Let's play word association: Cesar Chavez. If you said "Scientology"...you win!
Among the civic leaders at last weekend's grand opening of the church's Ideal Org in downtown Santa Ana, was Garden Grove Mayor William Dalton, who compared (according to a church news release) the work of Scientologists to the late civil rights champion and labor leader when he said (according to the news release):
"One of our greatest champions of education in California and the nation, Cesar Chavez, once said, 'The end of all education should surely be service to others.' You are all fantastic examples of Cesar Chavez's ideals in action. Because you all put what you have learned, and what you know, right back into the community."
Indeed. As protesters outside the grand opening told stories of financial ruin, spy games, cross-country harassment and shattered families -- all allegedly at the hands of Scientology -- I couldn't help but think, "You know, that kinda reminds me of Cesar Chavez."
But Dalton wasn't the only politico to praise the church. Anaheim Councilwoman Lorri Galloway said (according to the news release) that it is wonderful that the church is making its home in the iconic building formerly known as the Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center.
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"It is a perfect partnership," she said. "Reaching out to the community is a trademark of yours."
Of course, one of the ways the church has already reached out to the community is to proclaim that it has forged an anti-drug abuse outreach partnership with the Santa Ana Police Department. The department says no such partnership exists.
Not that I don't trust Scientology, but since I was booted from the event and subsequently followed by their, uh, ushers, I have left messages for Dalton and Galloway, seeking to confirm their quotes, and add context. Come back for possible updates...