Clarification: To avoid confusion, I think I'd best point out that I am not Russell Shaw, the prominent Phoenix-based Realtor and proud Scientologist. We are not related (although we both blog and have swapped emails from time to time).
Yesterday, on Web pages such as this one, I read accounts of a 93-city protest against the Church of Scientology and its objections to information about its practices and beliefs being placed on the Internet.
The main beefs of this Anonymous group seemed to be that the Church is overly litigious, especially when it comes to non-authorized online publication of some of its tenets.
While I am a First Amendment absolutist, I don't really see the difference between Scientology objecting to the publication of copyrighted text- and say, a "standard" religious publisher objecting if, say, an annotated Bible were cut and paste whole into an outside website or even Wikipedia.
But to me, there is even a bigger issue.
They call Scientology a cult, and yesterday, gathered outside Scientology-owned buildings. They insult its members for what they believe. The bigots call Scientology "a cult."
If you watched PBS' superb "The Mormons," you'll remember descriptions and illustrations of angry "mainstream Christian" demonstrators calling Mormonism a cult, and demanding its adherents leave the city.
For they called Mormonism a cult.
Or, every time a Christian Scientist or Jehovah's Witness refuses to furnish medication for their child, you'll hear the slur again.
You'd think the bigots were describing Jonestown, or Heaven's Gate.
No, they are not.
Not a member of any of the faiths I mentioned, I still bristle when I hear the term "cult" attached to any faith, new or old, inside or outside so-called conventional theology.
For calling a belief system a "cult" is discriminatory and exclusionary.
Solution? If you think Scientology is a cult, and have some objections, simple. Don't become a Scientologist.