CNN’s piece that Some Christian Pastors Embrace Scientology is one of the sorriest developments I’ve witnessed in a long time.
Scientology and Christianity are diametrically opposed in their entire approach to life and eternity. The fact that Christian pastors are seeking help from Scientology is a sign of the desperation that too many Evangelicals (?) feel in their quest to move up in the world, a topic I dealt with in Taming the Rowdies.
My opinion of Scientology is coloured by some family history. Lafayette Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder, was a cub reporter in the Washington, DC aviation scene of the 1930’s. My grandfather Chet (at the right) was a major figure in that scene; Hubbard did a story about him in the October 1933 issue of the Sportsman Pilot. I summarised my thoughts on the subject at the website dedicated to Chet’s aviation career, which bear repeating:
Our idea about Scientology boils down to what we feel are its two objectives:
- To be a religion that addresses the issue of modernity head-on.
- To do so in such a way as to generate maximum cash flow for its leadership.
Modernity is very much at the centre of this story, and its unleashing was a dangerous business for most of the twentieth century. Attempting to build a religion in that context is no safer of an enterprise than building a political system or an ideology. Hubbard added to it the element of fantasy, which is also a product of modernity. The ability of an individual, a political party or the state to build its power based on the projection of illusions was a well trodden path in the twentieth century. As for the cash flow aspect, the evidence suggests that this part can be called an unqualified success.
There are many sites that deal with Scientology on an adversarial basis, and the Scientologists are not afraid to use any means at their disposal to try to rid themselves of these. As a Christian, however, my view is different from many of Scientology’s opponents. True freedom is to be found in the saving, resurrection power of Jesus Christ, God’s son, not in Scientology and not in the Lodge which my grandfather was active in all of his adult life. That conclusion is in some measure the result of the legacy my grandfather left, but that’s another story altogether, and my purpose has been and is to be as complete and broad in my scope as I know how.
And I added the following:
Perhaps there is one place where L. Ron Hubbard assumed some of my grandfather’s legacy. Somewhere along the line he became the chairman of the "Bologna Club."
The "Flying Bologna Club" was the name given by correspondent Ernie Pyle to the lunchtime gathering of aviators at the old Washington-Hoover Airport. My grandfather was "Chairman" of that club. That airport, my grandfather and Hubbard himself are gone, but it’s obvious that the Bologna Club lives on to mislead Christian pastors–with sad eternal consequences.