Friday, July 3, 2009

Today's flower children?

I'm working on a couple of stories from eco-Judaism to a Life in Abundance book traveling to 50 churches before being sent to Africa to Scientology. Scientology? I've been fascinated since I discovered earlier this year that in a house in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, L. Ron Hubbard
wrote out his new religion: Scientology.

The St. Peterburg Times' recent series on the leadership in the church was eye opening. Closer to home, though, I'm talking to Phoenix Chanology, a group of dedicated, self-proclaimed computer geeks who are loosely associated with a global group call Anonymous in protesting what they consider to be human rights violations by the church.

The group protests monthly wearing V for Vendetta masks and holding a big arrow-shaped sign with the word "CULT" on it, pointing it directly behind them at Phoenix's Church of Scientology headquarters. They are orderly, mannerly and have an impressive collection of documents and backup material.

I remember flower children, sit-ins, tear gas and bullets from when I was young and in high school and then college. Protests were against the Vietnam War -- which always gave me a queasy feeling because my older brother was there and I needed to support him -- no matter what.

The war today's group is fighting is one against information -- lack of information, misinformation and distorted information.

They want people to know all there is to know about Scientology. They want to give potential congregants the skinny on the religion/cult.

In the battle of information, the troops that command the greatest computer skills will win. I can't help but think these cyberspace cadets have an edge.

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