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Seconding Vox...

Those who've long followed news and rumors of the Church of Scientology's abusive practices aren't going to find much new in Alex Gibney's searing documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. The film, which makes its television debut on Sunday, March 29, at 8 pm Eastern on HBO, is based on Lawrence Wright's book of the same name. In terms of revelations, it can't top that terrific tome. But in terms of emotional impact, it packs a wallop. It's one thing to read the horror stories Wright uncovered in his investigation into the church. But it's quite another to see the faces of former members, who often gave up decades of their lives to the organization, who may still have friends and family involved, people they are effectively cut off from completely. Their voices catch, or their eyes glisten with tears that don't quite fall. It's enormously effective.

I didn't feel much in the way of sympathy for the heartbroken members of Mars Hill Church when Mark Driscoll (finally) flamed out...

It's hard to feel much sympathy for all the Mars Hill pastors, elders, leaders, and members who have been pushed out, fired, shunned, etc., by Mark Driscoll and the rest of the neo-Calvinists at Mars Hill. Driscoll is an abusive shit stain? Really? You don't say. Funny that you're just coming to that realization. Because people who never set foot inside a Mars Hill deep-fried Jesus franchise could clearly see Driscoll for what he was years ago. But you guys—leaders and "elders" in Driscoll's church—you couldn't see it.

...but I felt tremendous sympathy for subjects of Alex Gibney's film—some of whom were high-ranking members of the church, some of whom admit to having done incredibly incredibly shitty things while helping to run L. Ron Hubbard's pyramid scheme. Who knows? If a documentary filmmaker of Gibney's caliber were to make a film about the depressing rise and intensely gratifying fall of Mars Hill, maybe I would feel a smidgen of sympathy for Mark Driscoll's congregants/marks/useful idiots. But I doubt it. Anyway...

I left the Going Clear screening humming a tune I've hummed before on Slog...

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Christian conservatives loudly complain about how the gay rights movement "stole" the rainbow from them—the late Ken Hutcherson encouraged his followers to "take back" the rainbow for Christ—and yet these Scientologist motherfuckers can make off with the damn cross and the same Christians who complain that the rainbow has been "hijacked" by the "radical homosexual movement to be used as a symbol for sodomy" have nothing to say about it.

Right-wing religious organizations went absolutely ballistic when the organizers of SF's Folsom Street Fair featured a parody of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper on their 2007 poster, but none had ever objected to earlier homages to/parodies of The Last Supper. (Last Supper parodies featuring murderous mobsters, the casts of sitcoms, breakfast cereal characters—all okay!) Bill Donohue's Catholic League led a boycott of Miller Beer, one of Folsom's sponsors, and outraged priests ran to Fox News to accuse gay people of theft. Awful gays in leather harnesses had "[taken] something that is sacred to" all Christians everywhere, and good Christians couldn't sit idly by and let this happen.

Meanwhile... the Church of Scientology walks off with the fucking cross, Christianity's most sacred symbol, and no one on the religious right seems to have a problem with that. Maybe they don't mind because Scientology is homophobic and hating gay people really, really hard is pretty much all you gotta do to be a "good Christian" in the eyes of Tony Perkins, Bill Donohue, Bryan Fischer, et al.