Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Scientologists to target Olympic spectators with propaganda

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Scientology may be fond of aliens, but the Olympic mascots Wenlock and
Mandeville are fiercely guarded by the Games' 'brand enforcers'
(Photo: London 2012)
"You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion," said L Ron Hubbard in the late 1940s, before turning his attentions from writing science fiction to starting a religion.

Considering that Hubbard's religion, Scientology, would go on to become famous for its ability to extract large sums of money from its followers, it is perhaps appropriate that this summer the Church's UK branch is planning to take advantage of the one of greatest money-spinners of all – the Olympic games.

With a domestic news cycle that has oscillated between excitement and scepticism ahead of this Friday's opening ceremony, anyone following the build up to the games will have become familiar with the organisers' fears of "ambush marketing", whereby companies that have not signed lucrative sponsorship deals seek to take advantage of the fiercely-guarded Olympic brand.

Generally, this would involve the usual suspects such as fizzy drinks names or trainer brands, but with a captive audience of millions in town for the ultimate global event, it's perhaps only natural that religions would seek to use the occasion as an opportunity for a recruitment drive.

Enter Scientology. A leaked letter published on the blog of high-profile defector Mark "Marty" Rathbun reveals plans by the Church's publisher in the UK to distribute L Ron Hubbard's texts en masse to spectators at the Games:
“This year the Olympic Games are going to be held in London, England – starting 27th July, ending on 12th August. There will be an estimated 6.5 million people in attendance from over 200 nations.
In 2010, at the Football World Cup in South Africa, copies of the Way to Happiness booklet were distributed throughout the crowds resulting in it being proclaimed as the least violent World Cup ever.

To achieve the same effects in London, introducing L. Ron Hubbard’s Tech to millions and creating calm, donations are needed for bundles of The Way to Happiness, which in turn will be handed out during the Olympics.

"All you have to do is keep that booklet flowing in the society. Like gentle oil spread upon the raging sea, the calm will flow outward and outward.” – LRH, from Ron’s Journal 33

As I am sure you will agree, this has massive potential to reach a truly international audience!

Staff and public volunteers are being mobilized right now and will be in prominent locations around the Olympic events passing out The Way to Happiness to everyone!

The target is to distribute a minimum of 2 million copies!"
You certainly can't fault the Church of Scientology's ambition. But one question remains – Scientology's acolytes are famously persistent, but will they be a match for the Games' formidable "brand enforcers"? As epic battles of strength and will go, this could be one to watch during London's Olympic fortnight.
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