While it seems that most of the hubbub has died down over Tom Cruise's video praising Scientology that surfaced last month, it seems to have opened the floodgates for L. Ron Hubbard haters.
This past Sunday, hundreds of picketers gathered in front of Scientology's Hollywood headquarters. They were responding to a YouTube video put out by a mysterious movement dubbed "Anonymous" which claims Scientology is "a malign influence" over its members. The video declared its intention to "systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form" and called for people to rise up against the religion.
But it's clear that the Church still has friends in high places. Variety recently published a missive from power lawyer Bert Fields, who counts Cruise as a client, calling for tolerance of Scientology. Fields wrote that believing in thetans and Xenu are no stranger than believing Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus rose from the dead. "As to Tom Cruise," Fields added, "he is more than a Scientologist, just as I am more than a Jew and Barack Obama and John McCain are more than Christians. Tom is a loving husband, a devoted father, a hard working, dedicated actor and producer, and, as anyone who knows him will tell you, a fine, decent, generous man. He deserves better from you." And, of course, with Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner in control of United Artists, showbiz Scientologists know they have a friendly port of call. UA recently announced it was signing an overall deal with writer and director Paul Haggis, who's won Oscars for both Crash and Million Dollar Baby, and has been a practicing Scientologist for 30 years.