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