The Church of Scientology is having a very bad week: First ABC's “Nightline” hammered spokesman Tommy Davis so hard about the sect’s sci-fi creed that he stormed off the set. (Watch Tommy Davis prematurely end his Nightline interview.) Next, Paul Haggis, writer/director of 2004’s Crash, resigned from the church, slamming it for anti-gay bigotry. Then a French court capped off the week by ordering the church to pay a $900,000 fine for defrauding its members. Can Scientology weather the storms?
This is just a slap on the wrist: Yes, “the Cult of Scientology is having a really, really bad week,” says Ian O’Doherty in Ireland’s The Independent. But it wasn’t barred from France, and the hefty fraud fine shouldn’t be a problem “given how expert they are at bilking money from the gullible morons who buy into their claptrap.”
“All hail Xenu. Or something.”
This could split the church in two: While Haggis was critical of “how the church is run," says David Markland in Metblogs, his letter of resignation does not “recant any of the core teachings or beliefs of scientology.” Could this furor provoke more former members of the Church of Scientology to “create their own church” but without the “cultish tactics” currently synonymous with the religion?
“A seachange brewing among Scientologist”
Scientology just needs a reformation: “Almost any religion can seem ‘weird’” if viewed from the right angle, says David Gibson in Politics Daily. The real test for Scientology will be “its ability to reform or adapt,” like a “‘real’ religion.” That’s why it's important that Haggis didn’t pull down the temple like “a classic apostate,” but instead called out Scientology for failing to “live up to its true calling.” Who knows? Maybe Haggis will be its Martin Luther.
“Is Scientology a Cult? Is Paul Haggis the Next Martin Luther?”
Oh, let’s just go see a movie! Kirstie Alley, church member and frequent defender went into “radio silence,” says Movieline, but, under pressure from her fans, Twittered a statement reinforcing her own support of human rights—adding a few hours later, “Helloooooooooooooo ... I’m in the movies ... We are going to see Paranormal [Activity]...is it really scary?”
"Kirstie Alley Has a Little Something to Say About Paul Haggis"
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