Saturday, March 11, 2006

Arizona legislators sponsoring bills for Scientology front group

The Arizona Republic reports today that a number of Arizona legislators have been sponsoring bills on behalf of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an anti-psychiatry group. Several of them have taken trips to Scientology events at the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles to meet with John Travolta.

The CCHR and Scientology have a religiously-based opposition to psychiatry and medicine pertaining to mental health. This derives from L. Ron Hubbard's own opposition to psychiatry and his development of Dianetics as an alternative to psychological therapy. When he created Scientology (after having temporarily lost control of his Dianetics organization to his partner Don Purcell of Wichita, Kansas), he adopted the trappings of religion and invented a cosmology involving evil intergalactic psychiatrists who assisted the warlord Xenu in order to eliminate those who opposed him. They did this by injecting billions of people with alcohol and glycol, loading them onto space planes that looked just like DC-8s, and flying them to planet Teegeeack (Earth), where they were dumped into volcanoes and blown up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls (or "thetans") departed their bodies and are still here, attached to our own souls and causing all manner of psychological ills for us. Psychiatry and psychology, according to Scientology, are bogus methods which do nothing to address the real problems caused by these "body thetans" attached to us--only the Scientology process of auditing with an e-meter can free us from them.

(You can find more details about Scientology's cosmology at Wikipedia, which has a very comprehensive set of articles about the religion, as well as at Operation Clambake. I also highly recommend Russell Miller's book about L. Ron Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, which is online in its entirety.)

So who are the Arizona legislators working with CCHR and attending Scientology functions?

Sen. Karen Johnson (R-District 18, Mesa). Karen Johnson is on the Family Services, Finance, Appropriations, and K-12 Education committees. She is one of the nuttier fundamentalists in the legislature, a member of Concerned Women for America and in tight with James Dobson's Focus on the Family and Gary Bauer's Family Research Council. Johnson has gone so far as to lend her name to the CCHR's Advisory Board.

Sen. Linda Gray (R-Glendale, District 10), who is on the K-12 Education, Higher Education, Government, and Family Services committees and is a big supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She has degrees in recreation administration and sociology.

Sen. Carolyn Allen (R-District 8, Scottsdale), who is on the Commerce and Economic Development, Health, and Transportation committees.

Sen. Marilyn Jarrett (R-District 19, Mesa). She just died on Friday after having a stroke in her office on Thursday.

Sen. Albert Hale (D-District 2, Window Rock). Former president of the Navajo Nation, on the Government Accountability and Reform, Government, and Higher Education committees.

Rep. Tom Prezelski (D-District 29, Tucson). On the Counties, Municipalities, and Military Affairs, Federal Mandates and Property Rights, and Transportation committees.

Rep. Pamela Gorman (R-District 6, Anthem). A member of "Pure Heart Christian Fellowship," the Arizona Women's Shooting Association (she holds a concealed carry permit), and Concerned Women for America. She's on the Appropriations, Transportation, and Ways and Means committees.

Rep. Russell Pearce (R-District 18, Mesa). A pro-lifer and strong advocate of English-only and against illegal immigration.

Sen. Thayer Verschoor (R-District 22, Gilbert). On the Family Services, Government Accountability and Reform, Higher Education, and Transportation committees. Verschoor is the guy who introduced a bill to require state universities to "provide a student with alternative coursework if the student deems regular coursework to be personally offensive" where "a course, coursework, learning material or activity is personally offensive if it conflicts with the student’s beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion." He didn't introduce this over the issue of evolution, but because of the book The Ice Storm, which features a 1970s "key party." He missed the point that it was not portrayed in a favorable way.

Rep. Lucy Mason (R, District 1, Prescott). She's on the Appropriations, Natural Resources and Agriculture, and Universities, Community Colleges and Technology committees.

Kudos to Sen. Robert Cannell (D-District 24, Yuma), the only M.D. in the state legislature, for calling them on this. Any legislator dumb enough enough to promote bills based on Scientology advocacy and pseudoscience is unfit for public office and should be voted out at the earliest opportunity. (By the way, this doesn't mean that every position the CCHR advocates is wrong--but when they're right it's generally not for the right reasons, and they are completely unreliable on the science.)

(My previous blog entry on Scientology recounted my experiences interacting with the church when it decided to declare war on the Internet, and an earlier one reported on the updated "Space opera in Scientology" Wikipedia entry.)

7 comments:

concerned in USA said...

Rather than being critical of an organization that points out that 10 to 17% of mental health providers are having sex with one or more clients, not to mention other exploitations, maybe you should lend a hand and help to clean up the mental health industry.

Jim Lippard said...

There's nothing that says I can't criticize the criminal cult of Scientology *and* play a part in cleaning up the mental health industry. The biggest problem with the mental health industry is that it's plagued with providers who are ignorant of what's scientifically supported and what isn't, as Robyn Dawes' excellent book _House of Cards_ demonstrated. Scientology is an extreme example of what's bad, unscientific, and potentially harmful in the field of mental health.

Criticizing Scientology is itself part of cleaning up the mental health field.

Einzige said...

We should stop pointing out all the bad stuff Scientology does because Scientology points out that other organizations also do bad stuff?

That's rich!

Richard Bennett said...

I am shocked that 10 to 17% of shrinks are screwing their clients, as I am by the fact that 100% of Scientology clients are being sscrewed by their cult. Now which outrage should I attack first?

Jim Lippard said...

I've deleted a comment from Blogger user gin which said:

"What is to become of us if we keep pointing out the bad side of Scientology?we'll have bad mental health.
---------------------------
Gin Davis
Addiction Recovery Arizona"

The last three words were a link to www.addictionrecovery.net/arizona, which is a domain registered to somebody using DomainDiscover's Whois Domain Privacy service. My wild guess--a Scientology front group promoting the Scientology Narconon program.

Gin: Your statement appears to be a non sequitur.

Jim Lippard said...

Yep, addictionrecovery.net promotes Scientology's Narconon program.

Jim Lippard said...

Gin's in the search engine optimization business, and has a blog called "traffic" with a single post that says:

"internet traffic,guess its more welcome than road traffic!!
..........................................................
gin davis

Need traffic? Need SEO and backlinks?
http://www.widecircles.com"