Kurt Loder Movie Reviews

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and The Wrecking Crew

Strange tales from the church of Xenu, and the secret weapon of '60s rock.

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Tom Cruise
Scrapetv

By now, open mockery of the Church of Scientology is an international pastime. YouTube abounds with videos of the cult's celebrity devotees and zomboid inquisitors. And the group's nutty particulars —the mad founder; the "billion year" membership contracts; the evil Xenu, galactic bad boy of 75,000,000 years ago—are a source of continuing amusement. But Scientology remains a faintly sinister organization. Fattened with cash by a dubious IRS decision that awarded it tax-free status in 1993, it is a church whose chief sacrament is litigation, and it has been as savage in its attacks on critics as it is relentless in its harassment of apostates.

None of this will be news to longtime Scientology observers. But Alex Gibney's new documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, helpfully assembles a lot of it in one place, and the film will likely pop some eyes among those only casually acquainted with the church's bizarre workings.

The picture is based on a 2013 book by Lawrence Wright, which grew out of a New Yorker profile of the writer and director Paul Haggis (Crash), a bitterly disaffected former Scientologist who bailed out of the faith in 2009, after 34 years as a true believer. Haggis—who broke with the church over its hostility toward homosexuality (he has two gay daughters)—is joined here by Wright himself, and by a number of other dropouts, among them former Scientology executives, rank-and-file members (including Jason Beghe, star of the TV series Chicago P.D.), and a very talkative PR woman named Sylvia "Spanky" Taylor, once employed at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Center as a handler for John Travolta.

The Oscar-winning Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) smoothly blends his talking heads with little-seen footage of wacky Scientology gatherings (one of them a 42nd-birthday party for Tom Cruise at which the star breaks into a hip-shaking reprise of his "Old Time Rock and Roll" number from Risky Business). There are also vintage interviews with the late L. Ron Hubbard, the charismatic fabulist who created Scientology (mainly as a tax dodge, it seems). Hubbard's background as a pulp science-fiction writer was instrumental in the invention of this new theology, so heavily concerned with outer space and past lives (Hubbard is said to have believed he was once a Phoenician prince). As Wright says, "Scientology really is a journey into the mind of L. Ron Hubbard."

In touring the usual checkpoints of Scientology takedowns, we naturally see the E-meters—primitive lie detectors—that gauge initiates' responses to questions like "What are you most afraid of?" and "Do you have a secret you're afraid I'll find out?" The purposes to which such intimate information could be put is an issue that hovers over the film's sections on Cruise and Travolta. (Similar dirt-digging has long been suspected in the IRS' sudden reversal of its decades-long denial of tax-exemption for the church—a turnabout that has enabled Scientology to hire fleets of top lawyers to pursue its innumerable lawsuits, and to build a worldwide real-estate portfolio worth a reported $3-billion.)

Letters from Hubbard's second wife, Sara Hollister, are quoted in voiceover ("I felt he was…hoodwinking people"), and there are disturbing tales from the Sea Org, Scientology's quasi-naval auxiliary, and the Rehabilitation Project Force, a sort of prison camp for wayward members. We also see current Scientology leader David Miscavige, with his clenched grin and lasery eyes, presiding over a rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on a neo-Nuremberg stage set that might have been designed by Albert Speer. (It's too bad the film had no room to include the church's decade-long legal onslaught against TIME magazine, which in a 1991 cover story titled "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" called the church "a hugely profitable global racket." (Scientology's charges were eventually dismissed.)

The church denies virtually everything that's written about it. But while it has claimed to have 8,000,000 members, the real number, according to Wright, is closer to 50,000. As they move up the "Bridge" of Scientological enlightenment, these aspirants are charged ever-increasing amounts of money for their next infusion of knowledge. And what do they get for this near-endless outlay? Haggis found out, because he finally achieved the ultimate enlightenment in a document, written in L. Ron Hubbard's own hand, which laid out the whole belief system. Haggis, who says he had previously never read anything critical of Scientology, was staggered by what he read there—the interstellar overlord, the enslaved aliens, the body thetans and whatnot. He recalls shaking his head in wonder and saying, "What the fuck are you talking about?" And then he was gone.

(Going Clear opens in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco this weekend. It debuts on HBO on March 29.)

Wrecking Crew
Magnolia Pictures

The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew is a rare labor of loving commitment. It's an evocative documentary about a group of Los Angeles session musicians who in the 1960s and '70s played on a dizzying array of records by acts ranging from the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas to Frank Sinatra and Nat "King" Cole. Also the Mothers of Invention, the Byrds, and Simon & Garfunkel. Also Barbra Streisand. They were a shifting group of maybe 20 musicians, but they were so in-demand, and played so many sessions together, that the key players became a great band. "They were so tight," says Micky Dolenz, whose own group, the Monkees, benefitted greatly from Wrecking Crew backup.

Director Denny Tedesco began shooting this film in 1996, the year his father, Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, was diagnosed with cancer. He quickly reunited his dad with a number of old colleagues, among them bassist Carol Kaye (who had played guitar on Ritchie Valens' 1958 hit "La Bamba") and the mighty drummer Hal Blaine (whose indelible stomp opens the Ronettes' "Be My Baby"). Tedesco filmed them all sitting around a table telling stories about the old days, and then, after his father's death the following year, spent the next decade scrounging for money to finish his picture, which required licensing for more than 120 music cues. We can be thankful that he found it.

The Wrecking Crew evolved out of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" sessions at Gold Star Studios in the early '60s. Many of the musicians were New York players, drawn west by the easy living and abundant studio work. ("I was makin' millions of dollars," says Blaine.) It was a magical time, nicely summed up by songwriter Jimmy Webb: "The perfumed air, the night-blooming jasmine, the sound of the Beach Boys wafting from house to house…how dreamy it all was."

Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, who worshipped Spector's records, started booking Phil's musicians to play his own sessions. "They were the ones with all the spirit and all the know-how," he says, "especially for rock & roll." You can hear the Crew players starting to weigh in on singles like "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "I Get Around," then growing more numerous on tracks like "California Girls," and finally—when Wilson decided to remain in the studio while the Beach Boys went out on the road—taking over almost completely for "Good Vibrations" (a three-month recording project) and the epochal Pet Sounds album. (The Beach Boys' incomparable vocals of course remained an indispensable element of all their records.)

Tedesco makes astute use of old photos and, to a lesser extent, studio footage to accompany reminiscences by such Crew members as guitarist Al Casey and keyboardists Leon Russell and Don Randi, and reflections by such scene veterans as Herb Alpert, Frank Zappa, Dick Clark, and onetime backup singer Cher. Among the many tangy recollections of how things worked back in those studio days is one provided by Byrds leader Roger McGuinn, who describes showing up in the studio to record "Mr. Tambourine Man" and finding himself the only Byrd on hand—some Wrecking Crew guys handled everything else. McGuinn says they were able to lay down two tracks that day, in one three-hour session. Later on, he adds, when all of the Byrds went into a studio to record "Turn! Turn! Turn!" it required 77 takes.

The Wrecking Crew was a secret weapon that remained secret for years. Dick Clark says, "I had no idea certain people didn't play on their own records until the Monkees came along." As for the record companies that commissioned these hits, "All they wanted was the product. Who created it? That was incidental."

Not anymore.   

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70 responses to “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and The Wrecking Crew

  1. Wrecking Crew

    I loved Dean Martin in those Matt Helm movies!

    1. Every car, needs a bar built into the dashboard!

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  2. So, this guy Haggis, bailed after 35 years because of the anti-gay thing?

    Isn’t that a thing, even in “Real” religions? That’s what did it?

    1. But wasn’t L. Ron Hubbard gay? No, I’m not using that as a slur since it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just what I heard. If so it seems odd that the ‘religion’ he made up would be anti-gay. Then again, all the anti-gay stuff in the King James Bible was purportedly added by King James himself (so much for the word of God, huh?) and he was allegedly gay. So, who knows?

      1. Antilles, persecuting gays, is a great way to prove your straight, I guess.

        Anyway, people are nuts.

  3. I read the Going Clear book – its pretty good. For some time now I’ve been interested in the deeply disturbing history of the CoS.

    As for the taxes thing – if taxes are to exist, I dont think any church, synagogue or temple should get tax breaks by simple virtue of their faith. The idea that IRS gets to pick & choose which religions get tax breaks and which dont is way over the boundaries of the Establishment Clause

    1. Churches and their governing bodies are tax exempt under the same rules that govern any other 501(c)(3) non-profit like the Red Cross. They’re not given the benefit specifically because of their faith.

      All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and
      religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
      their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder
      or individual,
      they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests,
      they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation,
      they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, and
      the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

      1. The notion that Scientology is “non-profit” is laughable. That LRH was one HELL of a scam artist.

      2. Scientology has violated every single one of these conditions. All their income inures to David Miscavige. None of their “benefit” organizations help anyone (their anti-drug arm Narconon, in particular, has killed several). They intervened in the Prop 8 fight (this drove Haggis out) and support many candidates (AG Pam Biondi in Florida, county supervisors in San Bernardino etc.). They violate numerous laws and public policies (especially in the areas of human trafficking and child labor).

        1. Many lurid tales of blackmail may be told in the next Scientology documentary.

  4. mainly as a tax dodge, it seems

    the church’s bizarre workings

    “I felt he was?hoodwinking people”

    And this is different from other religions, how?

    In touring the usual checkpoints of Scientology takedowns, we naturally see the E-meters?primitive lie detectors?that gauge initiates’ responses to questions like “What are you most afraid of?” and “Do you have a secret you’re afraid I’ll find out?” The purposes to which such intimate information could be put is an issue that hovers over the film’s sections on Cruise and Travolta.

    So…Catholics. (WITHOUT the leadership fucking little boys in the ass and covering it up or preemptively invading and slaughtering hundreds of thousands to take back the “holy land” in the name of a peaceful and benevolent god.)

    Haggis, who says he had previously never read anything critical of Scientology, was staggered by what he read there?the interstellar overlord, the enslaved aliens, the body thetans and whatnot.

    SO…a religion based upon aliens populating earth is MOAR bizarre than one based upon an invisible magic man who lives in the sky?

    1. Excellent points, which I didn’t address. The movie, and especially the book, are more nuanced. I thought this conversation with author Lawrence Wright was enlightening: //bit.ly/1C9wQTw

    2. And this is different from other religions, how?

      1. Squirels!

        I don’t feel like retyping everything, but:

        Other religions don’t make you pay to join up

        That the Catholic church did/does bad things does not invalidate everything about Catholicism or religion in general.

        Yes, all religions have some bizarre aspects, but Scientology does seem especially bizarre, especially when you consider that it was created at a time when evolution, cosmology, and other sciences existed. And at least some Christian denominations (Catholicism) no longer treat everything in the Bible as literal.

        1. As bad as Scientology is, it’s NO WORSE than any of the other man-made religions out there. And any group that encourages people to embrace unprovable (and completely illogical) faith over science and evidence is by very definition bad and harmful to society. Look, I get that religion has played a huge role in our history. But haven’t we matured enough to finally set aside these childish myths and fairy tales and focus on REAL things? I guess not…

          1. And any group that encourages people to embrace unprovable (and completely illogical) faith over science and evidence is by very definition bad and harmful to society.

            Oh, well in that case I completely cede the argument.

            But haven’t we matured enough to finally set aside these childish myths and fairy tales and focus on REAL things?

            I truly don’t have a gripe with atheists. My own beliefs are…complicated. I’m probably close to an atheist a few times a month.

            But to act as though everyone who follows a religion is doing so for childish reasons, or that religion can’t have a very real effect on someone’s life, is just willfully ignorant.

            1. Actually, I’m NOT an Atheist. In my opinion, Athiests are every bit as ignorant and close-minded as the deeply religious people they mock since they follow a belief system based on ZERO evidence. Look, I have no doubt that a lot of people derive happiness and comfort from their beliefs. But I can say the same things about hardcore Trekkers. The difference is Trekkers admit ‘Star Trek’ is fiction (unless they’re mentally ill). But I reject the idea that we’re supposed to respect and tolerate the mainstream religions while dismissing another ideology (Scientology) that is EVERY BIT as stupid, illogical and made up as the others.

              1. EVERY BIT as stupid, illogical and made up as the others

                If you want to believe that all religion is stupid and made up, then OK. But to say it lacks logical consistency or critical thought ignores hundreds of years of rigorous theology. Yes, you have to accept the premise, but many great minds have critically examined theirs and others religion on those terms.

                1. The universe is a model of structure, logic and consistency. A being responsible for that universe would also have to be logical and consistent. Yet EVERY religious book is riddled with inconsistencies, illogical fallacies and concepts that are contrary to what we DO know. The Bible\Koran\Dianetics were clearly written by men who wanted to control others by exploiting human superstition. Laws didn’t stop people in the Middle East from eating pork or shellfish that had been improperly handled and prepared, so they proclaimed it a sin to consume. And thousands of years later people (smart people!) continue to follow that idiotic rule. Now that’s a long con…

                  1. Yes, religious books were written by people. Plenty of religious scholars have studied religious texts on those grounds, and identified the inconsistencies and tried to explain them. I don’t have it with me right now, but I could point you to a Bible that is exhaustively annotated to point out the inconsistencies (as well as the consistencies) and that discusses each book in its historical context and provides textual analysis. And it has the imprimatur of the Catholic church and is great for understanding the scriptural justification that the Catholic church uses for many of its teachings.

                    1. But if there are known inconsistencies and errors in the Bible, then how can we trust any or it? I’m fine with defining the Bible as literature, a historical document, or guide to life. But to suggest God spoke to these men and told them what to write is literally as far-fetched as L. Ron Hubbard’s tales of Xenu.

                    2. Speaking personally, for as long as I can remember I’ve viewed the Bible as an imperfect human attempt to understand and communicate divine inspiration, with a healthy dose of social norms, customs, and cultural mythos. And not necessarily the only valid attempt to do so in human history, but the one that appeals most to me for a variety of reasons, some purely cultural. I separate the meaningful from non-meaningful by looking for what inspires and speaks to me, while trying to keep in mind my own limitations and biases. It’s an admittedly individualistic approach, but I think it is similar to what other people try to do. They may just look to, or think of themselves as, authority figures more.

                2. Sorry to harp on this, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. So many people that object to organized (or any other kind) of religion act as though all religious people just sit in church, grinning stupidly and swallowing whatever their told without any critical thought whatsoever.

                  Does that describe some religious people? Sure. It also describes lots of people that follow I Fucking Love Science, or that vote Democrat, or Republican, or Libertarian, or whatever. It’s a quality of people, not specifically religious people.

                  And lest you claim that religion actively encourages people not to think, that has never been my experience. Some religions might, and I don’t think that is a good thing. But I’ve always been encouraged to develop a personal relationship with God (or god, if you prefer), and that involves reflection, introspection, and deep thought.

                  And not that it should really matter, but in addition to being (complicatedly) religious I’m also a professional scientist. So please don’t think I’m being anti-science by defending religion.

                  1. I was pretty laid back and tolerant about religion until 9-11. But that’s when I realized every religion can be used to manipulate people into doing something that runs contrary to human nature. I don’t want religion (or any belief system) outlawed, but I’m not going to hold my tongue anymore when someone expresses a stupid belief. And I guess one of MY pet peeves is when religious (or pro-religious) people attack Scientology while at the same time accepting something that (to an outside observer) is every bit as silly and made up. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make…

          2. Antilles|3.13.15 @ 1:08PM|#

            Most people are incapable of being objective about something they’re emotionally connected to–particularly their religion.

            Or their anti-religion, apparently.

            1. Unlike deluded people like you, I don’t claim to have the answers. I don’t believe the universe, Earth and humans came about by chance or accident, and I know in my heart that that an intelligence somewhere is responsible. Who this entity is, what it wants from us and what’s our purpose in the universe has not been revealed. So, when I dismiss the Bible or the Koran or Dianetics I’m NOT rejecting God (for lack of a better word)–I’m rejecting the MEN who claim to speak on God’s behalf. And until they can prove what they’re saying is true, I’m not buying it. But if you’re OK with being swindled by con men who spout lies and fictional stories that help you to feel better about yourself–more power to you.

              1. Unlike deluded people like you, I don’t claim to have the answers.

                Before you call me delusional, you may want to figure out what I actually believe. Pretty much every comment I’ve made in this thread has been in response/correction to someone else.

                I don’t believe the universe, Earth and humans came about by chance or accident, and I know in my heart that that an intelligence somewhere is responsible. Who this entity is, what it wants from us and what’s our purpose in the universe has not been revealed. So, when I dismiss the Bible or the Koran or Dianetics I’m NOT rejecting God (for lack of a better word)–I’m rejecting the MEN who claim to speak on God’s behalf. And until they can prove what they’re saying is true, I’m not buying it.

                That all sounds perfectly reasonable to me. But it doesn’t seem to jive with:

                And any group that encourages people to embrace unprovable (and completely illogical) faith over science and evidence is by very definition bad and harmful to society.

                Knowing something in your heart isn’t exactly scientific. But however you want to square that is fine. Like I said, my own beliefs are complicated and I completely respect that yours probably are, too.

                But if you’re OK with being swindled by con men who spout lies and fictional stories that help you to feel better about yourself–more power to you.

                See above, but maybe try to be a little less condescending.

                1. I realize there isn’t a shred of evidence to support my belief that a Creator is responsible for our existence. But that’s MY belief\opinion and I have nothing against those who wish to belief something else. Look, I don’t like being a chump, or feeling punked. And that’s how I feel every time I’ve been in a church or listened to the so-called truth. NO ONE knows why we’re here or what we’re supposed to be doing. Anyone who claims to know is either a liar or delusional.

            2. I’m not anti-religion, per se. Feel free to believe whatever you want, it doesn’t hurt me any (usually).

              I just find it amusing that people who believe in invisible magic men, something completely preposterous, bag on people who believe earth was populated by aliens, something that is at least possible. And the world is so indoctrinated to this notion that no one gives it a second thought.

              1. Yes, I’ve been trying to communicate this idea for most of my life but most people don’t get it. They laugh at the silly aspects of other belief systems while failing to see the problems with their own.

              2. I just find it amusing that people who believe in invisible magic men…bag on people who believe earth was populated by alien

                I agree with that. But I don’t think Scientology’s critics are picking on it specifically because of the alien thing, but rather for some of its shadier aspects. The aliens just provide an easy target.

          3. It most certainly is worse. Say what you will about the Catholic Church (of which I am not a fan) they do have Capuchin monks running soup kitchens downtown, etc. and they originated in a time when humans were very ignorant as part of a good-faith effort to figure out this puzzling universe. Scientology has no good works, zero nada zip nil, to put on the other side of the balance pan from the lives it destroys, and has never contributed a thing to advancing our understanding of anything.

            1. Pennies to the homeless is window dressing, and doesn’t cost much. And that does nothing to make up for thousands of years of deaths, torture, child rape, and ignorance perpetrated by that ‘church.’ Btw, I went to a high school that contained a lot of Catholics and they were some of the worst people I’ve ever known. They believed that they could do literally anything they wanted, confess it and still go to heaven. The world is a worse place with those types of people in it.

  5. Scientology is clearly a scam. But I’m often amazed by the people who mock it while continuing to defend their own equally ridiculous and illogical ‘religions.’ Believe whatever idiotic thing you want, but let others believe their idiotic things too.

    1. All religions are just cults that have stood the test of time, grown large, and become respectable. But they all started as cults.

      1. I can’t think of any other cult/religion that charges thousands of dollars to be let in on the secrets.

        1. Perhaps not directly, but they demand you give 10% of your earnings EVERY week for your ENTIRE life if you want to be let into that private club called ‘heaven.’

          1. No. At least in Catholicism, you do not have to tithe to go to heaven.

          2. Yeah but in those cases you get all the goods upfront. It’s just a maintenance fee.

          3. I actually know several folks, all with six-figure incomes, that tithe. Seeing the lives that some of them live, I think they believe that they are buying insurance …

      2. Yes, I say this often. However, religious people don’t think it applies to them since they follow the one-and-only ‘real’ religion. If there really is one true religion (doubtful) then you better be careful when choosing otherwise your will Burn in Hell for Eternity! Sorry, but I need more information and evidence before I take a side.

    2. While you may be addressing the masses with:

      “Scientology is clearly a scam. But I’m often amazed by the people who mock it while continuing to defend their own equally ridiculous and illogical ‘religions.’ Believe whatever idiotic thing you want, but let others believe their idiotic things too.”.

      I do not imagine the documentary ‘Going Clear’ is about that at all.

      Have you seen the documentary?

  6. So how do we watch Wrecking Crew? Not in the cinema I’m guessing. Sounds awesome though.

    1. You can in fact — or will soon be able to — see it on a big screen: http://www.magpictures.com/dat…..7031425909

  7. So, let’s see…….If I want to know more about the Catholic Church, for instance– I would go to a defrocked priest? Or if I wanted to know about evolution–I would check in with a creationist? If there are at least 50,000 happy Scientologists, wouldn’t you at least interview a few of those for a more balanced view.

    1. Most people are incapable of being objective about something they’re emotionally connected to–particularly their religion. It’s the people who ask uncomfortable questions, get kicked out, or leave on their own who best understand the group they once belonged to. On the other hand, the clueless sheep who blindly go along with the scam and buy into the nonsense have nothing to offer.

      1. Hmmmm. The last book I read supporting Creationism was written by a biologist who once “believed” in Evolution but now doesn’t. How does that equate?

        1. That equates precisely. He clearly had issues with evolution and was unwilling to just go along with everyone else. Someone who explores an idea before ultimately rejecting it has far greater insight into that topic than someone who just accepts it all without question.

    2. “If I want to know more about the Catholic Church, for instance– I would go to a defrocked priest?” That would be an excellent source.
      “If there are at least 50,000 happy Scientologists” That’s a big if. 50,000 was approximately the total membership around 2000, but the majority of those were desperately unhappy and have left by now. The remaining membership contains a lot of UTR as they are called (“under the radar”), who avoid going to the events for fearing of being hit up for money, and don’t do any of the courses anymore, but won’t say they have left because they don’t want to be cut off from their families.
      “wouldn’t you at least interview a few of those” Scientology does not have any publicly available spokespeople at all. Members who talk to reporters are “sec-checked” (interrogated, at their own expense) to death.

    3. Djiteny Moon: Interesting point. However it misses the main point of the documentary ‘Going Clear’.

      Think ‘Prison of Belief’ for starters.

      Using your reasoning, the best way to really understand (or ‘know’ more about) the Jim Jones group/church of a few years back, would be to interview the 500 or so people that were ‘happily’ living in the Jim Jones compound, a few days before the mass suicide/murder, yes?

      Or again, using your reasoning, the best was to really ‘know’ about the regime of North Korea, would be to interview at least some of the millions of the ‘happy’ people that live in North Korea, yes?

      I would invite you to watch the documentary itself, but alas, I think you cannot (as you have been forbidden to do so). Just as I cannot help but sense there are really only 49,999 Scientologists in the world today, not counting you.

      1. I suppose the best way to know any subject would be to actually study the literature of the subject–not rely on the opinions of others-good or bad.

  8. Scientologists should kill people rather than sue them. Real religions have substantial body counts, and Scientologists won’t be taken seriously until they slaughter the unbelievers–just like the ‘real’ religions have done.

    1. For its relatively short history and small size, Scientology has a very impressive corpse count.

      1. Really? Odd that’s never made the news…

        1. Google “Lisa MacPherson”. The motherfuckers tied her to a bed and let her die of starvation and dehydration. It’s a hell of a way to die.

          -jcr

          1. You need to violently kill a lot of people, if you want to be respected as a religion.

    2. Antilles: There is physical murder and there is psychological murder. Scientology specializes in the later. While the early day Romans and Christians shared an affinity for the former.

      But alas, we are no longer living in the early days (which comment may draw a chuckle in a few thousand years from today).

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    1. Camera whoring is that lucrative?

    2. You should consider Scientology!

  11. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,
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  12. I’ve been an Atheist most of my life (around 7-9 yrs old) and I’ve never seen an Atheist on a bully pulpit trying to convert believers. In all honesty, we more than anyone else understand the emotional and psychological benefits in a belief system. I know people (family, friends) whose whole existence would shatter if they did not have religion to anchor them down. In that respect, I’ve always thought religion as an ingenious compilation of primal psychiatry, not to mention a rudimentary foundation for self-governance. Many of the allegorical verses in the bible are very similar (if not identical ) to Greek mythology. We’ve been trying to tame the beast from the beginning of time. I only wish we were further along in its progression.

    1. That’s because you (and I) are athiests, not anti-thiests.

  13. Reason, you usually publish really high quality stuff. But you should be ashamed of yourself for including this tabloid trash. Bashing a major world religion that actually aligns perfectly with your magazine’s philosophy is not very libertarian.
    http://www.freedommag.org/hbo/…..ganda.html

    1. Wow, that is a huge number of letters to HBO that were never included in the film, answered/refuted by HBO, or even intelligently acknowledged.
      Welcome to Americans’ shameful pretenses at journalism.

  14. Aren’t we all pretty tired of reading hyperbolic, long-winded and essentially money-motivated diatribes by writers whose keyboards are fueled by plaintiffs with lawsuits against Scientology?
    Why is is that when otherwise astute reporters cover Scientology, they forget all they learned in journalism classes about evenhanded coverage, verifying allegations from an angry source, and phoning the accused party for corroboration or refutation?
    OTOH…it’s the web. We should expect journalism?

  15. (This site’s Comments section needs an Edit button…for us careless typists.)
    Above, “is is” should of course be “is it.”

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