Erika Christensen, who plays Julia Braverman-Graham in the NBC comedy Parenthood, recently came to the defense of Scientology, of which she has been a member since childhood.
In co-star Joy Bryant’s Web series, Across the Board, Christensen talked about some of the misconceptions she has heard about the religion.
“One, that we are some kind of closed group. Two, that we are the Hollywood religion, and three, that we worship rabbits,” she said.
Christensen went on to say that she would introduce her children to the religion someday, the same way her parents introduced her to Scientology when she was young. Christensen continued, “If I had to sum it up, the goal of Scientology is giving the person back to themselves. Like, your own power of choice.”
According to E! Online, director Paul Haggis doesn’t feel the same way about the religion he left after being a member for over 30 years.
On Thursday’s Today, Haggis said, “I was ashamed of my own stupidity, of how I could have been so blind for so many years.”
Haggis said that he left the church after doing his own research and finding articles that alleged abuse at the highest levels and reports of child labor.
“It’s horrible treatment these kids had,” he said. “Terrible.”
The Church of Scientology has adamantly denied abuse allegations.
When Harry Smith asked Haggis if Scientology was a cult, he responded:
“Oh, of course it is. It’s a system of beliefs and you’ve got all these folks inside this fortress who won’t look out, who won’t look at any criticism and can’t bear any investigation and thinks everyone is against them. How would you describe that? It’s a cult.”
A recent article about Scientology’s “milestone year” that was published by The Atlantic was quickly removed from the website. The article was promoted as “sponsored content” and, according to Gawker, “Of the 17 comments posted as of this writing, 11 are so pro-Scientology they read as though they’re an extension of the original post.”
The Atlantic took down the article and posted an explanation: “We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads.”
You can watch videos of Erika Christensen and Paul Haggis talking about Scientology below.