Scientologists at center of the storm

Wherever disaster strikes, Scientologists seem to follow

MSNBC News/August 18, 2004
By Jeannette Walls

The controversial group - which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its members - has been sending volunteers to help the victims of Hurricane Charley in Florida. After 9/11, volunteers set up centers at Ground Zero, where they were criticized by some for supposedly trying to recruit members even as they administered aid.

Scientologists have set up one center in Port Charlotte, Florida and another in hard-hit Punta Gorda, says a source.

"If they're just handing out supplies and food, that's really great," says one Scientology critic. "But if they're also proselytizing and passing out literature to vulnerable victims of natural disaster, that's truly despicable."

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