Travolta Scientology v. Pro-Life

“There were so many rumors out there about John Travolta denying his son anti-seizure medication we decided to tackle the subject for tonight’s show!”

So begins Randi Kaye at CNN’s 360 blog. There follows an interview Scientologists must have loved. But we note that she dealt with questions about pro-life doctors (including at least one Catholic) in a totally different way recently.

”Jett Travolta died Friday [Jan. 2]  while on vacation with family in the Bahamas,” she wrote.  “Here’s the issue. Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston are scientologists so the blogs have been going nuts with chatter claiming that scientologists don’t believe in medicine and that Jett Travolta’s parents denied him medication which contributed to the seizure that killed him.”

So Kaye went to work.

“I called the Church of Scientology to find out what is really going on. Tommy Davis, a spokesman for the church, told me, ‘scientologists … get conventional medical treatment for medical conditions’ and ‘use prescription drugs as prescribed by a doctor.’”

“What scientologists don’t agree with is psychotropic drugs like anti-depressants. ... Davis, the church spokesman, told me, ‘medical diagnoses are based on medical conditions. Psychiatric conditions are subjective.’”

Then came the citations of depressed Scientologists unable to take standard medication, and a smirk about their unwillingness to diagnose certain things but not others ... 

Well, no.  What followed was some no doubt helpful debunking of “other myths about Scientology.”

We’re all for debunking myths. But the Scientologists do seem to be given a lot of leeway for believing what they do about medicine, whereas, on Nov. 12, 2007, a very different Kaye took on pro-life doctors.

“When I go to a doctor, I expect him or her to treat me, whether I have a sore throat, a stomach-ache or something more serious,” she writes. “So when I found out that doctors around the country are refusing to treat patients because the patients’ needs conflict with their religious beliefs, I just had to look into it further.”

“Turns out, it’s all legal,” she continues. “Doctors can turn down patients and they are doing exactly that.”

Umm … they’re turning down people with sore throats?


“In the Midwest, a woman was denied” the morning-after pill “after she had unprotected sex with a boy she was dating. And in Texas, we met a woman who told us her doctor refused to give her birth control pills because he was a Catholic and it threw his moral compass off course.”

Wait a second. You took on face value the Scientologists’ distinction between different types of diagnoses. Why can’t you understand the difference between pregnancy and a sore throat? 

And why do Scientologists get a pass for pointing out the “subjective” nature of the need to medicate depression, and Catholics get called on the carpet for pointing out the subjective (and, often, abortifacient) nature of contraception?

To her credit, she does quote a voice sympathetic to our doctors, and she does check with the AMA. That is no small thing.

But it would be nice, Randi, if you gave Catholicism the respect you give to Scientology.

— Tom Hoopes

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.