We have commented on actor Tom Cruise using the media to preach the virtues of Scientology and the evils of psychiatry. He gave interviews about his new film, “War of the Worlds,” as long as he was permitted to talk about his religion. Some journalists who interviewed him had to learn something about Scientology before the interview.
In addition to this Tom Cruise media blitz, stories have appeared depicting Scientology as the new “it” religion. To his credit, NBC Today Show co-host Matt Lauer challenged Cruise about his beliefs, including his view that psychiatric drugs should never be used on anybody. When Lauer pointed out that psychiatric drugs have actually helped some people, Cruise rejected that, saying Lauer didn’t know what he was talking about.
Can you imagine Mel Gibson being given these opportunities to promote his own brand of conservative Catholicism? Gibson is such a pariah in Hollywood that he had to finance the production of his own film on Christ. And can you imagine if Gibson had announced he was marrying a young actress-16 years younger-and that she was leaving her religion to join his? Hollywood and much of the rest of the liberal media would be in an uproar.
But Scientology not only has a base in Hollywood, it has enjoyed powerful friends in Washington. For years, Scientology fought a battle with the IRS because the government would not recognize its claim to be a religion. The IRS finally granted Scientology its desired status under President Bill Clinton, the recipient of massive donations from Hollywood.
Now it gets more interesting: Clinton helped the Church of Scientology in return for John Travolta, a member of Scientology, softening up his portrayal of the Clinton character in Primary Colors! Clinton and Travolta cut a deal. Travolta agreed to go easy on Clinton in the movie Primary Colors and Clinton reportedly agreed to use his influence to get the German government to leave Scientology alone.
Now why does Scientology get such a good press? One ex-Scientologist told me, “The reason the press treats them better than Christians is because Scientology will sue at the drop of a pejorative and they don’t care if they lose the suit. They do it to punish detractors with the hassle of going through a lawsuit. The media knows this. Christians don’t sue, so they are fair game.”
Another religion that enjoys cordial relations with Hollywood is Islam.
In the movie version of Tom Clancy’s book, The Sum of All Fears, the Islamic terrorists were transformed into European neo-Nazis.
In the popular Fox television show 24, the terrorists who are trying to detonate a nuclear bomb on U.S. soil were Muslim. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was so upset and put so much pressure on Fox that it forced the network to air public service announcements making the obvious claim that not all Muslim are terrorists. CAIR also claimed that network representatives had also “removed some aspects that could potentially be viewed as stereotypical.”
Scientology and Islam are two religions gaining favor in Hollywood.