John Travolta and Multiculturalism

First of all, I’m not sure this is the right place to post because this is a question about dogma, but I am curious about the lay reaction.

I saw a headline regarding the death of John Travolta’s son that read something like, “It Didn’t Have to Happen.” The gist of the story is this: Travolta had a 16 y/o son who was severely autistic (diagnoses may vary). Travolta is a Scientologist and doesn"t believe in medical treatments. The son had a severe seizure and died. Some in the popular media have latched onto this story and attacked Travolta for not having his son medically treated. In the process, these reporters have, by inference mostly, trounced upon his religious belief.

My question is twofold: First, is Travolta’s right to freedom of religion absolute, even if it leads to the early death of his child? Second, if it is not absolute, where does that leave us as Catholics? Can we be forced to do things which go against our faith?

Based on precepts laid down by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard and whose Hollywood adherents also includes Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Scientology views mental illness as psychosomatic and says it should be treated through spiritual healing.

It denounces psychology and psychiatry as pseudo-sciences and rejects the use of drugs to reject mental conditions. Autism is often associated with epilepsy and in the US nearly half of autistic children are prescribed with anti-convulsion drugs.

Travolta and Preston said that their son, who appeared confused or unsure of his surroundings in public, had suffered as a young child from Kawasaki disease, brought on by chemicals used to clean their carpets.

Avid critics of John Travolta’s church, the Church of Scientology, are now linking to a website that eerily predicted his son Jett’s death in 2007.

The critics claim that Jett was autistic and was not given the proper diagnosis and/or treatments because Scientology disapproves of psychiatric and drug treatment of autism, also rejecting psychiatry as a pseudo-science.

A 2007 post on Hollywood Interrupted told of a meeting between a Florida restaurant manager named Tim Kenny, the father of an autistic child, and Travolta. Kenny is said to have asked Travolta what special treatment Jett was getting.

"I don’t think it’s a stretch to call their treatment of Jett child abuse,” Ocala, Florida restaurant manager Tim Kenny tells Hollywood, Interrupted.

As far as the law goes regarding parents withholding medical treatment for religious reasons, I look forward to learning from our other members.

First, there’s zero evidence that the Travolta’s withheld any medical treatment for their child, assuming the child was atustic. And there’s less than zero evidence that even if they had withheld medical treatment, it was the cause of death.

Generally, parents are permitted to withhold medical treatment for religious reasons.

I believe I just read an article where the family spokesman (attorney?) said that he was on drugs for the seizures. I would think it’s best to just assume this child was properly treated until evidence proves otherwise.

Here it is…

He was on an anti-seizure medication called Depakote for several years, Ossi and McDermott told the celebrity website TMZ.
They said the drug was suspended after it lost its effectiveness amid concern about side effects, however, and Jett had been suffering about one extremely serious seizure a week.

If abortion should not be allowed because it harms and kills children, why should parents be allowed to with hold medicine and medical treatment for a sick child? After all, making abortion illegal protects the child from the harm being done to it by a parent, why shouldn’t the same be true in this instance?

And you provided a link and a quote. But the quote doesn’t say how long he had been off Depakote (weeks? months? years?) or why another anti-seizure medicine wasn’t used.

I agree that it is premature to form opinions. We need to find out more of the facts.

But the point I was making is that according to people close to the situation, the treatment was not withheld for “religious” reasons.

Seizures are not a “psychological” disorder, as say…depression would be. According to the above article he was on Depakote. We don’t know if they were going to put him on another medication or not.

It’s a sad issue.

If we say “Parents shouldn’t with-hold medical treatment” then that gives doctors the right to give other preventative treatments as well. (i.e. vaccinations) (we aren’t allowed to talk about it on these boards, so don’t start an argrument)
I would think that the Travolta’s stopped the medication under doctor approval. I would think this until it’s proven differently.

It is a sad issue and incredibly complicated. And the stakes are high. If we open the door to the gov’t (or doctors) to be allowed to step in and override a parent’s decisions for their children, we’re going to have huge problems on our hands. It’ll only be a matter of time when a teenage girl is required to get an abortion and any parent that doesn’t drive her to the clinic themselves is hauled away to jail for child neglect/endangerment. And don’t think that’ll never happen because that’s the direction society’s mindset is going.

IMO, if the Travolta’s had withheld medication because it went against their religious beliefs, they were well within their rights to do it. It stinks, it hurts, but we do have something called “freedom of religion” in this country. I wouldn’t agree with that decision, but I’m sure that they both did a tremendous amount of their own research and soul-searching to determine how to best care for the child and did what they felt was best. Their intent would not be to neglect him.

masondoggy: I agree :thumbsup: I was trying to say something similar.

Do I agree with the Scientology beliefs? Or other beliefs that don’t agree with mine? No…but we do live in America. At least currently I have the right not to use medication (like the pill). Even though my doctors say “you shouldn’t have more kids”… I have the right to not have a tubal and not use the pill.
So is my religion wrong as well??

Your wrong read anything about this boy and his death and it will tell you. Kelly Preston said and I repeat several times. " His sickness was due to household cleaners and pesticides. He was treated by the detoxification treatment of Scientology, he was not treated with any medication, as Scientologist we do not believe in it" the detoxification worked.
He has had seisures since he was 2 years old, and recieved no conventional treatment. Why do you think he had 2 nannies with him at all times ( he was 16) what 16 year old has two nannies at all times. unless there is a problem
My heart goes out to both of them the death of a child is horrific, however conventional medication and treatment most certainly could have helped with the autism ( which incidentally the Travolta’s always denied he was autistic) and the seisures.

It is repellant that a heartbroken father should now be attacked because people hate his faith.I’m sure that people would condemn me for teaching the Church position on chastity morals and so-called samesexn marriage to my son,and that I am guilty of causing him emotional and psychological harm and raising him to be a “hater”.:mad:

Because some people think the medicine itself is harmful to the chil and there are those who do better without medical treatment in some illnesses, and because medicine itself has been used to abuse and experiment on people, there is ambiguity about what is harm and what is help. Abortion is obviously harmful to the child, as the child always dies from it. I believe there should be some wiggle room for religious reason to do without some kinds of health care, but not to the degree some religions push it. For example, when people are praying for the healing of a child in diabetic shock, they have the right to try it – from what I’ve seen, it works very often – but when it isn’t working, before permanent damage begins, the child has a right to medicine.
Scientologists are known for thinking they acquire power of mind over matter as they progress. Some take that to the extent of refusing any medical treatment for anything. But Travolta didn’t do that to his son.



My question has little or nothing to do with Travolta and his family. I have the utmost sympathy for his situation. Nor am I trying to rush to judgment about the specific medical issues.

My point is that Starwynd and Amberdale appear to be making contradictory statements, yet I agree with both. This is tricky to me because I actually respect the law of contradiction. My mind gets confused over problems like this. How do with deal with relativistic/multicultural values in a religion of absolutes?

Put another way, if we do not vehemently defend a Scientologist’s religious freedom, how can we possibly expect anyone to respect our religious freedom?

I know from experience with friends that not all seizure meds work for people with Epilepsy. There are many who do have seizures but do not take any meds. What’s the point of taking medicine that is not going to work?

We don’t know all the details in this case. Dh told me that he saw an interview that Travolta did with Larry King and he told Larry King that when they found out that it was the chemicals that hurt their son they did everything they could to get away from the chemicals. If they will go that far than I’m sure they would do whatever they could to help their son. They are his parents and they are the ones who know what is best for him.

Our faith is pro-life. We’re safe, morally speaking. Scientology? No comment.:confused:

Courts have been known to step in and make children wards of the Court to allow them to receive treatment when the treatment (blood transfusions) went against the parents’ religious convictions. But it did require someone to make the request – usually hospital authorities.

I know that this does happen. I really have mixed feelings about it. There are cases where this has been taken way too far as in the case where the courts were forcing a teenage boy to continue cancer treatments against his wishes. That’s what I mean about opening the door by giving the gov’t that kind of power.

I think what we really need to pray for is for God to reign in these religions that unneccesarily restrict their members from getting medical treatment. These people are suffering because of their lack of Truth and that’s really sad.

The article I read said they had 2 nannies watching him.

This is a wealthy family that can afford many things the average family cannot.

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