A magnet for Scientologists, Clearwater comes to terms with its status as a mecca - 2007-10-11
Sometimes, it makes the neighbors a bit uneasy.
"When you come to downtown, no one likes being a minority," Hibbard says.
But mostly, folks in this picturesque Gulf Coast city have come to accept that Clearwater is to Scientologists what Salt Lake City is to Mormons, what Mecca is to Muslims. Though not everybody is happy about it.
"I think there's been a slow shift from a very strong adversarial relationship to a tolerance," says Ron Stuart, who clashed with church officials as an editor of the now-defunct Clearwater Sun in the '70s.