The Scientologists of Panama have a great deal to celebrate. Not only is Scientology recognized as a religion, it has now also been granted full tax exemption and is registered with the Panamanian Tax Authority as a community-based organization that functions and works for the benefit of the community.
What’s more, the country has now finally lifted all COVID restrictions. And the Church of Scientology Mission of Panama is now free to provide its full range of religious services to its parishioners and the community.
The Church of Scientology Mission of Panama received religious recognition in 2019 and held its grand opening in October that year. But it was only five months later that the pandemic struck in March 2020, and everything changed.
Local Scientologists sprang into action to help social services cope with the country’s tremendous need for assistance. In the earliest days of the lockdown, they volunteered with the Ministry of Social Development delivering food to the most vulnerable. They worked with the country’s civil protection service, organizing, packaging and distributing supplies.
The Church of Scientology International published a series of illustrated booklets in 21 languages including Spanish, making it easy for anyone to understand how to apply the most effective protocols to enable people to stay well. Volunteers from the Panama Mission handed out these booklets to shops and businesses for their customers and brought them door-to-door to families throughout the community.
The Mission’s Scientology Volunteer Ministers trained in the most exacting protocols for sanitization and disinfection and took on disinfecting children’s homes, orphanages, juvenile centers, retirement facilities and nursing homes to ensure the health and safety of vulnerable members of the community.
The volunteers then reached out to houses of worship to ensure the health and safety of their congregations, sanitizing evangelical and Catholic churches and cathedrals and the Baha’i temple.
As the country began to reopen, the mission launched teams of volunteers to reach out with humanitarian programs to empower the community with initiatives to raise awareness of human rights, promote common-sense values and decency, and a fact-based drug education and prevention initiative to protect youth from drug abuse and addiction. Teams of volunteers provided seminars in schools and to community programs, businesses and sports groups. They took part in parades, marches and other community activities.
But now, with all restrictions lifted, the Mission may fulfill its primary purpose: to provide Scientology services.
In dedicating the Mission in 2019, Mission Director Giselle Lima announced that the Church is here to serve the individual and the entire community.
“Through this new Church of Scientology in Panama, I hope to see each of you discover the solutions this new Church has to offer for you and society at large,” she said.
“As L. Ron Hubbard stated: ‘A civilization without insanity, without criminals, and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.’
“Together we can make this a reality, in this vibrant and important country.”
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.
For more information visit the Scientology website or Scientology Network.