Handmaids Tale star Elisabeth Moss has spoken out in a rare defence of her belief in Scientology.
The actress, who was raised a Scientologist from childhood, has come under criticism for her following of the religion, not least because of its reported intolerance of homosexuality.
It also clashes with the themes of oppression in The Handmaid’s Tale. Scientology has been heavily scrutinised over claims of forced labour in its religious order the Sea Org, and other abusive practices, including the harassment of former followers.
She rarely speaks about the religion, but was pointedly asked about it during an interview with The Daily Beast.
“Listen, it’s a complicated thing because the things that I believe in, I can only speak to my personal experience and my personal beliefs. One of the things I believe in is freedom of speech,” she said.
“I believe we as humans should be able to critique things. I believe in freedom of the press. I believe in people being able to speak their own opinions. I don’t ever want to take that away from anybody, because that actually is very important to me.
“At the same time, I should hope that people educate themselves for themselves and form their own opinion, as I have. The things that I believe in personally, for me, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the ability to do something that is artistically fulfilling but is also personally fulfilling, I’ve never had that.
“The Handmaid’s Tale lines up so perfectly parallel with my own beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the things that this country was actually built on.”
She was also confronted with the anti-LGBT stance of many writings of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard, and how Scientology claims to have techniques to ‘cure’ homosexuality.
“Which is not where I stand. It’s like, it’s a lot to get into and unpack that I can’t do. But that is not my bag,” she said.
“I am obviously a huge feminist and huge supporter of the LGBTQ community and believe so strongly – I can’t even tell you – in people being able to do what they want to do, to love who they want to love, to be the person that they want to be – whoever that is. To me, it’s a huge reason why I love doing the show.
“That’s all I can say. I can’t speak to what other people believe, I can’t speak to what other people’s experiences have been. That’s where I stand and the only place I can speak from is my own.”