It’s been a few years since the major backlash against the Church of Scientology began and the last really big story was about how Katie Holmes escaped with her daughter. It’s funny that we live in a world in which a woman has to “escape” from a religion and her fanatical husband with the use of secret, untraceable cellphones and the assistance of friends to take her across the country and nothing is really done about it, but here we are.
Scientology is criticized constantly, and around the globe, for being a cult. For numerous frauds, for stealing money, for waging campaigns of harassment, for treating regular people as slaves while they glorify their celebrity adherents and also for just being silly ass and believing in the goofy science fiction theories of a mediocre author who created a fake religion as a tax haven. But nevermind that. We all saw the Anonymous protests, the debacle that was Battlefield: Earth, the mental breakdown of Tom Cruise and some of us have read the articles about how Scientology isn’t even allowed to operate in European countries, how they’ve been prosecuted for felonies in numerous countries and how they routinely harass and seek to destroy any naysayers.
In a twist that surprises no one, there’s news out of Georgia that a Narconon facility, Scientology’s drug rehab program that has been described by various sources as “unsafe” and “quackery,” has engaged in massive, massive insurance fraud. Which is to say no, Narconon probably can’t help you get off drugs except by making you go broke so you can’t afford any more drugs.
The facility in Georgia was just raided by cops and a ton of files were seized allegedly showing the facility had routinely overbilled insurance companies and doctors, some of whom never even saw the patients they were billed for. Allegedly. I say that so we don’t get sued. Scientology loves to sue people (allegedly).
Scientology has tax exempt status in the US and that has basically allowed them to run hog wild. The US government basically grew tired of dealing with them and gave up. Scientology waged a war against the IRS, even hiring investigators to dig into the lives of IRS agents. The leader of the Chuch had an unscheduled meeting with the head of the IRS in private and shortly thereafter, after denying tax exempt status to Scientology for 25 years, the IRS changed its mind. What happened in the meeting? No one has ever been told. But it worked. In the US, anyway. They can’t pull that crap in Germany where Scientology is little more than a cult.
Given what everyone already knows about Scientology, and this latest crap with Narconon, we have to wonder why this organization is still tolerated. Is it just that they’re dug in like ticks at this point so there’s no getting rid of them? Is it that everyone loves Tom Cruise and really wants a sequel to his 1985 unicorn epic Legend? Is it because the evil space monster Xenu is going to throw us all in volcanoes full of atom bombs and only John Travolta can save us? We may never know.
Whatever the reason we tolerate Scientology’s continued presence it’s worth asking yourself would any other organization be allowed to operate in this fashion? If Old Navy forced its employees to sign billion year contracts would anyone apply for jobs there? If Wendy’s forced employees to sever contact with relatives who left the restaurant, wouldn’t someone contact their local comptroller or some such? If the Amish spied on the Canadian government and were convicted of such by the government of Canada, would you wonder what the hell was wrong with the Amish? Scientology does all of this stuff (allegedly, except that last one. They really did get convicted of spying on the Canadian government). They do it so often that when you hear about their drug rehab program committing fraud, you probably barely bat an eye and are not surprised. But shouldn’t you be?
If this was a mosque-run program we’d be outraged. If it was a Catholic-backed program it would be a huge scandal. Scientology is so good at being wrong, and so routinely does what they should not do, they’ve made us grow accustomed to it. Is that normal?