On Sunday morning (Aug. 22), the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan brought a message to over a thousand members of the Nation of Islam. In a move which surprised many outsiders, including scholars of religion, Farrakhan concluded his sermon with an ultimatum that any past, present, or future "laborers" (people holding any position) in the Nation would have to sign papers agreeing to take Dianetics training (entry-level Scientology dealing with the body and mind) or they would be asked to "sit down."
Not that there were no clues that this was coming. Louis Farrakhan was recently rumored to be taking courses (with Al Sharpton) at Scientology's Mecca in Clearwater, Florida. On August 10th, Mother Tynnetta Mohammed was at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater with a number of other Nation of Islam Members, as reported on the Nation's FinalCall.com website. That evening, they saw a light in the sky over Clearwater, and became convinced they were watching a UFO.
Also in recent weeks, Nation of Islam members have been seen by protesters at larger Scientology Orgs (Organizations) around the US. In one case, a member of the Nation of Islam confronted and assaulted a protester outside the Washington, DC Church of Scientology. In another city, a protester was approached by a male member of the Nation who had been standing outside the Org where she was protesting. He demanded she stop filming him, and explained that he was not a Scientologist, he was just doing Dianetics.
The strangeness of this union is perhaps most visible when one compares the racist and jingoistic beliefs embedded in both of these faiths. Louis Farrakhan and other leaders of the Nation have often repeated that the Jew and the White man are devils, created by a mad scientist some 6,000 years ago. In lectures which are considered scripture by Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard clearly stated that the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was essentially a con man and "small town booster." Other scriptural lectures and documents by Hubbard make clear his disdain for Africans in general.
It remains to be seen how this will play itself out. With the Church of Scientology being a predominantly white organization, with a significant Jewish membership, and the Nation being an entirely black organization with long held suspicion of those who make up the majority of the CoS, there is bound to be friction. Knowing the way the CoS handles "ethics" (including SecChecks - interrogations conducted while hooked up to a primitive lie detector) this could all blow up if the Church of Scientology treats its guests from the Nation of Islam the way they treat their existing clientèle.
It is also interesting to note that, should Louis Farrakhan reach his goal of "50,000 laborers," this would effectively double the number of people actually "on course" (paying for and attending Scientology training) in the United States.