Getting Clear in Haiti

As reported by ABC News, “hope for Haiti came courtesy of John Travolta who flew in with four tons of medical supplies and food for earthquake victims.” The report added that on this plane was his wife, Kelly Preston, doctors and representatives from the Church of Scientology. Prior to this trip, Travolta told Entertainment Tonight that he arranged for “a plane to take down some volunteer ministers and some supplies and some medics.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of media coverage pertaining to the Church of Scientology’s Haitian relief efforts focuses on Travolta’s heroics instead of the ministry’s hubris. Leave it to gossip site Gawker to report the obvious—these ministers have a history of proselytizing instead of providing services at major disaster sites. In my report for Religion Dispatches, I described my experience observing Scientology’s volunteer ministers misdeeds during the 9/11 recovery effort , as well as the establishment of a detox center for recovery workers funded by Tom Cruise that follows a regime developed by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

So just so we’re “clear“—Travolta, Cruise and other Scientology celebrities may talk about helping Haiti, but they’re advancing the cause of Scientology instead.

Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).