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South Park, Scientology battle rages

Creators of the animated TV satire - Matt Stone and Trey Parker take a dig at

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 15:01 IST
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South Park

has declared war on Scientology. Creators of the animated cable television satire - Matt Stone and Trey Parker, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion. This follows aftera controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise, was yanked abruptly from the Comedy Central schedule Wednesday. It became a covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.

"So, Scientology, you may have wonthis battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the South Park creators said in a statement on Friday in Daily Variety.

"Temporarilyagonising our episode will not stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!" Internet bloggers accused Cruise of threatening to not promote Mission ImpossibleIII, a surefire summer blockbuster, if the offending episode ran. Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, as is Paramount, which is putting out MI:3.

But Cruise's representative, Arnold Robinson, told The Associated Press Friday that the mega-star made no such demands. "Not true," Robinson said. "I can tell you that he never said that."

The episode in question, Trapped in the Closet, which first aired last November, shows Scientology leaders hailing Stan, one of the show's four devilish fourth graders, as a saviour. A cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won't come out.

An animated John Travolta, another famous Scientologist, enters the closet to try to get him out.

In another dig at the famously secretive religion, the credits at show's end are filled with names like "John Smith" and "Jane Smith."

The battle began in earnest earlier this week when Isaac Hayes, another celebrity Scientologist and longtime show member voicing the ladies' man school cafeteria cook Chef quit the show, saying he could no longer tolerate its religious "intolerance and bigotry."

Stone and Parker did not buy that either.

"This is 100 percent having to do with his faith in Scientology. He has no problem and he's cashed plenty of checks with our show making fun of Christians", Stone had earlier said.

"In light of the events of earlier this week, we wanted to give Chef an appropriate tribute by airing two episodes he is most known for," the spokesman said.

Scientology was created by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard. In Dianetics (1950), Hubbard said the thetan (soul) suffers from negative "engrams" implanted in this life and innumerable past lives.