by Dan Gibson
In 2011, Lawrence Wright profiled former-Scientologist Paul Haggis for the New Yorker and now he's taken that research a step further, looking into the celebrity culture and inner workings of the Church of Scientology in his new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. The Hollywood Reporter is running two excerpts in the next issue, one from the section on John Travolta and one, from which the passage below can be found, regarding Tom Cruise:
Cruise poured millions of dollars into the Church — $3 million in 2004. He was not simply a figurehead; he was an activist with an international following. He could take the Church to places it had never been before. Whenever Cruise traveled abroad to promote his movies, he used the opportunity to lobby foreign leaders and American ambassadors to promote Scientology....
In 2003, he met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, to express the Church's concerns over its treatment in Germany. Cruise had access to practically anyone in the world.
That same year, Cruise and Davis lobbied Rod Paige, the secretary of education during the first term of President George W. Bush, to endorse Hubbard's "study tech" educational methods. Paige had been impressed. For months, Cruise kept in contact with Paige's office, urging that Scientology techniques be folded into the president's No Child Left Behind program.
One day, Cruise flew his little red-and-white-striped Pitts Special biplane, designed for aerobatics, to Hemet, along with his Scientologist chief of staff, Michael Doven. Miscavige and Rathbun picked them up and drove them to Gold Base. Rathbun was in the back seat and recalls Cruise boasting to COB about his talks with the secretary.
"Bush may be an idiot," Miscavige observed, "but I wouldn't mind his being our Constantine," referring to the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.
Cruise agreed. "If f—ing Arnold can be governor, I could be president."
Miscavige responded, "Well, absolutely, Tom."