The absurd Wiesenthal award for Tom Cruise
As reported by Danielle Berrin, in her blog for the Jewish Journal, Tom Cruise is about to be given a humanitarian award at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual dinner. It is to be held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Cruise’s own personal deeds, as well as his intimate relationship with Scientology’s leadership, have led to reactions to this decision. Human rights activists and ex-Scientologists have said they will protest the event, and some supporters of the SWC have in their disgust re-directed their support to other organizations.
I will sum up the cases for and against giving this award to Tom Cruise. Each point will first be listed in short, and then be elaborated on. My position is not neutral, but even so I will try to refrain from creating obvious straw man arguments here. If you have better arguments on either side, feel free to post them as comments below.
- F1 He gave them money, and we don’t care what he believes or supports beyond that.
- F2 Who cares about this award anyway, can’t we let him and his friends have a little award show in peace and quiet?
- F3 Perhaps by giving Tom Cruise this award, he might do the right thing in the future.
- F4 Holocaust studies are more important than any abuses committed by Scientology.
- F5 Tom Cruise deserves the award because Scientology owns a lot of nice real estate. (This should have been a straw man, but it’s actually a real and repeated argument.)
- A1 Tom Cruise personally promotes Holocaust revisionism.
- A2 Tom Cruise personally promotes “PTS/SP” and the “Tone Scale” - instruments for justifying despotism and even genocide.
- A3 Tom Cruise personally had his motorcycles, truck and airplane hangar worked on by trafficked and captive labor. Tom Cruise has also lived as a pampered guest at a labor camp in Riverside, CA.
- A4 Tom Cruise is a close personal friend of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, who was even the best man at his wedding. Tom Cruise is far from powerless to stop the abuses and fraud that Scientology commits. He’s not any old member. He could speak out. Of particular concern to the SWC should be:
— A4A Church of Scientology’s long-standing Holocaust revisionism and trivialization.
— A4B It being a totalitarian organization with dystopian designs on the world.
— A4C It forms alliances with extremist groups like Louis Farrakhan’s racist Nation of Islam
— A4D Its intolerance of independent Scientologists
F1 He gave them money, and we don’t care what he believes or supports beyond that.
Tom Cruise has given money to the Museum of Tolerance, which is a good thing. He has also given to other charities like the Children’s Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition, Jackie Chan’s foundation and Mentor LA. Berrin’s post also lists Cruise as a board member at the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (HELP), which is part of the Church of Scientology. Apart perhaps from the latter, everyone should agree that these are good deeds. If we are to give awards to people for their good deeds, and overlook their bad deeds, then we can end the argument right here.
It would be unfair to demand Cruise to be perfect, but does giving away a small fraction of your money to charity lead to absolution and forgiveness, unless you also repent and stop committing abuses? The Simon Wiesenthal Center is supposed to be about human rights, not about getting the most money you can by throwing away your principles.
F2 Who cares about this award anyway, can’t we let him and his friends have a little award show in peace and quiet?
One could say “why care?”, that this is only a favor between Hollywood CEOs, giving each other awards and patting each other’s backs in a private dinner function. This will, however, be used by the Church of Scientology to promote its abusive practices. It also devalues the name of Simon Wiesenthal, and the SWC. I’ve heard about some SWC contributors withdrawing their support, but it remains to be seen if this will have a noticeable impact.
F3 Perhaps by giving Tom Cruise this award, he might do the right thing in the future.
This may be reminiscent of the reasons why the Norwegian Nobel Committee gave the Nobel Peace Price to Barack Obama early in his term. The price was said to commit Obama to strive for peace - to earn his award. Wether you agree with that reasoning or not, it’s not likely that Tom Cruise will feel the same type of commitment from this award. More likely, it will just inspire him to continue doing what he’s already doing. Going by what the humanitarian dinner chairs told Berrin, this wasn’t their motivation either. They think Tom Cruise is a swell guy - he’s bringing home the bacon.
F4 Holocaust studies are more important than any abuses committed by Scientology.
This is obviously true. But if we simply ignore the lives ruined, the abuses, and the families broken apart, have we really learned anything from it at all?
F5 Tom Cruise deserves the award because Scientology owns a lot of nice real estate. (This should have been a straw man, but it’s actually a real and repeated argument.)
A frequent point made in blog comments from Scientology sock puppets, and in its publication Freedom Magazine, is that Scientology owns a lot of nice real estate which they will improve. First of all, what does that have to do with Tom Cruise being a humanitarian or not? Are they appealing to a tiny demographic of unethical property developers, or are they just spamming the comment section? Secondly Scientology has a record of leaving their properties in disrepair for years. Bricks falling on sidewalks in Boston, gaping facades at standstill for years in Clearwater.
A1 Tom Cruise personally promotes Holocaust revisionism.
Tom Cruise agrees that the Holocaust took place, but promotes the view that psychiatry was really behind it. Remember that infamous interviews with Access Hollywood and the Today Show, where Tom Cruise called psychiatry a pseudo-science, and that he knew the history of psychiatry? Well, here’s his history: Tom Cruise took Larry King to see the Scientology exhibit Psychiatry: An Industry of Death. The exhibit is a series of grotesque and misleading video screens surrounded by information displays - one part is named “Psychiatry: The Men Behind the Holocaust”. You can view much of the material on Scientology’s own website, and you can buy their book “Psychiatry: The Men Behind Hitler”. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Tom Cruise even claimed that Carl Jung was working for the nazis, and that Methadone’s original name was Adolphine after Adolph Hitler. Both claims are false.
To claim that eugenics and Nazism were simply products of psychiatry is both ridiculous and dangerous. Both some somatic and some psychiatric doctors took an ignoble part in the Holocaust, but so did engineers, architects, chemists, office clerks, film makers and artists.
A2 Tom Cruise personally promotes “PTS/SP” and the “Tone Scale” - instruments for justifying despotism and even genocide.
Not satisfied with distorting one mass murder, Tom Cruise seems to wish for another.
Remember that leaked Scientology promotional video? The one where Tom Cruise, among cackling and laughing, says
They said “So, like, have you met an SP?” And I looked at them, and you know - And I thought “How what a beautiful thing” because maybe one day it will be like that. You know what I’m saying? Maybe one day it will be that: “Wow - SP’s!” like they just read about those in the history books, you know?
Those who are chronically below 2.0 on the Scientology “tone scale” - those with an “anti-social personality” - have either to be elevated on the tone scale by way of Scientology, or be exterminated. L. Ron Hubbard estimated that about 20% of the Earth’s population is below 2.0. He also estimated that about 2% of the world’s population were Suppressive Persons. These “SPs” are considered incurable, at least in this lifetime.
Hubbard’s writings speak of an ideal society where only Scientologists have human rights, and those who refuse to be “raised” in their “tone” are to be “disposed of quietly and without sorrow” if they refuse to submit to Scientology treatment. Scientology PR will say that this applies to the worst criminals and deviants - people like Stalin and Hitler - but they leave out that it also applies to other people, including homosexuals, psychiatrists, or the deeply religious. These are not esoteric texts either- you can find such passages in the first two books that all Scientologists are supposed to read - Dianetics, and Science of Survival, a.k.a. Book one and Book two.
Stephen R. Wiseman MD has more on this at Dialogue Ireland.
This is the context in which Tom Cruise is saying those words, on a video which was played publicly in Scientology centers around the world. With a very forgiving mind, you could say that since Scientologists believe in re-incarnation, killing somebody isn’t a terrible crime - it’s just pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete on you so you can live again. But it’s hard to imagine that Tom Cruise thought the SPs would just quietly walk into the history books without a fight.
A3 Tom Cruise personally had his motorcycles, truck and airplane hangar worked on by trafficked and captive labor. Tom Cruise has also lived as a pampered guest at a labor camp.
A recent article in the New Yorker revealed that Tom Cruise personally benefited from trafficked and captive laborers from Scientology’s Sea Org. They worked on his airplane hangar, and styled motorcycles and a truck for him. Not only was Tom Cruise benefiting from their free labor when staying at Scientology centers and being treated like royalty - they worked on his property.
The Sea Org is the real ruling body of Scientology; the Sea Org can come in and overrule any leader or pro-forma board in a Scientology organization or business. Sea Org members sign a contract for a billion years, sometimes when they are as young as five or six years old. They actually join the Sea Org at age 12, and submit to a harsh “justice” system, little sleep, long hours, low pay, hazardous conditions, being transported to other countries, and have their passports and documents taken. They have little contact with family, and their mail and phone calls are blocked or monitored. They have also been required to have abortions if they become pregnant, or face expulsion and a huge “freeloader debt”.
These contracts and debts are not enforceable in a real court, so a Sea Org member could legally leave at any time, but they are often not even aware of this fact. They may not know anything about our justice system. Escaping Sea Org members are also held back and systematically hunted down. Sometimes they are locked in, physically restrained and assaulted, or they are tracked down and subjected to guilt trips.
Even if they successfully escape, it’s not easy for a Sea Org escapee to start life in the outside world, without work experience, perhaps no family outside, and the risk of being subjected to “Fair Game” and “Disconnection”.
The SWC works against human trafficking, but the conditions in the Sea Org are a fit for many of the indicators for human trafficking. (See for example Guideline nr. 6 in the 2008 POST Guidelines on Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking(PDF))
A4 Tom Cruise is a close personal friend of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, who was even the best man at his wedding. Tom Cruise is far from powerless to stop the abuses and fraud that Scientology commits. He’s not any old member. He could speak out.
I believe the first three points “against” do address Rabbi Hier’s statement that Tom Cruise is not responsible for Scientology - they show Cruise’s own personal actions. But it is also wrong to absolve Tom Cruise of responsibility for what David Miscavige and the rest of Scientology is doing. Miscavige is a close personal friend of Tom Cruise and was the best man at his wedding. It is no tenuous association. If Tom Cruise spoke out or otherwise decided to do something about the abuses of Scientology, he could have a staggering effect.
A4A Church of Scientology’s long-standing Holocaust revisionism and trivialization.
Tom Cruise takes part in shifting the blame for the Holocaust, as shown above, but the Church of Scientology itself is also responsible for trivializing the Holocaust.
Germany has a special antipathy against totalitarian movements, as might be expected due to its experience with both Nazism and DDR Communism. Use of Nazi symbolism and regalia are banned there; denying, minimizing or glorifying the Holocaust are punishable crimes; neo-Nazis are kept under surveillance by the internal security agency called the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). The same agency keeps the Church of Scientology under surveillance. Scientology is regarded there as a business venture, and a subversive and totalitarian organization.
The cult is so ashamed, that it chooses to embarrass itself further by claiming that it’s the victim of religious persecution, outright saying that it is being treated like Jews and that the professional German Nazi-hunters of the BfV are Nazis. One of the most infamous cases of such Holocaust minimization took place in Australia in 1997, when Scientologists dressed up in fake Nazi uniforms to protest the visit of German chancellor Helmut Kohl. It was not the first such shameful display; in Clearwater in 1979 Scientology officials dressed up in fake Nazi uniforms and paraded the streets to protest against the Clearwater Sun [article],[front page and editorial]. One of the participants later left the cult and apologized for what he did. When in 2000 Ursula Caberta, Scientology expert with the Hamburg Interior Authority, visited the Lisa McPherson Trust in Florida, top Scientologists met her at the airport with shrieks of “Nazi criminal, go back to Germany.” This was not just a few members going crazy - these were talking points from the top.
A4B It being a totalitarian organization with dystopian designs on the world.
As I mentioned when talking about Tom Cruise’s brave new world without SPs, Scientology writings and policies are brimming with despotic ideas which are both practiced inside the organization today, and meant to rule the world in the future. It permeates the culture. This ranges from the liberal use of the word “wog” to refer to non-Scientologists, via hostility to gays (defined as sexual perverts, on 1.1 on the Tone Scale) and women, to passages that say that only Scientologists should have human rights, and that Scientology shall replace the world’s governments.
At least Scientology itself isn’t blatantly anti-Semittic. Sure L. Ron Hubbard did think that a secret cabal of Jewish bankers ruled the world, but that was pretty much the extent of it. He was happy to recruit Jews. The Church of Scientology is not specifically anti-Semmitic, it’s just anti-human, pro-space alien in general. An equal opportunity hate group.
A4C It forms alliances with extremist groups like Louis Farrakhan’s racist Nation of Islam
Scientology has made alliances of convenience with extremist groups and cults up through the years. Last year, eyebrows were raised in Europe when Scientology proudly included the Nazi-sympathizing Johan Demol of the neo-fascist Vlaams Belang, along with Hugo Coveliers, in promotional videos. In the USA, Louis Farrakhan’s racist and anti-Semittic UFO group Nation of Islam held a mass Dianetics Auditors Graduation at it’s annual Saviours’ Day convention, and Farrakhan also spent a substatial part of his keynote speech at the main event promoting Scientology courses. (See 2:06:30-3:00:00 of this video of the address) He also praised Muhammar Gaddafi. A big photo of L. Ron Hubbard is displayed on the screen. Farrakhan and other representatives of the NOI have also been frequent guests at Scientology centers, and high ranking NOI members are proudly featured in Scientology publications.
A counter-argument to this point is that perhaps Scientology is only doing this to get money, and doesn’t agree with the racist UFO doomsday teachings of the NOI.
A4D Its intolerance of independent Scientologists
The official Church of Scientology does not tolerate independent practice of Scientology techniques. When people try to practice Scientology outside its control, then lawsuits, harassment and threats follow in short order. Tom Cruise could help people practice freely whatever good there might be in Scientology.
h/t Hollywood Jew and Thanos.
Edit: Luke Ford’s blog: Letter from Michael Barger