Marty Rathbun & Tony Ortega: What Do They Have In Common?

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Could this old proverb apply to the bizarre relationship between Marty Rathbun and Tony Ortega?

First of all, what do the two have in common?

Insanity is the common denominator. Rathbun, a self-styled guru who ekes out a living “counseling” unfortunate souls, abandoned his religion nine years ago yet pretends to still believe in the teachings of its Founder. Why wouldn’t he pretend – that’s supposedly his livelihood.

Tony Ortega is a fervent anti-Scientologist (as is Rathbun) who lost his job editing the smut-peddling Village Voice newspaper because he indulged his hobby (attacking Scientology) at the expense of his professional duties. Now he says he is writing a book, although he has no publisher and is holed up somewhere with a bunch of cats and writing a blog.

Rathbun and Ortega live in a world of hate and chaos – and this is where their lives intersect, mostly on the Internet. At times, the fawning Ortega appears to worship the Texas ground that Rathbun walks on while Rathbun likes to cite and link to Ortega’s posts in his blog.

However, in the vein of “You’re friends with Marty as long as you agree with  him,” a January 2nd post by Ortega may well be sowing discord between the two.

In the post Ortega wrote of a woman who had left the Church and joined the so-called “indie” movement, a strange cult that Rathbun promotes. Indeed, he fancies himself as its leader or “guru.”

But Ortega, apparently, doesn’t give much importance to the “indie” movement. In fact, he invalidates it.

As he wrote on his blog:

After announcing that they were “independent Scientologists,” within several months they were dropping any connection to auditing . .  .”

The implication of the above statement aligns with other observations we have heard from various sources – that Rathbun’s so-called “counseling” doesn’t work and that he is short on clients. At first, they may visit him out of curiosity but when they realize he is nothing more than a snake oil salesman, they don’t return.

But Ortega had more to say, which again paid short shrift to Rathbun the “guru.”

“We wondered if the indie movement was in some ways a sort of halfway house…”

The term “halfway house” usually refers to a place where drug addicts go as part of their recovery program – a stepping stone back to the real world. It’s an interesting reference as used by Ortega because we, too, have heard from sources that drugs are part and parcel of Rathbun’s counseling business.

Perhaps Ortega inadvertently used the term. But the more likely scenario is that even Ortega – a longtime anti-Scientologist – thinks that Marty Rathbun’s business is just the work of an embittered conman who can’t get a real job.

It will be interesting to see Rathbun’s reaction to Ortega’s post – no doubt it infuriated him.

We wonder if Ortega will ever again be invited to Marty’s Texas lair, let alone linked to on Rathbun’s blog.

Only time will tell. But, by all appearances, Rathbun has a lot of time on his hands to do what he does best – brood over imagined past resentments that make him a prisoner of his own mind.

And now he may have another enemy – his one-time partner in slime, Ortega.

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