Germany on collision course with Scientology

December 13, 2007

Scientology in HamburgGermany has sought to nurture tolerance as a national characteristic since World War Two, but it doesn’t stretch to the Church of Scientology. A new Forsa poll shows 74 percent of Germans think Scientology should be banned. The survey comes hard on the heels of a declaration from federal and regional ministers that the movement is unconstitutional. That announcement, the culmination of a row with Scientology dating back to the 1970s, opens the way for a possible ban.

Germany is not alone in refusing to recognise the Church of Scientology as a religion, but it goes further than many other countries in its rejection of the body. It see Scientology as a cult masquerading as a church to make money, a view Scientologists reject.

Agents of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a kind of German FBI, are already gathering information on Scientology and a whole chapter is devoted to it in the intelligence agency’s 2006 report. It describes the movement as having a “totalitarian character” because it seeks to exert control over its members. But the agency is not sure the government will be able to get enough evidence to ban it.

Scientology, founded in the 1950s by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, has up to about 6,000 members in Germany, according to the intelligence report. It is certainly visible in Berlin. It opened a multi-storey headquarters on one of west Berlin’s main streets this year, drawing protesters with banners saying “Brain washing. No, Protester with sign “Brain Washing. No, thanks”, Berlin 13 Jan 2007thanks.” Scientology members, many recognisable by their luminous yellow ties, are often out on Berlin streets stopping passers-by to offer personality tests.

Scientologists, whose ranks include Hollywood stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise, insist Scientology is a religion and deny the movement curtails human rights or is undemocratic.

Although Germans, still dogged by their Nazi past, are extremely wary about any infringement of civil rights, they are also fearful of ideologies or movements that can challenge their post-war democracy. Even though they have allowed Scientology to operate in Germany, they have tried to limit its impact. Sensitivities about the issue wereTom Cruise dressed as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg laid bare earlier this year when the Defence Ministry banned Tom Cruise from filming “Valkyrie,” the story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and the attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life, at German military sites. They later lifted the ban.

Critics say Germany can be contradictory when it comes to tolerance. While Germans want to ban Scientology, they still allow far-right parties — including the National Democratic Party (NPD) which comes within a whisker of espousing some Nazi ideas — to operate and sometimes get some public funding.

Do you think Germany should recognise Scientology as a religion? Leave it alone? Or should it actually be less tolerant, towards Scientology and other groups it sees as potential threats to its democracy?

One comment

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I have known l. Ron Hubbard for about 30 years prior to his death in 1986. There are a few things that should be stated about why Scientology was developed in the first place.
We live at a time when we can see the effects of diminishing natural resources, global climate change, and water shortages. In short, we must prudently manage our resources and work to create a sustainable future for life on earth. This is the concept of planetary solvency.
We will face a horrible future unless we can get along with each other well enough to do the actions necessary to accomplish the state of planetary solvency. We can no longer afford to waste our remaining resources on activities related to man’s inhumanity to man. To imagine what shape we are in, just look at how much of our resources are spent on war and weaponry compared to what is spent on defending the planet and developing renewable resources for the entire population of Earth.
Dianetics and Scientology were developed in order to end man’s inhumanity to man, once and for all. I worked with Ron to accomplish this. People become more humanitarian as they ascend up the levels of Scientology. Scientology works but it must be done properly and must be done in the correct sequence. Scientology is not a perfect system but it is a workable system. There is a catch in that the majority of beings on Earth must take a stand and decide to work for the betterment of others.
The foundation of Scientology is based on the following:
1. We are spiritual beings, not merely bodies containing bones, tissues, and fluids made up of a variety of chemicals.
2. The quality of life for spiritual beings can be improved. This is done by rehabilitation of the spirit of man itself.
3. The quality of life for other beings also improves when the quality of life for a spiritual being improves.
Scientology has begun to make it’s materials readily available, free of charge to libraries and on the internet. Most people who visit the official Scientology sites will search for some helpful information and use it to improve their lives; however, only a few will ever step foot into a Scientology organization or become Scientologists. This is unfortunate because we really need the help of a great many people to create a better world for our children. The future of others depends on our attitudes toward them and what we do.
There have been complaints that some of the Scientology materials are “secret”. The secret materials must be withheld from people until they are ready to look at them. Until someone has honestly attained the prerequisite levels of understanding, the secret materials are worthless to the individual and can even be harmful. All beings can look at these materials when they are actually ready to view them. In fact, it has been the goal of Ron and me to insure that the materials are made available to millions of beings. We need to do this if we are to survive on Earth.
Scientology does not replace other religions, such as Christianity or the Jewish or Islamic Faiths. and it was not designed to. Ron and I have always encouraged scientologists to worship God in their established religion. Scientology must be open to all beings of Earth, not just those who belong to a certain religious faith. Scientology should be studied in addition to a person’s established religion. There is no competition with other religions.
If you would like to make up your own mind about Dianetics and Scientology, start by reading the beginning books on the subject. Please help us to improve the lives of others and to create a sustainable future for life on Earth. I will continue my work to improve the lives of Scientologists and Non-Scientologists alike.

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