Thursday, January 25, 2007

Freedom of Religion = Right to be Dumb?

Let's face it: politicians have been practicing this ever since politicians realized that it worked. It is the practice of publicly and boldly implying a half truth about your opponent. In this recent case Scientology is striking at psychiatry by implying that it, or its drugs, is responsible for crimes. The half-truth is that people who have a pattern of doing crazy things are given drugs in an attempt to either calm them down by suppressing certain mental patterns, or by increasing say the level of serotonin to keep said person smiling. When the drugs either fail to work as hoped, or are not taken as prescribed, they are blamed by another group of crazy people - Scientologists.

Is it any wonder that some people simply shake their head at religious people? Does religion abuse its rights, especially in this country, by saying things that are false but difficult to disprove? Cults, and those sects with cultic tendencies, make truth claims that are esoteric and difficult to disprove because of the element of truth that they embody. They take something that is either truth, or appears to be true, and twist it into a form that is both false and dangerous - and difficult or tricky to disprove. Take, for example, the fight over the Ten Commandments. Who wants to lead the fight against Church leaders who publicy proclaim that God is mad at America because we've removed the Ten Commandments from our public buildings. It's like fighting against God.

True, psychiatric drugs might be like mini nuclear bombs - area of effect rather than precision. And it is also true that the drugs themselves can cause problems. But they do tremendously for the many people who suffer from mental disorders that if left untreated can be life threatening. To suggest that these drugs are responsible is irresponsible and a throwback to a dangerous era where emotion and religion ruled over reason and truth. Scientology? They need to exercise their right to remain silent for a change.

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