I live in Los Angeles, a city with the highest concentration of Scientologists in the world. That means that Scientology is known fairly well throughout the city, which also means it can be played off as socially okay to jab at the religion for the sake of a punchline because it is just “a religion with celebrities.”
Newsflash: Scientologists come from all walks of life. There are a few buildings known as Celebrity Centres for artists, but all of the remaining churches across the world are there for anyone who wants to handle something in their lives. But perhaps because we are a culture so used to gawking at and mocking celebrities, we like to drag Scientology along for the ride.
I have heard Scientology mentioned in ridiculous contexts in a variety of arenas and my response each time is: “Well, do you know what it is? Do you know what it’s about? Did you realize we have a book called What is Scientology? It’s pretty thorough.”
Scientology is not “some weird thing” that a few celebrities do. It’s an applied religious philosophy, practiced by millions, developed by L. Ron Hubbard through incredibly thorough research for which he backtracked thousands of years. It’s a body of knowledge and tools that can help you, your family, your city and, really, all of mankind.
While it might be cool to make fun of something you can’t even define, just realize that it is an act of bigotry. And when you have someone like Bill Maher, who will not only throw an anti-Scientology joke on his show from time to time (which I’m glad to no longer watch), but create an entire slanted, derogatory documentary about all religions, it shows you that a) there’s something very wrong with his moral code and b) he’s embarrassing his audience and all the liberal peers he is trying to appeal to.
Don’t make bandwagon jokes about a topic while refusing to look at what is there. It says more about you than those you target.
Take a step back, hip, holier-than-thou jokesters. Do some research. Educate yourself and your audiences. Otherwise, you will just inch us closer to the era of Idiocracy.