Monday, 27 February 2012

Scientology applying for Religious Status in Mexico.

Scientologists in Mexico applied to the Secretariat of the Interior (Secretariat of Governance) on December 12, 2011 for registration as a religious association. If they do not obtain it, they will claim discrimination.

Translation of a Spanish article posted on Feb. 25, 2012 on the website of the Mexican daily El Diario:
Solicitan cienciólogos otra vez ser registrados como iglesia
Scientologists again applying to be registered as a church

by Verónica Sánchez
Agencia Reforma
February 25, 2012

Mexico City — With an 80-kilo dossier [NOTE: the second article below says 8, not 80], the Church of Scientology in Mexico is for a second time seeking registration as a religious association. Its earlier application in 1999 was not granted.

With the approval of their leaders, church members last December 12 presented to the Directorate of Religious Associations of the Secretariat of the Interior more than 1,700 pages of attestations to its activity in Mexico since the 1960s.

Luis González, director of Community Programs Support for the church, says that, at the time of the first application, the authorities argued that the church did not meet the requirement of having well-known roots, in other words a presence of five years in Mexico. Accordingly, the Directorate administratively withdrew the application and the case was closed.

González says that the church had provided statements from its members, but then requests began for statements from outside persons, from officials, notaries, etc.

"The requirements reached such a point that we had to put the application dossier on wheels."

To avoid the same outcome, González explains that the new dossier contains 200 statements from neighbors and workers in businesses located near Scientology's temples, from notaries who certify the actions that Scientologists have performed, as well as from officials with whom Scientologists have worked on charitable projects.

Due to the weight of the 13 folders, González says they had to be transported from the Scientology temple at the corner of Balderas and Juárez to the government offices at Paseo de la Reforma in a file cabinet to which wheels were added.

"It is clear in our conscience that, if registration is denied, it is solely because of discrimination. There wouldn't be any doubt for us, this is not because of the law.

"This is an issue of equity. Ultimately, it's about the workings of a secular state. Either we are all equal, or we are not," contends González.

González points out that Mexico is the Spanish-speaking country that has the highest number of Scientologists, a total of 5,300, but is paradoxically the only one where Scientology is not recognized as a religious association. He explains that the only reason for which registration is being sought is to comply with national regulations in this area and because Scientology's own members have requested it.

"It is part of our belief to know that we follow the rules and norms of a country. We are in 167 countries and the rules are very different in each country," says González.

Roberto Blancarte, director of the Center for Sociological Studies of El Colegio de México, says it is not customary for so many preconditions to be required of a church.

"There certainly has been more required from them than from others, so there is some fear they won't be treated equitably or justly," notes Blancarte.

According to the Law on Religious Associations, to obtain registration, the church must also prove that it has endeavored for the practice and propagation of a doctrine, that it has sufficient resources to devote to its purpose, and that it possesses internal statutes.

Blancarte mentions that, once the registration process begins, the Directorate of Religious Associations analyzes the submitted documentation but does not specify a time limit for its response.

When the Directorate lacks information, it notifies the organization and gives it three months to comply.

Translation of a Spanish article posted on February 23, 2012 on the website of the weekly Mexican magazine Milenio:
Cienciología solicita registro con 8 kilos de documentos
Group wants to avoid second denial

Scientology seeks registration with 8 kilos of documents

by Eugenia Jiménez
February 23, 2012

Scientology has for the second time applied to the Secretariat of the Interior for registration to become a religious association. Approximately 8 kilos of information were submitted to avoid having the request turned down because of a lacking document.

On December 12 of last year, church members delivered various letters in which they explain the work they've done together with the Federal Attorney General's Office in prevention programs against drug use, along with testimonials from neighbors and businesses near Scientology temples to demonstrate that Scientology has well-known roots in the community.

Ana Rosa Lugo and Luis González, two of the church's leaders, announced that the certified documentation has been delivered, with the signatures of public notaries who validated public religious activities and exhibitions about the meaning of Scientology.

The dossier consists of more than 200 statements from neighbors who provided visual testimony and are not members of the church, but work in nearby businesses.

Scientology's first application to become a religious association was filed in 1998, but the Secretariat of the Interior denied it in 1999 because it was not proven that Scientology has well-known roots among the population, even though this group has existed in Mexico since 1960.

For the 1998 registration request, only statements from Scientologists were provided to the Secretariat of the Interior, and the Secretariat explained that this was not valid. This time, neighbors were sought out and their statements were made before a notary. Documents from the boroughs of the Federal District were also submitted.

Ever since the year in which the denial of registration occurred, the leaders of the church have held meetings with the Directorate of Religious Affairs to find out the causes that led to the refusal of status as a religious association.

The process has taken 14 years, but during that time, the authorities have been given reports about what the activities of the church are.

It is "awkward not being registered like other churches, because both they and our parishioners have been asking us why the church doesn't have the registration," explains Luis González.

Scientology is currently present at the national level and its facilities are located in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. It has 5 thousand followers.

Thanks to mnql1 on OCMB. 

No comments:

Post a Comment