The tense, often antagonistic relations between some new religious movements and their host communities appear to be moderating in the last few years.
The Cult Observer (No. 11) reports that Transcendental Meditation and its headquarter city, Fairfield Iowa have come to an understanding, if not neighborly concord, as the group has settled into the Midwestern city during the past 25 years. As devotees of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s TM have moved to the group’s headquarter, they have constructed homes and office buildings.
City Council member Neil Doyle says although locals don’t “swallow some fairly crazy philosophy,” the last quarter century shows that a small Midwestern town can absorb, if not integrate, a sizable immigration of rather unorthodox outsiders, particularly whey they bring money and jobs.
A truce between the Church of Scientology and city hall in its headquarter city of Clearwater, Florida appears to be developing after two decades of sharp conflict, reports another issue of the Cult Observer (No. 10). The new relations between Clearwater and Scientology was seen when the city recently listed the organization for the first time as an asset to the downtown area in a document that will go to prospective developers.
Much of the new atmosphere is attributed to arrival of City Manager Mike Roberto in 1997. For its part, the church is recruiting businesses in one of its buildings and defended Roberto in his conflicts with other town officials over spending issues and job performance. The church’s Los Angeles-based leader David Miscavige and other staff members met with Roberto close to a dozen times to discuss how the church’s growth can aid downtown development efforts.
(Cult Observer, Box 413005, Suite 313, Naples, FL 34101-3005)