Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Some Christian pastors embrace Scientology
Rev. Charles Kennedy uses L. Ron Hubbard's book in a sermon.
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- Some Christian congregations, particularly in lower income, urban areas, are turning to an unlikely source for help -- the Church of Scientology.

Scientologists do not worship God, much less Jesus Christ. The church has seen plenty of controversy and critics consider it a cult. So why are observant Christians embracing some its teachings?

Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.

The Rev. Charles Kennedy, of the Glorious Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church in Tampa, Florida, and the Rev. James McLaughlin, of the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, are among the theological hybrids.

They say they are not scared off by programs with ties to a church that critics say has aggressive recruiting, secretive ways and rigid theology. As men of God rooted in Christian values, they do not see Scientology as a threat to their faith, but rather as a tool to augment it.

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-- By Diana Miller, CNN Producer
Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 5:45 PM ET
How about, live and let live. Exposing Scientology over and over again, does what?
In the end, we all have to decide for ourselves what spiritual path we follow, if any. I suspect that Scientology will be around for years to come, no matter how bad the media or Christian groups dig away at it. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif : 6:21 PM ET
Wow that's sad when even preachers are not immune to the lures of a cult..........bring out the grape kool-aid.
Posted By Amber, Ft. Wayne IN : 6:23 PM ET
Targeting lower income areas is a blatant exploitation of their desperation for faith. I grew up in a very low income area and understand how certain church leaders can manipulate its congregation. Besides, Creating any sort of "hybrid" religion is definitely bordering on blasphemy.
Posted By Anonymous : 6:27 PM ET
The idea that Scientology and Christianity are being taught within the same sermon is ridiculous. Simply because the bible is sometimes difficult to interpret does not mean we should just replace it for something that is simply easier to understand.
Posted By Anonymous : 6:33 PM ET
A belief system is fine but servile obedience to a religion of any kind is dangerous.

If only people would learn to think for themselves instead of relying on religion to do their thinking for them.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 7:31 PM ET
Why is AC 360 covering so many religion stories? It's really becoming excessive, in my opinion. I think religion should be practiced and discussed privately, not in the news media, and definitely not in politics.
Posted By Barbara in Culver City, CA : 7:33 PM ET
Diana & Gary,

I only have one answer, this perfect verse, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21.
Not any person who calls himself a christian, is truely a christian.
Hope this answers...
Posted By LulaK : 7:38 PM ET
Just because someone claims to be a Christian, does not make them one. The fact that individuals are embracing Scientology is a sign that something is wrong within that person.

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

Scientologist do not worship the Lord God, therefore we who call ourselves Christians, are to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, not adopt THEIR teachings. They deny Christ Jesus and unless they change their ways, He will deny them when they stand before Him, and we ALL will stand before the Lord one day.

1 Corinthians 5:6 “…..Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”
Posted By Diane : 8:05 PM ET
There are many religions and philosophies; each with a right to its flock. In our country, freedom of expression and a personal philosophy, religious or otherwise, must remain paramount to our freedom.

In my thinking an approach to the creator is a personal one and my own views are no more or less valid than another’s.

Scientology is often a lightening rod for controversy, but I doubt that many who judge the sect know much about it.

I have no quarrel with anyone who would support Scientology. That is their choice. I am not harmed by it. I have never heard Scientologists preach violence, hatred or supremacy over other belief systems.

I wish such tolerance were true in all religious quarters. If there are theologians who see value in Scientology, so be it.
Posted By myacht : 8:26 PM ET
Who cares what they believe or what they use if it makes them happy and at peace with themselves. We have freedom of religion in this country - they are free to choose their religion and everyone else is free to make their own selection or non-selection. Our founding fathers did not care what religion their neighbors were - just that they were free to choose without government intervention and I'm sure without societal interference.

Leave the Scientologists alone - its way past time to live and let live on this one.

Annie Kate
Birmngham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 9:20 PM ET
Funny. When Christianity and Psychiatry mix, we don't see much resentment. Psychiatry is a cult preaching that the soul does not exist and that human beings are a combination of chemicals and electrical impulses, in other words objects like chairs and tables but maybe more "sophisticated," and therefore a completely materiastic cult and anti-God. These claims have never been proven - only handed down in the tradition of a cult and their high priests. Yet there is no certified psychiatry "expert" to jump up and down and just scare people that this is dangerous (without actually ever say why). Very interesting!
Posted By Mehdi : 9:30 PM ET
These "preachers" wouldn't need to teach from the Church of Hubbardology if they would simply live and teach by the Bible! Of course there are who have never read the entire Bible who call themselves Spiritual Leaders.
Posted By gary : 9:34 PM ET
I'm confused... Christianity supposedly espouses ideas of "unconditional love" and "unity of mankind"... so what's with all the fear and hate?

I hear it all the time about Buddhism, Hindu, Shinto, Scientology,, "god-less". People have a right to pursue any philosophy or religion that they choose or have you forgotten the basis for our Constitution... freedom from religious persecution...

If Christians are so threatened by other religions or philosophies, perhaps they should try understanding them before judging them and perhaps they should try to understand why people would feel compelled to depart from Christianity.

Democracy is about embracing freedom, not propagandizing fear and misunderstanding. A person must be allowed to choose their own path. As long as their actions do not harm society but benefit society, then give them support, not hate.
Posted By Robert -Jakarta : 9:43 PM ET
Like the Reverend McGlaughlin said, when he used Hubbard's program to get many kids off drugs, they said "thank god", not "who is Hubbard?" They are looking for a practical, realworld solution to drugs, crime and ethical problem and found it in Hubbard's writings. Good for them and they will live better lives for it. that's what is important.
Posted By chewyandbert : 11:44 PM ET
Gee Diane I guess that means the Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu's and most of the population of the world should be excluded from Heaven as well.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:12 AM ET
Rick Ross appears to be extremely partial in his accoubnt of Scientology and Scientologists. He has nothing good to say. Is that even possible? My son was unable to read properly and was not making it in conventional schools. A Scientologist taught him how to study using Scientology "Study Technology" and he is now a successful professional in the field of his choice and he was able to achieve academic excellence - all because a Scientologist took the time to make sure he learned how to study -now doesn't it make sense that if you are going to spend 12 or 16 years studying that you would learn how to study? Why are the Scientologists the only ones aware of this more than obvious fact. Well I thank Scientology every day because it brought success to my son, something Rick Ross would never have the integrity to report.
Posted By Ron Norton, Yuma Az : 1:13 AM ET
How can a Christian embrace anything from L Ron Hubbard, who teaches that Christ was an implant from an alien Galactic overlord?

Scientology is no more a 'rligious philosophy' than Jedi Knight.

Google such terms as R6+scientology or even space opera+scientology. Hubbard mocked all religions as being implants by Xenu(or was it Xemu?)
Posted By Anonymous : 7:43 AM ET
Come one! Let's not be scare of people changing their philosophical position. Changing is one of the aspects of the human condition that is admirable and unique. It is all about freedom of choice and the respect we have for those who make a change. As long as this change is for non-violence it is all good. Let us not be scare of the difference and continue to pour gas on the fire of religious racism. I am not a scientologist and I do not agree with their doctrine but I surely agree to the idea that people who want to join can do it without being caught into a witch hunt. Bigotry and racism can take many forms...
Posted By Marc : 8:07 AM ET
If Tom Cruise is representative of scientology, then it is pretty darn wacko~
Each to his/her own as long as it is not shoved down others throats.
Although, I have seen evidence of UFO's.. . whatever they may be. . .?????????
Posted By BAT, Nacogdoches,TX : 6:54 PM ET
If it works it works...but at the cost of feeding lies that may cause later controversy, especially for the children that are learning this, I am not so certain. Promote the ideals that better society and the individual, but not at the cost of promoting a grand delusion.
Posted By the second : 7:39 PM ET
I have to say, Anderson Cooper is one of my favorite reporters. This report is a disgrace to his name. But it's here so we may as well talk about it.

Mixing religions would be horrible, because there's no way two religions could coexist. It would be a disaster because people would analyze their options, what makes sense to them and that would require us to use logic. People would realize the benefits of different religions, filter out the flaws and the irrationalities, and the result would be a better religion. We use this process in engineering.

Beyond the sarcasm:

Where are these facts coming from? When I study Buddhism, I don't get my information from South Park or Wikipedia. That's like intentionally going to Red Lobster and ordering a Steak. What's wrong with you? Did anyone read this article? Court-certified expert? By whom? Walker Texas Ranger?

I'm not trying to target the religion, but for those Christians who are criticizing Scientology, aren't you judging others?

I think this report could've been better too. Did anyone see AC360 the night this report aired? Soledad O'Brien filled in for AC that night along with John Roberts. Their comments were completely biased. Anchor people, state the facts, not the opinions. Take some advice from Anderson Cooper, "Be honest about what you see, GET OUT OF THE WAY, and let the story reveal itself."
Posted By Lets use logic : 8:29 PM ET
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