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Southern Religion

Scientology sues Sandy Springs; Member is sued in N.J.

Guy Fawkes mask (anonymous)

Sandy Springs, Ga., slowed the Church of Scientology’s dramatic 2009 growth by denying a rezoning required to expand a former office building into their Georgia headquarters.

Ever aggressive, Scientology filed two lawsuits on Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

The church filed religious discrimination complaints in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday.

Both suits contend that the city infringed on the church’s religious rights in the City Council’s vote Dec. 15 that approved the rezoning of the building at Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive but denied the church’s request to add a fourth floor by enclosing a basement parking garage, saying there wasn’t enough parking.

The pre-lawsuit Scientology vs. Sandy Springs story was blogged in detail by xenubarb at Daily Kos.

Conflict and Scientology go hand-in-hand. Remember last year’s dramatic exits, legal reversals, impending movie, investigations and media takedowns?

Ed Brayton at ScienceBlogs writes about another Scientology lawsuit.

In this one, a politically active New Jersey a businessman is being sued for allegedly attempting to force Scientology upon his employees.

Michael Deak of My CentralJersey.com writes:

Calling a lawsuit brought against his business as “replete with misrepresentations and outright lies,” a new member of the Borough Council is denying the charges, including one that an employee was fired for not becoming a member of the Church of Scientology.

John Buckley, who on New Year’s Day was sworn into a three-year term as a councilman after winning a seat in the November election, said he and his company, Open House Direct “will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims and to also demonstrate that this is nothing but an attempt to harass us and to hurt our ability to do business.”

Three former employees — Maurice Grays, John Knapp and Larry Kolakowski — last month filed suit in Superior Court seeking legal relief, claiming they were victims of a hostile work environment and retaliation at the company on Hamilton Street.

Add to these the threatened Scientology suit in France against the Daughters of Saint Paul [which we blogged about earlier this month] and you have the makings of another fascinating year of watching Scientology-in-action.

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January 15, 2010 Posted by | Cults, WWW | , , , , | Comments Off on Scientology sues Sandy Springs; Member is sued in N.J.

Disabled often still struggle to attend church

Physical barriers to church attendance are still a problem writes Dionne Walker in a story published by USA Today:

Years after federal law required accommodations for the disabled, separation of church and state means houses of worship remain largely beyond the law’s reach. State laws and denominational measures meant to take up the slack are tricky to enforce and face resistance from churches who call them both costly and impractical.

The issue is gaining new attention as the disabled community expands, fed by aging baby boomers and a growing number of people with intellectual disabilities who are demanding a more prominent place in the pews.A Centers for Disease Control report released in April found that an estimated 1 in 5 U.S. adults _47.5 million people — reported a disability. The National Organization on Disability estimates less than half of disabled Americans attend services at least once a month compared to 57% without disabilities.

Read the rest here.

The Episcopal Disability Network suggests more than 50 ways to make your parish more accessible.

[H/T: Episcopal Cafe]

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Churches, Law | , | 1 Comment

Puerto Rican blogger grieves Haiti’s loss

Global Voices, a globe-spanning blog community that was born at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, has created a resource-rich Haiti Earthquake 2010 aggregation.

There a Puerto Rican blogger writes of Haiti’s regional significance:

I have an old debt with Haiti. We all have. Haiti is the first womb, the place where the Caribbean was born, it’s the Africa from within, the unnamable pain, the scar. It was the first country in America where a black person dared think of himself as free, to think of himself as a leader of the people (Toussaint L’ouverture).

Haiti has paid heavily for this impertinence.

They are still paying.

The Old Empire that harbored a revolution (Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité) for the West has not forgiven them. Even they have not forgiven themselves, like those who have made a parody of the initial dreams of liberty, fraternity and equality (Henry Christophe, Duvalier, Aristide). And now this. Haiti under rubbles.

What sort of ancestral crime we have not finished paying for?

Why does the earth hate us so much (Le Damnées de la Terre, always, les damnées de la terre)?

How do we get up now?

Because the Caribbean cannot walk without Haiti.

It stumbles, it hits the dust.

It cannot keep on dreaming the dream that gave birth to it. It cannot keep on trying (egalité, fraternité, liberté) to make it a reality.

Haiti is falling again. And we are also falling.

We cannot keep on walking.

Not without Haiti.

Without Haiti we all fall.

There is so much more. Please visit and explore.

January 15, 2010 Posted by | History, WWW | , | Comments Off on Puerto Rican blogger grieves Haiti’s loss