On Hollis Jane Andrews’ Anti-Scientology Discrimination

It never ceases to amaze me that some adults starve so much for attention that they stoop to grade-school-level gossip just to get some thumbs-ups and fake-internet-points, even if it means engaging in openly demeaning and broadly discriminatory speech. But on my Monday morning, after a wonderful weekend outdoors with my family, I encountered just this kind of pratty, bigoted nonsense, furnished by a few irresponsible tabloid outfits.

Hollis Jane Andrews
Hollis Jane Andrews

The “story” here is that a Hollis Jane Andrews decided to share on Twitter that a full eight years ago she almost took a nanny job until she found out the family’s religious beliefs. The parents of said family had shared with the girl an ideal schedule and set of duties that their nanny would perform, along with how they’ve found various situations best handled with their very young children. But now, eight years later, Andrews decided to share her indignation at the print-out of duties she claims she was given at the time adding her discriminatory snark about how, “In case it wasn’t clear, I did NOT take the job the minute I saw” that the family were Scientologists.

With the massive strides that society is attempting to make to eliminate bias and hate based on race, religion and sexual orientation, it is baffling to me that an individual would still imagine it’s acceptable to publicly “brag” that they didn’t take a babysitting gig because of that family’s religion.

The “story” here is that a Hollis Andrews decided to share on Twitter that a full eight years ago she almost took a nanny job until she found out the family’s religious beliefs.

Could you imagine if the tweet read: “In case it wasn’t clear, I did NOT take the job the minute I saw the word ‘Muslim’”? Or if she “found out” that the family was Asian? Or Black? Or if she discovered (gasp) that their child was special-needs? It’s doubly—triply—sick that equally click-starved tabloid outlets picked up on this and gave a megaphone to such outright bigotry.

I’ll assume some people reacting to this simply don’t know any better, don’t have any kids of their own, or haven’t actually been around Scientology families, so despite the repulsive nature of this tabloid media mini-circus, I figured I’d offer up a few points of clarification.

Extremely detailed write-ups of suggested scheduling and duties have nothing to do with religion and are actually REQUIRED to write and file if you want to employ an au pair from another country.

Woman with children on a rock
A Christian au pair from South Africa with Tad’s daughter and son

For many families, especially those with children younger than three, a live-in nanny, or “au pair,” is a cost-effective and practical way to go. However, given that the au pair program is (in the USA) a tightly-monitored program run by the U.S. Department of State, bringing over an au pair from another country involves submitting an extremely detailed document of one’s own parenting style, as well as creating an exacting list of duties, responsibilities and scheduling. This not only gets filed with an agency, but is a requirement of the U.S. State Department to combat any potential misuse of the program.

My wife and I, for example, have already been required to make documents far more detailed than the one presented by Andrews. (Whether the document is even real is a separate question.)

“In case it wasn’t clear, I did NOT take the job the minute I saw the word ‘Muslim.’”

Our write-ups were indeed detailed, but offered a lot of leeway, and as a result we had a fabulous relationship with both our yearlong au pairs, and remain in contact with them now, almost a decade later.

Our live-in nannies were Christian. We’re Scientologists. It worked out fine.

Our first au pair was from Brazil, and was Catholic. Our second was from South Africa and was a Pentecostal Christian. In both cases, the fact that we were of different religious backgrounds not only “wasn’t a problem” but, I’d say, only enhanced the cultural exchange. I went into this in extensive detail separately here, but we went out of our way to ensure our au pairs had time to go to church and attend any other religious activities of their choosing, and let them borrow the family car as much as they needed to get to and from church.

There was always mutual respect for our beliefs, in stark contrast to the petty indignation and junior-high “like, ohmygosh I-can’t-even” nature of Andrews’ postings.

Daughter with au pair
An au pair from Brazil with Tad’s daughter Mackenzie

Discriminatory speech like Andrews’ attempts to equate all members of a group with one particular inferred negative trait. But I’ve spent the last 10 years running the “Scientology Parent” website, so I’m qualified to comment on this one. Some families have a strict schedule while others are loose. Some feed their kids what they want, others have quite necessary dietary restrictions. Some allow lots of screen time, others prefer their kids spend all their time outside. It’s their prerogative as parents to decide, based on their own experiences, understanding and guesswork, what will be best for their children.  

But in the end, what always mattered to us most was that anyone caring for our children was kind, responsible and understanding, was open and communicative with us, and would collaborate with us on the wellbeing of our kids. Just like in the workplace, at school, or in any social or group interaction anywhere, good intentions, kindness and sincere communication are what matter.

Tad Reeves
Tad Reeves is a Maine native, a Linux Systems Engineer, a father of 3 adorable munchkins, mountain biker, soccer player and outdoors lover, and writer and administrator of the Scientology Parent website (www.scientologyparent.com)