Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nashville Church of Scientology Presents an Introduction to Human Rights

Part of an international movement spanning 192 countries, the Church of  Scientology Celebrity Centre Nashville is raising awareness of human rights in commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Nashville Church of Scientology is set to have a special event to introduce young advocates to the subject of human rights for International Human Rights Day this year.

Children, along with others new to the subject, will see interactive visual displays on each of the human rights, will read easy-to-assimilate materials, and will get the chance to put human rights into action with activities that will give them a practical view of specific rights.

Last year, the church worked with Tennessee United for Human Rights to produce a video of children each saying an abbreviated version of one of the human rights. This video was then shown during the Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day, and is now online at tnuhr.org.

“It’s so important for people to learn at a young age what their human rights are,” says Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Nashville Church of Scientology. “We live in a world where rights are being taken away by those seeking to oppress and this is made easier by the fact that people just don’t know what their rights are. Education is vital in this battle against ignorance and oppression.”

Human Rights day commemorates the United Nations adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--the world's premier human rights document. Despite the best intentions of those who crafted the Declaration, 68 years later, the UN points out, "disrespect for basic human rights continues to be widespread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack."

Human rights are an integral part of the Scientology religion. The Creed of the Church of Scientology, written in 1954 by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, begins: "We of the Church believe: That all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights." And the Code of a Scientologist calls on all Scientologists "to support true humanitarian endeavors in the fields of human rights."


The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights, the world's largest nongovernmental human rights education campaign, active in 192 countries and partnering with 1,500 groups and organizations.  The initiative is inspired by Mr. Hubbard's conviction that "It is vital that all thinking men urge upon their governments sweeping reforms in the field of human rights."

Tennessee Human Rights Day Celebration Centers on Tomorrow’s Leaders

The Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day will take place in Nashville at the First Amendment Center on December 7th, 5pm – 7pm.

The Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day will take place in Nashville at the First Amendment Center on December 7th, from 5pm – 7pm.  The theme for 2017 is “Human Rights: Our Leaders of Tomorrow,” and the planning committee is bringing together a youth panel to discuss freedom of expression.

Human Rights Day is a time to acknowledge leaders who have given their lives to service, as well as those who have done outstanding work and those taking up the torch for tomorrow. Awards go to human rights champions in three categories: Rising Advocate, Outstanding Service and Lifetime Achievement. Past recipients of these prestigious honors can be seen at NashvilleHumanRights.org.

This year, Rising Advocate Awards will be given to three individuals who have made great strides for human rights and show even greater promise for the future. They are Kayo Beshir, an undergraduate student at Middle Tennessee State University who has worked on and off campus to promote human rights; Pratik Dash, who has worked both with Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition (WOMEN) and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC); and Madison White, a junior at Lipscomb University who has been actively involved in local pro bono legal clinics, and also volunteers her time with nonprofits such as Make a Wish Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank and Free for Life International.

The award winners in the category of Outstanding Service are Jerry Redman, Co-Founder and CEO of Second Life Chattanooga which is an awareness and advocacy organization working to end human sex trafficking and Zulfat Suara, a strong advocate for minorities who is currently President Elect of the Tennessee Women Political Caucus and past chair of the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC).

The Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Thelma Harper, the first African-American woman State Senator of Tennessee who has a long history of service and Joey King, a Board Member for Veterans for Peace who has been active in several organizations to promote human rights, diversity and peace.

International Human Rights Day occurs every year to commemorate the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on Dec 10, 1948. A committee of human rights organizations and nonprofits, including the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, United Nations Association, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Free for Life International, Tennessee United for Human Rights, the Church of Scientology, and others, work together each year to plan the event. The event is ticketed at $10, with proceeds going to fund students attending Model UN. For more information or to reserve a seat, visit NashvilleHumanRights.org.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Scientology Nashville Red Ribbon Week Focuses on Opioid Crisis

More than 1,600 Tennesseans died in 2016 of drug overdose from opiates, illicit drugs and other medications such as benzodiazepines—a 12 percent increase over the year before.

Although state officials have taken steps to successfully curb opiate prescriptions, there has been an unintended consequence: As prescription pain pills become harder to access, addicts have turned to heroin.

To protect youth from the disastrous effects of abusing drugs, Scientologists partnered with Drug-Free Tennessee to bring the truth about drugs to local students. The Nashville Church of Scientology held a Red Ribbon Week program in its Public Information Center to reach local youth with their drug-free message and educational materials.

Red Ribbon Week is held the last week of October nationally to promote drug-free lifestyles. The Red Ribbon was adopted as a symbol in 1985 when undercover DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was murdered by a Mexican drug cartel. His death has inspired parents and youth in communities across the country to take action. Their red ribbons signify their commitment to raising awareness of the death and destruction caused by drugs.

“It’s more important than ever to get the truth about drugs to Tennessee youth,” says Brian Fesler, regional coordinator for Drug-Free Tennessee. “We want students to think of drugs as a bad deal.”

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World (FDFW) is a secular nonprofit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions to live drug-free.
The Church of Scientology and its members support the Foundation for a Drug-Free World whose Truth About Drugs campaign is one of the world’s largest nongovernmental drug education and prevention initiatives. Thanks to this support, the Foundation provides—free of charge—drug education booklets, videos and educator guides to teachers, mentors and civic and community leaders.


According to the United Nations Office on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, “Every dollar spent on prevention can save governments up to ten dollars in later costs.” For more information visit scientology.org.

Religious Freedom "Listening Session" at the Church of Scientology

The mission of Tennessee United for Human Rights is to bring about human rights reform by raising awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To further this purpose, the group organized an International Religious Freedom Day “listening session” Oct 27 to call attention to this vitally important right.

Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Nashville Church of Scientology and regional coordinator of
Tennessee United for Human Rights (TnUHR) said, “Religious freedom is so fundamental, so basic, so natural—it is impossible to imagine a world at peace without this essential human right.”

TnUHR plans to publish a State of Religious Freedom Report for Tennessee in 2018, which will include the information gathered through this focus group.

Several faith leaders representing Muslim, Sikh and Christian denominations contributed their views during this public listening session. They were posed and answered questions about their faiths, public perception of their religions, and religious discrimination.

TnUHR is a chapter of United for Human Rights, an international organization formed on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United for Human Rights provides human rights resources and educational materials to all sectors of society. For more information visit tnuhr.org.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Scientology Volunteer Minister Shares Experience Helping Texas after Tragedy

Scientology Volunteer Minister, Jennifer, recently returned home to Nashville after helping the disaster relief efforts in Texas.

“A Volunteer Minister is a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others,” wrote Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. One such Volunteer Minister, Jennifer, recently recounted her experience helping the disaster relief efforts in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.

“I lived between Austin and San Antonio for 25 years.  When Hurricane Harvey happened I made the decision to go and help right away,” she says.

Jennifer was working with a group of Scientology Volunteer Ministers out of Austin at first, then Houston once roads were clear. Jennifer described her experience on the ground, “We first worked out of a community center, giving out supplies to those with flooded homes. Next, we went out to the houses that had flooded and were now a mess, where mold was growing quickly. Furniture had to be moved out of homes right away. Sheet rock had to be cut out ASAP.  Many elderly folks needed help moving refrigerators, washers and dryers out onto their lawns.”

She also said that she was giving assists on a daily basis to those affected by the hurricane. Assists are techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that help speed healing by addressing the spiritual and emotional factors in stress and trauma.

Jennifer said, “The experience taught me that every little bit helps. Any help is appreciated and everyone can find some way to help. I considered it an honor to be there giving my time and helping to ease another’s load in their time of need... It was a great experience for me and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

The Church of Scientology’s Volunteer Minister program is a religious social service created in the mid 1970s by L. Ron Hubbard. To make this technology broadly available, the Church provides free online training at the Volunteer Ministers website www.volunteerministers.org. Anyone of any culture or creed may train as a Volunteer Minister and use these tools to help their families and communities.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tennessee Human Rights Day Planning Committee Calls for Student Participation

The Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day will take place on December 7, 2017 at the John Seigenthaler Center.

For the past decade, Tennessee has held events each year to observe International Human Rights Day, and since 2011, the event has asked for student participation in the form of art. This has included visual art, computer graphics and spoken word presentations. This year, the committee wants students to come together for a theatrical piece to demonstrate freedom of expression.

According to a new page up at nashvillehumanrights.org, “Student actors and performers are being called to participate in the Tennessee Celebration of Human Rights Day by creating a short theatrical presentation to make the audience think.” From there, students are able to submit their name and information for consideration to participate in this way.

“This is a great way to include college age students in human rights day,” says planning committee chair, Rev. Brian Fesler who pastors the Church of Scientology. “We are still asking middle and high school level students to submit visual artistic presentations,” he says, “but wanted to expand student participation this year.”

The Tennessee Celebration of Human Rights Day brings attention and awareness to key topics, and uplifts human rights leaders who deserve recognition for their accomplishments.

Human Rights Day celebrates the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations, originally signed on Dec 10, 1948. It is always an event with a message of hope for the future, respect for the past, and looking at what it will take to change human rights abuses in the present.

“It’s our intention to foster hope for new generations while celebrating the strides we’ve made,” says Rev. Fesler. The celebration is set for December 7, 2017.

For more information on the event or to participate, visit www.nashvillehumanrights.org.


Drug-Free Tennessee Helping Kids Understand the Truth

Drug-Free Tennessee, the local chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, has been helping students across the state to learn the harmful effects of drugs before they are lured into taking them.

With drug-related crimes being a weekly occurrence, Drug-Free Tennessee (DFT) is working out ways to combat usage rates by spreading truth. “We need to spread a positive drug-free message and educate as many people as possible and as fast as possible,” says Brian Fesler, regional coordinator for Drug-Free Tennessee.

Volunteers have been out in the community, handing out information and giving talks to students in schools. “It works with anyone of any race or creed, as drugs don’t discriminate,” according to Fesler.

Recently, the group visited schools in Davidson and Rutherford Counties where they delivered talks to students, showed educational videos and gave out the Truth About Drugs booklets.

DFT is the local chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World (FDFW), an international organization based in Los Angeles, and has as its mission to educate people about the dangerous effects of drugs so they understand and can make informed choices on the subject. At the heart of the campaign are the Truth About Drugs booklets, 13 fact-filled booklets that, without scare tactics, inform about drugs, empowering young people to make their own decisions to live drug-free.


Fesler says, “There is a need in our communities to educate everyone on drugs—drugs impact all our lives in one way or another. That’s why it is important for all of us to work together to end this epidemic.” For more information on Drug-Free Tennessee, visit drugfreetn.org.