Saturday, February 06, 2010

New York Times: Praise for Scientologists in Haiti

Excerpted from "Questions for Baptists, Praise for Scientologists in Haiti" by Robert Mackey, New York Times News Blog - 3 Feb 2010

A (silent) video news release from the Church of Scientology shows the group’s members taking part in the relief effort in Haiti...the work of volunteer ministers from the Church of Scientology was lauded in a report on American television.

American Scientologists are celebrating the praise heaped on their volunteer ministers in the Haitian capital during this glowing report on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday:

The report, headlined “Scientologists Make a Difference in Haiti,” shows volunteers working in a Port-au-Prince hospital alongside a doctor who pronounces herself “very impressed” and is narrated by a reporter who gives an enthusiastic account of Scientology healing and organizational techniques.

Not surprisingly, this rave review of the church’s efforts in Haiti is now featured on a Scientology Web site documenting the work of its volunteer ministers in the wake of disasters. Another post on the Scientology “Volunteer Minister Disaster Response” Web site shows members of the church helping to distribute food in Port-au-Prince alongside members of the American military.

Cary Goulston, the president of a Scientology outreach group who led a “Haiti Dianetics Tour” in 2008, wrote on another Web site affiliated with the church:

We got the U.S. Government to include us as part of the ‘Joint Command’ of U.S. and U.N. Military working with the 5 approved NGOs under the U.S. Southern Command. This entitled us to land and operate a Command Post out of the airport in Port-au-Prince.

Since there was some controversy over the ability of the Scientologists to land at the airport in Port-au-Prince, which is under the control of the U.S. Air Force, before other relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders were able to get all of their supplies in to the country, The Lede asked a representative of the State Department in Haiti if the Church of Scientology is working with the American military there. David Searby, a public affairs officer working from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince explained in an e-mail message on Wednesday:

The U.S. Government is working with hundreds of U.N., NGO and international partners. In many cases this support includes transportation of personnel and the much needed relief and medical supplies to various distribution points.

All U.N., NGO, and international partners capable of advancing the humanitarian relief efforts to meet the priorities set out by the Government of Haiti in response to the January 12 earthquake are given a slot to off-load cargo, supplies or personnel.

See also this report on working with the Scientology Volunteer Ministers by the Special Forces Association:

"Day after day they entered the camp (0700 hrs), yellow shirts fading daily from the previous day’s work but they never stopped or even slowed. Never a mal-word, never questioning our request (ok, sometimes our requests sounded like orders being barked) but always doing whatever was required to assist the people of Haiti. My team and I had the opportunity to talk with many of the Scientologist volunteers. Of course there were a few jokes, (SF-types always like to pick-fun at folks different from us) and to be honest they could dish it out as well as they receive it; but what a group of people! Religious beliefs aside (Hell, I really have no clue on what they believe in; only what I have read or heard about through media channels) these guy and girls are OK by me. They lived the selfless service motto; never questioning, always doing for others. Day after demanding day.

We all have differing values, beliefs and ethos we live by. I may not understand the Scientology church (if it is even referred to as a church) but I can attest to the fact that theses volunteers in once bright and now fading yellow shirts are a credit to whatever affiliation they serve. Their higher power has directed these young people to serve, just as my team and thousands continue to do in this terrible environment. It was my pleasure to meet and serve alongside the volunteers for the Scientology Church. Different beliefs / All American!

Tommy Buchino - Covenant Special Projects"

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