On May 8th a gobsmacked Norm Shannon wrote a piece on the Stand League’s blog announcing that finally a journalist got something right.
Shannon achieves just the right amount of sarcastic shock beginning with his opening line, “Honest journalism poked its face out of its hole, squinted at the daylight, and not seeing its own shadow, ventured forth into the world.”
Tony Pierce, writing for The Los Angeleno, felt it newsworthy to let the public know that Big Blue has no cases of Coronavirus because of their proactive response. He accompanies his article with a photograph of an empty parking lot which may or may not actually be a comment on the falling membership more than a reflection of any legal compliance.
For Norm Shannon this article is something precious and rare, elusive as the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.
An accurate bit of news about his beloved Scientology.
But just how true is it, really?
COB David Miscavige sent out Bulletin 88 to his followers wherein he made his opinion of the virus crystal clear, “Due to the current hysteria, whether you believe in it or not (and the only thing you can be certain of is that it is hysteria) our weekend celebrations have had to be canceled.” Miscavige’s anger at such imposition is obvious, that their various money-making events must be halted all because of mass hysteria seems ridiculous to him. Anyone reading the bulletin can clearly see that while he doesn’t believe there is a real issue, he’ll grudgingly comply because he’s got no other option.
Pierce writes, “But unlike a handful of churches that have made their way into the news for fighting back against orders from city and state officials and doctors, the Church of Scientology was quick to don masks, practice social distancing and adjust how they operate.”
Frankly this sounds like Pierce pointing at Scientology as the model of sanctity while scorning the other churches.
Were they really so compliant? Many of us saw the video of Sea Org members disembarking en masse from Scientology buses with casual disregard for any social distancing. In an epic show of fighting back, OSA called the police on the lone videographer standing at a distance from the buses tattling that she was not practicing social distancing.
Pierce also refutes his own statement in the very next line, “In fact, while some churches were fighting the state to remain open, Scientology volunteers were knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets with information on how to stay safe.”
Just what we all want to see; strangers at our front door during a pandemic.
Scientology did remain open. There was no fighting, they just did it. Examples were found on social media, advertisements for Sunday services, admonishments to sign up for new courses at the local Orgs, even encouraging children to gather together for courses or events.
Scientology spokesperson Bari Berger is quoted as saying “We suspended congregational gatherings in early March, implemented social distancing protocols and took the temperatures of each parishioner with a no-contact thermometer before they entered our church. Staff have their temperatures taken daily and all are wearing masks when outside.”
On March 30th Jeffrey Augustine reported pretty clear evidence disproving her shore story.
This same date also saw an excellent piece by Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times outlining Scientology’s attitude towards the need for social distancing. McManus pointed out that, “While the global pandemic has prompted religious organizations to suspend congregating or transition to virtual services, Scientology has not halted the practices that have parishioners and staff interacting in person. Paid services are one of the primary sources of income for the organization, and the system is kept functioning by the full-time Sea Org.”
While COS began engaging in a dramatic cleaning regimen a professional, Jay Wolfson from the University of South Florida noted, “‘The responsible and sensible thing to do is to avoid all congregational activities that involve people approximate to each other,’ Wolfson said. ‘You can spray things down, you can decontaminate to a point, but you’re still taking a risk.‘”
In April Mike Rinder’s blog revealed the Volunteer Ministers standing shoulder to shoulder, without masks or gloves, delivering supplies.
COS Spokesperson Berger continues outlining the exhaustive efforts the group has engaged in, “Concurrently, we collected reliable information on effective prevention measures and published this in the form of booklets, which we provided to our staff and parishioners…” which is not as difficult a process as Berger would have one believe. These pamphlets contain no information not already available online, especially at the CDC’s website.
In actuality this first question of the interview is really all that addresses the pandemic.
As Pierce’s interview with Berger progresses the article becomes more of a platform for the public relations spokesperson to plug Scientology’s various online courses in a push for dissemination. She talks about the launch special for the Scientology Network, complete with a link. There are also links to the free personality test, as well as for 19 Tools For Life courses and the Solutions for a Dangerous Environment course.
Further discussion about Scientology TV, where it is broadcast from and what channel it can be seen on follows, along with a plug for their newest offering, Scientologists @Home.
Pierce makes a brief but weak attempt to return to the topic of the Coronavirus however his question to Berger is so obviously biased for Scientology she has no difficulty using it as a yet more opportunity to build up her organization.
Pierce asks, “Why was it important to the Church to react so early and swiftly in response to the coronavirus before similar measures were adopted elsewhere?”
Another disingenuous raspberry directed towards churches not Scientology?
With a nod at the Volunteer Ministers, Berger remarks in part, “Our Volunteer Ministers have been in virtually every major disaster worldwide since 9/11, and we are often among the first to arrive.”
Scientology deceived Fox News into running their phone number across the screens on 9/11 by using the fake name “National Mental Health Assistance”. They forced and snuck their way across the police lines, intent upon imposing their unfounded pseudoscience on the shell shocked survivors and responders of this horrendous terrorist attack. In fact, intercepted emails sent that day clearly show their duplicity.
For the last two days I have been in New York Org running, with several other Sea Org members, the deployment of Volunteer Ministers into the disaster zone.
…Additionally we are trying to move in and knock the psychs out of counseling to the grieving families and that could take another 100 plus people right now. Due to some brilliant maneuvering by some simply genius Sea Org Members we tied up the majority of the psychs who were attempting to get to families yesterday in Q&A, bullbait and wrangling. They have a hard time completing cycles of action and are pretty easy to disperse. But today they are out in full force and circling like vultures over these people and all of our resources are tied up in the support efforts in the disaster zone at present.
…There is nowhere on Earth right now that hurts like this place. These are brave people and they are the able and they don’t know it but they need the Scientologists with LRH’s tech to be here right now.
The fire-fighter company down the street from the org lost 14 members on Tuesday. No one can do anything for them or the rest but Scientologists. The other religions here with their ministers have shown their true colors and are working hand in hand with the psychs to give these people as much false data and restimulation as they can. They HAVE NO TECH and they’re not even trying to hide it anymore. They’ve crossed over and abandoned anything spiritual and to hell with them.
…There was a very large barricade there manned by both Police and Military and they absolutely refused to let us though. The SO member in charge of the VM’s “snuck” about 5 of us in another way and on the way we gave out cold drinks to tired rescue workers.”
Afterwards Scientology went on to exploit the situation through Tom Cruise’s New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project which received hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds.
Pierce’s question “We are seeing other churches of different denominations fighting for their right to practice in person. In other counties, some churches are suing the governor, while others are holding drive-thru services. One Ohio woman who attended a Christian service said she was not worried about becoming infected because she was ‘covered in the blood of Christ,’ which would protect her. Forgive me for being ignorant, but are Scientologists more rooted in science than other churches? Is that why you have adjusted so quickly to this pandemic?” simply leads the reader to wonder at his religious bias. Disparaging this woman’s dearly held beliefs in such a way while promoting Scientology is suspicious brown nosing.
Ironic given the various members of Scientology who are denying the reality of the virus, proffering dangerous remedies and even advising their social media followers to “postulate” the virus away.
Nation of Islam Scientologist Rizza Islam stated “high doses of Vitamin C cure the coronavirus.”
Scientology shill The People’s Chemist, who dishonestly lays claim to being a two time recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant, wrote a profanity laced diatribe against people struggling with this pandemic.
Former actress Kirstie Alley considers the virus a conspiracy, told her followers they might postulate the virus away and they should take unsafe dosages of vitamins.
This article feels entirely biased toward Scientology. It appears more a platform for Scientology PR rather than anything genuinely concerning the coronavirus.
As for Shannon’s glee over the so called “truth” of this article, it is, as usual entirely misplaced.