Interfaith leaders and state senator welcome the Scientology church and its community outreach as a resource “to transform tomorrow for the better.”
On April 2, the Church of Scientology opened its first Ideal church in Atlanta, Georgia. The religion has been present in the state since the 1970s. Its leaders saw a growth opportunity in the south and opened a center that’s full of “Southern charm.”
Present during the opening ceremonies were Scientology’s ecclesiastical leader David Miscavige, notable speakers from Atlanta, and around 1,500 local members of the church who welcomed the new Ideal Org.
Speakers during the event were Georgia Senator Donzella James, Pamela Perkins Carn of the Interfaith Children’s Movement of Atlanta, Orlando Johnson of the Agape Center and Rev. James Milner of the Community Concerns Inc.
Miscavige, who is the person responsible for the church’s global expansion, focused on Atlanta’s history and “spirit of freedom” in his speech. He acknowledged how Georgia, and Atlanta in particular, reconstitutes and resurges itself after periods of conflict and hatred.
Mr. Miscavige described the history of Atlanta as one that rose “like a phoenix” from the bloodshed, war and hatred of the civil war to become, as the home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the birthplace of the civil rights movement that began the transformation of America.
Dr. King’s legacy was evoked by Rev. Dr. James Milner, Founder and Executive Director of Community Concerns Inc. who “had the pleasure of marching with Dr. Martin Luther King right here on the streets of Atlanta. We were fighting oppression,” he said. He referred to drugs as “the almighty oppressor today. They cause people to lose their humanity,” and praised a Scientology-supported drug prevention initiative, declaring drug abuse has dropped after using the program.
Mr. Orlando Johnson, Director of the Agape Community Education and Resource Center spoke about The Way to Happiness, a non-religious guide for ethics and morality. “We deal with addicts, we deal with felons and those wishing to start life anew. It’s a tough crowd, but after a person goes through a The Way to Happiness class at our center, I see the message stays with them.”
Ms. Pamela Perkins Carn, Executive Coordinator for the Interfaith Children’s Movement of Atlanta spoke of her passion to salvage the next generation from crime and drugs. She applauded the opportunity to work with the Church of Scientology towards their common goals of reducing crime and drug abuse.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) April 5, 2016
The final guest speaker, Georgia State Senator Donzella James, spoke of the loss of her sister at the hands of psychiatry. “There was nobody on our side … until you came to the halls of our state capitol with Citizens Commission on Human Rights and the Psychiatry: Industry of Death Exhibit.” Since that time, Senator James said, “we have partnered to bring this information. … We have introduced legislation to attack the root of the problem, and this new Church is a place for us to reach out from, to keep spreading the word.”
According to Miscavige “This is Scientology for a new American South. And so whereafter that ribbon falls for Atlanta and she in turn rises up, should anyone ask to what is Atlanta rising, you can truthfully say: she’s rising to eternity.” He added that “It’s all the more inspiring, for the fact yours is a city of enduring inspiration, a city of grace and magic, a city where even oaks and magnolias possess souls; and a city of remembrance that also foretells of the future.
The Williamsburg-style mansion has an area of about 45,000 square feet and is strategically located overlooking the bustling Roswell Road in the City of Sandy Springs, Atlanta. Similar to all other Ideal Orgs, the newly built center in Atlanta offers to its members and the public hundreds of films about the religion, its practices, and the life and works of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. “Ideal” was the standard set by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard so that every Church could be a perfect expression of the religion’s principles and practices.
The new facility offers varied resources for its members. There’s an information center dedicated to showcasing Scientology’s humanitarian and civic efforts from its promotion of education up to human rights and drug prevention. There’s a chapel for religious services and public events. There are numerous seminar and function rooms plus an entire floor dedicated for spiritual counseling or “auditing” in Scientology terms.
The Atlanta church is just one of the numerous churches Scientology has opened across America and the world in just a very short period of time. Recently, Scientology has experienced rapid growth and expansion. Among its latest Ideal Org additions include those in Tampa, Florida; Italy, South Africa, Japan, Russia and Taiwan.