Scientology volunteer minister opens yellow tents in Baguio convention center
Baguio City, Phillipines (26 January) — On Thursday morning 9:00am, January 31, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers’ International Goodwill Tour will hold a launching event in Baguio Convention Center, their “Something Can Be Done About It” yellow tents are there to invite anyone who are interested to join them.
This is called “The largest Independent Relief Force on Earth.” (at least that’s what the banner for their web site says).
Yes, helping others is a good thing, but let’s put that in perspective. The next time you hear a story like this, remind yourself that there are nearly 1,500 four-star charitable organizations doing great work around the world … most without any religious affiliation.
This reminds me of the so-called healing ministry of charlatans like Benny Hinn. If there were really any “humanitarian” motives and actual healing “power” behind what he does, he have permanent reservations for a motel room near Children’s Hospital of Boston, Seattle or Los Angeles (or dozens or others), and be dedicated to changing the lives of thousands of children. But that wouldn’t be very glamorous work, now would it? And probably not as profitable.
The humanitarian work of Volunteer Ministers of Scientology certainly shouldn’t be diminished (the motives of many are probably well-meaning and good) — but let’s give appropriate credit where credit is due. This is supposed to be the humanitarian outreach of the Church … where “the rubber meets the road” in terms of the influence on humanity. I’m more inclined to think that this is “window dressing” for the Church. For example, go to Google and click their “news” link (or just click the Google link here). Now put in this phrase (in quotes) … “volunteer ministers.” Now check your results … like they say in the movies, “Move along people, there’s nothing happening here.” Now I realize this is not exactly a scientific survey, but it does provide a perspective.
Anyway … let’s give the Volunteer Ministers their credit, but at the same time, let’s take a look at the “big picture” the “grass roots’ substance of their assistance pales in comparison to organizations like these:
Direct Relief International
Santa Barbara, CA
Annual Revenue: $136,271,810
Direct Relief International is a medical assistance and disaster relief agency based in Santa Barbara, California. Since 1948, Direct Relief has provided material assistance to indigenously run health care facilities and projects by supplying them with specifically requested and medically appropriate pharmaceuticals, supplies, nutritional supplements, and medical equipment. In 2006, Direct Relief provided $201 million in direct aid through medical material assistance and targeted cash grants serving 23.8 million people in 56 countries worldwide. (NOT A RELIGION – support comes entirely from private individuals, associations, foundations, and businesses).
American Red Cross
Annual Revenue: $5,861,509,376
The American Red Cross has helped people mobilize to help their neighbors for 126 years. Last year, victims of 72,003 disasters, most of them fires, turned to the Red Cross for help and hope. Through more than 750 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people each year gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Almost four million people give blood – the gift of life – through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable people. (NOT A RELIGION – support comes entirely from private individuals, associations, foundations, and businesses).
Heifer Project International
Little Rock, AR
Annual Revenue: $95,005,695
Founded in 1944, Heifer Project International is a humanitarian assistance organization that works to end world hunger and protect the earth. Through livestock, training and “passing on the gift,” Heifer has helped seven million families in more than 125 countries improve their quality of life and move toward greater self-reliance. Heifer helps build strong communities because each project participant agrees to pass on the gift of animal offspring, training, or skills to another family in need. Founded in 1944 by a Midwestern farmer named Dan West. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Annual Revenue: $655,344,000
Founded in 1945, CARE fights root causes of poverty in the world’s poorest communities. As a leading humanitarian organization, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. In 70 countries, women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. Each year, CARE helps tens of millions of people around the world effect real, positive changes in their lives. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Save The Children
Annual Revenue: $349,736,933
Save the Children, founded in 1932, is the leading independent organization creating real and lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children’s unique self-help approach to relief, recovery and ongoing development has nurtured the seeds of hope for millions of children and their families. Their programs focus on the areas of: economic opportunities; education; emergencies and protection; health; hunger and malnutrition; and U.S. literacy and nutrition. They work in more than 50 countries, including the United States, and serves more than 37 million children and 24 million adults working to save and improve children’s lives, including parents, community members, local organizations and government agencies. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
American Cancer Society
Annual Revenue: $943,578,000
Founded in 1913, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. With more than two million volunteers nationwide, the American Cancer Society is one of the oldest and largest voluntary health agencies in the United States. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has state divisions and more than 3,400 local offices. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Doctors Without Borders
New York, NY
Annual Revenue: $126,005,991
Doctors Without Borders, USA awards grants for emergency and medical relief projects to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) affiliates for overseas operations. MSF is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries. MSF was founded in 1971 as the first nongovernmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and bear witness publicly to the plight of the people it assists. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Achievement Centers for Children
Highland Hills, OH
Annual Revenue: $7,932,367
Founded in 1940 as a three-man Rotary Club service project known as Society for Crippled Children, Achievement Centers for Children has become one of Cleveland’s most effective agencies for the care and rehabilitation of children with disabilities. Our mission is to work with children with disabilities and their families to strengthen abilities and create opportunities for lifelong achievement in society. Children at the Achievement Centers may have a wide range of disabilities including physical, neurological, sensory, cognitive or a combination of these. We focus on the key areas of family support, education, autism, therapies and recreation. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Action Against Hunger
New York, NY
Annual Revenue: $21,743,958
Action Against Hunger-USA, established in 1985, is the US branch of part of Action Against Hunger (also known as Action Contre le Faim or ACF). ACF is an international, non-governmental, non-religious organization created in Paris in 1979, which works to save lives by combating hunger, malnutrition, physical suffering and the associated distress that endanger the lives of children, women, and men in emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disaster. ACF is directly at work in more than 40 countries on five continents with teams of fieldworkers consisting of nearly 400 specialists in the fields of nutrition, agriculture, water and sanitation, and public health. ACF relies on the skills of its local teams of 6,000 people to develop programs that are well adapted to the needs of its beneficiaries. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Annual Revenue: $33,671,688
Founded in 1943, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a nonpartisan institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. AEI’s purposes are to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism – limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate. Its work is addressed to government officials and legislators, teachers and students, business executives, professionals, journalists, and all citizens interested in a serious understanding of government policy, the economy, and important social and political developments. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
New York, NY
Annual Revenue: $78,544,143
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane organization established in the Western Hemisphere and today has one million supporters. The ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides national leadership in anti-cruelty, animal behavior, humane education, government affairs and public policy, shelter support, and animal poison control. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
America’s Second Harvest
Annual Revenue: $653,171,522
America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network feeds America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engages our country in the fight to end hunger. It is the nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization, with a network of more than 200 Member food banks and food-rescue organizations serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. America’s Second Harvest supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 94,000 programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
St. Louis, MO
Annual Revenue: $27,926,736
Founded in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors children, ages 6-18, in communities across the country. Our mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth. National research has shown that positive relationships between youth and their Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentors have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states, and in 12 countries around the world! (NOT A RELIGION – supported by charitable giving)