Sunday, August 20, 2006

The L. Ron Hubbard Cone of Opportunity

We're back at the home desk after being called away for what turned out to be a couple of demanding weeks. During that time we witnessed strange and disquieting events, not least among them the sight of a wilder-eyed-than-usual Pat Robertson, unshackled and without attendants, broadcasting from Israel (actually, he claimed to be almost in Lebanon, just a few hundred yards from the border), where he shut his eyes as tight as a human can without passing out and called down the Lord's blessing on an Israeli victory.

The Lord once again turned a deaf ear to the reverend's prayers, apparently, but the 700 Club superstar looked so deliriously happy that we fully expected to hear he'd strapped himself to an Israeli rocket and taken a Slim Pickens-style ride into suburban Beirut in an effort to personally usher in The Rapture.

Almost as disturbing was the news from a recent edition of the Gannett-owned Lafayette, La. Daily Advertiser (link unavailable) headlined "Tracking Growth: Hurricanes Help Expand Outreach of Scientology," which reported that membership in the spooky outfit's local "mission" had doubled after "hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared ashore last fall."

"Many initially considered Scientology a cult, and its members misguided souls," the Daily Advertiser related with the straightest of faces. "But the works of its members, including those in Acadiana, continues [sic] to change that perception as the church grows in size, outreach and number."

Scientologists have won new converts all along the Gulf Coast by providing "shelter, food, supplies, counseling and other much needed support"---not to mention the much desried "right technology"---for hurricane evacuees.

Well, that's what the newspaper said.

This was a consequence of the hurricanes we had not previously considered.

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