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Scientology in Haiti: when belief becomes dangerous

Gawker has an eyewitness report from an anonymous source who witnessed Scientology's dubious presence in Haiti. A few excerpts from the report appear below in italics. Having arrived in Haiti,

They had no place to stay, and no supplies — their idea was to use the ton of money they had to buy food to distribute when they got there. But there was no food and no water. That was the point.

No food and water in a disaster area? Didn't see that coming. This is a nearly universal trait among zealous groups, religious or political: ideology before practical concerns, even practical concerns the group claims to stand for. One would think they'd have food and water as the first items on their checklist along with medicine, boxes packed and ready to ship from the U.S. So what did they bring? L. Ron Hubbard's unique brand of faith healing.

[T]hey had no-one who spoke Creole, and they brought the weirdness of touch healing into a very superstitious society.

They brought only their dogma. In other words, empty hands. Despite this, the Scientologists were able to get on a UN list of NGOs(!) and infiltrated hospitals, causing major problems.

One nurse told me that the Scientologists actually caused harm — they gave food to people who were scheduled to go into surgery. That then led to complications in the operating theater.

These are eager beavers, aren't they. "Feeding people is good. We must feed people at all costs!"

We can not afford to let our pet beliefs get in the way of real activists who take substantive action and use real resources- like doctors, nurses, medical science. The Scientologists engaged in touch therapy, which like any placebo may help a person feel better in the short term but has no lasting effect. Medicine, food, and water are necessary of course, but are not to be taken 24 hours before surgery. Ask any doctor, which apparently no one in this helpful group did.

When we force our wishful thinking upon other people, especially those steeped in profound suffering, we cause major personal and infrastructural damage. At best, access to resources is unnecessarily delayed. At worst, lives are lost.


  • Butch Trucks 5 years ago

    the Scientologist have set up a web page and have 175 children in their care,according to their recent press releases and they are already offering sponsorship of the children
    I am all for helping orphaned children...but Scientology just See's an opportunity to exploit and profiteer from the Tragic Disaster
    A Mr Claude Reginald Jean a Haitian and a Scientoligist previously ran 2 orphanages in Haiti prior to the Earthquake
    most of the children are from the 2 orphanages.
    Mr Jean Ran the Haiti Dianetics center (AKA Global Pioneers) there.
    Mr Claude Jean relocated his family and children to Florida on a return flight with John Travolta after the Earthquake and his children were given full scholarships to the Scientology run Clearwater Academy in Florida
    several Scientology front groups are raising funds to support the orphanage which is now called Future Haiti

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