Blog: Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 15 - 2016-12-22

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F0.png Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 15 December 22, 2016, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large

Hey everyone, we are back after a short break from this series, breaking down this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis and featuring academic essays and articles written by religious scholars, sociologists and the like, mostly in praise of or apologizing for Scientology as a religous practice. Since I don't happen to think that Scientology is a legitimate religious practice and have been an outspoken critic against it for the last three years, I can't claim to be unbiased but as I've been showing in this series, neither are these folks.

This week we are tackling chapter 15, "The Church of Scientology in France: Legal and Activist Counterattacks in the 'War on Sectes'" by Susan J. Palmer. She is a Canadian sociologist and author whose primary research interest is new religious movements. She is a professor of religious studies at Dawson College in Westmount, Quebec, and an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She teaches sociology of religion courses and Scientology is only one of many groups she's taken an interest in. To this day she still speaks out in favor of them because, as I laid out in my last video in this series, there are some religous scholars who don't take a critical view of any new religious movement because they mistakenly believe that none of them are truly dangerous or harmful. They believe that freedom of religion trumps any critique of these groups and that it is better that they be allowed to not only exist but practice in whatever way they wish without government regulation or interference.

Here is a quote from a book review of Susan's book The Church of Scientology: The New Heretics of France from a website called "freedom of conscience." This gives a summary of the issues involved in the country of France when it comes to new religious movements.