Can the Rockies learn from their new neighbor, the Church of Scientology?

The Church of Scientology got a warm welcome from the Ballpark neighborhood last weekend when it dedicated its newest temple, located in the 1916 American Radiator Company building at 2346 Blake Street, just one block from Coors Field. City Councilman Albus Brooks, police chief Robert White, LoDo Neighborhood Association president Josh Davies, Historic Denver director Annie Levinsky, and Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives director Leon Kelly all turned out to check out the historic warehouse.

Not in attendance: The Colorado Rockies, who probably could use the teachings of Scientology and its founder, science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, more than anyone. The religion's primary tenets: Man is an immortal spiritual being; his experience extends well beyond a single lifetime; and his capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.

That last one could be particularly useful for the team, which was a truly dismal 25-40 after the weekend and had lost ten of its last eleven games. Troy Tulowitzki and company may want to walk a block over to the 44,000-square-foot building, which the Church plans to use as a chapel, a school and a way to introduce Dianetics and Scientology to more people in Denver.

"Its displays, containing more than 500 films, present the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion and the life and legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard," the Church said in a statement.

Oh, and it's open morning till night to anyone.

Architecture buffs — religious or not — may be interested as well, as the Church has preserved the neo-classical entrance made from white Colorado marble, among other features. "It was built to be a factory and a warehouse, but clearly the company that built it invested a lot," says Historic Denver's Levinsky. "Architecture was important enough to a young city that even the warehouses were beautiful then." Historic Denver has a program that encourages houses of worship to restore historic buildings, she adds. "This was our first interaction with the Church of Scientology, and they did a good job."

Of course, the Church — and its pop-culture ties to extraterrestrials and other-worldly actors like Tom Cruise and John Travolta — has had plenty of controversy since its founding in the 1950s, so the signs on the building may throw some people off.

But they may be reassured by the Church's website, which, in answer to the question of whether Scientologists believe they are descended from aliens, states, "Absolutely not. Scientology holds no such belief. Any suggestion otherwise is as absurd as asserting that those of the Christian faith believe themselves descended from aliens because they believe there is a Heaven. Some of the information one finds on the Internet...is a mixture of misstatements, distortions and outright lies designed to twist Scientology theology. These scurrilous statements...are not only patently untrue, they are intentionally designed to ridicule Scientologists and denigrate their actual religious beliefs."

So stick to ridiculing and denigrating the Rockies — at least until they get religion.

Smoking hot: Colorado, as the New York Times, the Washington Post and others have reported, will be a key state in the upcoming presidential election. If Barack Obama can take it, he can keep the White House. Lose it, and Mitt Romney takes over as the top dog. Latinos are one big constituency here, but so are pot-smokers, according to a recent story by the Reuters news service.

"At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use — and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation," the story says.

But will the stoners turn out to the polls?

For that answer, we need to turn to what we're calling the Cheech and Chong Index. Since last fall, when the cannabis-loving comedy pair started their run as radio pitchmen for Good Times, the Colorado-based burger joints have been flying high. And last week, shares of Good Times Restaurants, Inc., shot up 35 percent, closing at $2.74 a share. That's a 286 percent jump over the stock's low point in the past year.

It's also a testament to the power of pot.

 
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