Scientology of acceptance

Scientology of acceptance

Last week, the Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) approved the application for a $6 million Scientology church to be built in Rivervale.

The decision came one day after the religion came under the spotlight when HBO released its documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which is based on the expose by Lawrence Wright and profiles eight former members of the church.

The multi-million dollar place of worship is proposed to include classrooms, a cafe and offices and will be able to cater for nearly 200 people for a Sunday service and will be the religion�s only place of worship in Perth.

Church of Scientology Australia spokeswoman Virginia Stewart said they were happy with the result and would hopefully start construction in about four months.

�We really worked hard with the council to address all issues to ensure that we will fit in well to the local area and definitely will be enhancing the streetscape as our building will not look anything like it does now,� she said.

�We will bring increased business to the area which will be a boost. It is a very nice area and everyone we worked with on council was professional.�

Scientology has come under the spotlight many times for its alleged unethical treatment of members, but Ms Stewart said there was a lack of information.

�Sadly, some people simply have narrow minds and will never look outside of their square of life and actively seek to harm and smear anyone who is different,� she said.

�Some irresponsible media also have an active role in fomenting conflict about religion in the community and they have to actually take responsibility for more responsible journalism. It is very easy to tar a whole group with the actions of one individual, who is in no way representative of a whole group.�

She said they would encourage interfaith activities and community dialogue.

�People expect churches to be helping their local community and we certainly will be doing that.

�We sponsor a large secular drug education campaign, we will offer literacy programs and work with other community organisations to help them achieve their outcomes and goals,� she said.