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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Scientology, religion and rationality

According to South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, Scientology is not a religion.  It is a criminal organisation.

It has, he says, a worldwide ‘pattern of abuse and criminality.’ Based on letters from former followers Senator Xenophon told the Senate:

There are allegations of false imprisonment, coerced abortions, embezzlement of church funds, physical violence, intimidation, blackmail and the widespread and deliberate abuse of information obtained by the organisation. It is alleged that information about suspicious deaths and child abuse has been destroyed, and one follower has admitted he was coerced by the organisation into perjuring himself during investigations into the deaths of his two daughters.

This has real echoes of the Prime Minister in his apology to the forgotten generation just a few days ago:

We come together today to deal with an ugly chapter in our nation’s history.

And we come together today to offer our nation’s apology.

To say to you, the Forgotten Australians, and those who were sent to our shores as children without your consent, that we are sorry.

Sorry – that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused.

Sorry – for the physical suffering, the emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care.

Sorry – for the tragedy, the absolute tragedy, of childhoods lost,- childhoods spent instead in austere and authoritarian places, where names were replaced by numbers, spontaneous play by regimented routine, the joy of learning by the repetitive drudgery of menial work.

Sorry – for all these injustices to you, as children, who were placed in our care.

As a nation, we must now reflect on those who did not receive proper care.

We look back with shame that so many of you were left cold, hungry and alone and with nowhere to hide and with nobody, absolutely nobody, to whom to turn.

We look back with shame that many of these little ones who were entrusted to institutions and foster homes instead were abused physically, humiliated cruelly, violated sexually.

And we look back with shame at how those with power were allowed to abuse those who had none.

The abuse the Forgotten Generation suffered was in both state and church care.

The abuse of the Stolen Generations – aboriginal kids rounded up from their families – was also practised by both the State and churches.

The point seems clear – the abuse Xenophon highlights as being at the core of Scientology is found too in other religions and churches and state institutions.

It is systemic.

That abuse continues today. It is most clearly shown in our society’s ongoing shameful treatment of powerless refugees and aboriginal people.

The dehumanisation of aboriginal kids today in places like the Northern Territory through our Government’s invasion is about making subservient the next generation.

The shocking mistreatment of kids stems in part from a dogmatic view of the world based on revealed truths. Certainly all monotheistic religions contain a belief in the validity of their revealed truths as a point of differentiation to other religions. 

And certainly the beliefs of scientologists – based on the revealed truths of a science fiction writer – are absurd. We are evidently immortal alien beings trapped in human bodies.

We thetans can progress to some sort of realisation of our actuality and our oneness as god by a series of steps for which we, of course, pay the church.

This type of absurdity is little different to other religions.

Transubstantiation for example is the Catholic belief that a priest in blessing a wafer turns it into the body and blood of  a man who died over 2000 years ago, and who is himself both man and god and as god part of  a holy trinity that is one god.

An essential component of monotheistic (and other religions) is the righteousness of its own beliefs and practices. This dogmatism leads them not only to condemn others outside the particular sect but also to treat those within their care as minds to be trained to accept their god and thus some form of salvation.

But the state can perform the same function, can abuse children. While it may do so not for theistic purposes, it does so as an expression of dogmatism about the betterment of ‘lesser’ humans in its control.

And this power expresses itself not only in physical violence and mental ‘training’ but sexual predations against young people. 

This extreme – the very destruction of the developing individuality of the young person – is an extension of the dogmatism of betterment our revealed way.

Rather than allowing the development of the human in our own environment and at our own pace it forces the young to accept a god given or state decreed truth and practice.

The development of science as a way of understanding and making sense of the world, based knowingly or unknowingly on a material conception of reality, has challenged and continues to challenge religion and in particular monotheism, the idea of a non-material god.

Science arose as an adjunct to the development of a radical bourgeoisie challenging the rule of the ancien regime and searching for an understanding of the world around them removed from the backwardness of religion and other similar non-material explanations about the world around us.

None of this is to argue for the suppression of religious irrationality.

But it is to say that such irrationality must be guarded and narrowed, kept in the sphere of the individual, not by the state but by the flowering of democratic society into the realm of production and then into its withering away as we become truly human and free.

To imagine, as many secularists do, that the capitalist state – itself a purveyor of irrationality to reinforce the anti-human nature of its exploitative essence – can overcome irrationality in any let alone all its forms is to misunderstand capitalism.

The co-option of religion to serve the intersts of capital occurred at about the same time the bourgeoisie cemented its political dominance.

The separation of church and state is a bourgeois demand, not a socialist one.  We go much further. As Marx put it

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.

Until workers wrest the democratic mantle from their oppressors and extend it into all aspects of life we will apologise again and again for our abuse of the powerless, whether that abuse be in the name of religion or the state.

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Comments

Comment from THE RONBOT HUNTER
Time November 27, 2009 at 4:37 am

Any time that the cult of greed writes a story OR NEWS AD OR TV VIDEO –it is on policy.

But since policy is many times evil, then who do you believe?

Well believe your eyes and ears.

The Ex-scientologists who are leaving the cult are bringing out to the world, policy letters that shows how evil and insane the cult really is.

They are posted on anti-cult websites.

There are more ex-scientologists in the world now, than active actual present time members.

So, it is we that have the numbers to prove our claims.

SCIENTOLOGY KILLS, HARMS AND ATTACKS EVEN ITS OWN MEMBERS!!!
IT DESTOYS THE LOVE, JOY AND HAPPINESS OF FAMILIES.
THE LIST OF CRIMES, ABUSES, SCAMS AND FRAUDS ARE ENDLESS.

[If and When you make apologies for criminals or sociopaths, or corrupt governments and dirty Politicians or protect them or fail to expose the real criminals or real source or real cause of the problem, I will tell you off. I will not care who you are. To me you are fair game.]

THE RONBOT HUNTER
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