Salon calls Scientology Dianetics “stranger than fiction”
J. Gordon Melton and David G. Bromley were both quoted in a recent article run within the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bromley is an old friend of Scientology and has been officially recommended by the controversial church as a “religious resource.”
The so-called “new Cult Awareness Network” reportedly run by Scientology also once recommended both Bromley and Melton for “factual information on new religions,” in the wake of a California cult (“Heaven’s Gate“) mass suicide in 1997.
David Bromley’s frequent writing partner Anson Shupe made a bundle working for Scientology lawyers. He helped Scientology knock off its perceived nemesis the “old Cult Awareness Network” enabling a Scientologist attorney to eventually buy its name and files through a bankruptcy proceeding.
The files of Scientology’s former foe were later handed over to J. Gordon Melton.
Melton and Bromley can almost always be counted on to defend virtually any group called a “cult” no matter how heinous or harmful.
Bromley told the Chicago Sun-Times, “Cult is a four-letter word for a religion you don’t like.”
It seems Time Magazine must have got it wrong when it called Scientology the “Cult of Greed,” despite the fact that a subsequent libel suit filed against the publication by the purported “cult” sputtered to a dismissal without ever going to trial.
Mr. Melton has raked in quite a nest egg working for groups like the Children of God and the International Church of Christ. He was paid by J.Z. Knight (known as Ramtha) to write a book, not to mention his all expenses paid trip to Japan courtesy of the infamous cult known as “Aum Supreme Truth.”
Melton arrived in Japan in 1995 and promptly pronounced that Aum was the victim of “persecution,” despite the fact that the cult had gassed the Tokyo Subway system sending thousands of Japanese to hospitals and killing twelve.
Melton told the Chicago Sun-Times that “new religions,” his supposedly politically correct euphemism to describe “cults,” put people off because of their “newness.”
However, it appears that what puts people off most about Tom Cruise’s behavior and his strange Scientology banter is the bizarre nature of it all.
Today the London Free Press asked, “Has Cruise Cracked?”
Meanwhile Salon Magazine published a critique of Scientology and its founder titled “Stranger than Fiction.”
How convenient is the timing that these two alleged academics Melton and Bromley are now helping out Scientology’s “poster boy” Tom Cruise.
But the news media should know that such specious scholars cannot be counted upon for any meaningful objectivity, they are politically if not literally invested in their positions.
Benjamin Zablocki, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University put it succinctly when he said, “The sociology of religion can no longer avoid the unpleasant ethical question of how to deal with the large sums of money being pumped into the field by the religious groups being studied…This is an issue that is slowly but surely building toward a public scandal.”
Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta in Canada concluded, “Scholars who compromise objectivity or academic integrity threaten to diminish the reputation of social science.”
Rich religious groups like Scientology can easily afford to pump cash into the pockets of quite a few professors and assorted academics. Perhaps the press should scrutinize more carefully the likes of sources such as David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton.