"Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" series on A&E left many viewers stunned, although many of the claims against the Church of Scientology are not new.
L. Ron Hubbard’s bizarre creation story, the fact that he organized Scientology as a religion to avoid paying taxes, accusations of psychological and physical violence toward members who don't toe the line, and cutting people off from their families and friends were all detailed in "Going Clear," the Pulitzer prize-winning book and documentary on the secretive organization.
Yes, there are disturbing stories circulating about Scientology. But are they really any more disturbing than the Catholic church's sexual abuse scandal? The Mormon church has its share of scandal and corruption. Every religion was once considered a cult, and every religion has its share of extremists. Many people respect Scientology for the sheer number of wealthy celebrities in its ranks.
Actress Leah Remini's stories of her involvement in the church (and the consequences of leaving) are chilling and disturbing. Many argue the church should be investigated for allegations of abuse and corruption, and should lose its tax-exempt status.
"Scientology takes your money and your life; there's no life to be enjoyed when you're a Scientologist"-Leah Remini #ScientologyTheAftermath
But Scientology defends itself by saying the Church does a great deal of good in the world, and any attacks against Scientology are attacks against religious freedom. And let's face it, Scientologists haven't started a crusade or imposed an inquisition on anyone.
When Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out many religions have bizarre beliefs and abusive tactics to keep followers in line—and people should be left alone to believe what they choose—Salon pointed out the following:
While Scientology doesn’t have a hold on the rest of the world, and is only a small religion practiced by a minority here in America, the psychological and physical damage it inflicts on many of the individuals who get caught up in it is still real....Arguing whether the sex-abuse scandals of the Catholic church are worse than the psychological damage and physical beatings in Scientology allegedly administers seems entirely beside the point. They’re both abuses that need to be stopped in the here and now.