S Is For Scientology, and Stupidity

1202743605The right to protest is one of the best things about being an American. At any time—for any reason—you can air your grievances publicly. But sometimes we are deeply confused by what Americans choose to protest. Sure, a demonstration against the war makes sense. But parading around in Guy Fawkes masks to call for the end of Scientology doesn’t seem to follow any logic.

Yesterday morning, more than 50 protesters gathered outside the Boston headquarters of the Church of Scientology to protest the religion. Most of the crowd wore Guy Fawkes masks like the ones in V for Vendetta. The movement was started by some faceless group or person called Anonymous.

Why? Anonymous was creeped out by the Tom Cruise video, did some research, and didn’t like what the religion was all about. Yes, the Cruise video is disturbing. But our reaction to it was, “Gee. Looks like Scientology isn’t for us. And who knew that cute kid in Risky Business would turn into such a whackjob?”

We’re equally disturbed by the demonstrators who would get up early on a Sunday to drive into the city to protest a quasi-religious movement, even though the Guy Fawkes masks in V for Vendetta were worn to protest an all-powerful government.

The confusion doesn’t end with the masks.

“But I can say the image of people marching towards Parliament in the spirit of protest, that wall of masks, had a certain resonance amongst those who held negative feelings about organizations such as Scientology but also towards the government.”

In just 40 years we’ve gone from the Civil Rights marches and Vietnam War protests to people who don’t know if they’re against L. Ron Hubbard or the United States government (or both). And that’s far more alarming than any video on YouTube.