Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Scientology -- Reaching Out to Help the Community

I read a story from an AP wire on Christian ministers using Scientology technology to help their own parishioners. But I noticed how the author just couldn't resist going to an ardent anti-Scientologist for his views on the subject.

If Scientology raises literacy, improves morality, helps people help one another, helps people to be more productive, why do people go so far afield to try to find controversy about it? Could it be some vested interests that profit off of people doing better in life?

And that points the finger right to the people who DO make a profit off of this (psychs and big Pharma).

That said, here's an excerpt from the article:

Hubbard teachings embraced by faiths

By Matt Sedensky
Associated Press
August 12, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. -- Rev. Charles Kennedy preaches the brilliance of L. Ron Hubbard's words. Children in his after-school program learn with the Scientology founder's methods. Church members study one of his books. The minister calls Scientologists the kindest people he's met and their programs the best he's found.

But he and his congregants are not Scientologists. They are Christians.

The Glorious Church of God in Christ here is among a number of houses of worship across the U.S. -- how many is not clear -- that embrace some Church of Scientology programs.

Scientologists say their interfaith partnerships show people of all faiths clamor for solutions to real-world problems. Detractors say it amounts to a cloaked effort to attract new members. And the clergy who have adopted aspects of the Scientologists' outreach say they're simply making use of programs that work.

"When I see something effective, I embrace it. I took what we could use," said Kennedy. "I haven't found anything that deals with man better than what Mr. Hubbard has written."

Kennedy isn't alone among clergy outside the Church of Scientology in his steadfast appreciation of programs linked to it.

In neighboring St. Petersburg, Imam Wilmore Sadiki's mosque uses one of Hubbard's texts.

At Wayman Chapel in Houston, Rev. James McLaughlin's drug treatment center uses Scientology principles and refers addicts to Narconon, its rehabilitation program.

And at Word Evangelism Ministry in Washington, Rev. Catherine Bego has distributed booklets spreading Scientologists' messages against drugs and for moral living.

Scientology was founded in the 1950s by Hubbard, a science fiction writer. It teaches followers they are immortal spiritual beings, or thetans, who live on after death. The church says there is a supreme being, but its practices do not include the worship of a god.

The Scientology programs being established in other faiths are from the Association for Better Living and Education, a nonprofit established in 1988. It has four main programs: the anti-drug Narconon; the criminal rehab program Criminon; the morality code of The Way to Happiness; and the educational efforts of Applied Scholastics.

ABLE considers its programs secular, and their non-Scientology champions say they are no affront to their faith.

Sadiki has allowed Scientologists to stage a "Good vs. Evil" skit at his St. Petersburg Islamic Center, offers a children's class using "The Way to Happiness" and is considering offering Narconon and Applied Scholastics programs too. Not all of his followers were pleased.

"What is in it that's not advantageous to everyone else?" he asked those in opposition. "They couldn't say anything."

McLaughlin said he was seeking a drug program with more staying power than what his African Methodist Episcopal Church runs. He heard about the Scientologists' efforts and established a new outpatient center after Narconon training.

He says he's seen nothing but good come of it: a higher success rate, saved lives and his own strengthened faith.

"Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow." — Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard

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