Michael Shermer Article
In a strong and provocative L. A. Times op-ed on Anonymous, Michael Shermer of the Skeptic’s Society pulls no punches.
Imagine reading this press release:
Hello, Jews. We are anonymous. Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. … Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind — for the laughs — we shall expel you … and systematically dismantle Judaism in its present form. …
The rantings of crazed neo-Nazis, right? No. Substitute “Jews” and “Judaism” with “Scientologists” and “Church of Scientology” and you are reading from a statement issued by a group of anti-Scientologists calling themselves “Anonymous.” This statement was released Jan. 21 (read in a YouTube video by a Stephen Hawking-like computerized voice). It was followed by another on Feb. 10 that coincided with demonstrations at Scientology centers around the world at which protesters donned masks (the Guy Fawkes variety from the movie “V for Vendetta”) and waved posters that read, among other things, “Honk If You Hate Scientology.”
Again, imagine if that sign read “Honk If You Hate Jews.” How innocuous would such a protest be in that case?
And yet this latest turn against the organization founded in 1954 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard has an air of farcical comedy to it. Why? Why aren’t civil rights organizations and anti-hate-speech activists pouncing on these protesters? The reason, I suspect, is that most of us do not consider Scientology a religion, at least not a religion that resembles in the slightest the world’s major faiths.