It's funny -- I've always felt a little scared when I write anything (yes, anything at all) about the Church of Scientology. And honestly, I've never known precisely what I was afraid of.
Did I think the Church would come after anyone who said anything it construed as "negative" about it with personal attacks, or something? And how would its leadership get "dirt" on such a person, anyway? Did I imagine they would actually stoop to sifting through public records, picking through garbage?
Today, my friends, it looks like we have an answer.
A blogger and former Scientologist bigwig named Marty Rathbun has posted what he says is an internal Scientology memo indicating that the Church's Office of Special Affairs conducted a covert operation to pore through the personal records of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They (very memorably) lampooned the religion in a 2005 episode called "Trapped in the Closet," in hopes of finding material it could use to embarrass them. (And this just in: The Church also allegedly sent a "mole" to spy on the South Park offices!)
What's more, it authorized "special collections," which Rathbun tells The Village Voice is code for digging through the trash, on Parker, Stone, and their close pals (including, apparently, actors John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn).
In search of ... um ... what, exactly? "Phone records. Bank records. Personal letters that expose some kind of vulnerability," Rathbun told the Voice. "They'll read stuff into the kind of alcohol you're drinking and how much. Prescriptions. They'll figure out your diet. They can find out a lot about you through your trash."
If true, this sort of super-creepy move on the Church's part is outrageous, if not entirely surprising. Also, really, lighten up, guys! South Park makes fun of everyone. Not just you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go shred my phone records, bank records, personal letters, prescription labels, and the packaging from the cookies I secretly consumed for breakfast.
If it's true that the Church of Scientology picked through the records and garbage of Parker and Stone, would you consider it an outrage?
Image via ensceptico/Flickr