How well I remember that morning in 1985 when I awoke to see a piece produced by a local Portland, Oregon TV news show marveling at the fact that Scientologists, like other humans, eat salad. The reporter had followed (read: spied on) a group of Scientologists in a local restaurant and was flabbergasted to discover that they eat the same food that other people eat: salads, sandwiches, soft drinks.
Ten thousand or more of us had gathered in Portland to peacefully protest a hate-inspired lawsuit against our church, and the reporter had decided to do a hard-hitting investigation on our religion’s deepest, darkest secrets. This was what she had unearthed after hours of research and investigation: Scientologists are like regular people.
To paraphrase The Bard: Hath not a Scientologist eyes? Hath not a Scientologist hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as thou art? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
If I see/read/hear something about my religion which I know to be a deliberate canard and I prickle with outrage… I realize that I have lost and the bigot has won.
As a long-time Scientologist I have seen attacks upon our character, our beliefs, our appearance, our habits. I’ve long since learned that there is a certain art to bigotry and its two loyal minions, The Lie and The Suspicion. If what you say or write quickens the pulse and heats the blood of believer and non-believer alike, you have succeeded. It’s a two-pronged victory for the bigot. Therefore, if I see/read/hear something about my religion which I know to be a deliberate canard and I prickle with outrage and want to go out and kill someone, I realize that I have lost and the bigot has won. (Let the hate flow through you, Luke!) The bigot has successfully multiplied his or her hate by two: myself and whoever else believes the lie.
I therefore have learned to discipline myself to appreciate the artistry at the core of the well-executed fabrication. I go, “Wow, good job on the twisting and misquoting there,” or “Imagine, all that effort and creativity from a troll.” By therefore applying admiration in the face of attack—a tenet which Scientology shares with other religions—one proofs oneself up against succumbing to and spreading hate and dismay. I advise you use it in your life whenever you are confronted by a fascist or a fool.
After all, if it takes strength, determination and above all, faith, to believe in something you know to be true, imagine the super-human contortions, the unimaginable self-induced perversions of one’s own perception, observation and simple decency to cling to and advertise something you know not only to be false but idiotic as well. There’s something to be admired in that as we humans munch on our salad.