The Nation of Islam (NOI) has had its fair share of alliances with shady characters, White supremacists, violent theocrats, dictators, and others. It therefore might not come as a surprise to those that have closely examined the group to learn that the bizarre religious sect has now come under the sway of the Church of Scientology (COS).
Many have long regarded the COS as a dangerous religious cult. The group’s founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard, was deemed by many to be extremely racist against Black people. Many of its former members have complained of harassment and blackmail from COS leaders.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Nation’s leader, had been rumored to have been attracted to the COS for at least the past six years. On February 27, 2011, Farrakhan addressed a crowd of thousands at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois during the Nation’s Saviour’s Day celebration. The title of the speech was “God Will Send Saviours.”
The COS has a belief in “suppressive personalities” in which individuals can become sociopaths. Farrakhan told the audience, “I am looking at the Caucasian personality as that of a ‘sociopath.’” He said of White people, “You have manifested a personality that is against the laws of a genuine society.” (The speech went on for four hours. Much of it can be found at http://www.suppressivepersons.org/sp/archives/1752).
According to the May 31, 2011 issue of The Final Call, the Nation’s newspaper, about 700 NOI ministers are being trained as COS “auditors” or Dianetics teachers. According to Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, Dianetics is “a nonscientific theory of personality explaining behavior in terms of an individual’s experiences prior to birth.” (Can anyone say crackpot?)
This is not the first time the COS has tried to market itself to Black people in a major way. The COS established an impressive church in Harlem, New York not many years ago. The late “Sibanye,” founder of the Center for Inquiry Harlem Discussion Group, made it a major topic of discussion. Surprisingly, many of the discussion group members had no problem with the establishment of the COS in Harlem, and still have no problem with it. Many from the Harlem Discussion Group asserted that perhaps the COS could aid the Black community in economic development and in other ways.
However, is the COS a harmless organization? In the May 16, 1991 issue of Time, Richard Behar made one of the most scathing and devastating critiques of the COS to ever make its way into print. According to Behar:
“Hubbard wrote one of Scientology’s sacred texts, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic technique called “auditing.” He also created a simplified lie detector (called an “E-meter”) that was designed to measure electrical changes in the skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past.” (p. 50)
Behar went on to write that Hubbard claimed that the E-meter could cure blindness. Adding to bogus medical claims, Hubbard asserted that people are composed of spirits called thetans who were driven from the Earth 75,000,000 years ago by a vicious extraterrestrial despot called Xenu.
Behar wrote: “A federal court ruled in 1971 that Hubbard’s medical claims were bogus and that E-meter auditing could no longer be called a scientific treatment.” (ibid) (To see the entire article online, go to http://www.cs.cmu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html)
Many of Scientology’s outlandish beliefs seem to be no less strange than those of Screwy Louie Farrakhan and the NOI. After all, in the aforementioned Saviour’s Day speech, the sinister minister reverted to the old-school NOI teaching about the Black scientist Yacub (a.k.a. Yakub), the evil creator of the White race 6,600 years ago. Farrakhan also reiterated his claim that in 1985 he boarded “a wheel that you call a UFO,” on which he had a vision and heard the late Elijah Muhammad, the NOI’s former leader, speak.
All of this insanity raises the question: Could religious fanatics ever lead Black people to freedom, justice, and equality? The answer is a resounding “no.” Religious individuals, leaders, and organizations—especially progressive ones—could do so. However, religious fanaticism is by its nature reactionary, authoritarian and theocratic. Religious fanatics could bring forth some positive changes, such as pride, sobriety, improved eating habits, lower crime rates, etc. However, after all is said and done, religious fanatics simply want to replace one form of oppression for one rooted in their own theocratic politics. This is something Black people must always keep in mind when confronted with proposed solutions from leaders such as Farrakhan.