I've been reading various forums and blogs. I've noticed that some people are talking about how "courageous" some of the new escapees from the Church of Scientology are.
I do understand that courage is, to some extent, subjective. For some, it takes a huge amount of courage to just get out of bed in the morning. For others, an activity like skydiving is just good fun. But on a relative scale, those who fought the church in the early days and whose lives were pretty thoroughly destroyed, they were really courageous.
I understand the Church of Scientology's OSA (secret police) are still pretty nasty, but the Church of Scientology's illegal and unethical actions, years ago, against Paulette Cooper, Larry Wollersheim, Arnie Lerma, Gerry Armstrong, Robert Vaughn Young and so many more, were much worse. None of us later escapees have had to deal with anything like those earlier illegal attacks by the church.
Back then, the target of the Church of Scientology's wrath often stood quite alone. There was no Internet. There was no support. There was no sharing of information and exposure of the attacks. There were no ubiquitous video cameras to record the church's crimes. Often these early targets didn't know what evil the church was capable of until too late.
Today, while the Church of Scientology still believes its actions are completely above the law, it has learned that people are watching, and recording their actions. And the church hates being recorded when they break the law.
Also, today, there are so many more critics, and so many less OSA staff, the Church of Scientology's "Office of Secret Abuse" is spread very, very thinly. I've heard of fairly prominent recent escapees who haven't seen any OSA operatives at all.
No, today, the risk of criticizing the Church of Scientology is much, much less. I'm certain that it does take some courage, especially for a True Believer, to speak out and expose the crimes of the church, but I think it is important to keep in mind those who fought the battle long before us, those who didn't have the support, those whose lives were ruined by the lies, criminal attacks, false accusations, spies and lawyers of the Church of Scientology.
Let's put the mantle of "courageous" on the correct shoulders, shall we?
If I were looking for a hero in the battle against the corrupt Church of Scientology, I would look to those who refused, from the very first, to go along with the church's lies, fraud, abuse and crimes. I would look to those who saw the corruption of the Church of Scientology and stood up for what was right despite the consequences to them personally. And I would look to those who stood up to David Miscavige the very first time he did something evil. Those are the courageous ones. Those are the people to admire. Those are the people we should be calling courageous. They had guts.