Letter sent out this afternoon:
This afternoon I was escorting some visitors around downtown Clearwater when we passed the Clearwater Winter Wonderland. There were children singing on stage, kids getting pony rides, and a small petting zoo on display. The lure of the bunnies waiting to be pet were too much for us so we went inside.
Within minutes of our entering what we assumed to be a public event, one of my guests had a man poke her in the arm and say "Why are you here if you don't believe?" My guest was startled, but I wasn't. My guest was wearing a t-shirt saying "Think for yourself" and displaying the web address for the Lisa McPherson Trust, a watchdog group in downtown Clearwater which helps folks victimized by Scientology.
Immediately after, Benetta Slaughter, a prominent Scientologist, came up to the three of us and demanded we leave as we were on private property. We complied immediately.
We saw no indication that you had to have specific beliefs to share in the glory of the Winter Wonderland. The signs at the entrance welcomed all and said "Free Admission." When the man asked "Why are you here if you don't believe?", he wasn't speaking about believing in Christmas or the holiday spirit or goodwill towards man...he was referring to a belief in L. Ron Hubbard and his "religion."
In past years, at least in Los Angeles, the event used to be known as The L. Ron Hubbard Winter Wonderland. How about some truth in advertising? Of course, that would be about the last thing one could expect from Scientology.
765 Bruce Avenue
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767