South Park sticks it to Scientology again

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone haven’t finished messing with the Church of Scientology, or Tom Cruise, just yet.

The current issue of Rolling Stone, available on newsstands through March 22, features a story on “South Park’s” 10th anniversary and the creators’ illustrious career pushing the limits of controversy. Accompanying that story, timed nicely to coincide with the beginning of the show’s 11th season, is a (likely altered) photo of the boys spray-painting grafitti on the church’s LA headquarters sign. It reads “The Church of Scientology is dumb” and “Hi Tom” with a depiction of “South Park” character Eric Cartman’s head.

Parker and Stone first took on Scientology in November 16, 2005 with one of the show’s most controversial episodes, “Trapped in the Closet.”

In it, Church of Scientology leaders declare Stan Marsh the reincarnation of Sci-Fi writer turned religion creator L. Ron Hubbard. When Stan shows a lack of enthusiasm for Tom Cruise’s film work, Cruise locks himself in Stan’s closet. Fellow high-profile Scientologist John Travolta joins Cruise, as does R. Kelly after failed attempts to persuade Tom to “come out of the closet.”

Isaac Hayes, who voiced the character “Chef” and is also a Scientologist, quit the show March 13, 2006. “There are reports that Isaac had a stroke and Scientology quit the show for him, and I believe it … It was a brutal, up-close, personal thing with Isaac. If you look at the timeline, something doesn’t add up,” the Rolling Stone story reports.

The show attracted even more attention when Comedy Central bowed to pressure from parent company Viacom to cancel a rerun of the episode scheduled for March 16, 2006. Rumors abounded that Tom Cruise threatened not to promote his new movie “Mission: Impossible: III,” for another Viacom company, Paramount, unless the episode was pulled. It finally aired again in July and was later nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Animated Program.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday March 10, 2007.
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