If there’s one person out there in the public relations field who really creeps me out it’s this guy, Mike Rinder, who leads the “Church” of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs, the department that handles much of the cult’s public image and persona.

Rinder most recently appeared publicly on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 doing among other things, denying that BBC reporter John Sweeney had been followed by cult members while working on a segment for Panorama called “Scientology and Me.”

Despite the cult’s sickening and outright attempt to intimidate the reporter, Sweeney ended up the most memorable person in the story for his unethical shouting match with the totalitarian cult spokesman Tommy Davis. Although Sweeney’s reporting may not have been the best–he shouted to John Travolta during the London premiere of Wild Hogs–the job he did to illustrate the cult’s fanatical behavior was decent.

During the taping of the program Sweeney is clearly followed by several cars as well as confronted while conducting a private interview by Davis.

Scientology’s fear of sunlight should be clear to most people, nevertheless there’s Rinder last month flat out denying that Sweeney was followed as he denied during an A&E documentary in 1998 although footage of German journalist Mona Boutros clearly shows as many as three cars following her as well.

It’s with a strange and sinister aplomb, reminiscent of Josef Goebbels, that the Australian-born Rinder can flat out lie. It’s as if he wants you to know he’s lying that he simply doesn’t care because in the end it doesn’t matter, his cult will do what it has to do, spin any lie, cover up any controversy, attack any critic and fabricate any story that it must to get ahead.

Although I’ve hardly been the victim of Scientology, certainly I’ve been reached by Scientologists in the last week in harmless and innocuous ways. My Myspace profile has been visited by supporters Narcanon, the drug rehabilitation program founded by the habitual liar and drug user L. Ron Hubbard who Rinder goes through such lengths to defend. Just this morning I found an invite to a profile called “Stop Psychiatric Abuses”. Certainly, my profile being attached to my blog which contains a few shots at the cult, explains this. I’m hardly a candidate for the “church’s” “fair game” policy, although I have been receiving dozens of spam messages into my personal account since I posted my little Xenu contest.

Back to Rinder though, this guy is creepy. I’d like to find out more about him. He seems like a true-believer who speaks through his neck.

It’s true. I never thought I’d live to see the day that the one time intergalactic warlord would convert to the “religion” he inadvertently inspired much less be paroled from the prison cell wherein he spent some 75 million years, but I announce to you, the world of Scientology that your cult can rejoice because today, today, today, the unthinkable has happened. And I have a picture to prove it too.

What do you think?

I guess in the eyes of some this post is anti-religious bigotry. But as I’m somewhat religious, that characterization probably doesn’t suit me well. I’ve read a little about cults in the last few years since buying a copy of Seductive Poison, Deborah Layton’s excellent story of her experience in the People’s Temple. A close friend of mine growing up battled drugs for several years and has since joined a fundamentalist cult. Speaking to him on the phone several years ago, he sounded like a different man altogether, not for the better either; bitter, angry and perhaps a bit deluded. Cults are serious things. As opposed to what we call religions, I suppose cults are lead by charismatic leaders who demand the full amount of energy and resources they can get from their followers, who sacrifice what they have to provide a better life for the leader. Mainstream spiritual movements allow for a person’s familial and social decisions–right or wrong–to be made by the adherent and those who choose to walk away are less likely to be berated for their conscience decisions. Cults, like totalitarian regimes, require absolute loyalty and employ surveillance. Betrayal can have disastrous consequences.

Nevertheless, the other side of the coin in life is often humorous and to lighten things up a bit, I thought that I’d propose some excellent Scientology T-Shirts. Actually, these shirts would be best worn by ex-members, though maybe the summer line will have some designed for the believer to wear. We’ll see. It’s really about what’s in style in Milan. Here goes.

First up, this one is best for the disgruntled, excommunicated Scientologist who was lucky enough to realize his church’s beliefs were pulled out of L. Ron Hubbard’s ass, but unfortunate enough to have wasted perhaps a decade or two of his life in the cult:

I really think that is quite nice.

The on up top is really more of explanation for why someone would leave the Co$.

Next, we have a very swell design that really should be described as pop culture:

The next one seeks to make the cult of L. Ron Hubbard more accessable to those who are too poor to pay enough to learn the theological underpinnings of Dianetics:

And finally above, an ode to the man who was the inspiration behind losing all of your cash, going through psychological torment and likely having to attend counseling to handle the readjustment to the real world.

I hope you like them.

As I said in my last posting, I would be creating a picture of Xenu. Mine was done in MS Paint, the program that never changes, no matter what version of Windows you have. I think it looks pretty good. I was inspired by the rich tradition of Scientolology…I mean Scientology.

What do you think? Am I lacking in anything. Anyway, join my contest. Do your own rendering of Xenu. Scan it and send it to me at paul_esmond@yahoo.com or peoplevspaul@hotmail.com I’ll put it up and you’re automatically entered to win.

My Xenu expresses the force and frustration that lingered within the being who expelled all of those innocent aliens to volcanoes.

Remember, as I said before, no Thetans can enter.