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Feb 08 2013

The Colbert Report on Scientology

The Church of Scientology has been in the news recently (see here and here) with the publication of Lawrence’s Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief that exposes the seamy underbelly of the organization and its cruel and despotic leader David Miscavige.

Stephen Colbert devoted two segments of his show on Wednesday to this topic. Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic who even teaches in Sunday school but at the same time he seems to be quite aware that his own church’s beliefs and its practices are pretty bizarre and differ from those of Scientology only in degree. He seems to be one of those people who are so wedded to their faith that it is hard to break free even though they are not blind to the church’s faults or even its crimes. I can relate to some extent because I too was like that, making excuses and finding increasingly contorted reasons to continue to believe until I finally escaped.

In the first segment he discusses the contents of Wright’s book.

In the second, he interviews Wright, where he explains how Scientology managed to force the IRS to accept them as a religion and thus escape their tax liability of around a billion dollars.

(This clip was aired on February 6, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

2 comments

  1. 1
    jamessweet

    Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic who even teaches in Sunday school but at the same time he seems to be quite aware that his own church’s beliefs and its practices are pretty bizarre and differ from those of Scientology only in degree.

    It’s not clear to me to what extent that statement is true, vs. the alternative that “Colbert’s writers understand how bizarre Catholic beliefs are, and Stephen is just a good sport about it.” Certainly, in (out of character) interviews I have seen it is clear that he’s got at least an inkling of the absurdity of faith, but mostly he seems earnest about it.

    In any case, the worst case scenario is that he doesn’t get it but he’s a good sport about it, and that’s still reasonably cool :)

  2. 2
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    he explains how Scientology managed to force the IRS to accept them as a religion and thus escape their tax liability of around a billion dollars.

    …which raises the question of why ‘religions’- or religions- should be allowed not to pay taxes.

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