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Easter Sunday Funnies — Also: Our SMERSH Madness Championship!

Easter_BunniesOn Sundays, we love to bring you the latest mailers and fliers that Scientology is sending to its members. It’s our way of keeping up on what’s happening in the church at any given moment.

And this being a rather grand Sunday of Sundays, we have some fine items that should interest you, including some desperation at Golden Era Studios, a daring plunge into the digital future by the Celebrity Centre, and yet another ads-on-bus sighting. But this is also a special day because we’ve reached the SMERSH Championship after a full month of voting! You’ll find that matchup at the end of this post.

But first, we’d like to take note of a story that appeared elsewhere yesterday, and then we’ll get to our usual collection of fun stuff.

 
Glenn Beck’s Website Stumbles Onto Scientology and Human Rights

We’ve written before about Scientology’s odd interest in Eleanor Roosevelt’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she helped produce for the United Nations in 1948. It’s a noble document, which focused on human dignity after a brutal war and the ongoing plight of its refugees.

Eleanor_RooseveltA few years ago, Scientology began a cynical promotion of this mostly forgotten piece of post-war history, and it’s easy to understand why: the church has itself been accused of human rights abuses, and was even the subject of an FBI investigation into human trafficking around the time its campaign about the UN document was being ramped up.

As a result of its cynical campaign, Scientology produced a number of slick videos about human rights, and still has an ongoing outreach campaign it calls “Youth for Human Rights.” It’s a classic “good works” caper by the church: most of the rights in the UN document are uncontroversial in the developed world — the right to own property and the right to a fair trial, for example — and the materials in the church’s campaign raise concerns about problems in other countries without actually suggesting that something be done about it. We have little doubt that the teens targeted for Youth for Human Rights events are also being targeted for Scientology recruitment, but nothing in the human rights campaign itself seems to have anything to do with L. Ron Hubbard and his philosophies.

With all that as background, it was interesting to see Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, reveal that Scientology’s human rights videos are being used in at least one upstate New York school that is studying the Roosevelt 1948 document.

The school is one of many that is using “Common Core” state educational standards, which tend to be controversial with conservatives. We looked at the specific 5th grade curriculum The Blaze links to, and it does lay out a thorough study project around the 1948 UN declaration. If you look at the curriculum carefully, it’s asking teachers to educate children about the idea of human dignity and human rights as a way of developing their language skills. In other words, it’s about as controversial as talking about the weather. Also, there’s no reference to Scientology’s videos in the curriculum. In the 11-part lesson plan, we saw only one reference to a UNICEF-produced, 4-minute video.

It’s entirely possible that a teacher or principal, looking for supplementary materials on the Common Core lesson plan, stumbled on Scientology’s numerous slick videos that dramatize different parts of the Declaration.

That’s unfortunate, and we’d hope that any school teaching Eleanor Roosevelt’s fine work would not use Scientology’s cynical promotion of it in its lesson plans. However, simply watching these videos on their own is probably not going to indoctrinate anyone about L. Ron Hubbard or about Scientology’s stranger ideas.

Clearly, The Blaze is more concerned that the Declaration is a product of the United Nations — a favorite bogeyman of the right — and that in this particular school, more time was spent on the UN document than on the US Constitution (sacrilege!). But The Blaze writer seems unsure about what the Church of Scientology is, and only complains that materials from any “church” would be used in this context.

We’ve never understood why conservative publications tend to give the Church of Scientology and its abuses a pass, and usually we’re encouraged whenever we see a right-leaning outfit pay attention to the church’s controversies. But in this case, we’re pretty underwhelmed by this piece in The Blaze.

 

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More Scientology Bus Art!

After last week’s spotting in Denver, another tipster sent us this snapshot from the Ohio/Kentucky area (there’s a Cincinnati Ideal Org on the Kentucky side of the state border).

OhioBus

Anyone have an idea what it costs to wrap a bus like that?

 
Chanology Leaks pointed us to this next one, an interesting casting call by Scientology’s Golden Era Productions. Along with the usual stock characters that go into a Scientology film, the most interesting request was the last one — asking for actors to provide success stories!

CastingCall

(If you’re having a hard time reading it, there’s a larger version of it here.)

Well, that certainly seems prudent. After all, with so many people defecting, it just doesn’t pay to use actual Scientologists to provide their “wins” on camera, when they might take off and make your video useless!

We wish casting director Valerie Light the best of luck on her project.

 
Hey, new cans! We love the language of this next mailer from the church. Scientology is an exact, infallible science, see, and so you need the new lightweight, sweat-proof cans for maximum efficiency!

Cans1Cans2Cans3Cans4

 
Ooh, LA’s Celebrity Centre goes high tech with a new “e-newsletter” for its Field Staff Members! Soak up its brightly-colored glory.

EConnectEConnect2EConnect3EConnect4EConnect5EConnect6

 
On Wednesday, we posted leaked audio of Scientology leader David Miscavige saying that the next Ideal Org to open would be in Portland, Oregon within a month.

So one of our tipsters there went by to take a snapshot of the building. Our tipster told us that white sheets cover the windows from the inside, and the place really doesn’t look ready to open in just a few weeks. But never count out the power of theta!

PortlandIdeal

 

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SMERSH Madness: THE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL MATCH!

So it’s all come down to this. Back on March 1, we announced that we were joining bracket fever with our own tournament. Now, on the last day of the month, we get to our 31st and final matchup to determine who is named the new SMERSH — Scientology’s ultimate nemesis!

To recap, we fielded a 32-team tournament in four regional brackets. After a full month of competition, we whittled things down to our Final Four…

FinalFourBracket2

And now, it’s time for the SMERSH Championship!

 
JoeTomVsOCMB

Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times are the deans of Scientology journalism. Their 2009 series that exposed violence at Scientology’s International Base, and their 2011 project on the money side of Scientology provided the bedrock material that most of the rest of us work from. Consummate professionals, these two quiet guys go about their work with little fanfare and never seek the spotlight. We shudder to think what their next blockbuster takeout will uncover. (Previously: Tobin & Childs got past Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder in the first round, Nancy Many in the Sweet Sixteen, Debbie Cook in the Apollo bracket finals, and Gerry Armstrong in the Final Four.)

Operation Clambake, or Xenu.net, was started by a Norwegian engineer, Andreas Heldal-Lund, in 1996. It quickly became a major nemesis for the church as it hosted vast amounts of damaging information that Scientology wants kept quiet. It’s still a great resource today for researchers. (Previously: OCMB defeated Lisa Marie Presley in the first round, Jon Atack in the Sweet Sixteen, Mark Bunker in the Freewinds bracket final, and WhyWeProtest.net in the Final Four.)

 

 
We’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning at 7 am!

 

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 31, 2013 at 07:00

 

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