The headings's probably the work of a sub-editor of course, as I gather Guardian journalists rarely write their own headings. Ms Hyde's not really talking about Christians in general here, or even using Christianity as catch-all to criticise all religions, though some of the commenters on the article believe this is so; all three of the critical references to other religions in the text are to Catholics in particular. She compares the Pope's response to certain Anglicans as an attempt to lure them into a cultish communion; she cites the rantings of Mel Gibson, who espouses a rather peculiar strain of Catholicism, about the apparently inevitable damnation of Anglican wife; and she imagines a senior cardinal being asked whether he accepts -- albeit in caricatured form -- the most basic teachings of the Catholic faith. Frankly, it looks as though she has an axe to grind against Catholicism in particular, in that peculiarly English way. But I digress.
'In France, Scientology was found guilty of defrauding its followers after a judge effectively debunked the idea of the church's trusty e-meter, a crude polygraph whose readings are used to encourage Scientologists to purchase everything from books to extreme sauna courses. In Los Angeles, the Oscar-winning (even if it was only for the abysmal Crash) director Paul Haggis cut his ties with Scientology in protest at what he branded their tolerance of homophobia, adding for good measure that the church's claim that they do not tell people to "disconnect" from unsupportive family members was untrue – his own wife had been ordered to do so. Meanwhile, Scientology's chief spokesman Tommy Davis stormed out of a television interview with Martin Bashir, after the latter pressed him on what we might delicately term "certain articles of faith". The alien stuff, basically.'
'There is a worldwide arena where the game is played for the fate of whole populations . . . where one side schedules entire generations for psychiatric drugging, and marks five million more for lethal toxic exposure . . . Also on the board, scores of nations where no workable technology will even be permitted . . . and plans in play to keep people so restimulated they can barely envision a future, much less consider the eternal scope of Scientology.But there's someone on the other side of that global arena . . . Someone advancing Scientology on a fully epic scale to a very different future . . . And he is Class 4 OT7 Platinum Meritorious and IAS Freedom Medal of Valor Winner . . . Tom Cruise!'
'Yet there is the rub. In France, Scientology is deemed a sect as opposed to a religion, which is why they are required to produce evidence for their claims, where recognised religious leaders are not. For those of us who believe that all religions are full of tall tales, this might seem slightly unfair [...] Clearly, Scientologists should be forced to justify their doctrinal lunacies – the only sadness is that other religions are apparently exempt from having to do the same. Imagine for a moment a Bashir-type interviewing some senior cardinal. "So," he might inquire, "you're saying that by some magic the communion wafer actually becomes the flesh of a man who died 2,000 years ago, a man who – and I don't want to put words into your mouth here – we might categorise as an imaginary friend who can hear the things you're thinking in your head? And when you've done that, do you mind going over the birth control stuff?"'
You know, the thing that's rumbled the Scientologists.