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II.
ASSIGNMENT

I have been asked to give my expert opinion on two broad questions: (1) Is Scientology a “religion” in all respects of that word? and (2) Are Scientology Churches “places of worship” in all respects of that phrase? I understand that these issues arise in the context of administrative proceedings to determine whether Churches of Scientology qualify for property tax exemption as “places of worship.” I approach these questions not from any expertise or perspective in law but in my capacity as a philosopher of religion and culture, with particular knowledge about religions of the modern era, including Scientology.

...Scientology is a worshipping community in every sense of the word because its object of worship is both absolute and transcendent, its forms of worship are both spiritual and educational, and its occasions of worship are both private and public.

In anticipation of the full discussion that follows, I am convinced by reason of my professional training and scholarly research that Scientology is a religious organization in all respects of that term because it meets the scholarly definition of any religious tradition, because it pursues the goals of any religious quest, and because it exhibits the dimensions of any religious community. I am also convinced Scientology is a worshipping community in every sense of the word because its object of worship is both absolute and transcendent, its forms of worship are both spiritual and educational, and its occasions of worship are both private and public.

III. Analysis of Scientology as a Religious Organization
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