Religion is a funny thing. When I decided I was going to write about it I realised there was no way in hell, no pun intended, that I would be able to fit it all into one column.

What is it people say about religion and politics? So welcome to part one of a two-part column.

Recently I was walking down George St, opposite Town Hall, and was accosted by a group of Scientologists. I was harangued and harassed to speak to them and take the magic e-meter test.

Then, within seconds, I had a Chinese Christian group come up on my left.

So there I was, surrounded by two religions vying for my attention. Then it happened, the look. Looking from the young pimply short-sleeved, tie-wearing Scientologist to the happy Chinese Christian I realised there was a serious turf war going on.

Each wanted to convert the poor innocent shoppers walking past and here I was locked in the crossfire of a death stare between two people who should be enlightened.

I’ve come across Scientologists before at the Mind, Body and Spirit festival in our fair town. I was intrigued. I really wanted to see what it was all about. Surely if it’s good enough for Hollywood, it’s got to be all shiny and pretty and fun.

So I had the e-meter test which is basically a crude lie detector test. They measure your body’s responses to questions and trigger words and then assess your suitability for the religion.

I had a few questions for the e-meter operators myself. The obvious one was, How is the GLBT community viewed/treated by Scientology?

Big mistake. The operators couldn’t tell me. At first the young guy just looked at me blankly and after a long pause said, Hold on a minute, I’ll just go ask.

This wasn’t really instilling confidence in me but at least it wasn’t a straight out string them up drawn and quartered.

After chatting with another equally confused operator he then went and spoke to someone who seemed to be the grand poo-bah of the operation that day. They tried to convince me that I should come to the main centre in Pitt St to learn a bit more.

It was only after a little of my own research that I found they treat homosexuality as a mental illness. They try to cure it.

As much as it may seem like a curse sometimes, being treated differently, having to move through the world with a little more caution, I really don’t think being gay is a mental illness. Mind you, I’m sure some of my exes would put me in that category.

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