Church recruitment in park draws fire

CBC Edmonton/September 29, 2004

Edmonton - A church group is recruiting members in a downtown park, but some are concerned about the religious tent being set up on city property.

The Church of Scientology has placed a large, yellow tent at Beaver Hills Park, blocking most of the Jasper Street entrance. There are no signs alerting people to what the tent is for until they get inside.

"Everybody has their own opinon about religion. I won't push mine in your face, you don't push yours in mind," J.C. Abbey said.

"Parks are for families and kids, not for a big yellow tent taking up half the park." Andrew Tougis agrees, saying there should be signs explaining why the tent is there. In January, the city changed its rules to allow religious use of its parks.

It was concerned groups could sue over not being given access. Rev. Rebecca Lee, with the Church of Scientology, says no one should have a problem with them setting up in the park. "Because I have real solutions. However I get those solutions out there and improve their life, then it's appropriate," Lee said.

The city allowed the church to set up for three days, and the tent will be removed after Wednesday.

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