It is a very controversial decision. I suspect that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had no idea it would be quite so controversial when they made the decision.
I don't think they fully understand what is wrong with that decision.
It isn't about Tom Cruise. I don't know Cruise personally, and I certainly don't have any information about what he has done to warrant such an honor as a humanitarian. Maybe he has done some amazing things that we don't know about. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt on that.
The fact that Tom Cruise used to be the celebrity face of the Church of Scientology was not, and should not be, a factor in that decision. After all, the museum has "tolerance" in their name -- and tolerance is a very, very good thing.
The above are not reasons why this award is a bad idea.
The problem with this award is how the Church of Scientology will use this award. They will trumpet this award as if it means that the Simon Wiesenthal Center:
- approves of Scientology,
- endorses Scientology,
- validates Scientology's claims that they are a "humanitarian group" and
- confirms that Scientology supports Human Rights.
And that's what's wrong here. Even if the Simon Wiesenthal Center asks the Church of Scientology to not do that, they will anyway. Scientologists do not believe that requests by non-Scientologists are binding on them. They will do whatever they please.
The Church of Scientology is NOT a humanitarian group by any stretch of imagination. It is arguable that the church is the biggest violator of Human Rights in the United States. See my article Scientology and the Declaration of Human Rights.
The Church of Scientology does NOT contribute to any humanitarian efforts anywhere in the world. Individual Scientologists certainly may, and I do recognize and honor that, but the Church of Scientology itself does not contribute anything. See my article The Church of Scientology Loves Disasters. This is an excellent example of how the church exploits the good work of others to polish their own image -- exactly as they will with this award.
But worst of all, in relation to this award, is how the Church of Scientology frames the Holocaust in relation to their own dogma. I don't think the Simon Wiesenthal Center wants to have any association with Scientology because of their beliefs in this area.
The Church of Scientology redefines and exploits the Holocaust to forward their personal vendetta against the psychiatric profession -- they blame psychiatrists, and only psychiatrists, for the Holocaust. Professor Deborah Lipstadt has termed this "soft-core" Holocaust denial -- although I'd use harsher terms to describe such crass exploitation. Professor Lipstadt's writings on the church are here.
Second, and by far the worst, L. Ron Hubbard's dogma states that anything that happens to a person is their fault and only their fault. This is called the "overt-motivator sequence".
The following are direct quotes from Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary.
- OVERT ACT
- an intentionally committed harmful act committed in an effort to resolve a problem.
- an overt act against oneself by another. In other words, a motivator is a harmful action performed by somebody else against oneself.
- OVERT-MOTIVATOR SEQUENCE
- if a fellow does an overt, he will then believe he's got to have a motivator or that he has had a motivator.
Thus, in Scientology belief, all harm that happens to you is completely and totally your fault, you "pulled it in" because of your prior overt.
If you are paying attention then you will understand what this means in relation to the Holocaust. According to Scientology, all the victims of the Holocaust were guilty of overts and it was all their fault that this atrocity happened. Yes, this is straight Scientology dogma.
Understand that this is not some "fringe" belief of Scientology that can be changed or discarded, this is a fundamental teaching of L. Ron Hubbard. These concepts are core, unchangeable beliefs of Scientology.
I think it's wonderful that the Simon Wiesenthal Center demonstrates tolerance towards Scientology, but I really don't think they want to directly associate themselves with the Church of Scientology in any way.
EDIT: Never mind, I have been convinced that protesting would turn out fine.