Bahamian officials determined it was a seizure that caused Jett Travolta’s sudden death, but there have been a number of outspoken critics of Scientology claiming that the church’s practices might have played a part in how the Travolta family cared for their son.
In response to the claim that the family might not have sought appropriate, conventional medical treatment for Jett’s seizures, Tommy Davis from Scientology International says that simply isn’t allowed under Scientology practices.
“Scientologists seek conventional medical treatment for medical conditions. Scientologists use prescription drugs when physically ill and also rely on the advice and treatment of medical doctors. The church does not involve itself in the diagnosis or classification of any medical condition,” says Davis.
(If you’re wondering how the church’s stance might apply to Tom Cruise’s now-infamous argument with Matt Lauer of the use of anti-depressants, Davis points out, “That centered around a psychological diagnosis, not a medical diagnosis, there’s a distinction.”)
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Scientology hasn’t issued a statement specifically aimed at the Travolta family’s loss, but did offer up the following clarification regarding death and funerals within the church. Because many erroneous reports concerning church practices are taking away from the real tragedy, it seems fair to get Scientology’s stance out there so that the debate may end.
Slideshow: Remembering Jett Travolta On the subject of death, Davis says, “In Scientology, we believe that you have lived before and that you will live again. The spirit, which is you, is immortal and you are not your body. You as an individual are an immortal spiritual being and simply put, you have lived before and will live again, lifetime after lifetime. In Scientology, these past existences are simply referred to as past lives.”
On the funeral service, Davis says, “The Scientology funeral service celebrates the life of the person who has departed his body. Friends and family have the opportunity to say goodbye, to acknowledge and thank the person for what he or she has done in this lifetime, and to wish them well as they move on to their next lifetime. The service is a reaffirmation of the knowledge that we are immortal spiritual beings.”
PETA sends Bristol Palin a baby gift
Among the many gifts Briston Palin will receive to celebrate the birth of son Tripp is a gift basket from PETA. The animal rights group says since Tripp’s “grandparents never met an animal they didn’t like — to eat or shoot” — they sent some gifts that send a message of peace toward animals and the world. Among the items are a “Give Peas a Chance” onesie and a bib emblazoned with the slogan “Animals Are My Friends.”
“Tripp will inherit a kinder and more compassionate world than the one his grandparents cling to,” PETA’s Michelle Cho wrote in a letter included with the gift. “There is a growing consciousness among people everywhere of how our actions affect those around us, including animals. Helping children understand that animals are living, feeling beings who deserve to be treated with respect and compassion will help them grow up to be kind, compassionate citizens.”
John Mayer’s Pete Wentz bromance
Are Pete Wentz’s overshares about his life making your ears bleed? Well, brace yourself. He’s talking again about what it’s like to walk a mile in his shoes in the February issue of Blender magazine, but there’s a bonus in this interview: His pal John Mayer weighs in on “the idea” of Pete Wentz.
Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings “Pete has this fabulous meta-awareness,” Mayer told the magazine. “Some people mistake it for narcissism, but it’s really just his way of playing with the idea of ‘Pete Wentz.’ His genius is he’s always one step ahead.”
Mayer also admires the way Wentz has navigated the perils of tabloid romance with his wife, Ashlee Simpson. “To have this beautiful relationship with someone who gets attacked so often, and to handle it with such grace and respect — I just find that really impressive,” said the rocker.
Mayer, if you recall, used to be involved with Ashlee’s sister, Jessica Simpson.
Big Easy Theater reopens post-Katrina
If you’re in New Orleans this Thursday, Jan. 8, I implore you: Go to the opening of the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Arts. Some of the best musical acts in all of New Orleans — Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band, Marva Wright, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band — are playing for free to commemorate the reopening of this theater, the first truly local theater to open after Hurricane Katrina forced it to close. FEMA aid is what allowed the theater to reopen, and it represents an improvement in not just housing for the city, but the culture as well. And I’ll add this: You can blame me if you don’t have a good time — that’s how good these bands are.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com.
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