Dax Shepard should understand: Tony Ortega thinks Scientology poisoned his cat.
And Scientology has erected websites devoted to exposing the least admirable parts of Ortega’s career as a journalist, just as he posts the least admirable parts of Scientology philosophy, and their history, every single day.
So maybe you can understand why Tony Ortega seems to forget about the abuses that David Miscavige has allegedly committed on Scientologists, which individual Scientologists like Erika Christensen have no control over, and why he takes out his vengeance on anyone and everyone connected to the subject, such as a mother who had just lost her daughter to suicide.
But is Tony Ortega’s vengeance against individual Scientologists legitimate? Or is it just an expression of his own animus against anything and everything religious?
Latest case in point: Erika Christensen was interviewed on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. In it, they talked about Scientology. Erika is a proud Scientologist, having grown up in it all her life, and Dax is her friend. They’ve worked together, a lot. She made very positive statements about Scientology because of the positive way she sees that it has influenced her life. Dax let her.
This pissed Tony Ortega off!
Here’s the ensuing Twitter spat between Dax Shepard and Tony Ortega, with Alanzo sandwiched in between.
Dax Shepard is a self-confessed atheist. He studied anthropology in college. (Self-confession: I studied anthropology in college, too.)
In the introduction to this podcast with Erika, Dax provides a valuable principle from anthropology which I believe applies to understanding and discussing all minority religions.
Here’s what he said:
Is this a valid point Dax Shepard is making when approaching Scientology, or any other minority religion, now commonly slimed with the term ‘cult’?
Are individual scientologists like Erika Christensen responsible for David Miscavige’s actions? Should Tony Ortega keep going after individual Scientologists for the actions of their leader?
For the record, as you might have guessed, I agree with Dax Shepard’s approach here.
Why not be positive and constructive of people, no matter their religion?
Why not treat people and minority religions with respect, as Dax Shepard has done here, no matter what their leaders have done?
These questions are not rhetorical, by the way. I’m really asking them of you.