“John Travolta to airlift desperately needed e-meters to People of Haiti,” reports Gawker. Even though relief organizations like Doctors without Borders face difficulties landing their planes, Travolta has apparently “arranged for a plane to take down some volunteer ministers and some supplies and some medics.”
Travolta is not the only Scientologist who is clear about the need to provide services to Haiti. According to a press release issued by the Church of Scientology, “Teams of Scientology Volunteer Ministers from throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe and elsewhere will provide administrative and organizational support to the medical teams, distribute supplies, and provide trauma relief and grief counseling to the victims and their families.”
Upon further examination, whatever genuine relief they might provide appears to be offset by their efforts to promote their religious beliefs. For example, during my stint volunteering at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks, I witnessed the Scientologists’ volunteer ministers in action. Once some semblance of order was restored after a few weeks, they were one of the religious groups kicked off the site for proselytizing and passing out pamphlets under the guise of providing “pastoral care.” Their counseling services included promoting their hotline number on Fox News under the title “National Mental Health Assistance.”
In 2002, Tom Cruise and executives from Scientology’s FASE (Foundation for the Advancement in Science and Education) launched “Downtown Medical” (also called “New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project”). This facility offered FDNY firefighters and other recovery workers the opportunity to partake in the “purification rundown” developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Despite intense criticism of this detox program from the medical facility, this program remains in operation.
New York City was by no means the only disaster site targeted for clearing by the Church of Scientology. Whenever one finds a disaster that makes the international news (like the tsunami in Indonesia), one can find volunteer ministers decked out in yellow shirts interfering with relief workers, who are trying to deliver bona fide services to those in need. What can be done to rid a disaster site of such pests?