Cults of Personalities
By: Erik Rush
I had to jump on this one. As a teenager, I attended summer camp with actor Jason Beghe, and we were members of a loosely-knit camp clique for a time thereafter. I actually made some lifelong friends through that experience, but as moviegoers know, Jason headed for Hollywood and made his mark there. I must confess to having thought at the time he was something of a shallow guy â€“ but then, whoâ€™s very deep at seventeen? With the Pet Sematary in my closet, Iâ€™m in no position to judge anyone.
For those who would say I spend quite a lot of time making judgments in this space: Discernment is another matter.
Itâ€™s gratifying to see someone you know (or knew) actualize their dream. For Jason Beghe, there seems to have been a speedbump along that road. In a recent video that was pulled from YouTube for reasons no one can quite put their finger on (yeahâ€¦right), Beghe viciously attacked the Church of Scientology. Apparently he was heavily involved in the quirky â€œreligionâ€ during the period of his noteworthy Hollywood outings.
Actually, to say that Beghe excoriated the group is akin to saying that Muhammad Ali was a â€œpretty goodâ€ boxer. The actor was like Looney Tunesâ€™ Tasmanian Devil, unapologetically ripping the organization up one side and down the other.
Setting aside the possibility that his assault is an attempt at a â€œcareer bump,â€ it is the most unfavorable assessment of Scientology the public has seen to date â€“ at least from one of its former celebrity members. Although the segment contained a substantial amount of profanity, this columnist believes it reflected passion rather than a lack of ability to convey a cogent message. Jason Beghe is clearly upset, to put it mildly, and believes that Scientology is a dangerous, harmful scam.
Scientologyâ€™s practice of systematically targeting those who speak out against them using counterintelligence techniques and the courts notwithstanding, to most Americans they are an eccentric but relatively harmless outfit. No one connected with them has raised little girls to become underage baby machines, promoted racism or made anyone drink poison. If youâ€™re rich and famous, youâ€™re in, assuming you want to be. As far as Hollywood celebrities go, given their proclivity toward self-imposed social insularity and the fallacious world view begotten by same, it seems only fitting that they should have their own religion, such as it is.
Since the group goes by the handle â€œThe Church of Scientology,â€ many have asked â€œWell, whereâ€™s the deity? Who or what do they worship?â€ Indeed, the Internal Revenue Service has had questions about this and other Church matters; for a time, the organizationâ€™s tax-exempt status was revoked by the IRS, and lawsuits have been flying back and forth between the Church of Scientology and the federal government for decades.
From a theological point of view, if one scrutinizes the belief system of Scientologists, it isnâ€™t too far off the mark to conclude that the individual Scientologist is their own deity. This view is quite a bit more narcissistic than the Christian or New Age assertions that God is omnipresent, or dwelling in all of us and in all things.
More significant and disturbing, however, are some of the revelations about the cult that emerged in the wake of Begheâ€™s interview.
â€œâ€˜A Scientologist whoâ€™s â€˜clearâ€™ believes heâ€™s no longer a Homo sapien. Heâ€™s Homo novis, a new race. They believe they are the only hope for this section of the galaxy, starting with planet Earth.â€™ Tom Cruise and John Travolta evidently believe this, Beghe says.â€
Roger Friedman, Fox News, April 18, 2008
It isnâ€™t immediately evident whether this â€œclear-nessâ€ refers to the followerâ€™s mind, spirit or bowels. Whatâ€™s has been evident for some time is that Scientologists spend handsome sums of money beyond their 10% â€œtitheâ€ to attain (or attempt to attain) these and other exalted levels of enlightenment.
Thereâ€™s little doubt that Scientology is a cult. To us â€œlittle peopleâ€ itâ€™s a shady scam for those rich and famous who nevertheless evidence the same statistical spread of intelligence and stupidity as the rest of the population. However, a cult which contributes as much in cultural de-evolution as they do in entertaining people running around believing they are new age ubermenschen is flat-out terrifying.
In 2005, Tom Cruise (one of Scientologyâ€™s most high-profile adherents) was queried on NBCâ€™s â€œTodayâ€ show by Matt Lauer regarding Cruiseâ€™s public criticism of actress Brooke Shields taking anti-depressants for her post-partum depression. I donâ€™t particularly care for Lauer, but I felt a great deal of sympathy for the correspondent given the condescension and outright nastiness to which he was subjected by Cruise â€“ as well an urge to bash the actor in the chops with a pipe wrench.
Cruiseâ€™s imperious mien and cavalier belligerence were surreal. Suggesting a working knowledge of medicine and biochemistry rivaling a physicianâ€™s â€“ and certainly outstripping Lauerâ€™s â€“ the actor berated Shields, describing anyone who would use the pharmacological agents in question as a doomed, ignorant fool, and any doctor who would prescribe them as a criminal.
It ought not be much of a surprise that the Church of Sycophantism attracts those who already live in a bizarre, cloistered world of yes-men and continual ego-inflation. Inasmuch as it has been determined that there is no correlation whatever between fame, fortune and mental acuity, it might be that Beghe was simply insightful enough to see through the con. I mean, he never struck me as a dullard.
Is the Church of Scientology going to take over the world? Hardly. There are, as this columnist has mentioned, organizations far more powerful and sinister that actually have a clue as to the dynamic of sociological issues and geopolitics and which have the interests of their principals at heart rather than Americaâ€™s.
When one considers however, the percentage of Hollywood types with far Left and anti-American agendas and the political influence they have developed (particularly over the last few general election cycles), the fact that Scientologyâ€™s dogma actually places them in perceptual superiority to the rest of us is something upon which all conscientious Americans should think deeply.