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By Pamela Engel and Michael B Kelley
Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is defending Scientology in light of HBO’s highly critical documentary on the church.
HBO’s documentary “Going Clear” did not show the church in an entirely positive light — Scientology has a built a reputation for tormenting members who leave it, reportedly with either surveillance or harassment.
The film highlights the celebrities who made the religion intriguing to the world as well as the horrific stories of abuse from former members.
But Tyson, in an interview with The Daily Beast, declined to bash the controversial church, saying people are free to believe whatever they want.
“So, you have people who are certain that a man in a robe transforms a cracker into the literal body of Jesus saying that what goes on in Scientology is crazy? Let’s realize this. What matters is not who says who’s crazy, what matters is we live in a free country,” Tyson, known for his skeptical views of Christianity, said. “You can believe whatever you want, otherwise it’s not a free country—it’s something else. If we start controlling what people think and why they think it, we have case studies where that became the norm. I don’t care what the tenets are of Scientology. They don’t distract me. I don’t judge them, and I don’t criticize them.”
There is dispute, however, about whether or not Scientology is a legitimate religion.
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