Actress Leah Remini is continuing to question Scientology less than a month after she famously left the controversial Church.
“We stand united, my family and I, and I think that says a lot about who we are, and what we’re about,” the 44-year-old told People at an event over the weekend. Read more on Celebuzz…
It has been frustrating to watch people and businesses condemn Rolling Stone magazine — where, to be clear, I personally have no editorial affiliations — for putting the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev, on the cover of the latest issue. Many are upset that Tsarnaev is on the cover at all, as well as with the “rock star”-style photo the magazine used. And some who have read the article by journalist Janet Reitman complain that the way Jahar is profiled makes him out to be a “victim.”
I support Rolling Stone putting Tsarnaev on the cover and thought Reitman’s article was extremely well-written and thought-provoking. I came away from reading it with a greater understanding of how a 19-year-old Cambridge kid became a “monster.” To me, the patriarchy was clearly a problem in this family. To be clear, patriarchy doesn’t just mean when men are in positions of authority over women; it means when men, or one man, are in positions of authority over other men as well. It assumes that the people underneath that man will fall in line and not ask questions; it breeds a lack of agency and even, I would argue in Jahar’s case, weakness in a person. He was an immigrant from a maligned religion who slowly became radicalized by his severe older brother at the exact same time his troubled parents deserted him to move back to their homeland. I would not call him a “victim,” but I do believe it was a shitty, difficult situation for a teenager to handle, and those circumstances contributed to the vile crime he, allegedly, committed. Keep reading »
As we told you last week, the Church of Scientology has another famous defector! Leah Remini, best known for her role on “King of Queens,” has officially left the cult that she has been a member of for over 25 years, after reportedly becoming unhappy with church leadership and their policy of disconnection (in which members are encouraged/forced to cut off contact with people who have fallen out of favor), and enduring years of interrogations because she dared complain.
Losing another famous member — after recent defections by Katie Holmes and director Paul Haggis, not to mention countless former high-level executives who allege abuse in the Sea Org, the Church’s religious order — is the latest in a string of bad PR for the Church, and they are reportedly going into crisis mode. According to Tony Ortega, who runs the amazing Scientology intel blog The Underground Bunker, following Remini’s defection, a meeting was called at the home of her (now former) friend Melinda Brownstone to discuss just what to do about the situation. Among the attendees? Famous Scientologist Kirstie Alley, who tweeted about where she was, possibly to catch Remini’s attention. That same day, Alley also tweeted not-so-cryptic messages like, “When faced w malicious gossip I take a moment to experience the loss of the person I thought was my friend… Then I say fuck em…” and “the sweetest poison is often served with a smile…beware syrup.” Ugh, when will people like Kirstie Alley (and Tom Cruise and John Travolta, the list goes on) realize that where there’s smoke, there’s fire? [Tony Ortega]
While working at an orientation event at Sonoma State University of California, student Audrey Jarvis was asked by her supervisor — twice — to remove or hide her crucifix necklace because she was told it might offend someone or make new students feel unwelcome. What?!? Keep reading »
On Wednesday afternoon, the president of Exodus International, one of the largest “ex-gay” organizations in the world, issued an apology to the LGBT community. “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage,” Exodus President Alan Chamber wrote in a sincerely worded letter. “But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.” Hours later, Chambers announced that Exodus would be closing its doors permanently, after 37 years in operation. I felt two distinct reactions to this news: relief for LGBT people who have felt attacked and abused by the social and political messages perpetuated by Exodus, and hope for what this change means for both gay and “ex-gay” people alike.
I have some first-hand experience with Exodus – not as a participant, but as an observer. In November 2007, I attended the organization’s North Atlantic Regional Conference in upstate New York. At the time, I was producing a short documentary film, “Just As I Am,” which explored the “ex-gay” movement through two opposing perspectives: an active Exodus ministry leader, and an ex-”ex-gay” minister who belonged to Exodus in the 1980s. BK, the ministry leader, was going to the conference to lead the music during the worship services, so she brought me along. Keep reading »
A collective groan from adolescent males can be heard ‘round the globe! The Miss World beauty pageant announced yesterday that there will be no bikinis worn in their 2013 pageant in Indonesia this September. Said the pageant organizer:
“It has been misunderstood by some people that Miss World is a beauty competition focusing on the physical attractiveness of a woman’s body … This is absolutely misleading. [It also focuses on] inner beauty, which includes intelligence, manners and achievement.” Keep reading »