Anti-South Park Campaign

It’s a well-known fact that Scientology has a hard time with criticism. But the lengths to which Scientologists are willing to go against their critics shock even liberal Americans.

Everyone knows how sensitive the Church of Scientology can be to criticism. In Germany, where Scientology has never had a very good reputation, such cases are legion. In the United States, on the other hand, most people consider Scientology to be an especially bizarre booth in the huge bazaar of religions. Neither the abstruse practices of its followers nor its authoritarian structure is likely to generate more than a shrug of the shoulders. In America, religion is a private affair.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park’s creators, decided to ignore that arrangement. In 2005, they ridiculed Scientology in an episode entitled “Trapped In The Closet.” As expected, the church elders weren’t amused.

What wasn’t expected was the undercover war they launched against Parker and Stone. Ex-Scientology member Marty Rathbun exposed details of their campaign on his blog that even liberal Americans found shocking.

Rathbun cites emails from the church’s “Office of Special Affairs” (OSA) showing that the church pried into Parker and Stone’s private lives, as well as into the lives of their coworkers. Rathbun says the OSA ordered people to sift through South Park personnel’s garbage looking through telephone records, bank account statements and private mail in the hope of finding “weaknesses” that could be used to intimidate them.

Well-known screenwriter Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby) didn’t publicly resign his 34-year membership in the sect until February of this year.

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