Scientology front buys Larry Hagman estate

A front group for the Scientology cult, Social Betterment Properties International, has purchased the Ojai, California estate of actor Larry Hagman.

Hagman died last November. His widow has Alzheimer’s disease.

The Ventura County Star says there is no word on what is planned for the estate, but reports that

Social Betterment Properties International has received grants and renovated properties in use for combating literacy, improving morality and exposing “abusive and dangerous psychiatric practices,” according to a 2007 tax filing.

The nonprofit has also owned property in Oklahoma that’s been used for a controversial drug rehabilitation facility. According to The Tulsa World, the facility, Narconon International, uses non-drug paths to rehabilitation that focus on three activities: exercise, vitamins and sauna sessions. Several deaths have been related to the facility, which has been sued and investigated by Oklahoma state officials, according to The World.

We’re sure they meant to write “combating illiteracy,” though the cult’s ‘study technology’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Improving morality, alright, but the Church of Scientology isn’t exactly known for its ethical standards.

Scientology is known for its hatred of psychiatry and psychiatrists. The cult runs a separate front group that, like the church itself, essentially acts like a hate group.

Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI) bills itself as a ‘nonprofit’ who mission is to

develop and maintain buildings and other real estate utilized by social betterment organizations carrying out programs that utilize technology and methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard and that are associated with and supported by the Scientology religion.”

L. Ron Hubbard is the fantasist who founded Scientology — which many people view as a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion.

The Church of Scientology has many front groups that are known to pay royalties (also referred as “trademark” or “license” fees) in order to use L. Ron Hubbard’s “tech” in their activities.

Critics says the front groups are operated in an attempt to gain support and legitimacy — as well as to recruit people into Scientology’s expensive programs.

In this A&E report, former Scientology Public Relations Executive Robert Vaughn Young explains that the front groups were created to get people into scientology:

Meanwhile, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder tells reporter Tony Ortega he thinks Hagman’s estate will be for used a celebrity detox/rehab facility

Maybe even something with a completely different name than Narconon, which is rather rapidly going out of style.

Ortega also notes that there are now eleven (11) lawsuits pending against Scientology’s flagship drug rehab program in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead.

Expect more ‘we are so great’ press releases from the cult.

Femen stages ‘Topless Jihad’

The words topless and Jihad aren’t usually seen in the same article — let alone right next to each other.

But The Atlantic has a photo story of protests staged by Ukrainian feminist group Femen across Europe the other day.

The magazine says

The demonstrations were in support of a young Tunisian activist named Amina Tyler. Last month, Tyler posted naked images of herself online, with the words “I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor” written on her bare chest. The head of Tunisia’s “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” reportedly called for Tyler to be stoned to death for her putatively obscene actions, lest they lead to an epidemic. Tyler has since gone quiet, leading some to fear for her safety.

If, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words, the story — apart from its brief introduction — consists of 31.000 words. [Mind you, while most Europeans wouldn't bat an eye, the photos may upset those who think bare breasts are unchaste, impure, or cause for a 'holy war.']

Jonathan Jones, at The Guardian, shows just one of the photos — of a man kicking one of the activists.

Whatever one may think about Femen’s causes, or the way the group goes about its protests, calling for someone to be stoned to death is — in today’s civilized world — an evil and barbaric act.

There is no place in the world for that kind of Islam. Therefore many of Femen’s protests were held in front of mosques.

In Paris the group burned a flag of the Salafi movement — one of the most extreme interpretations of Islam.

Oregon: Children can be vaccinated despite parents’ religious objections

Two parents in Oregon whose kids became wards of the state last year have lost their fight to prevent the state from immunizing their children.

According to The Oregonian the parents say vaccinations are against their religious beliefs.

However, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the parents didn’t have the right to stop child welfare workers from having the kids vaccinated.

The paper says that though the children are wards of the state and living with relatives, the mother and father still have parental rights.

No details are known about the case, but in June, 2011, a law went into effect in Oregon that removed legal protection for parents who choose faith healing over medical intervention when treating their children.

The legislation comes in response to an Oregon City church, the Followers of Christ, that has a long history of child deaths even though the conditions from which the children died were medically treatable.

Rick Warren’s youngest son commits suicide

Pastor and evangelist Rick Warren and his wife released a statement yesterday informing their congregation at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California that their youngest son, Matthew Warren, 27, had committed suicide after battling depression for much of his life.

Matthew Warren died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

KABC says

Rick Warren addressed his son’s death in a statement to the Saddleback congregation, saying his son suffered from mental illness and depression.

“In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided,” he said.

Rick Warren also said he and his wife, Kay, had spent an enjoyable evening with their son before he died. Rick Warren remembered his son as “an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man.”

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