Scientologists looking for converts in Haiti
Members of the Church of Scientology, led by John Travolta, have flown to Haiti to work in disaster relief. Travolta himself flew a plane carrying supplies and medical professionals to the devastated island and arranged for another plane. In addition to the much needed aid, Travolta’s plan also carried 50 Scientologist volunteers, some of which may be hoping to cultivate new members. An email making the rounds of Scientologists recently asks for financial help to support church members going to conduct training seminars in Port au Prince.
“Wherever there is a disaster, you will find a bunch of scientologists in bright yellow t-shirts,” said Ravi Somaiya, an editor with Gawker.com who uncovered this story. “They believe they are doing good. They believe the only way to true happiness is through Scientology.”
However, others on the ground say that Scientologist are taking landing slots at Port au Prince’s strapped airport from Doctors Without Borders and other aid groups. They are also rumored to be getting in the way of victims trying to get medical treatment, for example, trying to talk to people being prepped for surgery.
“They are not sending people who speak Creole, they are doing a lot of touching are just adding to the confusion on the ground,” said Somaiya. “It’s not overtly doing harm, but it’s not what people need at this time,” he added.
Scientology was founded in 1953 by Hubbard, a science fiction writer. It has been banned in France and several other countries, including and Germany, consider it a commercial organization rather than a religion. Major Scientologist tenets include a belief in reincarnation, life on other planets and a skepticism of psychiatry and other medical treatments.