trapped in the Closet,” pokes fun at Scientology and shows Cruise, John Travolta and R. Kelly (who is not a Scientologist, but has a song called “Trapped in the Closet”) literally in a closet.

    The episode, which first aired last November, was set to rerun Wednesday night, but was mysteriously pulled at the last minute.” (more…)
    http://www.nypost.com/gossip/pagesix/pagesix.htm

    (I have to note that Cruise’s people deny this version of events, and say he didn’t threaten any such thing.)

  • http://www.liveandgrow.org Greg Churilov

    Hi Daniel;

    Greg here, and I’m a Scientologist (you may recall my previous posts.)

    Personally, I think Hayes’ move was extremely dumb.

    And, though I disagree with Stephen A. on most other things, I agree with his 75-word sentence. (Pause for air, man!) I think Hayes’ move seems a tad hypocritical.

    First of all there’s the question of principle:
    He was on the show when it mocked Christianity, he was on the show when it mocked the Mormons. As a Scientologist, he shoulda raised a stink THEN, not now.

    Secondly, just from a PR standpoint, had he wanted to make an impact and make his voice heard, he should have stormed out, loudly, when the SP guys first announced their plans to go ahead with a show on Scientology.
    THEN, it would have made an impact. Now, all it does is cause a major rehash of an episode that most of us Scientologists would prefer faded away.

    So, I don’t get Old Isaac.

    But, I don’t assume that every Celeb will necessarily act in the wisest manner. Tinseltown is a funny place.

    Personally, what I found upsetting about the South Park episode was that it had a different tone, in my opinion, than other religious parodies. It seemed nasty-mean, cruel, humor used as a weapon. Or maybe it’s just that this time it’s about MY religion. It’s hard to tell.

    But a Mormon friend reveled in sharing with me the South Park episode where a Hell Tour Guide informs thousands of dazed faithful that “It was the Mormons – that was the right religion. The answer was the Mormons”
    My Mormon bud actually sent me an MPEG clip of it. This is an example of humor on the topic of religion *without* fangs and claws.

    This was not quite the treatment Scientology got. And of course, there’s the aliens stuff, and the notion that this is our “key doctrine” – which as I’ve mentioned elsewhere is not the case. I really feel our beliefs were intentionally misrepresented.

    Still, South Park is as South Park does, and if they were to pick on religions, it was bound to happen they’d pick on Scientology – and if they were going to pick on Scientology it was bound to happen that they’d be snide about it.

    So, it’s no major shock to anyone.

    Which makes Isaac Hayes’ (belated) reaction out of place, for me, as a Scientologist. Hey, Chef, you were in bed with them dogs for how many years? And, NOW is when you get up and check for fleas?

    Who knows. Maybe there’s more to the story, maybe there’s been some personal conflict between Hayes and Stone, possibly brewing since the original airing, and it came to blows.

    Still, wish Hayes had gone about it differently.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Churilov
    http://www.liveandgrow.org

  • Stephen A.

    Greg you make a great deal of sense here.

    As I said in a previous post on another topic (forgot which one) “Time to ignore it, since attention is what the person wants.”

    I do wonder if your friend the Mormon saw the SouthPark episode in which Joseph Smith was portrayed as a liar and a fraud? Very much like the Scientology one, they kept flashing on the screen, “They ACTUALLY believe this is true.”

  • http://www.liveandgrow.org Greg Churilov

    To Jay Greien:

    Your earnest supplication about right Christian living lost a bit of luster at the end there, when you mentioned that, having watched no South Park episodes deriding Christians, you DID however go watch the one attacking Scientology.

    To echo and further your point about Ephesians, I believe we can view the Ninth Commandment to encompass “…actively engage in viewing, forwarding and/or promoting a false witness’ agenda.”

    It’s not that I object to your abstaining of watching South Park’s attacks on Christianity. Seeing one’s religion ridiculed can be a source of sadness and anger. I do object to the thought that, without context to counterbalance, you now have a distorted view of my religion, courtesy of a sophomoric, cynical bunch.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Churilov
    http://www.liveandgrow.org

  • http://www.liveandgrow.org Greg Churilov

    To D. Rathan;

    A guy called Fred, Scientologist, wrote two posts. Your replies (and those of others) show that you did not understand his point,

    Scientology, as described by L. Ron Hubbard in the book “The Creation of Human Ability” (written in 1953 from notes compiled 50-53, published in early 1954) is a body of knowledge, an applied philosophy of life.

    The Church of Scientology, founded by adherents of the philosophy in Los Angeles, California, in February 18, 1954, is the application of the life philosophy in a religious context.

    Some examples of philosophies which are also religions are Confucianism, Buddhism.

    It seems to me that we keep viewing religion (at least on this blog) in a provincial western way, where religion can only mean “worship of a deity” and “prayer” and “devotion to Leader who is himself a physical manifestation of Deity”.

    While the three main Abrahamic religions do follow such traits, this is by no means the only expression of religious practice or religious thought.

    Anyone who would care to research the bonafides link, of Scientology, what religious scholars link think of it, etc. need only look to Google or here, instead of going to links to anti-scientology “experts on cults” for answers.

  • Stephen A.

    Andrew Sullivan, on today’s This Week program on ABC News, alluded to the pulling of the South Park episode as a “victory” for the Church, but noted the creators are fighting back.

  • D Rathan

    Greg, you just confirmed the larger point I tried to make:

    The sites you linked to, belong to Scientology. Some of them disclose it, some intentionally do not. But they all are scientology talking about itself. I think its you who needs to understand what I meant for Fred when I talked about Direct versus Indirect evidence. P.S. (Anyone clicking those links, should know that websites can track the I.P.s of incoming visitors. You have nothing to worry about though, if you’re not me; I use annoymizer.com).

    Btw, have you ever made a single post that doesnt try to compare Scientology to some established religion? Ever? Is it a try for credibility-by-association?

    Realize, (though I suspect you already know) that -any- system of belief that presupones its critics -must- be criminals, and presupones -anything- the apostates have to say must be a lie, simply cant be trusted. Either that, or seeing my post to Fred above, you could believe God speaks to me inside my head.

    I’ve realized there is little use in posting things spoken by SPs, since whatever they say doesnt even get the chance to be processed, so let me try something else on topic:

    South Park is far from the first: A 60 Minutes investigation into how Scientology took over the Cult Awareness Network, which used to be its critic, and now works for Scientology as yet another front group. Unless you think Mike Wallace is a suppresive, too, and whatever he says are lies also.

    Btw, according to the last post I made in this other thread You have given me 3 points:

    1 for mentioning other religions in your reply
    2 for ignoring the doctored photos of the Scientology convention

  • D Rathan

    Btw, you need the Real One Media Player for the link above. If the streaming doesnt work, try downloading.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com Molly

    Wow, Stephen A., I must realign my thinking about you!! Who knew???? :)

    I watched the episode and thought it was well done in that it showed how Stan just sort of got sucked in “I didn’t know I was depressed!” and found himself over his head.

    I think Tommy may have been more touchy about the continual references to being closeted, imo. Where is John Travolta’s indignation?

  • Stephen A.

    I’m glad I impressed Molly. That IS my goal, after all! ;-)

    I think I told the story here a long while ago about the friendly, cheerful, hardworking boy who worked at a bookstore with me years ago who took the Scientology test and they told him he had NO personality. He was crushed and came into work telling me and others about it. I think it really damaged his sense of self worth for a while.

    Luckily, he was poor.

    As for Travolta, he was actually taken aback by the show. He was quoted as saying: “Ya-no, I was lahck TOTALLY inDIGnated by it.”

    Seriously, intimating that someone is gay, while not as devastating as it once was in Hollywood, could probably still be slanderous territory to tread upon, though denying it could now be seen as more offensive to some than admitting it!

    I suppose Tom decided to take my advice and ignore the show, or at least destroy it by means other than publicly condemning it.


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