Many are criticizing the organization for damaging the environment and surrounding community.
The Church of Scientology came under fire for releasing hundreds of helium balloons during the grand opening of a new church location in Ventura, California. The church has since issued an apology during a city council meeting in Ventura after city officials and the local community voiced their concerns and anger over the reckless celebratory move.
The release of balloons into the air has become a subject of concern over the years because they typically wash ashore or fall to the ground and end up being mistaken for food, harming the stomachs of marine life and animals.
Officials in California say the Church of Scientology is apologizing after releasing hundreds of balloons during a grand opening of a new church. The release angered Ventura city officials, who feared damage to the environment in and around their community https://t.co/8xd0nycNKf
— CNN (@CNN) February 27, 2020
Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere told CNN that the community is one that eagerly defends its natural environment and that they “will not stand for this type of assault on our environment and animal life.”
Mayor LaVere went on to say that it was “hypocritical” of the Church of Scientology, an organization that claims “environmental bona fides,” to “turn around and do a balloon release.”
The church applied for a permit, which included a balloon release, as part of their grand opening, and LaVere said that the city would not approve the release. However, the final permit submitted by the church included language stating “balloon/confetti release.”
It was revealed that the junior staffer that signed off on the permit thought that the church would pay careful attention to the city’s original stance on the balloon release.
As a result, at the city council meeting, church officials apologized and claimed there was a misunderstanding.