Scientology Volunteers Help Victims of Sumatra Earthquake
Australian Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring spiritual first-aide to survivors of devastation in southern Sumatra.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers arrived in Indonesia the day after the September 30 earthquake left more than 1,000 dead and half a million homeless.
The Australian Scientology Volunteer Ministers who traveled to Padang, 28 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake, are no strangers to disaster. They are veterans of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2007 Yogyakarta tornado and the 2007 Java quake. But even they were challenged by the enormity of the devastation they encountered.
Here is an account of their first day:
In Padang, 28 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake, they started in Chinatown, left in shambles by the disaster. There, in a medical tent, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers showed the doctors and nurses how to provide Scientology Assists and gave them copies of an instruction booklet. Assists are procedures developed by L. Ron Hubbard that provide relief by addressing the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injuries.
A nurse said “So, you can give relief using no drugs and no medicine? This is really needed. We all need to know this!”
On to a Chinese temple serving as a shelter for those whose homes were destroyed. The volunteers met the head of the medical clinic who had relocated his operation to the temple’s basketball court when the earthquake destroyed his offices. He could not keep up with the flood of people who had come to the temple for help so the Volunteer Ministers went to work. They set up tables to provide Scientology Assists and chairs where others could sit while they waited their turns.
As lines of people received Assists and word of the physical and emotional relief spread, and the lines grew longer, the volunteers decided to train those waiting how to give Assists to each other. Their mission accomplished at that location, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers took their leave and moved on to a hospital where they could give assistance.
As they drove on through the city, they saw the eerie capriciousness of the earthquake. A three-story building leaned precariously over its neighbor’s home. Another building looked untouched until they saw that one wall was missing entirely. One house stood with every room exposed to view, a snapshot of a family no longer there.
The first hospital they found was completely destroyed. The next, a private hospital, was still operating despite damage. There, on the steps, a woman holding a baby was crying uncontrollably—her brother was inside dying because she didn’t have the 125,000 rupiah to buy what he needed from the blood bank. The Volunteer Ministers paid for the blood—$15 to save a life.
The volunteers moved into the wards and started giving Scientology Assists to injured patients while others explained the procedure to the nurses and taught them how to give Assists.
One man whose leg was completely numb received an Assist. When it was over, not only was the feeling in his leg restored, but his huge smile attested to the fact that the pain that had wracked the rest of his body was gone as well.
Concrete had crushed another man’s leg, breaking it in dozens of places from knee down to foot. The doctors had inserted metal rods into his leg. Blood was seeping out into the freshly bandaged wounds and he was writhing in pain. By the time his Assist was done he was calm and relaxed, and he smiled when he said, “I feel good… I feel good!”
Another man, whose entire body had been injured, was traumatized to the point of complete unresponsiveness—it appeared he could not hear or speak at all. The Scientology Volunteer Minister explained what she was doing with impromptu sign language and began the Assist. At first he didn’t appear to notice anything, but gradually he began to respond and in the end he was smiling.
As Day One in Padang drew to a close, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers met a team from the Indonesian Red Cross who had booked an extra hotel room where a bucket served as shower at the end of a long, hot and dirty day they will never forget.
Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously in favor of two Scientology religious groups in Russia, finding that they have the right to be registered as religious organizations under Russian law. This decision determines that members of the Church of Scientology of Surgut and the Church of Scientology of Nizhnekamsk have the right to religious freedom and freedom of association pursuant to Articles 9 and 11 of the European Human Rights Convention.
The Church’s human rights counsel, Bill Walsh, stated: “The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights today is a great victory for religious freedom in Russia and in all 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. The case is given the highest rating of importance by the Court itself as it effectively kills the repressive 15 Year Rule, denying religious organizations rights until they have existed in the country for 15 years. Moreover, the ruling will have great impact on countries throughout the European Community that have passed similar restrictions to repress religious freedom. So it is not only a victory for religious freedom in Russia, but for religious freedom everywhere in the Council of Europe.”
In 1997, the Russian government passed laws preventing religious organizations from forming legally unless they could prove they had been in existence in their respective state(s) for 15 years. Such a law obviously discriminates against religions not established in a state for 15 years and has now been ruled as unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights.
In reaching this decision, the Court “established that the applicants were unable to obtain recognition and effective enjoyment of their rights to freedom of religion and association in any organisational form. The first applicant could not obtain registration of the Scientology group as a non-religious legal entity because it was considered to be a religious community by the Russian authorities. The applications for registration as a religious organisation submitted by the first and second applicants as founders of their respective groups… were denied by reference to the insufficient period of the groups’ existence. Finally, the restricted status of a religious group for which they qualified… conveyed no practical or effective benefits to them as such a group was deprived of legal personality, property rights and the legal capacity to protect the interests of its members and was also severely hampered in the fundamental aspects of its religious functions.¨ Accordingly, the Court finds that there has been an interference with the applicants’ rights under Article 9 interpreted in the light of Article 11.”
Along with the recent decision of the Court in favor of the right of the Moscow Church of Scientology to be registered as a religious organization under the Religion law, these cases represent precedent-setting rulings that guarantee the freedom of religion and right of association for Scientologists and people of all faiths throughout the 47 nations that comprise the Council of Europe.
The Court concluded that “In the light of the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the interference with the applicants’ rights to freedom of religion and association cannot be said to have been “necessary in a democratic society.” There has therefore been a violation of Article 9 of the Convention, interpreted in the light of Article 11.”
The Russian Scientology Church in St. Petersburg also has cases pending in the European Court of Human Rights for similar discriminatory harassment concerning their registration.
The Scientology religion was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. The first church was established in the United States in 1954. It has grown to more than 8,000 churches, missions and groups and millions of members in 165 nations. The Russian Federation has more than 70 Scientology Churches and missions from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.