ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

There aren't too many subjects more personal -- and more potentially controversial -- than belief. Whether you're religious or not, the way you see the world -- and faith -- is likely to be one of the defining elements of what makes 'you' you. As such, it's not too surprising that discussions of beliefs, religious or otherwise, have a tendency to spiral into argument, anger and incomprehension. After all, when arguing about something as fundamental as what we believe, it can be difficult to appreciate the essential validity of anyone else's opinion when it turns out to conflict with our own.

While for most of us, however, those difficulties tend to appear around a Thanksgiving dinner table, during a long road trip, or at the DMV, for many celebrities they have a habit of publicly erupting into major news stories. Take, for instance, King of Queens actress Leah Remini's departure from the Church of Scientology, which quickly escalated into a mud-slinging match.

A match, in fact, which very much doesn't seem to be over, seeing as...

Leah Remini Just Slammed Scientology...and Tom Cruise

Indeed, as Remini recently revealed in a trailer for her upcoming interview with ABC News 20/20 (set to air October 30), and itself part of a promotional kick for her upcoming book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, it seems Cruise may even have played a substantial role in her departure from the church. As she put it:

"Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself…you are evil."

Which, she suggested, was a major part of her decision to leave Scientology behind back in 2013, along with the rest of her family -- something hinted at in the below trailer for the interview:

As Remini puts it, though, Cruise wasn't the only factor, with the church apparently encouraging a very particular view of the world:

"As time goes on, you start to lose touch with the real world. The mindset becomes 'us against them.'"

Something which doesn't change upon leaving the church, Remini argues:

"The decision to leave is you are giving up everything you have ever known and everything you have worked for your whole life."

That, Though, Isn't the Whole Story

After Remini left the church, not only did she have a whole lot more to say about Scientology (much of which seems likely to be reflected, and and expanded upon, in her upcoming book)...

"When you leave, you can leave quietly, but If you make a stink in the public world, they call you a Suppressive Person, which means the church has put a stamp on you that says you are bad."

...but the church itself had a pretty firm rebuttal or two, responding with this strongly worded response:

"It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former religion as a publicity stunt in a pathetic attempt to get ratings for her cable show and seem relevant again. She is rewriting history and omits that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her and her husband's ethical lapses."
She also presumably didn't like 'Cocktail'.
She also presumably didn't like 'Cocktail'.

All of which, it seems, makes the whole thing a classic 'he said, she said' sort of scenario, one in which both sides can portray the other in an intensely negative light (that doesn't necessarily conflict with what seems to be objective evidence).

In other words? You now get to decide for yourself whether Remini is a disgruntled, ratings-milking fame-seeker, or Scientology is a manipulative, ethically-suspect pseudo-religion. Or, y'know, you can think both, or neither, or some subtle variation of all four.

That, after all, is the great thing about freedom of thought -- you can believe whatever the heck you want.

What do you reckon, though?

via ABC News


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