Scientology Sees Fundraising Gold in the UK Riots: "We Have a Strategy"
Two different friends of Runnin' Scared in the UK sent us the same thing this morning -- a remarkable call to action by the Birmingham branch of the Church of Scientology in reaction to the country's widespread rioting.
As we noted on Wednesday, Scientology has a history of pouncing on human disaster which even its own leaders, on leaked videotape, have admitted is a recruitment tool for the church.
But even we're somewhat taken aback to see what the UK Scientologists have put out in a message to the flock following the destruction there: now, they say, is the time to cash in!
As we saw in a remarkable video that came out of the Phoenix "org," ordinary Scientologists are currently under considerable pressure to pry even more cash out of the hands of their fellow parishioners for the procurement of new buildings, even if their current facilities -- which may have been just fine for many years -- are not overflowing. It's all part of Scientology leader David Miscavige's big push for "Ideal Orgs" around the planet -- special, opulent churches that church members are told will somehow deliver the message of L. Ron Hubbard's spiritual technology even more effectively, or something. It's a curious push for new real estate when all signs indicate the membership of Scientology is actually dwindling.
At the same time, Scientology is always quick to the scene of a disaster, and they try to get good publicity out of their "Volunteer Ministers" being on the ground "helping" disaster victims.
But to church members, Scientology is a little more up front about what they see in the riots: a chance to raise more money for their fancy new churches.
Under the title "IDEAL ORGS, WHY NOW?" the flier explains that all the destruction in England only proves that psychiatrists are evil and only Dianetics and Scientology can save the world.
The majority of the looters are children under the age of 20 who have been drugged, are illiterate and in psych hands...We are the ONLY people who have the actual technology to handle the source of this.
Hmm, that last line sounds familiar. Where have we heard it before? Oh yeah, remember this?
"Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it's not like anyone else. As you drive past you know you have to do something about it because you know you are the only one who can really help."
The only ones who can help. Well, OK, so what are the UK Scientologists proposing as the way they can assist their country in a time of need? By raising even more money and buying even more buildings!
We have a strategy - Birmingham is next. By putting that stable datum there on the cross roads of the UK, and the world, we will then be putting sanity not only into that community and England, but to the Planet. The designs for Birmingham Ideal Org are DONE and the Org is READY TO OPEN. ALL THAT IS NEEDED ARE THE FUNDS!
Wow. Just for a moment, try to imagine that a major disaster has hit an American city. Neighborhoods are in flames. People are distraught. Resources are stretched thin. The future is in doubt. Can you further imagine, even for a minute, the local Catholic church, for example, using that opportunity to tell its parishioners that the answer to this chaos is not to house the homeless, feed the displaced or otherwise aid first responders, but instead it's time to make a major push for a new basilica?
I don't know, just seems odd to me.
[A note of disclosure: I am not a Catholic. Have never been a Catholic. Am not from a Catholic family, despite the last name. (The Ortegas were a rare Protestant family from northern Mexico.) I just chose that example as a general one. -- T.O.]
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord
See all of our recent Scientology coverage at the Voice
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard's organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga -- Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story -- How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection -- A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case -- A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum -- The 'Crash' Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape -- 'Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle'
The Aaron Saxton Accusation -- Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation -- Scientology's former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross -- Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked -- Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back -- Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack -- The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated -- The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation -- Investigating a reporter's divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation -- An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology's past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh -- A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology -- A masterful telling of Scientology's history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? -- Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology's Enemies List -- Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology -- An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam -- Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists -- How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
Roger Weller's Wild Ride -- Scientology When it was Hip
The Marc Headley Infiltration -- A Scientology Spying Operation Revealed
Placido Domingo Jr: Scientology's Retaliation is "Scary and Pathetic"
An Interview with Nancy Many, Former Scientology Spy
The Paulien Lombard Confession -- A Scientology Spy Comes Clean
The Deputy Benjamin Ring Hard Sell -- Scientology wants your 401K
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology -- the whole series!
The Squirrel Busters Busted -- Unmasking the Scientology PI in Charge