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Scientology Quick to Exploit Newtown Tragedy

WhittierTWTHPity poor PIX 11 reporter Hilary Whittier, who had to put together one of those cloying, cliche-filled pieces in the wake of the Newtown massacre, the kind of thing where shell-shocked locals are interviewed talking about hope and prayers in the face of tragedy.

Near the end of her report, Whittier wants to give an example of what locals are doing to comfort each other, and she holds up a pamphlet, The Way to Happiness, that “people” were handing out.

She was apparently unaware that the pamphlet is a classic come-on from the Church of Scientology, which has quickly descended on Newtown to exploit the mass murder.

It turns out, however, that at least some of the locals aren’t as oblivious as that TV reporter as to what’s really going on.

In a blog post, a Newtown resident recounts his wife running into Scientology yellow-jacketed Volunteer Ministers handing out hugs at a local church.

As she was leaving, my wife noticed the older huggy woman from earlier in a focused conversation with “John Stamos” and it was then that she saw the Church of Scientology patch on a uniform-ish “ER minister” bright yellow parka.


Another scene of tragedy to prey on? Not likely. Newtown will have them for lunch.

Some people are better at seeing through the nonsense, apparently.

Take the entire country of Australia, for example, which is continuing to make things tough on Scientology.

Many Scientology watchers were buzzing yesterday about an odd little story that showed up on several big media outlets Down Under, recounting a federal magistrate, Robyn Sexton, telling a “grandad” that he should keep his Scientology quackery away from his developmentally challenged grandson.

The grandfather told a court-appointed doctor that he would not “treat” his grandson until he was about 14.

He claimed his techniques had cured his son-in-law of perspiration, “which was his mother’s transmitted in utero”.

The doctor said the grandfather had poor personal boundaries and an idiosyncratic belief system he had “imposed on the mother in the past, to the detriment of her mental health”.

Sexton wasn’t buying the grandfather’s lame promises, and ordered that the he not have sole care and that he couldn’t practice his cures on the boy.

We’re hoping there’s some follow-up on the story in the Australian press. It was very short on details (probably because it concerned a minor child). But it is a striking story because for once a judge, somewhere, sees Scientology practices for what they are.

Why are judges in this country so reluctant to do the same?

Finally, another link of note that we didn’t have time to get to over our busy weekend: Tiziano Lugli gave an amazing interview to The Hollywood Reporter after our video of him was released on Gawker last week.

A sample:

THR: Why does the church continue to thrive?

Lugli: It hasn’t thrived in forever. The only thing they’re doing is squeezing the last bit of money from the last parishioners that they have to build these cathedral fronts. But stand outside the organization and count the people going in and out.

THR: So is the Church of Scientology going extinct?

Lugli: I think it’s already dead. It just takes a while to count the bodies.

That Tiziano, he’s a riot.


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