Scientology, drugs and rock 'n' roll - 2008-01-26
When Tom Cruise's pro-Scientology video rant made blogosphere headlines two weeks ago, not everyone saw a strange and incomprehensible fanatic. Darren Shearer, executive director of the Church of Scientology's new Mission of Riverdale, saw a crusader, someone who has put his neck on the line, in his - and the church's - battle for human rights. "We have these rights," he says, "and they're violated all the time by the psychiatric industry. I'm thrilled that someone with a such a large voice has stepped up to the plate."
Sitting in the serene, book-lined front room of the Mission, opened last fall in East Chinatown on Broadview, a block south of Gerrard, Mr. Shearer actually bears some resemblance to Mr. Cruise: He's clean-cut, fit, slightly boyish and wild-eyed. And, like Mr. Cruise, he possesses the same self-satisfaction that Scientology instills in its followers, an unshakeable belief in the church's abilities to solve the world's problems.