Scientology birthing "controversy"

katie holmesI have a fairly low tolerance for celebrity "news." I especially disdain with the greatest disgust the current rage regarding celebrity childbirth, as if it were the latest fad or cool thing to try out. And I do not have any sympathy for those birthing the babies (I do feel great sorrow for the babies). The celebrities thrive off celebrity and need it to keep their careers afloat, as much as it is degrading to humanity. So when I stumbled across this Associated Press story on the religion page of washingtonpost.com about the birthing plans of Katie Homes and Tom Cruise, I was miffed. What does this gossip piece have to do with religion?

Other than the issue of Scientology -- and how it "controversially" forbids any noise during a birth -- the article is just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo Hollywood gossip (for more debate on whether Scientology is actually a religion, click here):

Tom Cruise has been practically shouting from the rooftops about his love for his pregnant fiancee, Katie Holmes. But when their much-anticipated baby is born, the superstar dad probably won't say a word.

Cruise, a longtime Scientologist who introduced Holmes to the faith, is likely to follow Scientology's practice of quiet birth. Followers believe the absence of talk and other noise in the delivery room is more healthful for mother and baby.

No one's saying publicly where baby Cruise will enter the world, but if it is at the actor's Beverly Hills home then noise control might prove a challenge. Buzzing paparazzi are already camped aside the property.

With the little one expected soon, tabloids and gossip Web sites have been rife with chatter about silent birth, spawning much speculation about what it is and isn't.

The article fails to cite official Scientology authorities, but relies on a "self-professed 'Scientology mom'" who was quickly contradicted by actress Anne Archer, a 30-year Scientologist who denounced the silent birth speculation as "ridiculous." Scientologists apparently like to see their children brought into an "environment as calm, quiet and loving as possible." Isn't that just peachy. Archer added that "any culture in the world would understand that and any woman who's given birth would understand that."

Give me a break. Every culture? All women? Of course I can't speak for women, or for the cultures of this world, the way Archer can, so I'm going to move on.

The article reads like a press release for the greatness of Scientology. Not that I see anything controversial about keeping a room quite while a baby is born, but if you are going to examine the subject, please talk to more than a few Scientologists and a Beverly Hills obstetrician, whose best comment was "You're not going to yell at the patient. You may talk to them in a calming fashion and the patient will gain comfort from hearing your voice."

I've only been present at one birth in my life (my own, 24 years ago), but I'm guessing that yelling at a woman giving birth is a bad idea.

How about examining the scientific claims behind L. Ron Hubbard's writings that said infants should not be touched, spoken to or cleaned for the first 24 hours after birth? Or that mothers should not talk to their kid for 24 hours?

Do Scientologists still believe that today? I'm just dying to know. Oh wait, I really don't care. Keep these stories to the gossip pages, washingtonpost.com.

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