Scientology’s Ambulance Chasers, Gemstones from heaven, and Old Time Religion

“RNB Clippings” is a collection of clippings, snippets, links, commentary and other items that, in one way or another, relate to the topics normally covered in Religion News Blog. Like so…

Scientology’s Ambulance Chasers
Gemstones from Heaven
Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion

Scientology’s Ambulance Chasers

Back in July, 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.

Read this partial transcript:

ELODIE HARPER: 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.

JULIAN WORRICKER: But — um — Paul Fletcher did say, didn’t he, that the Scientologists on the ground — the — the Volunteer Ministers — helped out — um — by offering cups of tea to the rescue workers and that clearly is a valuable role.

ELODIE HARPER: Yes, it is. Absolutely. But he does also refer to practicing what are called touch assists and locationals on trauma victims. Now, in particular, touch assists involve touching the person in order to put them into — in contact with the place of their physical or psychological injury. And these techniques are a form of faith healing — healing based on Scientology’s teachings about how the human mind works.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Clearly this is a difficult time — the week ahead — for the survivors and families of the London bombings. Um — Has there been any reaction from them?

ELODIE HARPER: Yes, there has. We spoke to one survivor of the 7/7 bombings who has some mental health training and was also approached by Scientologists after the disaster. They didn’t want to be identified, but they did tell us how they were shocked that they and fellow survivors were targeted by Scientologists trying to recruit them and talking of Dianetics therapy as if it were a — a medically recognized form of therapy.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Right, well, let — let’s broaden the conversation, because it’s not just at — um — 7/7, is it, that Scientologists have been seeking out — um — trauma victims?

ELODIE HARPER: No, it isn’t. Not at all. I mean, in the days after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the National Mental Health Association in America warned people, in their words, to beware of Scientologists claiming to be mental health experts after they flooded the disaster zone with their Volunteer Ministers, who are the sort of worker ants of the organization.
So volunteers raced down to the Twin Towers from their Fifth Avenue headquarters, and from across the U.S.A. in the hours after the Twin Towers were hit.

We spoke to the NMHA, who did confirm this to us, and we also spoke to Bruce Hines, who is now an ex-Scientologist after 30 years in the organization, and he was one of those ordered to Lower Manhattan on the morning of September the 11th.
– Source: Partial transcript, BBC Radio Five, Five Live Report, July 2, 2006

Here’s a look at how Scientologists interfered with mental health professionals in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.

Scientology’s fight against psychiatry was discussed in a recent CBS 48 Hours investigative report. The report looked into the murder of Scientologist Elli Perkins by her own son, and examined whether Scientology’s anti-psychiatry beliefs may have played a role in that tragedy.

See Also:
Undercover inside the disturbing world of Tom Cruise’s church
• Apologetics Index entry: research resources on Scientology.

Gemstones from Heaven

Some people who identify themselves as ‘Christians’ have such a rich fantasy life that one wonders whether they have lost all sense of reality.

Remember the Toronto Blessing, with its so-called ‘manifestations’ ” that included anything from ‘holy laughter’ to animal sounds and from imaginary golden swords to fake birthings?

It’s part of the movement that gave us gold dust and gold teeth, along with fantasies masquerading as prophecy, by such folks as Bob Jones and Rick Joyner.

If you buy into their alleged trips to heaven, visions and ‘words from the Lord,’ have we got a deal for you: gemstones – from heaven.

At Apologetics Index we received the following information:

There are emerging stories of gemstones falling from heaven in the Gateway Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

On their website you will find profesionally produced videos explaining this “miracle”.

Here is a website that discusses an investigation into this affair.

Makes us glad to read something more encouraging in our next clipping:

Gimme that Ol’ Time Religion.

The Nov. 6 issue of TIME magazine has an interesting item:

In Touch With Jesus: Sugarcoated, MTV-style youth ministry is so over. Bible-based worship is packing teens in pews now.

Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment.

But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugarcoated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early ’90s, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all.

In a national survey recently released by Barna Group, a polling firm that tracks religious trends, only 33% of kids 13 to 18 responded that they attend a youth-group event regularly–a 3% drop since 1998. And while nearly 75% pray each week, that number has declined 9%.

Scholars who have looked at young Christians say their spiritual drift is in part the result of a lack of knowledge about their faith. “The vast majority of teens who call themselves Christians haven’t been well educated in religious doctrine and therefore don’t really know what they believe,” says Christian Smith, a University of Notre Dame sociologist and the author of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. “With all the competing demands on their time, religion becomes a low priority, and so they practice their faith in shallow ways.”

As the exodus has increased, churches are trying to reverse the flow by focusing less on amusement and more on Scripture.

Why doctrine matters

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday November 6, 2006.
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