Did anyone read the new People story about the Travolta family and their new baby? First, let me say congratulations. It is always a miracle when a new life comes into this world. It is doubly so when the parents are 48 and 56, respectively, and that baby is healthy. Little Ben is adorable. I got the mail, sat down and started reading.
And wow, am I weirded out. The entire article sounds like it was co-authored by Scientology reps. Almost every answer to every question references Scientology or "their Church." They dropped the names of famous Scientologists like "our good friend Kirstie Alley" came by and "his favorite teddy Bear is the one Lisa Marie Presley gave him." (What? No Tom Cruise or Leah Remini shout outs?) The following are just a samples of the responses:
"We are fortunate to have our church, because they offer a course that has many helpful techniques to make pregnancy easier."
"I had never had a C-section before...but John gave me an assist, a hands-on Scientology process for getting you into communication with your body and relieving stress."
In response to the silent birth: "L. Ron Hubard discovered the single source of stress, worry, self-doubt and psychosomatic illness, which is the reactive mind. This part of the mind records all words and perceptions in times of pain and unconsciousness and these have adverse effects on people later in life."
"(When the baby cries) we use another Scientology assist called a Locational Assist, in which you point out things in the environment and get him to look at them. This gets them extroverted and to stop crying pretty quickly." (I hope you guys didn't pay for that course. L. Ron Hubbard did not invent shaking things at babies to distract them, no matter what the Church leaders tell you. Great aliens in the sky they offer a lot of courses!)
Let's be clear. No matter how bat shit crazy Scientology is, I'm all for religious freedom. You can worship a pair of gold toe socks if it makes you a better, kinder, more generous person. My concern here, is that their son was autistic and because their "church" doesn't recognize autism, they denied his condition. In this article, for the first time, they say the word autism.
"We met with doctors all over the world and tried many different approaches.....autism and seizures are two handicaps that have not been resolved as well as other conditions." There is a side bar mentioning the importance of autism research, and the goals of the foundation, but on the foundation web page? No. Mention. Of. Autism. In fact, it mentions everything BUT autism.
The Jett Travolta Foundation shall endeavor to use its resources specifically to assist and provide relief to children with vision, hearing, mobility, communication, behavior learning impairments or other special medical, environmental, health or educational needs. It may also use its resources, and make grants to educate the public about the need for a clean environment, provide relief and assistance to children who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to fund children’s educational programs.
I wouldn't wish the loss of a child on anyone. The pain is unimaginable to me. But this effort feels misguided. It reads like the whole article is a promotional piece for Scientology.. .as if a deal was brokered. "Ok. You can talk about this fake 'autism' thing, and we'll look the other way, but you need to give as many mentions as possible about the Church and the benefits of our practices and for your convenience, we have prepared some talking points for you." It also makes me believe that there is Church involvement and/or funding in the effort which raises serious validity and motive issues.
If the Travoltas really want to fund research into the causes of autism, and treatment of autism, (which there is speculation they never did properly for their own child) they can't do it as top spokespeople for the Church of Scientology.