Scientology is a strange and touchy “religion,” one that is known for underhanded attacks when church members feel they’ve been slandered in the media — and the impending divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, along with the strong connection to Scientology implied in the press, has brought out the religion’s strongest defenders.
Scientology, of all religions, has what may be the most strained relationship with the internet and public relations. In fact, 4Chan — the notable “wild wild west” anonymous message board that has been in recent years associated with larger political actions worldwide — attacked Scientology over censorship way before anyone even knew who Julian Assange was.
Scientology has been targeted and attacked by several factions of the internet over the years due to the religion — which many rightly call a cult — having a penchant for censoring factually true information that reflects poorly on the church and may sway those being influenced to perhaps buy in to its teachings and practices.
Scientology’s most famous practitioner is probably Tom Cruise, and his deep loyalty to the religion is one that has strongly shaped his public persona. Now that Cruise is in the news once again for his split with Holmes, Scientologists are on the defensive, per an email sent to some of the church’s members that has been leaked on a blog.
The missive is about “hatting” (a bit of Scientologist lingo that basically refers to training) members to disseminate propaganda as well as suppress criticism in media, and blogger Marty Rathbun quotes:
One of the [Codes] of Conduct that Microsoft impose[s] is to not“threatens, defames, degrades… an individual or group ofindividuals for any reason; including on the basis of age, gender,disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, religion; orincites or encourages anyone else to do so..”
… On each comment if you place your mouse over it, it show[s] up on thebottom right a tag that say ‘REPORT’… Click the “Report” Tag and a small window show[s] up. Click the tab “Send Note to Moderator”
The leaked Scientology email continues:
“Once you do that a new window show[s] up and you can send a text of100 character. You can write something like ‘Violate Your Code ofConduct’. “defames or degrades a group for any reason including onthe basis of religion.”
Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw denounced the email circulating, as well as the blog post that publicized it:
“This did not come from the Church or anyone associated with the Church, nor is it a Church plan. The Church of Scientology International Office of Special Affairs is responsible for public affairs and calling it a ‘dirty tricks’ and ‘propaganda arm’ is offensive.”
Pouw said Rathbun was an “apostate,” and referred to him as a “defrocked” Scientologist.