Scientology Cult Fraudulently Claims “Medal of Valor” from New York Fire Department

The Scientology cult loudly boasts that after 9/11, its “Volunteer Ministers” were awarded the Fire Department of New York’s highest honor, the “Medal of Valor.” This is not only a lie, but an insult to the memory all the brave firefighters who died in the line of duty and were awarded this Medal posthumously. Dozens of Scientology web site and blogs brazenly make this claim, in a continuing effort to legitimize their cult.

Scientology’s “Volunteer Ministers,” or more accurately, “Vulture Ministers,” are a special corps of opportunists who, presenting themselves as mental health counselors, flock to the scene of major tragedies, natural disasters, school shootings, etc., in order to prevent and obstruct legitimate mental health professionals from reaching victims and others who may have been affected. (See recent article here: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/06/26/18511436.php). In the days after September 11, Vulture Ministers were ordered to converge on the ruins of the World Trade Center not only to “block the psychs,” but to administer “touch assists,” a rather creepy, inappropriate and completely useless sort of light massage, accompanied by Scientology jargon.

In the weeks that followed, when concerns were raised about the effect on rescue workers of Ground Zero’s toxic air quality, the Vulture Ministers steered them to a Scientology-owned business franchise called Narconon. This company uses a variety of simplistic and ineffective approaches to “detoxify” people, mostly drug addicts, with the goal of making them into Scientologists. The Vulture Ministers and Narconon took this opportunity to recruit rescue workers into the cult by offering them free treatments at Narconon facilities. According to the New York times, more than 140 fire-fighters took them up on this.

Three years later in 2004, on the occasion of the Scientology cult opening a new headquarters in New York City, a Scientologist named Stephan Hittman made the following “proclamation”:

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“In recognition of the humanitarian efforts of the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology, and the help they provided to members of the Fire Department of the City of New York, in keeping with the principles developed by L. Ron Hubbard; and
“WHEREAS: FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM recognize this unwavering commitment to firefighters, to paramedics, to other rescue workers, in keeping with our proudest traditions; and be it known,
“THEREFORE: That FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM officially recognize this dedicated service to the citizens of the City of New York, and hereby bestow upon L. Ron Hubbard and the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology, the FDNY and the 911 PROGRAM’s Medal of Valor and 9–11 Service Award — on the occasion of the Grand Opening of the New York Church of Scientology.”
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Not only is it preposterous that the Vulture Ministers would be honored in this way, and not the many agencies and organizations that actually helped people, but Hittman was not authorized to make such an award, or even any award, on behalf of the Fire Department of New York. He had a little administrative job. Hittman claimed to be an “Honorary Commissioner” of the Fire Department. This was a lie.

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