U.S. actor Tom Cruise gestures while making a speech during the official opening of a new Scientology church in central Madrid Saturday Sept. 18, 2004. (AP Photo/Paul White)

For many decades there have been all kinds of rumors and accusations floating around about the “Church” of Scientology, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Director Paul Haggis’ very public exit from the religion launched a new era of public curiosity. However, no one has changed the way the American public looks at Scientology more than actress Leah Remini.

After a noisy and controversial split from her lifelong church, Remini produced her A&E show “Scientology: The Aftermath” to rave reviews and huge viewership. Her show delved into the murky depth of Scientology’s origin and exposed the shocking lengths the group goes to in order to maintain their profits and massive real estate holdings. If you haven’t seen the show, it is an absolute must-watch.

Scientology tried their usual tactics to shut down the show. They threatened legal action, stalked Remini and her crew, and issued the standard written denials of her claims. However, the damage had been done.

Clearly leader David Miscavage’s policy of withdrawing the church from public scrutiny has not been working, so they’ve unveiled a new strategy:

SCIENTOLOGY TV!

Yes that’s right. Scientology has a new tv channel. Currently airing on Direct TV channel 320, Scientology TV purports to answer the curious and reach out to the questioning. The network – clearly direct response to Remini’s groundbreaking show – aired on March 12 and includes various “shows” designed to highlight the work and process of Scientology.

It might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen on television.

It is clear that the makers of these shows have never watched Remini’s expose, which isn’t surprising. Remini herself says the church actively discourages members from viewing negative materials, even punishing some who do. If they had, they would know the very thorough examination of their religion that has already been presented. Remini and former Scientology executive Mike Rinder have gone to great lengths to examine the church’s propaganda material, their auditing processes, “international ministries” and all the tricks and slight of hand they use to appear to be doing humanitarian work.

Remini uses clips from their own promotional materials (including the materials she was forced to spend hundreds of thousands on over her lifetime) to illustrate the underhanded tactics and inflated accomplishments.

ScientologyTV uses these very same materials and tactics, except now they are folded into “shows” like Meet a Scientologist (in which we meet normal Scientologists doing normal things. THEY’RE JUST LIKE YOU!) and The Principles of Scientology (in which we see that the tenants of the organization are just super normal, for normal people. PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU!). In another era these might have been effective, but in the era of the internet it just falls flat.

Worse than flat. It is ridiculous. It is laughable. It is creepy.

At one point during Remini’s show, she discusses how Scientology develops their promotional videos. They send volunteers down to disaster sites, hand out some water and ambush emergency responders for handshakes and a few words. They get it all on film and then cut the footage to make it look as though they are a part of the emergency response teams and that their help is welcome.

During the channel’s show about their humanitarian efforts, they used a clip from the recent fires in Los Angeles. Yellow-shirted Scientology volunteers appeared as though they were gearing up to bring vital services to first responders. There is a clip of some volunteers approaching firefighters, talking to them, laughing, shaking hands, giving water. As they turn to leave the camera focuses on the volunteers, but if you look at the firefighters in the background they are clearly perplexed and somewhat annoyed.

It is the perfect illustration of what had already been laid out in Remini’s show.

The “Church” of Scientology has simply waited too long to launch such an ambitious endeavor. The tone-deaf propaganda, the complete and utter lack of self-awareness and the obvious ignorance about what the majority of Americans already know about this group all add up a pathetic posturing.

The cat is out of the bag. Scientology is not only ridiculous but insidious. It may be easy to ridicule people like Rinder and Remini for being so “brainwashed”, but the truth is that all of us are looking for answers. It’s a likely bet that most of the underlings of Scientology are truly just normal people seeking some good in life. Their sincere desire to be good people should not be disparaged alongside the disgusting nature of the church they’ve joined.

Watching this channel, it is clear that Scientology is actually doing more harm to themselves than good.

And that’s great.