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 Q Why has the German government tried to portray Scientology as controversial?

 A Germany and, indeed, much of Central Europe, has a long and bitter history of religious intolerance and persecution, a trend which has continued into the present. Many religious and ethnic minorities have become the targets of escalating incidents of violence, xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Unfortunately, many government officials in Germany continue to fuel the intolerance. The Kohl government left a dismal legacy as far as human and civil rights are concerned. Muslims, Charismatic Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Scientologists and in some cases even Jews are among those who have been denied fundamental rights because of their race or religion. In recent years, the German government has been strongly criticized in more than 25 reports from international human rights bodies including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Helsinki Commission, the United States State Department, and a British Ad-Hoc Human Rights Committee composed of Lords and scholars.

In 1997, a study by the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex, England, found that, “In Germany, democracy is used as an ideology to impose conformity. It has been dismaying to discover that the state, and some of its politicians and people, are using what are known from the past to be well-worn paths of discrimination and intolerance.” The U.S. State Reporter has criticized the German government for the “clearly discriminatory practice” of “prevent[ing] a person from practicing his or her profession of participating in public or private fora solely based on that person’s religion or belief.”

Germany is generally regarded as the birthplace of institutional psychiatry which spawned the theory of eugenics, created the first death camps and instigated the wholesale slaughter of millions. As in the United States in the early 1950s, the Church of Scientology traced the source of false reports and government attacks in Germany to psychiatric vested interests seeking to protect a multibillion dollar mental health monopoly. Operating without popular support but with taxpayer funds, psychiatric special interests regard as a threat any religion that provides man with genuine freedom without the use of mind altering drugs or similar unscientific “therapies.”

Unfortunately, some priests from the predominant Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany have encouraged government persecution of Scientology and other new religions. Although supported through parishioner-paid government “church taxes,” the membership of these churches has been declining dramatically and so have their revenues. Rather than looking within their own organizations to find and cure the causes of declining membership, they have wrongly blamed Scientology, which continues to grow.

Fortunately, those who are upset by seeing man improve are small in number compared to the many who have followed Scientology’s invitation to “think for yourselves” and who consequently, have embraced Scientology and its efforts to create a harmonious and peaceful civilization and more freedom for the individual.

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