Here's a Radha Soami Satsang Beas related newspaper story that came to my attention via someone's Twitter feed that I follow: "Opponents to religious group Radha Soami Satsang Beas' worship centre in Green Wedge at Carrum Downs score win at VCAT."
(VCAT stands for Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal)
A religious group’s plan for a large worship centre in Carrum Downs has been scuttled after opponents had a stunning win at VCAT.
In a decision handed down yesterday, VCAT member Michael Deidun overturned Frankston Council’s approval of a permit for the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) group’s new Australian headquarters in green wedge land.
Defenders of the South East Green Wedge secretary Barry Ross, who appealed council’s decision at VCAT, said he was rapt with the result.
Interestingly, the story says that the ruling hinged on whether RSSB actually is a religious organization. The guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas is considered to be God in Human Form by devotees, yet RSSB also claims that it is more of a spiritual science than a religion.
So this seems to put RSSB in a tough spot, legally. Here's another excerpt from the story.
In his written decision, Mr Deidun said RSSB was “not a religion, nor is it aligned with one particular religion”.
He added: “A clear indication ... that RSSB is not a religion is the absence of any unique sacred texts or set of values and belief systems regarding the person and divinity of God and man’s relationship to God.
“RSSB Australia is not a religion and therefore does not conduct religious activities.
“As such it cannot be regarded as proposing a place of worship for the site.”
Mr Deidun said based on his finding that RSSB was not a religion, its proposal was actually for a “place of assembly, particularly a place where philosophical or spiritual meetings and instruction can take place”.