We’re starting to get questions from readers about Erika Christensen playing a Christian convert in the movie The Case for Christ, which opened in theaters Friday.
Our friend and former colleague, Luke Y. Thompson, wrote a really interesting review of the film for Forbes, giving the movie props for its strong casting (not just Christensen but also Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster) and for the way it develops the story of a newspaper reporter, Lee Strobel (played by Mike Vogel), who investigates Christianity while looking into a cop shooting.
The reason Lee is investigating Christianity like he would a news story is that he wants to disprove the resurrection of Jesus in order to convince his wife Leslie (played by Christensen) that she’s made a mistake becoming a devout believer following the near-death of their child. Instead, Lee himself is also convinced of the resurrection of Jesus and today the Strobels make a living spreading the good word.
Well, whatever you think of the movie, what is a Scientologist doing in it playing a Christian convert? As Thompson points out in his review, it’s an “amusing” bit of casting to put in it an actress who belongs to a church that considers Jesus Christ a figment of the imagination.
We’ve been hearing from fellow Scientology watchers who ask, does this mean that Erika has left Scientology?
No, it doesn’t. In fact, just last week, Erika was the most high-profile celebrity that took part in Scientology’s “Writers of the Future” contest awards gala in Los Angeles, something she never would have done if she had left the church…
But isn’t this a contradiction? As Mike Rinder spelled out in excellent detail last year, as Scientologists move beyond the introductory courses of the church, they are asked to drop “other practices” and must focus entirely on Scientology itself. And part of that material they have to focus on once they pass through what’s called OT 3 — which Christensen has completed — is to learn that L. Ron Hubbard, in his own handwriting, described Christianity and the other world’s religions as false information that had been implanted in our minds millions of years ago.
So if that’s the case, how does a Scientology actress get away with appearing in a film that’s obviously meant to promote Christianity?
Once again, we will point out something we have to repeat again and again to readers: Scientology Rule No. 1 is that its celebrities can break all the rules.
The church will be thrilled that Christensen is earning a paycheck, and it wouldn’t dare tell her not to appear in such a film. Meanwhile, as she has many times before, Christensen herself will say that generally, Scientologists can also be Christians or Jews or Muslims.
This. Is. A. Lie.
But lying is practically a sacrament in Scientology, so Erika won’t be in any trouble for it.
Once again, just for fun, here she is appearing in a 2006 testimonials video for the church…
Scientology hooks up with former cop disgraced in prostitution scandal
Our correspondent in Bogotá, Colombia sent us a flier from the new Scientology Ideal Org down there, and pointed out something really startling on it.
The flier, as you can see, advertises a talk that was given Friday afternoon by the former director of the country’s national police, Rodolfo Palomino.
The subject of his talk was about the fight against illegal drugs in the country…
What Palomino wasn’t invited to talk about apparently, was how he managed to lose his job over a scandal involving allegations about a gay male prostitution ring being run out of the highest levels of the country’s government, including the national police force.
Said the Guardian last year…
At the centre of the affair is what has been described as a homosexual male prostitution network run by senior police officials, known as the “Fellowship of the Ring”, which allegedly operated within the police academy between 2004 and 2008. Officers and congressmen allegedly paid for sexual services from cadets with cars, gifts and large sums of money.
The existence of the ring first came to light in 2014 when it was revealed that at least 10 former cadets had testified in an investigation into the suspicious death in 2006 of a female cadet at the academy, which was first labeled a suicide. The cadet, Maritza Zapata, had uncovered the existence of the ring and – according to her family – may have lost her life over it.
Public interest in the case was renewed late last year when an influential radio journalist, Vicky Dávila, began airing testimonies from police cadets recounting incidents of sexual harassment by senior members of the National Police, including its director, Rodolfo Palomino.
Palomino insisted that allegations against him were unfounded. But after an official investigation into his role in the scandal was opened, he resigned.
But hey, at least the Scientologists are still giving him invites. That ought to rehabilitate his image.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield