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Scientology Group Taken To Court By Apostolic Church Leader

Title: Scientology Group Taken To Court By Apostolic Church Leader
Date: Saturday, 19 July 2008
Publisher: Pacific Magazine
Author: Ulamila Wragg
Main source:

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The Cook Islands High Court will hear an application today (Friday local time) for the demolition of a tent set up by the Church of Scientology in the middle of the capital, Avarua.

The writ was filed in court by Reverend Alfred Morris, who leads a local Apostolic church in Rarotonga.

Last week the Cook Islands government gave the green light to visiting Church of Scientology representatives Mathew Andrews and Winnie Lawrence to put up posters. However, they were advised the posters must not promote the church principles or doctrines but rather the community work they carry out as a church.

In his application to the court, Morris says that the Church of Scientology has no place in the Cook Islands for many reasons. Apart from having no approval under the Religious Organizations Restrictions Act 1975, the writ says it was also rejected by the Religious Advisory Council nor was it endorsed by a Resolution of Cabinet.

"The Respondent organization is a religious organization or 'cult' which professes atheism .... conducting public meetings ... under the guise of assisting or training the Cook Islands with disaster management," the writ says.

"The Cook Islands government already has a disaster risk management office tasked with that role. Therefore these sessions are seen as a front ... to preach its 'non-Christian' religious message and recruit members in the Cook Islands."