Where did all the cults go?

If you haven’t listened to the podcast recently, you might have missed a subject I briefly talked about last show. I was talking about a little known organization called the Cult Awareness Network, and their ties with Scientology. It’s a bit of a complicated story, so you’ll have to bear with me while I explain it.

In 1978, the tragedy of Jonestown led to the creation of an organization dedicated to identifying and combating cults. It was dubbed the Cult Awareness Network, and it became the largest organization of its kind in the US. One of their big opponents was Scientology, which they correctly identified as being a dangerous cult of greed.

In 1995, a young man named Jason Scott was kidnapped by a deprogrammer named Rick Ross, and because Jason’s mother had been referred to Mr. Ross by CAN, they were sued successfully for US$1 million. Around the same time, the Church of Scientology organized a massive litigation campaign, convincing 50 of their members to sue the organization simultaneously. The suits crippled the organization, which had to declare bankruptcy.

But this was not the end of the Cult Awareness Network. Shortly after they went bankrupt, Steven Hayes, a Scientology attorney and the man behind the suits, bought CAN in bankruptcy court for $20,000. Now, the “New” CAN puts all of its focus on fighting for “religious tolerance” (go visit their website; it’s fucking creepy). What was once a thriving organization fighting against destructive cults has ironically enough been commandeered by one of the most aggressive cults in the world. It’s no joke that if you call them up, you’ll probably be talking to a Scientologist.

This is just one small example of how Scientology uses the court system to try and bully, intimidate, silence, and occasionally destroy their opponents. They are simply following the advice and edict of their pseudo-god, L. Ron Hubbard:

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway . . . will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decrease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.

The usurpation of CAN is a sad testament to the fact that so far, these scumbags are winning. Feeling depressed yet? I know I am…

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