Mike Rinder’s Speech on Why Scientology is a Religion

In 2011, Mike Rinder traveled to Trinity College in Ireland to debate why Scientology is a religion. I mean if he traveled all the way there to say this – he must have meant it – right?

His co-star Leah Remini, after being a Scientologist for 34 years, now says Scientology is not a religion. Chris Shelton, after being a Scientologist and calling it his religion for, what, 25 years? now says Scientology is not a religion, too. So many anti-Scientologists claim that Scientology is not a religion these days.

But here’s what Mike Rinder says about it:

Mike’s presentation here contains, in rat-a-tat fashion, all the considerations which governments and social scientists and expert court testimony uses to determine whether a group is a religion.

Chris Shelton, even though he has the arrogance to call himself an expert in this matter, does not use any of Mike’s criteria to proclaim that Scientology is a not a religion. This is what Chris said about himself in his video called “Why Scientology is not a Religion”:

Even though Chris has convinced himself that he has the “expertise to speak from a position of certainty”, none of the criteria Chris uses to proclaim Scientology not-a-religion are legitimate. His argument is that while he was working in Scientology “at its highest levels” (eye roll), nobody acted like Scientology was a religion, therefore Scientology isn’t a religion. Mike Rinder effectively debunks this view in his speech here.

Leah Remini has also declared that Scientology is not a religion. But she doesn’t use any social science or court rulings or any other legitimate criteria to conclude this. Coming from Leah Remini, this proclamation is like a Fatwah issued by the Screen Actor’s Guild: the lines are delivered by striking a pose with nostrils flaring, but it’s really just another actor posing. Actors never really get the respect that they feel they deserve. Given Leah’s argument, determining whether Scientology is a religion is another instance where actors really don’t deserve it.

Scientology is a religion, and Mike Rinder says exactly why, using the correct and legitimate criteria to make that conclusion.

A Little History – As Defined By Me

When Mike Rinder first delivered this speech in 2011, he did it when he and Marty were running the Indies. And it was scheduled suspiciously close to a crusade I was running on those guys of “Why Can’t Marty and Mike Debate Stuff?” As the Kings of the Indies back then, their position was that “the only thing wrong with Scientology was David Miscavige”. Which was very wrong, and I was calling them out on it.

When Mike suddenly appeared in Ireland at Trinity College – one of the most prestigious debate fora in the English Language – I thought, “Wow. Mike really has a hard time with criticism. He could’ve just cut and pasted this onto Marty’s blog.” 🙂

Rinder’s is a good solid speech, with the correct criteria to determine whether something is a religion, and he proves here that Scientology is one. Courts have affirmed it, and so has the IRS and many other government bodies around the world.

No matter how hysterical the anti-Scientologists get, no matter how much they kick and scream, I don’t think this shaving cream is going back in the can.

When Marty, Mike and Dave were going for Tax Exemption, Marty said that all they needed was a seat at the table. Once they got there, they knew it was a slam dunk – not because they bought everybody off at the IRS, or blackmailed them, but because Scientology is legitimately a religion and it is easy to see for those who determine such things.

The argument that Scientology is not a religion is simply illegitimate if you know what criteria are used to decide this. Mike does know the criteria here, and he delivers them beautifully – in probably the best places to deliver them on Earth.

Well played, Mike Rinder.

Well played.

, ,

newest oldest
Notify of
Doloras LaPicho

John Rogers, an excellent screenwriter, has argued that being able to lie shamelessly – or to completely do a 180 on your positions when they become inconvenient, and to never acknowledge that anything changed – is like a superpower in modern society. We are so wrapped up in the idea of arguing in good faith that we have no recourse when someone does that.

John Doe
John Doe

The state or fact of a group being religious in nature (a “religion”) and tax exemption based on that group being a religion are two different things.

In the case of Scientology, it was in Hubbard’s interest to conflate the two, and this interest was passed on to Miscavige after Hubbard died.

What Hubbard wanted was to not be pestered by taxes and those pesky laws such as minimum wage and overtime rules, and he wanted to be able to “do as he willt” in abusing staff. Beyond that, he didn’t give a rat’s ass if anyone thought his enterprise was a religion or not.

Miscavige wanted to leverage the IRS rulings that favored Scientology in the US into a de facto validation of Scientology as a religion in other areas besides the US and had been largely successful in doing so.

But these facts remain:

1. The Scientology business model is so flawed that it would quickly go broke if staff were paid even minimum wage,

2. The philosophy and teachings of the church can best be described as religious in nature, (I would make exception to many policies that arose during Hubbard’s more nasty narcissistic moods such as disconnection, abuses like lower conditions, the RPF, “destroying utterly” one’s enemies, etc.),

3. Miscavige and Hubbard both abused the hell out of the “religion angle” because anyone who has/had been in their circle knows that they were (and with Miscavige, are) recipients of personal benefits that are grossly over-the-top and strictly forbidden by IRS rules.

And yet it continues. Because we live in a world where television evangelists have 60,000 square foot mansions and private jets and while Miscavige may covet much more than he has, he does draw the line short of those other hucksters.

And yet, if Scientology were to lose its tax exempt status, the core philosophy would remain religious in nature.

The tax exempt status should be revoked based on the paragraph below, not on any yardstick that exists in the minds of people who have ideas of what is or is not a religion.

“The inurement prohibition forbids the use of the income or assets of a tax-exempt organization to directly or indirectly unduly benefit an individual or other person that has a close relationship with the organization or is able to exercise significant control over the organization.”