• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Pentecostal Scientologists

Parallels with Unification Church’s outreach to churches

A fascinating story from CNN:

Some Christian congregations, particularly in lower income, urban areas, are turning to an unlikely source for help — the Church of Scientology.

…For [Rev. Charles] Kennedy, it began two years ago when he attended a meeting at the Church of Scientology’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. He was introduced to a book called “The Way to Happiness” — Hubbard’s 64-page, self-described “common sense guide to better living.”

In the book, which lays out ways to maintain a temperate lifestyle, Kennedy found a message he believed could help lift his predominantly lower income African-American congregation. He said the book’s 21 principles help them with their struggle in an urban environment where there is too much crime and addiction and too little opportunity.

Kennedy, who heads up the Glorious Church of God in Christ in Tampa, says he matched the 21 principles to Biblical passages. His daughter describes herself as a “Pentecostal Scientologist”. Another enthusiast is Rev. James McLaughlin, of the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, who extolls the virtues of Narconon. The report adds that

…according to published reports, Scientology has been recently diversifying its outreach to include other religions and ethnic groups.

One wonders if Scientology is following the lead of Rev Moon, whose Unification Church has been making links with various religious groups through front-organisations such as the Universal Peace Federation. The Unification Church has also been particularly targetting African-American church leaders, at least one of whom removed a cross from his church on advice from Moon (Ed Brayton has more on Moon’s church links in Michigan).

Both groups are also active in the “Holy Land” – as I blogged last year, Moon is building an inter-faith centre in Galilee,  while Hubbard’s The Way to Happiness has been widely distributed among Israelis and Palestinians, with some official support.

(Hat tip: a commentator at Pharyngula)

One Response

  1. […] blogged on links between Scientology and certain Pentecostal churches here, and on links between the Nation of Islam and Rev Moon’s Unification Church here and […]

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