Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology
This page: Religious Freedom vs. Government Responsibility
Scientology wants to be recognized as a religious movement, and thus misuses the issue of "religious freedom" in its attacks on Germany, France, and other nations that consider the movement to be a destructive cult, a (at best) controversial business, and/or or a danger to national security.
However, many countries - familiar with Scientology's record, ideology, and practices - are not inclined to recognize the organization as a religion.
Much, if not all, information provided by Scientology in which it claims to be the victim of ''religious intolerance,'' ''religious persecution,'' or even ''human rights abuses,'' is not supported by documented facts. Rather, it is crafter by Scientology's PR deparment - which is part of its so-called Office of Special Affairs. Ironically, by consistently lying, the organization actually reinforces its negative image.
A German Embassy statement on Scientology said that ''because of its experiences during the Nazi regime, Germany has a special responsibility to monitor the development of any extreme group within its borders.''
U.S. Challenges Germany on Scientology, Washington Post, May 4, 2000
The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany's democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization's activities in the United States.
Scientology and Germany, Germany Online
As the Germans continually explain, because of their historical experience in the 20th century, they are peculiarly sensitive to the presence of cults and extremist groups in their midst. This may seem shocking to Americans, for whom tolerance is a kind of religious doctrine, but it makes sense to Germans, who have suffered greatly for past sins.
For their part, the Scientologists have deployed all manner of crude propaganda in recent years, threatening critics and drawing parallels between the Hitler regime and legal restrictions on their cult. But the truth is that German regulations — which allow Scientologists to follow their leader, but bar them from government service — are designed to preserve German democracy, which cults like Scientology are likely to weaken.
Americans understand the value of freedom in the world, but they do not necessarily appreciate cultural distinctions. The Germans are probably better equipped to judge how best to nurture their free society than bureaucrats at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Everyone in the world wants to be free, but not everybody yearns to be American.
U.S., the Germans - and Scientology, San Francisco Examiner, May 13, 2000 (Editorial)
Scientology in Switzerland Unofficial Translation of the July 1988 Report by the State Security Advisory Commission. Provides a good overview of the history, teachings and practices of the Church of Scientology. Also gives a good indication as to why many European governments don't give in to American government pressure to accept the movement as a religion.
Scientology Information from Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (in German)
Scientology vs. Germany Is There Religious Persecution in Germany?
Understanding the German View of Scientology Excellent fact sheet posted by Germany's embassy in the USA.
» Religious Freedom, Tolerance, And Intolerance
» Additional articles regarding freedom of religion vs. Governmental Responsibilities
Examining The Church of Scientology
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