Who knew?

I didn't bother to watch the Panorama 'exposé' of Scientology. What's to expose? Weird ideas? Manipulation? Brainwashing? Welcome to the world of religion. At least they don't stone female members to death for sexual misdemeanours, hang homosexuals, snip off babies' foreskins, beat themselves with chains in public, protest at the funerals of soldiers or condemn self-abusers to an eternity of damnation.

spiked | Stop the press: Scientologists are creepy!

The basic argument of the programme was that the Church of Scientology is not a proper religion. ‘I can’t imagine the Church of England behaving like this’, Sweeney said when Tommy was giving him a hard time.

And suddenly Tommy’s point about the American constitution looked rather important. If your model of ‘proper religion’ is an established church, and one noted for its worldly respectability at that, then that doesn’t leave much room for religious freedom. Just about all religions have been described as cults at one time or another, and indeed a more thoughtful definition of a ‘proper religion’ might be one that insists on its own morality rather than submitting to the judgement of the secular world.

While we're on the subject. The latest Betty Bowers newsletter arrived earlier today. Here's a sample:
The type of Christians Jerry (Falwell) spoke to were rich people looking to get richer -- or poor people stupid enough to give what little they had to make those rich people's selfish dreams come true.

While Jesus commanded that we help the poor, Jerry was a man less preoccupied with poor helpings than second helpings.

Frankly, Jerry was always more devout when it came to the GOP than the GOD.

And, as a virulently anti-catholic ex-catholic, my favourite: