I know a few of you are wondering what I thought about Panorama’s Secrets of Scientology episode. The short version: I’m pleased!
The true beauty of this show is that none of the Scientologists seem to be happy with it. The Church people are upset because it highlighted Independent Scientologists. The Indies are upset because it bashed Scientology tech. And Marty Rathbun is upset because, according to him, BBC left out all the “secrets” he told them about the Church. (I asked on his blog what secrets those were, and I have yet to get an answer from him.)
Something that disappoints so many Scientologists always makes me happy!
Of course, everyone is going to criticise (I’m using the British spelling in honor of John Sweeney), and if I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded seeing more about how Marty and the Indies still believe in the tech, which is the source of most of the crimes. Then again, I don’t ever think that can be stated enough. And besides, I’m an American, and am used to having my opinions spoon-fed to me by the television. BBC still respects the intelligence of their viewers. Panorama put all the facts out there – well and fairly – so that their viewers could come to their own conclusions. And I think the viewers will be able to figure out that regardless of whether or not you are affiliated with the Church, Scientology philosophy is pretty… er, what’s the phrase? Oh yeah – fucking nuts.
I actually think the show was pretty kind to the Indies, especially to those who were separated from their families – like Mike Rinder. Now, anyone who has read Mike Rinder’s Open Letter to his Family knows how sentimental Mike isn’t about losing his family. (Search Mike’s letter for the words “love,” “miss” and “sad” and you’ll see what I mean. He’s still very much a Rondroid.) Regardless, Panorama was very sympathetic to him. Maybe that’s why Marty wasn’t happy with the show – Marty was supposed to be the big star, bustin’ the Church wide open, and instead Mike got all the screen time.
Regardless, at the end of the day, most people don’t differentiate between Church-going Scientologists and Independents, and if they are interested enough to learn more, they will discover the difference. So bottom line, this was a huge win for the Scientology protest movement.
One thing I want to point out: John Sweeney is a friggin’ hero. He did a great job combining new information with a good baseline for those unfamiliar with the cause. And let’s not forget about what Scientology does to its critics – one has only to read about Paulette Cooper to understand what a brave thing it is to take on Scientology once, let alone twice. John Sweeney is swinging at Scientology like a wrecking ball. He’s shown that he’s not afraid of their silly intimidation tactics. I applaud the bravery of the BBC, Panorama, and Mr. Sweeney – by refusing to be intimidated, they have scored a tremendous victory for the press and for those of us who oppose Scientology.
Overall, I’m pleased. The documentary presented Scientology to be a secretive, harmful cult started by a greedy megalomaniac and continued by the fervently brainwashed. And that sounds pretty accurate to me!
More reactions to Panorama: Secrets of Scientology: