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USA! USA! We’re still better than the Russian in all the things that really matter.

June 30, 2011

L. Ron Hubbard and his way-cool cravat.

Especially freedom of expresson. For example, I know a store where I can buy books on how to skin a human carcass, make a bomb or cook up a nice batch of crystal meth. In Russian they can’t even read about Scientology.

For a full list of summer programs offered by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, visit the website at flcenterlitarts.com.

Let me hastily add that cannibalism, terrorism and the manufacture of illegal drugs is bad, mmmkay? But do I have to explain, again, that free speech means allowing the expression of ideas and information I may personally find dangerous, offensive or otherwise objectionable?

Like when and how Bristol Palin lost her virginity (shudder!). Or how Chris “To Catch a Predator” Hansen was caught on film cheating with a West Palm Beach TV reporter (yawn). Or anything about Shania Twain’s mopey comeback (argh! Didn’t she damage country music enough first time around?!?).

Apparently jurists on a Moscow court need to read themselves some John Milton. According to this Associated Press story, the Russian judges ruled last week to ban the works of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.

Hubbard’s books, including What Is Scientology, “contain calls for extremist activities,” the Prosecutor General said in a prepared statement. The ruling, supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, places Scientology books on a “federal list of extremist materials banned for release throughout Russia.”

“Extremist activities?” What extremist activities? If those Ruskies want some extremist literature, I suggest they start with The Bible (“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor.”  Say what?). Or how about Lenin (“It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be rationed.” So long as you’re the one doing the rationing, eh Comrade?).

Not only is this ruling an affront against freedom of speech and religion, it’s also downright silly. I’ve never quite understood how anyone could take seriously a religion founded by a science-fiction writer who called it “Scientology.” Surely Hubbard meant the whole thing as a spoof?

I mean, apart from movie stars and other idlers of independent means, who becomes a Scientologist? Have you ever met a single free-range adherent of Scientology? Me, neither — and I know Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sikhs, Hindus, Wiccans, Bahai, Holy Ghost snake handlers, and even an Episcopalian or two.

And “extremist activities?” What extremist activities? If those Russian judges want to read some extremist literature, I suggest they start with The Bible (“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor.”  Say what?). Or how about Lenin (“It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be rationed.” So long as you’re the one doing the rationing, eh Comrade?).

So the judges have curtailed not only religion and speech, but they’ve also done untold damage to their nation’s comedians. If Scientology books are outlawed, then the religion itself is virtually banned, thereby robbing comedians of a fertile field of satire and jokery.

Here in this country, the level of humor wold be woefully lessened if Jay Leno and his ilk didn’t have Scientology to make fun of.  Without Scientology, “South Park” would have run out of jokes and gone out of business years ago.

Somehow I doubt the church’s lawyers will include that argument when they appeal the court’s ruling. More’s the pity.

 

 

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 1:17 pm

    You on the list now buddy. Computers clicking all over your words. Better travel on foot.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      June 30, 2011 2:49 pm

      No plans to visit Mother Russia.

  2. June 30, 2011 8:51 pm

    I went into a Scientology recruiting office once when I was very young and very dumb (compared to this latter day version: old and dumb. I was curious. I asked questions. Was given some literature. And went home. Dropped the whole thing as a scheme to fleece me of what little money I had. The guy I talked to kept calling me. Wouldn’t quit, even though I said I wasn’t interested. After about the 10th call, I told him to knock it off. He yelled at me, told me I’d never amount to anything, blah, blah, etc. How anyone can fall for that caca is beyond my comprehension, Chauncey. But then again, there’s lots of stuff beyond my comprehension.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      July 1, 2011 1:54 pm

      I really believe Hubbard is laughing up his sleeve in Heaven — excuse me, the Thetan Landing Station on Venus, or wherever the heck he is. You know, I’m sure, that fellow sci-fi writers were mocking and spoofing Hubbard’s spiritual ideas as early as the late 1940s. I once read a cheeky satire by one of the minor grand masters — Fritz Lieber maybe, or Theodore Sturgeon or someone in that line — that made the ideas that later became Scientology seem sillier than the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

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