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Friday, April 15, 2011

What's Wrong With the Simon Wiesenthal Center Honoring Tom Cruise?

There has been a bit of a fuss about the recent announcement that the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Museum of Tolerance plans to honor Tom Cruise with its prestigious Humanitarian Award.

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.
Of course none of those claims are true, but the Church of Scientology will spin the news of the award for exactly that purpose.  That's what they do.

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.
MOTIVATOR
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.
Hubbard teaches that one cannot be harmed in any way by any action unless one has first committed a similar "overt" against someone else.  To put it simply, one cannot be harmed by a punch unless one has first punched another.  This is in the context that we have all lived thousands of lives and such overts may have been committed in some previous life.

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.

To any Anonymous who might be reading this, I have some advice:  Do not protest this awards ceremony, it is highly unlikely that such an action would turn out well for Anonymous.  It would be easily misunderstood that Anonymous was protesting the Simon Wiesenthal Center.  The Church of Scientology would have a field day making sure that was the perception.
EDIT: Never mind, I have been convinced that protesting would turn out fine. 

23 comments:

  1. In terms of protest, I think the message has to be very targeted. Cruise has certainly promoted their anti-psychiatry museum, which claims that psychiatrists were responsible for the shoah.

    That's a pretty direct link between Cruise and a view on the shoah that the SWC is likely to find pretty abhorrent.

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  2. Re: Protest

    Anyone protesting should understand that the protest will be framed against the message of tolerance from the SWC.

    It may be that the only way to play it is to make the message about the Church of Scientology's blatant intolerance.

    Even so, it's a risky protest, in my opinion.

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  3. Wow. Just, wow.

    God is not great, per Christopher Hitchens. In a nutshell, religion is nuts, per Fidel Castro.

    Jews honoring a religion that says victims are the lowest form of life and you "pull in" your own persecution. Again, wow.

    Why bother to protest? If we protest every nutty religious group or action we'll be protesting nonstop. The greater hope is that all these institutions will drown in their own hypocrisy and absurdity.

    Let's pray for THAT!

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  4. It must be emphasized that the Simon Weisenthal Center is not "honoring Scientology". The Church of Scientology will certainly try to spin it that way, but that would be one of their usual massive lies.

    Let us not perpetuate that lie ourselves.

    They are honoring Tom Cruise, not Scientology. I am sure they would never "honor Scientology".

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  5. Is it possible to ask the SWC why it chose this person? If there's something he's done in that line, I'd like to give Cruise credit instead of calling him an idiot all the time.

    BTW, Bill, could you clarify (again) why CoS is NOT A RELlGION? It's a cheap, deliberate mockery of the same; and certainly an insult to the greatness of Judaism (and no, I am not Jewish.)

    Sheepherder

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  6. Great blog, Just Bill. Please keep it up. Too many people in and out of $cientology do not see the light/truth. You've got it figured out.

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  7. Re: Ask SWC why?

    I know that a number of people have contacted the SWC to ask why but the SWC has declined to comment. I suspect there will be a presentation at the event itself which will highlight exactly what Tom Cruise has done.

    But here is some information about this. Tom Cruise's PR people have been working very hard for almost two years, attempting to rehabilitate Cruise's image. The very first and most important action was to get Tom to shut up about Scientology. Second was to have him assiduously avoid answering any questions about Scientology.

    The third action was to implant a sense of humor into Tom -- so he could appear self-depreciating when appropriate.

    I suspect the fourth action was to donate much money to "worthy causes" that were not related to Scientology. I'm sure the Simon Weisenthal Center was a happy recipient of some of this fourth activity.

    And that is, undoubtedly, why they are honoring Tom Cruise.

    To tell you the truth, I'm happy to applaud the new version of Tom Cruise who is disassociating himself from Scientology. I encourage him to disassociate himself even further.

    Re: Is Scientology a religion?

    On this point, I think we should all agree with the Church of Scientology which vehemently denies that it is a religion in most countries of the world.

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  8. I would guess that any generous donations by Tom Cruise to the Simon Weisenthal Center were part of the handling for the flap in Germany in 2007 around his Valkyrie film.

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  9. Interesting that in the New Amerika manipulating your image for gain is viewed as an understandable activity. Signs of the pathocracy: when supposedly decent people don't see anything wrong with mendacity and hypocrisy because AT LEAST it isn't murder or worse.

    "Rehabilitating oneself" is laudable.

    "Rehabilitating one's image" is risable, despicable and sociopathic.

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  10. Okay, honoring Tom Cruise.

    Is there anyone in the U.S. that sees much daylight between Tom Cruise and Scientology?

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  11. I think the irony of this "honor" is compounded by the recent partnership between Scientology and the Nation of Islam, whose members have routinely made derogatory remarks about Jews.

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  12. "Is there anyone in the U.S. that sees much daylight between Tom Cruise and Scientology?"
    - Anon. 4-17-2011 11:23 PM

    Nope. Tom's PR flacks may have gotten him to stop mentioning Co$ in public, but everybody's seen the "Mission Impossible" Scientology video and they remember him jumping around on Oprah's couch. The damage cannot be undone (barring Cruise resigning from the "church.")

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  13. Actually, I agree, for the most part. Tom Cruise would have to be pretty stupid or very isolated to not be aware of the evidence against the Church of Scientology regarding its crimes, lies, abuse and fraud.

    Cruise has greatly benefited from Scientology's slave labor -- how can he not know this?

    He has received millions of dollars worth of gifts from David Miscavige -- where does Tom think this money comes from? The only way Miscavige has that kind of money is by illegal and fraudulent means.

    Tom Cruise does have a responsibility to know all this. His acceptance of all these gifts from Miscavige makes him, to a great degree, responsible for the abuse and fraud behind it all.

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center has made a major mistake here. My only point was that the center is not directly "honoring Scientology".

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  14. @Just Bill
    For a long time Cruise may not have known because it's my understanding that the celebrities deal with a Potemkin village version of Scientology, but he must have discovered something did not add up (which might explain that period when he silently walked away from the "church.") I think he has either been very selective in what he wants to know about the Co$, or it's a see-saw between what his Sci handlers want him to say and what his PR people want him to do. With the public perception of Scientology in the toilet he's keeping quiet; if Miscavage were to accidentally drive his motorcycle off a cliff and the "church" reformed, he might go prosletizing again or he might drop out entirely because his friendship with DM was the only thing keeping him around.

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  15. The SWC is indirectly honoring Scientology.

    Now to your point about protesting:

    I don't think MOST people would misunderstand Anonymous protesting this award--it is too well known that Anonymous has a beef with Scientology. And, if Jews want to hide their heads in the sand about Scientology's documented abuses, isn't that hugely ironic?

    I think this whole incident is a foot bullet for both SWC and Tom Cruise and deservedly so.

    Does that make me anti-semitic? No. Although my Jewish first husband called me that when I criticized the Sabra and Shatila Massacres, so I'm inured to that particular jerk of the knee.

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  16. Re: Protesting at SWC award

    I get your point and I've changed my mind. I think protesting will work out just fine.

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  17. Just Bill said...

    "Re: Protesting at SWC award

    I get your point and I've changed my mind. I think protesting will work out just fine."

    April 23, 2011 8:06 AM

    **************************

    I have no end of respect for someone who can say the above and in just that way.

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  18. Yeah, wow, Just Bill finally agreed with something I posted here! But I don't deserve any kudos for my reasoning or eloquence, he deserves all the credit for graciously accepting and not capriciously rejecting them!

    Welcome to the funhouse.

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  19. The Anti-Defamation League keeps track of Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. Wouldn't his alliance with Scientology have thrown up a red flag?

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  20. Re: Farrakhan and the Anti-Defamation League

    I'm not sure the alliance between NOI and the Church of Scientology is much known outside of our sites. This is yet another reason that the SWC should rethink its plan to honor Tom Cruise.

    Yes, there are tons of red flags that should have been raised about this.

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  21. I was pleased to see this post on SWC picked up by site combatting anti-Semitism:

    http://www.anti-semitism.net/holocaust-denial/whats-wrong-with-the-simon-wiesenthal-center-honoring-tom-cruise.php

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  22. Paulette Cooper publicly denounced Cruise getting this award: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/05/paulette_cooper.php

    I had no idea she was a Holocaust survivor.

    And now, it appears Scientology's attorney in Israel, Gur Finkelstein, was involved in a plot to bomb a mosque in Israel, as well as the Scientology center itself -- and reap profits from doing so. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4069940,00.html

    Is it unreasonable to think the SWC will eventually revoke Cruise's award?

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  23. Re: SWC revocation?

    No, the Simon Wiesenthal Center will never revoke this award. They know all this will blow over, eventually, and people will forget.

    The "Humanitarian" Award is about money. Cruise gave a chunk of money and knows a lot of rich celebrities. In exchange for that, he gets the award. Done deal.

    The fact that Cruise was the face for the Church of Scientology is immaterial to SWC. They may have even thought giving the award to Cruise enhanced their image for "tolerance".

    The fact that Scientology represents the exact opposite to SWC's stated goals was, unfortunately, irrelevant to their decision. As I said, their decision was based on money.

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