Friday, December 14, 2007

Germany moves to ban Scientology

I've touched on Scientology here before. Yesterday, FaithWorld posted a good run-down of the movement to ban the half-century-old religion -- some call it a cult based on the opportunistic teachings of a prolific science fiction writer -- in Germany. Regardless of the merits of Scientology, there are, obviously, some bad parallels for this kind of thing in Germany.
Germany 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.

Read the rest here.

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