Nowadays it seems that wherever there is a disaster, so-called ‘Scientology Volunteer Ministers’ show up.
Sometimes they pass out food and supplies, but more often than not their real purpose is to ‘assist’ people with the quackery ‘techniques’ thought up by L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was the huckster who parlayed his interest in science-fiction into the religious fantasy business known as the Church of Scientology.
New Zealand’s 3 News reports that 20 of the ‘volunteer ministers’ have been offering massages to the people of Christchurch:
They visit disaster zones and help out with distributing food, door knocking and assisting with trauma.
But Cultwatch says these techniques specific to scientology could be a method of recruiting.
“I think it comes down to motivation, do they really care about people or is the motivation to try and get into their good books and then try and recruit them,” says Cultwatch‘s Mark Vrankovich.
And mental health officials say people should be careful.
In a statement, Pegasus Mental Health says all aid workers, and especially health workers, should be able to provide very basic psychological first aid. They say they’re cautious helpers who are not familiar with these guidelines could potentially do more harm than good inadvertently.
Indeed, as we wrote before, in July 2006 BBC radio 5 did a report on the involvement of Scientology’s “Volunteer Ministers” in the rescue work after the July, 2005, London bombings.
The report exposed the volunteers for what they are: ambulance chasers.
In the program, Five Live Report, reporter Elodie Harper goes undercover to reveal the tactics used by Scientology followers in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events.
At one point Harper explains:
What you just heard there was Paul Fletcher telling us that he and other Scientologists were keeping the psychs away when they went to help trauma victims amongst all the chaos of the day. And Stefania jokingly refers to it as a type of spiritual security needed to save people from the threat of receiving psychological counseling.
Scientology volunteers also interfered with mental health professionals in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.
Why ‘human rights’ or ‘disaster relief’? Well, the Church of Scientology appears to latch onto anything that can get it some publicity — other than the plethora of articles in the press pointing out what’s wrong with the cult). By riding the tailcoat of good causes it apparently hopes people will have a more positive view of Scientology.
Anonymous has produced an instructive video exposing Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers program:
Research resources on Scientology