The Simpsons has never been one to shy away from poking fun at organized Judeo-Christian religions. But not because Springfield's first family is aspiring to thetan level seven.
Show producers have denied any involvement with a Scientology-promoting voicemail recorded by Nancy Cartwright, who has provided the voice of Bart Simpson for 20 years, in which she advertises her current auditing level—new OT VII—and invites recipients of the message to the church's Flag World Tour event Jan. 31 in Hollywood, at which Cartwright is scheduled to speak.
But while her show might not be connected to the call, she sure didn't mind connecting her call to the show. The message begins with her saying, "Yo, what's happenin' man, this is Bart Simpson. Haha. Just kidding, don't hang up, this is Nancy Cartwright."
"It's gonna be a blast, man," she teases, sounding like Bart again, after providing the where and when.
But just because this particular Scientologist has a signature voice to help spread the word, it doesn't mean she speaks for anyone else.
"The Simpsons does not, and never has, endorsed any religion, philosophy or system of beliefs any more profound than Butterfinger bars," said executive producer Al Jean in response to the implied connection.
Fox says the calls coming from those having a cow because Homer Simpson and Tom Cruise might be sharing a house of worship have tapered off. No further action has been taken by the network.
Either way, Ned Flanders would not approve.
But although Cartwright has been a practicing Scientologist since 1989, the veteran voice actress had no outward problem helping The Simpsons poke fun at her religion in the 1998 episode "The Joy of Sect," in which the family joins the cultish Movementarians, whose members ultimately aspire to live on the planet Blisstonia.
Not so OK with Scientology-skewering was the late singer Isaac Hayes, who left South Park after the equal-opportunity offender poked a little too much fun at his beliefs in the 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet."