Scientology—the half-century-old religion made famous by celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta—is facing some of its most significant challenges yet as celebrity members themselves protest the church and governments demand investigation. In Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has criticized Scientology for "a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality." A former church employee at the Los Angeles headquarters has a new book out about abuse within Scientology. The church was nearly banned in France last month, and in Belgium, Scientology is facing a criminal investigation. In the U.S., the church was abandoned by Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis, who accused Scientology of homophobia. The Guardian predicts that with rising criticism and attention, next year could be even worse for Scientology than this already difficult one.
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