War of Two Religious Worldviews

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

War of Two Religious Worldviews


Byline: Keith Hoeller, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

While it's generally best not to get medical information from either Hollywood celebrities or the mainstream media, the recent debate between Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields illuminates two important First Amendment issues: freedom of religion and freedom of the press. For these two actors hew to two very different philosophical and religious views of human nature and the mainstream press has decided to support one view over the other.

While Mr. Cruise believes problems in living are not caused by "mental illnesses" cured by psychiatric drugs, Miss Shields believes the opposite. Unfortunately for Mr. Cruise, Miss Shields' views have in effect become America's state religion, which is widely supported by the mainstream media.

On NBC's "Today" show, Mr. Cruise said he had carefully studied the history of psychiatry, that it is a pseudoscience, that children are being put on psychiatric drugs against their will, without their parents knowing the side-effects, that Ritalin is a drug available on the street, that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance, and that psychiatric drugs do not cure anything but merely mask the real problems.

All his statements went against the dominant ideology, as espoused by "Today" host Matt Lauer. To get his points across, Mr. Cruise had to interrupt Mr. Lauer, who kept framing the questions within the framework of psychiatry.

After his expression of a heretical view, the mental health movement's high priests promptly went into action. The American Psychiatric Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, both heavily funded by drug companies, assured the public Mr. Cruise was wrong and the mentally ill need and benefit from their daily psychiatric drugs.

The New York Times, which routinely publishes opinions favorable to psychiatry, promptly published an op-ed by actress Brooke Shields, who has just published a book blaming her loathing of motherhood on "postpartum depression" and crediting antidepressants with making her a happier mother.

However, neither the APA, nor NAMI, nor Miss Shields offered any credible scientific evidence to support their claims that depressed people have a bona fide chemical imbalance that is cured by antidepressant drugs.

For in fact psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove any mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance of any kind.

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