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Come on, cut Scientologists a break
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By Andrea Peyser
November 2, 2015

Come on, cut Scientologists a break

This may be the last acceptable form of religious bigotry.

While even the most ardent enemies of organized faith would hesitate to trash Christianity, Judaism or Islam, followers of one form of worship are open for mockery and accusations that they belong to a sinister cult.

It’s time to give Scientology a break.

Overpopulated as the Church of Scientology is with rich, famous followers, from Tom Cruise to John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, its adherents likely don’t need me to defend their way of life.

But a veritable cottage industry has sprung up recently, including books and a TV documentary dedicated to taking down the religion. Where is the Scientologists’ version of the Anti-Defamation League?

It doesn’t exist.

The latest person to entertain the masses with a tale of her exit from Scientology is Leah Remini.

Who?

If you’re unfamiliar with the 45-year-old actress, that’s because she has done little of note since her hit TV series, “The King of Queens,” was canceled in 2007. She was fired as a co-host of a TV talk show, has competed on and served as a judge for “Dancing with the Stars” and now appears in a TLC reality show, a descent into the acting cellar that clearly pains the gal from Brooklyn.

But she has found a route to winning attention: blasting Scientology, a secretive religion established by the late science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. She was brought into it after her mother divorced her father when she was 7, and claims she signed a billion-year contract that would tie her to Scientology after many reincarnations.

She credits her former success to the religion.

Scientology provided “tools that are very helpful to you in your life to you as an actor,” she enthused on ABC’s “20/20” in an interview that aired Friday night. “I walked into a room where some people might cower in front of a casting director — I wasn’t.”

I guess she misses it. Remini is selling a book she co-wrote, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” to be released Tuesday. In her interview, Remini described a religious experience that unraveled after she attended the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and became enraged when she wasn’t seated next to her pal Jennifer Lopez. She started complaining to anyone who would listen about Cruise and Scientology leader David Miscavige. It ended, Remini said, when she left the church with her family in 2013. (A Scientology spokesman told “20/20” that Remini, “who remains obsessed with shamelessly exploiting her former religion in a pathetic attempt to get publicity,” was “expelled” from the flock.)

Katie Holmes doesn’t have her back.

A rep for Holmes, who became perhaps the world’s most famous Scientology defector after she divorced Cruise in 2012, said ABC owes her an apology. Remini claimed on “20/20” that she saw Cruise “forcibly kissing” his then-fiancée, and said, “Hey, get a frickin’ room” — a criticism that, she said, got her “written up” (denounced) by church members.

The network pumped up the story to attract eyeballs, with correspondent Dan Harris asserting on “Good Morning America” that viewers would “hear from” Holmes. But the promise was bogus. Holmes only provided ABC a brief statement: “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.”

Despite tales that Cruise was set to force his and Holmes’ daughter, Suri, into veritable Scientology slavery, by all accounts, he’s been a devoted divorced dad who poses no threat to his kid.

Remini even acknowledged that she had defied church teachings against using medication to relieve labor pains.

She said, “When you start feeling a baby coming out of your vagina — if there was a rock, I would have hit myself on the head with it. So I got that epidural as quickly as possible.” She didn’t say she was written up for that.

I’ve never had contact with a known Scientologist, and some of the rules about which I’ve read, divulged only to high-ranking church members, sound like science fiction. For one, a human is believed to be an immortal, spiritual being — a thetan — trapped on this planet in a “meat body.”

Some people undoubtedly find the beliefs and practices of my religion, Judaism, quite strange, too.

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