Be careful: the church’s Youth for Human Rights lessons are now available online.
A lot can happen in two years.
Two years ago, I wrote on Medium.com about a variety of educational materials offered by Youth for Human Rights International, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based human rights advocacy group. Back then, after doing some quick online research, I discovered that Youth for Human Rights International is actually a front organization of the Church of Scientology.
Note: In this story, I have intentionally omitted links to websites owned by the Church of Scientology or its front organization; however, here’s the link to the article I wrote two years ago: Dear Parents: Scientology Wants to Get Inside Your Child’s Classroom
Recently, I checked back on the Youth for Human Rights website to see if it was still there, and if so, I wondered if it still offered the same materials and other propaganda extolling the virtues of the organization and its questionable humanitarian work.
What did I find?
A full online course. An app. A teacher dashboard so teachers can monitor student progress in the course.
Instead of sending away for the printed materials I wrote about two years ago, teachers can now instantly open an account, register as a teacher, and enroll their students to deliver human rights content from the Church of Scientology.
And don’t order the printed materials either.
Despite lots of United Nations name-dropping, the Church of Scientology has no business proclaiming itself as a human rights leader.
After all, there are several human rights that the Church of Scientology policies violate, which discredit its claim of being a leader in the field. I’m not an expert on the Church of Scientology, but if one reads even a moderate amount on this so-called religion, you’ll discover many questionable, unethical activities.
For now, here are three that I’m aware of: 1) the cult’s Rehabilitation Project Force, a forced-labor camp where cult followers are imprisoned to perform hard labor to compensate for violations they have allegedly committed; 2) the cult’s disconnection policy, which requires followers to separate themselves from friends and family members who criticize the Church of Scientology, and 3) the documented charges of physical violence and assault by David Miscavige, the church’s “ecclesiastical leader,” and other higher-ups.
Teachers beware: The Church of Scientology doesn’t make it obvious that it’s the force behind Youth for Human Rights International. Visit the YHRI website and you’ll find no connection to Scientology; however, visit Scientology.org and you’ll find numerous mentions of YHRI, its partner front United for Human Rights, and a heavy dose of grandiose language extolling the progress being made globally to advance human rights.
To be honest, human rights violations or not, when a cult is making inroads into American schools – even to promote an innocuous and noble cause – it’s unacceptable and dangerous.
In addition, providing a way for students to sign up for a Church of Scientology online human rights course is even more disturbing.
Despite negative publicity accrued over a few seasons of Scientology and The Aftermath, the Church of Scientology and its myriad front organizations are still operating.
The Church of Scientology’s attempts – including its new online course – to provide a curriculum to schools and to sign up students online is underhanded and dishonest… not qualities I would expect from an organization supposedly dedicated to the advancement of human rights around the world.
I keep tabs on the Church of Scientology and how it attempts to connect with classrooms. Thanks for reading again this week. And please let me know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are ever contacted by the Church of Scientology or its front organizations. I still receive emails from their offices regularly regarding their human rights curriculum.