With the release of the new HBO documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”, it becomes even more difficult for Scientologists to avoid a most obvious question.
The question had became increasingly obvious with the recent publication of several major books about Scientology: Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman and Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.
The release of the HBO documentary makes the question even more unavoidable.
The Church of Scientology claims that these books and now the film are filled with lies, libel and slander. In legal terms, these are all, according to the church, defamatory to the Church of Scientology.
Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.
Without a doubt, the reputation of the Church of Scientology has been harmed greatly in the last few years. These books and this film have just added to this problem.
The Church of Scientology has a large stable of aggressive attorneys paid quite well to attack all those who criticize and defame the church.
If these books and this film are, as the church claims, filled with lies, libel and slander – the law would be very much on the church’s side. The law allows the church to sue publishers, authors, filmmakers to completely shut down “lies, libel and slander”. Certainly, an injunction could have given the church almost immediate relief from such defamation.
So the obvious question that Scientologists must not even think is:
Why didn’t the Church of Scientology stop the books? Why doesn’t the church stop the film? The church makes lots of noise and accusations of their own but takes no action. Why?
The question is obvious but Scientologists must not even think this. They must not think the question because the only answer then becomes unavoidable.
The primary defence against a charge of defamation is truth. Generally speaking to prove defamation, the alleged victim must show that the “defamatory” statements are, in fact, false.
More than anyone, Scientologists know that the Church of Scientology would do anything to ban these books and this film if they could. The fact that the church does not means that they cannot.
Are all these “defamatory” facts in the documentary true?
By the Church of Scientology’s own actions – and inaction – it is obvious that the Church of Scientology believes the documentary to be totally true.
And that is a thought that Scientologists must never think.