“RNB Clippings” is a collection of clippings, snippets, links, commentary and other items that, in one way or another, relate to the topics normally covered in Religion News Blog.
In today’s posting, three Scientology items:
Scientology vs. Psychiatry
CBS’s 48 Hours recently did an investigative report on a Scientology-related death:
There was never a question who committed the murder of Elli Perkins on March 13, 2003. As correspondent Peter Van Sant reports, within hours, police had a confession. His jeans drenched in blood, 28-year-old Jeremy Perkins had just stabbed his mother 77 times.
Dr. Brian Joseph was one of at least eight psychiatrists who concluded that Jeremy suffered from schizophrenia.
Asked to explain what schizophrenia is, Dr. Joseph says “Schizophrenia is a brain disease where one nerve cell doesn’t seem to talk properly to another nerve cell. You begin to have psychological symptoms such as feeling people are out to get you when they’re not, hearing voices when no one is there.”
For Dr. Joseph and John Nuchereno, the attorney who represented Jeremy in his criminal proceeding, the real tragedy is that Jeremy never got proper psychiatric treatment.
“His parents knew that he was extremely ill and experiencing hallucinations,” Nuchereno says.
Asked if they called a psychiatrist, Nuchereno says, “No.”
Elli and Don Perkins sincerely wanted to help their beloved son, Jeremy. But the Perkinses were Scientologists. Some pro-Scientology materials declare that psychiatrists are not only useless, but evil – their medications nothing but poisons.
As for the Perkins case, the church says that Elli’s murder had nothing to do with her faith.
Predictably, Scientologists didn’t like the CBS program. The network’s Public Eye web sites – whose “mission is to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News” – explains:
The Scientology community was not happy with the story, which raised the possibility that Elli Perkins might not have been murdered had her son been given psychiatric treatment. The group refused to provide “48 Hours” with an official spokesman and began taking action to influence the broadcast. “They hit us with numerous e-mails and there were some people at CBS or at ’48 Hours’ who they knew personally, and so there were some personal requests made as well,” says CBS News Senior Vice President, Standards and Special Projects Linda Mason.
According to the article, Scientologists alleged that CBS had a conflict of interest in covering the story, since the network carries ads by pharmaceutical companies. However, Mason explained that there is a “Chinese wall” between the sales department and the news department: “And we’ve done numerous stories on the ill effects of drugs of various sponsors that are on CBS.”
Many Scientologists who contacted CBS after the story aired said the program had been unfair. If that is true, the Church of Scientology may itself be to blame:
“48 Hours” was not able to interview the two defenders of Scientology featured in the piece until shortly before the broadcast, because no one from Scientology was made available until that time. “Usually it isn’t that tough to get the other side of the story, or more participants in the story,” says Mason.
Mason allows that Scientologists are “known as a litigious group, and they are known to resist the telling of stories about Scientology.” I asked if this affected the story in any way, or if it discourages news outlets from doing stories that discuss Scientology. She says that it does not. “CBS has done several and ’60 Minutes’ has done several stories on Scientology, and I believe NBC did something,” she says. “I think all of them do when they find a story they want to do and think is worthwhile in telling.”
What about the possibility of litigation? “We do stories that we feel stand on their own grounds in the court of law,” says Mason.
– Source: ’48 Hours’ Questions Role Of Scientology In Murder, Scientologists Question CBS Ethics, CBS PUblic Eye, Nov. 2, 2006
Last year, after Tom Cruise had publicly made a fool of himself by attacking psychiatry and those who take psychiatric medication, Dallas Morning News columnist Mark Davis wrote an opinion piece titled, “Scientologists call psychiatry a fraud? What nerve!”
Much of the world’s familiarity with Scientology comes from its loud and nasty attacks on psychiatry. Brimming with conspiratorial tantrums about plots to “screen all citizens” and marked by snotty disregard for those who have been helped by medication, the “Church” clearly views your trip to a doctor as one less paying customer hooked up to an e-meter.
And that’s a huge problem, as one can guess from Mr. Cruise’s recent attack on Brooke Shields for daring to credit sound psychiatric treatment with her recovery from postpartum depression. An entire wing of Scientology launches daily attacks on psychiatry’s practitioners and patients using the comically lofty title of Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights.
In a nation of religious (and intellectual) freedom, people can believe what they wish, unfettered by what others think. But when a group maligns an entire profession and the millions who have benefited from it, it’s time to call them out as purveyors of junk science and character assassination.
Are there quacks in psychiatry? Sure. Are we overmedicated as a society? Without a doubt. But evaluation of those facts comes best from objective analysis and criticism, not from ham-handed condemnation from followers of a bitter writer stung by the medical community’s rebuke of his wacky theories half a century ago.
– Source: Mark Davis, Scientologists call psychiatry a fraud? What nerve! The Dallas Morning News, USA, June 22, 2005 Opinion
Scientology vs. Christianity
Last Wednesday, R&B singer Brandy caused a ruckus at the First AME (FAME) Church in Los Angeles.
Reportedly, the singer came from a Scientology meeting with two other male friends to attend a bible study class at the church. As Bran began to ask questions and challenge several Christian principles, a fight broke in the back of the church that involved her two associates and members of the church. Reportedly chairs flew as the brawl proceeded to get out of control. Members of the church quickly asked Brandy to leave and informed her that they intended to inform the media of her behavior.
In related news, her break-up with basketball star Quentin Richardson allegedly was attributed to his family’s dissatisfaction in Brandy dabbling into Scientology.
– Source: Singer Brandy causes brawl in church, Chronic Magazine
Anyway, just to set the record straight: Scientology is not compatible with Christianity.
Scientology vs. ‘Janet’
Next, the story of two ex-Scientologists:
For about 10 years during the ’70s, Janet was a Scientologist. Not your Average Joe Scientologist, but a member of the Sea Org, the elite, the upper echelon, who sign a reported billion-year contract of dedication to Scientology. These people reportedly work for the church for most of their lives. They are generally considered to be the most dedicated followers. Janet knew L. Ron Hubbard, the founder and deceased leader of Scientology. She remembers running into David Miscavige, the religion’s current leader, before he took that post in 1987. And she remembers why she entered the church and why she “blew,” which is Scientology terminology for “a sudden departure.”
Janet, being an ex-Scientologist, isn’t considered a hero among the CoS. The church often dismisses the stories of such people who sever ties from Scientology. Janet decided to publicly share her story after a recent upheaval—her sister left the church after 38 years of service.
– Source: Scientology, GTWeekly.com, Oct. 5, 2006
You’ll want to read the entire story. It’s a good antidote against all things Scientology.
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