The Scientologists have expressed their displeasure at John Travolta hoping to star as a Edna Turnblad in the cinematic remake of Hairspray. They’re reportedly griping about L. Ron Hubbard – the late Scientology founder – being severely anti-gay, and that Travolta parading around in drag would be a violation of Hubbard’s beliefs.
Let’s set aside that the Scientologists are a reported safe haven for closeted gay celebrities, or that Scientology is considered a cult by most of the globe. Instead, let’s concentrate on a church publicly questioning a parishioner’s career choices.
Many utter unkind words about the Catholic religion, but not a single Catholic CEO has ever said squat to the press about Jennifer Lopez’s divorces. The Jehovah’s Witnesses never said peep about any of Michael Jackson’s activities violating their by-laws when he was one of them. And the Mormons’ felt no need to rush to a microphone to denounce any of Maria Osmond’s public downfalls as a pox against their faith.
Now, the Church of Scientology never said diddly about parishioner Kirstie Alley’s over-the-top Fat Actress escapades, or Tom Cruise portraying a killer-for-hire in Collateral, and surely those roles violated some Hubbard creed. But Travolta tries to land the part of a fat housewife, and they go ballistic?
Considering the careers of their high-profile members, and with one of the church headquarters located smack dab in the middle of Hollywood proper, it just seems queer to publicly mess with Travolta’s next movie paycheck. And he needs to keep the benjamins rolling in if they want him to continue to afford being a member of the Church.
Separation of Church & State is, currently, an eroding concept, but separation of Religion & Hollywood has remained fairly consistent. When a scandal rocks the celebrity world, we hear condemnation from every limo-driver, waitress and spurned business partner, but never from the notorious person’s church. A person’s faith is supposed to be a private affair (Madonna), and even the religions the Christian masses consider too whacky to be legit (like Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons) know to stay out of a member’s livelihood.
It's difficult to be fair about accepting the Church of Scientology as a valid religion when they’re hectoring Mr. Travolta about his career choices. They’re acting more like a bitter producer than a religion, and surely the movie community anxiously awaits Tom Cruises’ thoughts on Hairspray casting decisions.