Huckster named as ‘a great 20th century humanitarian’
THE last person we’d place on a list of great 20th century humanitarians is charlatan Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, above, who spawned the cult of Scientology.
But go to the website of Youth for Human Rights International, and you’ll discover that the volunteer organisation was founded in 2001 by educator Mary Shuttleworth, who was:
Inspired by the words of humanitarian L Ron Hubbard, who wrote, ‘Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream’.
This came to light last week when it was discovered that the Canadian education ministry had included YHRI’s website, which is linked to Scientology, in a list of possible resources for teachers to use while preparing lessons about human rights and social justice.
Education Minister Shirley Bond defended its inclusion, insisting that mention of the YHRI website does not constitute an endorsement of it or the Church of Scientology. It was included on the advice of teachers who helped develop the guides, but it will be used in the classroom only if approved by teachers and local boards of education.
Now here comes the amazing bit. The teaching guide was developed by the ministry as part of an effort to make the K-12 curriculum gay-friendly.
Now the words “gay friendly” and “Scientology” hardly sit comfortably together. According to Wikipedia, L Ron Hubbard classified homosexuality as an illness or sexual perversion, citing contemporary psychiatric and psychological textbooks to support his view:
The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation, such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc) is actually quite ill physically… he is very far from culpable for his condition, but he is also far from normal and extremely dangerous to society.
In her 1972 book, How To Choose Your People, Scientologist Ruth Minshull described the “gentle-mannered homosexual” as a classic example of the “subversive” personality, commenting that they:
May be fearful, sympathetic, propitiative, griefy or apathetic. Occasionally they manage an ineffectual tantrum.
She described them as social misfits:
Homosexuals don’t practice love. Their relationships consist of: 1) brief, sordid and impersonal meetings or 2) longer arrangements punctuated by dramatic tirades, discords, jealousies and frequent infidelity. It could hardly be otherwise since the tone is made up of suspicion and hate, producing a darling sweetness interspersed with petty peevishness. Their ‘love’ turns to deep contempt eventually.
Ironically, Hubbard had a gay son Quentin, who died of an apparent suicide in 1976.
The website describes Youth for Human Rights International as a non-profit corporation that promotes tolerance and peace. It makes little mention of its affiliation with Scientology, although it identifies the church’s founder, L Ron Hubbard, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King as “great humanitarians of the 20th century.”
Patti Bacchus, chairwoman of the Vancouver board of education, said inclusion of the YHRI “is kind of alarming.” She suggested the ministry should have applied the same critical-thinking skills that schools are urging students to use.
Bond said the guides list many websites, and others could also be considered controversial. Teachers will use their professional judgment in deciding which ones to use, she said.
Susan Lambert, vice-president of the B C Teachers’ Federation, suggested the YHRI website and Scientology could be used in discussions about non-mainstream religions.