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Nestled in the Lauel Mountains of Western PA, the Church of Universal Love & Music is a controversial little congregation…
The CULM's origins go back some 20-odd years, but it really began to make an impact around the turn of the current decade. According to published accounts, the church filed for nonprofit status with the state in 2002. As the case began to draw notice in 2003, CULM was featured on The Daily Show. In September 2004, the owner of the church property applied for a special exception for religious use permit from the Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board. Hearings were held in February 2005, and the permit was denied two months later. The opposition said there was no evidence of religious use happening at the property.
The controversy came to a head in the summer of '06. From the July 5, 2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
As for the Church's own website, the position is as follows:
"As its name implies, CULM's religious and spiritual focus is on universal love and music and is in large part mystical. It is the CULM's belief that no dogma is necessary to honor the Earth or our place in it…"
Of course, the controversy has led to a lot of otherwise-unobtainable publicity, including the hilarious bit on Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Since the Church grounds are located just a few miles from my home, I have paid a few visits there, and I am currently seeking to work with CULM on some projects.
Some additional video on CULM can be found here at Google Video.
– Reverend Pan Demonium