Scientology's political presence on the rise - 2005-07-02
Cruise's hyping of his love life and religion on national television, including a couch-hopping appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show and an anti-psychiatry harangue on NBC's "Today Show," may only damage ticket sales to his latest movie - his career will likely survive. And so will Scientology. It is now 51 years old - young for a religion, but a testament to the organization's resilience. That's especially true in Utah where the Los Angeles-based church Scientology has a growing political presence.
"Bring it on," says Utah Scientologist Sandra Lucas about any negative publicity stirred by Cruise. Lucas is the Utah chapter president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the lobbying force behind a proposed ban on electroshock therapy, various measures aimed at carving out more rights for parents in the child welfare system and the anti-Ritalin legislation, which Lucas says will resurface during the next session.
Lucas says Cruise's public display represents growing awareness about the "national crisis" of children and adults being prescribed mind-altering drugs.