Devotees mix with doubters at Scientology ceremony - 2006-10-23
There cannot have been many such occasions when Chief Superintendent Hurley has been greeted with such enthusiastic whooping from an audience, his image simultaneously magnified on huge screens.
Under massive red banners hanging from the front of the building and proclaiming DIANETICS - the underlying creed of the church - and SCIENTOLOGY, the officer was wildly applauded when he praised the "positive" work of its members in their anti-drugs work and their assistance in the wake of last year's 7 July bombings.
A similar reception also met speeches by Ian Luder, a City alderman and Dr Aftikhar Ayaz, member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and honorary consul for Tuvalu. Although a regular speaker at Scientology events, the latter confessed he was not a member and when he made references to God at the end of his speech the applause suddenly faded and puzzled looks were exchanged underneath the umbrellas.
That is because Scientologists do not do God. They follow L Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer who created the church in the 1950s and whose photograph, with him in a dodgy cravat, adorns their websites and literature.