Germany and Scientology

Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state. In December, Germany’s … Continued

Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.

In December, Germany’s interior ministers said they considered the religion to be “not compatible with the constitution.” Yesterday, an AP story reported that the German Scientologists have dropped a legal battle to keep the country’s intelligence services from monitoring its activities. What is Germany so afraid of?

German officials have categorized Scientology as a business, not a religion, and tax accordingly. Scientology has responded by complaining about “religious discrimination.”

The AP reports that “The North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court in Muenster refused last month to hear an appeal to a February ruling allowing the intelligence agencies to continue observing the Scientologists.

German authorities suspect Scientology of maintaining ”ambitions against the free, democratic basic order,” according to the February ruling.

The Church of Scientology has long battled to end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of freedom of religion, and the U.S. State Department regularly criticizes Germany for the practice in its annual Human Rights Report.

Germany’s top security officials reiterated in December that they consider Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation’s constitution. They asked state officials to begin gathering information to consider whether they have sufficient grounds to seek a ban on Scientology.”

Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.

  • kaos

    WOW,You’re gettin’ flamed, guess you really dropped the ball here. Or are we all just “haters?”This isn’t he first artical you’ve written on this subject, or the first time you’ve done a fluff ball piece on the cult. You have a much more informed idea of what they’re about. Only Scientologists are forbidden to research the Co$. Is that why you don’t know anything about their attrocities? Are you a member? Maybe you’ve been threatened by them? Either way, please tell the truth next time or turn in your journalistic integrity card!Kaos

  • Biggins

    Millions around the world are coming aware of the ACTIONS the cults leader and his BUSINESS organization including the methods they are using on members that thus with time have become just more victims.* What other religion requires you to sign a release from liability?* What other religions’ senior members were found guilty of infiltrating the offices of the U.S. Government and sent to prison?* What other religion employs hundreds of private investigators to dig up dirt on their detractors?* What other religion uses copyright laws and gangs of lawyers to keep their teachings secret?* What other religion believes that 2% of the world population is “low on the tonal scale” and should be “put away quietly and without sorrow” – ie: killed off?* What other business exploits workers on extreme low or NO pay in their Sea-Org Business alone!They allow Tom Cruise to use his celebrity to recruit for this cult. Cruise uses his money also to support this cult. His work and the cult are indelibly linked, not severable. If Tom and his cult had their way, all those NOT IN the cult would be gotten rid of, killed off (the founders words) – Should we really allow thinking like that to be allowed with Tom Nutcase Cruise as their PR frontman? The CULT operates as a BUSINESS. It very should be investigated.

  • concerned

    SP Hall-Californiawhyaretheydead (dot)net

  • Jeanne

    It’s ironic the German government accuses Scientology of violating the constitution while at the same time refusing to hire Scientologists or depriving them of their jobs and not allowing them to join political parties based solely on their religious affiliation. I have to agree with Jeff. This is not the Constitution that was put in place after WW II to prevent just such intolerance and discrimination.

  • Rick Astley

    MAY 10 – BATTLETOAD EARTHOnce again, we will teach the world why the Co$ is a dangerous cult that needs to be changed or destroyed. Germany is doing the right things.American is falling behind.www.youfoundthecard.com

  • Robert

    Have you looked into Operation Snow White to see why the Germans consider scientology to be subverting their constitution?Let me ask you this; What group was responsible for the single largest infiltration of the US government? Hint: Not the Chinese or the Russians.

  • This is ridiculous!

    Can everybody READ THE RULES and stop using this forum for link promotion and marketing??? And I mean MARKETING because that is what these “Bob” and “Anne”s and “Chris”s are doing here, for the money and based on a marketing plan. Stick to the article with your comments and stop abusing this comment section.

  • James Vogt

    In Germany, due to our historical experience of Nazism and Communism, we are highly suspicious of any organization that uses psychological coercion and totalitarian methods of control. It is especially disturbing when the writings of the organization’s founder authorize mass killings.”…any person from 2.0 down on the tone scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind…”"It is not necessary to produce a world of clears in order to have a reasonable and worthwhile social order; it is only necessary to delete those individuals who range from 2.0 down…”

  • Artoo45

    Ms. Hoffman,Have you ever seen a thread of posts like this on the subject of religion? I think not. Some may rail about this eschatology or that doctrine when commenting on real religions, but isn’t it clear that something’s a tad different here? It’s not Hubbard’s dubious “philosophy” that’s causing the outrage, it’s the totalitarian, mind-control machine that hides behind it.The internet has made it impossible to hide the duplicitous nature of this organization. The intergalactic despot is out of the bottle—to mix metaphors—and he ain’t goin’ back in.

  • Jeanne

    Robert et al. It’s always a sound idea to check your facts before spewing. More than 25 years ago, all those responsible for the Operation Snow White activities were dismissed from staff, and an entire restructuring of the Church took place to prevent anything like this ever occuring again. Since it was well know that that is the case, I can only think those who post about it either do shallow research or have some other reason for bringing it up.

  • William Buddusky

    In your opening sentence you state, “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”

  • concerned german citizen

    Dear Claire Hoffman,As a german citizen who supports considering a ban on Scientology I’d like to answer to your points. You are wondering whether this wouldn’t be extreme as you perceive Scientology to be a self-improvement religion with a checkered past. In my opinion Scientology is not a religion. If you research how it started you would find, that Hubbard claimed it to be a scientific endeavour, that’s why “Dianetics” was also called “The Science of the Mind”. The entire human conception Scientology advertises treats human beings as a sort of machine, where the “bank” of reactive memories have to be “cleared” of engrams. Accordingly there is a “scientific” measurement for this process by an “e-meter”. But it’s of course Scientology’s right to believe in bogus science and i couldn’t care less about it. But I do care when democracy gets attacked on principle, when critics or former members speaking out get attacked and harassed and when there are working conditions in Scientology’s elite organization Sea Org that laugh in the face of minimum wage.And which religion on earth has its own intelligence agency? The “Office of Special Affairs”, formerly the “Guardian Office”.L. Ron Hubbard’s writings are obligatory for Scientologists and in a very important document named “Keeping Scientology Working” he had this to say about democracy:”And I don’t see that popular measures, self-Another quote this is from HCO BULLETIN OF 23 JUNE 1960:”And this: A nation or a state runs on the ability of its department heads, its governors or any other leaders. It is easy to get posts in such areas unless one has delusions of grandeur or fear of it. Don’t bother to get elected. Get a job on the secretarial staff or the bodyguard”Scientology agents infiltrated the US government (“Operation Snow White”), stole documents, created fake bomb threats against itself to get the author Paulette Cooper either imprisoned or into a mental institution (“Operation Freakout”). This is not a conspiracy theory but well documented in US court documents. You gloss over this by calling this a checkered past. The “Fair Game” doctrine:”ENEMY SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”Is this execution of Freedom of Religion to DESTROY opponents or to misuse the legal system? These are not empty words but has also happened time and again. It was later supposedly cancelled, but at the bottom of the cancellation it says:”This P/L does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP.”So the content hasn’t changedThe working conditions in the Sea Org:”. From the age of 14, I had an official schedule starting at 8:00 a.m.and ending at 10:00 p.m., but regularly worked later, sometimes until 2 or 3 a.m. We got 30 minutes for lunch and 45 minutes for dinner and no other breaks. We regularly were ordered to work during part of our meal times. We sometimes got into trouble if we went to the canteen when it wasn’t our mealtime. The schedule was 7 days a week, but we got Sunday morning to do our laundry and clean our rooms. On Saturday’s we did labor work, consisting of renovations, etc. “”Declaration of Astra Woodcraft”, www(dot)exscientologykids(dot)com/astra2.htmlI suggest you inform yourself as well about the existence of RPFs these are labor camps by Scientology. I also suggest to inform yourself a bit about the policy of disconnection and how it tears families apart. www(dot)exscientologykids(dot)com may be a good starting point for this.In the United States of America Scientology has a tax-exempt status, which it gained outside of the normal process tax exempt status is being granted by the IRS. The USA never had dictatorships, germany had several in the last century. Maybe the US can afford to deal this way with Scientology, but as we’ve had different historic experiences we choose different roads.I personally rather wonder about the stance of US authorities towards Scientology.

  • Peggy

    Dear Ms. Hoffman,

  • Goofy

    @ Jeannie:I’d like to start a religion. L. Ron Hubbard

  • kaos

    Jeanne,Actually, the rules were rewritten in Scientology only to stop using the term “Fair Game” as it caused a negative opinion of the cult. The methods were never changed and are still very much in use today. Just as subtrefuge and dishonesty are encouraged. L. Ron himself said that Wogs (non-Scientologists) were not worthy of being told the truth. Are ye Wog or are ye Thetan?Kaos

  • Anon

    Germans are afraid of totalitarian organizations that are out to take over the world.

  • Nibs

    You ask – what is Germany so afraid of? Well.. start by googlingOPERATION SNOW WHITE, FAIR GAME, PAULETTE COOPER, GABE CAZARES, RPF, AZNARAN, ROBERT WELKOS.Then ask yourself – What is Scientology so afraid of?

  • Thank you

    Dear Ms. Hoffman, thanks for taking up this sore part of German current history. In reading the other comments here it is obvious to me that intolerance and hatred against religions is not only a German problem. You Americans seem to have your share of organized anti-religionists (40 posts in several minutes, all with prepared hate speech). You might consider invoking this forum’s rules. Sincerely,

  • Response to Jeanne

    Jeanne,You mentioned that Operation Snow White is a long time ago (readers will find this a couple of comments below).Fine. If you are interested in more recent abuses:July 2007, Australia: A girl murders her family after being denied psychiatric drugs by Scientology.December 2007: Dutch hitman Jesse R. arrested for at least 6 murders. He took inspiration from Scientology.January 2008: French women is abducted by her Scientology brother, held hostage on Sardine for several weeks in appalable conditions before she is able to throw an SOS sign in the neighbors garden.February 2008: Belgian officials raid Scientology office. Charges: fraud and extortion amongst several others.March 2008: Norwegian girl Kaja Ballo commits suicide after taking the ‘free stress test’ which invariable tells you you are troubled and depressed, hoping you’ll buy their courses.March 2008: Jason Beghe, actor, blows the cult calling it a ‘rip off’ and ‘destructive for the soul’.April 2008: Jenny Miscaviage, the niece of the cult’s authoritarian leader David Miscaviage tells about child labor and disconnection on ABC’s Nightline.I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but wouldn’t you say a pattern emerges???

  • SAMSA

    I’ll take Scientologists seriously on the issue of ‘hate speech’ when a) they stop calling even the most mildest criticism of their organisation ‘hate speech’b) they explain how asking someone to google Paulette Cooper or Lisa McPherson is ‘hate speech’and c) they lobby their leadership to remove racially derogatory terms from Dianetics.

  • Your Welcome

    @ GregorIntolerance towards religion is one thing. Tolerance for criminal organizations is another.

  • Sammy

    For a few moments, Claire, just for a bit, lets forget all of the facts and references in the many comments I see arrayed below. There are endless hours of checking you can follow up with if you wish.Lets just talk about some basic questions.–Can something be defended simply because its claimed as a religious duty? Is it protected because someone claims its a religious duty?Lying, manipulation, organized harassment, and physical opposition are ALL religious duties of Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard said it HIMSELF when he spoke about Fair Game, Suppressive Persons, Dead Agenting, and other goodies you can follow all the references to.–Can responsibility and questions be avoided because something is framed as “religion”? Lets use our good buddy Tom Cruise as an example. Every deflection he does when questioned falls back on things being personal religious beliefs. If he attacks Psychiatry? Personal religious belief. He talks about SPs? Personal religious beliefs. etc. But the step beyond that is that his handlers won’t allow him to be questioned about where the money he gives to the CoS goes, and what its used for. Nor, as I’m sure you know, will he answer questions about being close personal buddies with David Miscavige. Tell me, is that proper religious behavior? Does ANYTHING about that strike you as peculiar? Aren’t questions about what charity donations are spent on usually appropriate? As are questions about being close personal buddies with controversial figures? Do those CHANGE if you happen to be a Scientologist?It doesn’t fit. None of it does. Religions don’t work this way ever. Cults do. If religious obligations go FAR beyond the bounds of the law and/or common public morality, featuring violations like children working hard labor, children AND adults working 14-15 hour workdays in dismal conditions for little to no pay (Sea Org–look it up), obligations to have abortions, obligations to shun/disconnect people simply on the say so of a church official, etc. do we DARE call it a Church instead of a cult?Tell me, was David Koresh a Church leader or a Cult leader? David Miscavige is more cunning, far less “locked in a bunker with his guns”, but other parts of his agenda are identical to Koresh’s. Is Rev. Moon a Church leader or a Cult Leader? How about those Mormon extremists in Texas? Where’s the line?Also, as has been mentioned elsewhere, go Google news search “Freewinds”. And then tell us what kind of church KNOWS about asbestos and neglects to do something about it because their leader was convinced that cancer could ONLY be caused by perverted sex acts. Oh, you didn’t know that? That’s what L. Ron believed, and the Church STILL believes.

  • Chris Owens

    Dear Gregor,you may want to discuss german history with my grandparents if you like i´m sure they can tell you a little bit about totalitarian regimes. Well they taught me all i need to know to recognize one when i see one, and instead of calling my comments prepared hatespeech and complaining, how about a constructive discussion, so you can see it´s not just prepared stuff. Even though i´m no native speaker maybe you can try to explain me how i should understand something like this…L. Ron Hubbard teaches that two percent of the world’s population should be disposed of “quietly and without sorrow” sorry but regarding my cultural background i can´t but think of something we know to well here in germany so maybe you or anyone who disagrees with the goverment i voted for can kindly explain something like that to me.

  • Maximillian Champion

    This is very lazy work, Claire. Just because it is a blog about matters of faith is no excuse, especially when writing about an organisation that has harmed so many people as a result of its systemic human rights abuses.If nothing else, you ought to have spent half an hour seeking an answer to your own question: “What is Germany so afraid of?” Read this report if you will: And, please, pull your socks up.

  • Anonspilz

    Scientology is a totalitarian alien cult bent on ‘Clearing the Planet’. Hubbard wrote, 2.5 percent are “truly dangerous.” Such people, Hubbard wrote, “should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind… ” This 2.5 percent cannot be cleared and must be disposed of by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. You shouldn’t have to wonder why Germany wants them stopped.The author needs to do some serious research. This is a master race cult that needs to be stopped.

  • Frank Egar

    Checkered past? I would say that the largest government infiltration in the history of the United States, along with framing author Paulette Cooper for making bomb threats as well as countless other cases of fair game warrants a stronger word than checkered.I would further think that the word “past” in this sentence is misleading.The only thing that could be have a more checkered present than this organisation is a young boy in czechslovakia who has just receieved a game of draughts, a check shirt and a picture of Nixon’s dog from his father on december the 25th, all items having been paid for by cheque.

  • Richard

    Sammy, I think all these valid arguments are a waste of time.Mrs. Hoffman obviously has assembled this ‘treatise’ during her morning coffee break (5 minutes). Unreflected, non-researched, left-over-thoughts. Practically it is: nothing. Wasted.

  • SuzanneMarie

    You really do not have to wonder about the church’s treatment by Germany when you look at all the horrible crimes the cult has committed. Infiltrating the US goverment, cutting families to shreds, hiring PI’s to follow and harass anyone who speaks out against the cult, and all the lawsuits, just to name a few of their crimes.

  • storge

    ban it. scientology is an intelligence operation and scam against its victims.

  • kaos

    Luana,RIGHT! All those thousands of ex members who don’t know one another all came up with the same lies of abuse at the hands of this helpful and generous church…I know as a Scientologist you are not allowed to do any objective research into the Co$, but please don’t think the rest of us are fools. Just because you want to be the fish on David Miscaviges line, don’t think everyone wants to jump at that chance!You’re a member of a dangerous and evil cult. I’m not saying that many of you don’t have wonderful intentions, you do. But the leaders of your “church” care nothing about you or humanity. PERIOD!Kaos

  • Anonymous

    More Ad Hominem attacksWhen will you learn that attacking the messenger doesn’t make the message wrong. Look into the info for yourself… from a non-Scientology source. (Of course, they are just a bunch of Wogs and SPs after all)How’s your stats Luana?

  • Peterson

    Scientology has a long track record of harassing critics, ex members and current members who are thinking about leaving. People have committed suicide due to the extreme harassment they’ve received from this so called “church” and others have died from suspicious circumstances. When one takes into consideration Germany’s past, it makes total sense for their government to try and stamp out any organization that attempts to control others through such tactics. German citizens are well aware of what happens when someone offers answers and solutions to their problems and have no qualms of getting rid of people who stand in their way.

  • storge

    luana, washington post might be familiar to you for breaking water gate, etc. it’s surprising such a shoddy, ill-informed opinion piece would appear under its title. clearly the author has not looked into the subject, or is a paid agitator.

  • The Profet

    If someone starts The Church of Neo-Nazism, will his right to believe in white supremacy be defended as the Scientology and its crimes are defended in this article?

  • David Mischavage

    I for one think this “religion” is nothing short of a Nigerian money hustling racket. Its all about the money! SHOW ME THE MONEY, or down the road with ya….is $cientology’s secret motto. I feel sorry for all the people that have spent their lifes saving’s and all they get in return is nothing.

  • Waiters

    Why is it so hard for people to believe that scientology IS, infact a cult, especially in the US? Well, for once people dont expect it to be. Why? Becouse people were never taught to be wary of anty-democratic groups within the country, the expect the dictatorship to be outside of our borders. The truth is, Scientology is a state within the state, with its own millitary (the sea org), and its own secret police (the Office of Special Affairs, or OSA) and with its own dictator- David Miscavidge. Germany is simply more addept at seeing these kinds of inner threats.

  • Waiters

    Why is it so hard for people to believe that scientology IS, infact a cult, especially in the US? Well, for once people dont expect it to be. Why? Becouse people were never taught to be wary of anty-democratic groups within the country, the expect the dictatorship to be outside of our borders. The truth is, Scientology is a state within the state, with its own millitary (the sea org), and its own secret police (the Office of Special Affairs, or OSA) and with its own dictator- David Miscavidge. Germany is simply more addept at seeing these kinds of inner threats.

  • Paganplace

    The fact is, Germany bans certain kinds of organizations, (like Nazis, for good reason,) and keeping an eye on Scientology there, well, I don’t presume it’s about the *religion,* but rather about the *organization:* and in fact, it’s not hard to see that the stated goals and organizational history of Scientology are in fact incompatible with that Constitution. Scientology just crosses certain lines, which makes it pretty hard to sympathize with them on matters like this.

  • Yoni

    Having already been under one regime with an occult belief in creating a “master race,” and seeing the results, it’s not surprising that Germany is moving to ban Scientology. “Clear” Scientologists, i.e. people who have spent enough money on courses, are not homo sapiens. They are “homo novis.” “HOMO NOVIS, 1. Homo man, novis new. (BCR, p. 12) 2 . a theta-animated mest body possesed of new and desirable attributes; a mest clear, a good, sane rational mest being about a skycraper higher than Homo sapiens. (HOM, p. 40) 3 . the Second Stage Release is definitely Homo novis. The person ceases to respond like Homo sapiens and has fantastic capability to learn and act. (HCOB 28 Jun 65)This master race does not get diseases, can fly, can kill people with their minds, and are on a mission to “clear the planet” and turn everyone else into a homo novis. See Scientology OT Levels 3-8 documentation, leaked on Wikileaks. Also here:”This article is from the Scientology Catechism, by [email protected] (Scientology Information Server) with numerous contributions by others.6.10 What does “clear the planet” mean?It means that Scientologists want to clear the planet of insanity, war and crime, and in its place create a civilization in which sanity and peace exist. In order to do this, they must help individuals become clear of their own individual insanities and regain awareness that they are basically good.”Sounds good, right? Make everyone happy? Of course that involves eliminating all other religions, which are just false realities created by indoctrination by the evil alien Lord Xenu 75 million years ago (Called Event 2, see OT III documentation on Xenu.net). And if someone stands in their way?”ENEMY. SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of thePlenty of people have been tricked, lied to, and “destroyed.” Scientologists have been implicated in the deaths of Lisa MacPherson (whyaretheydead.net) and the suicides of multiple Scientologists, as well as the murder of family members of Scientologists who were classified dangerous schizophrenics and denied their psychiatric medication because Scientology believes Psychiatrists are evil, their medicine is meant to kill people, and PSYCHIATRY CAUSED THE HOLOCAUST.No joke.”It is cold, hard documented fact that German psychiatrists devised the “scientific” justification for euthanasia before World War II, before even Hitler came to power. It is also a documented fact that they established the gas chambers and killing centers in the concentration camps and trained and apprenticed others on how to kill. This is documented from psychiatry’s own words and documents.”- CCHR (Scientology-backed group) website, owned and run entirely by Scientologists. Germany has a problem with this. So does Norway, where a Parliament member’s daughter recently jumped out a window after taking a free Scientology personality test, and Belgium, where their organization has been charged with fraud. The real question is: Why don’t we have a problem?

  • launa1980

    Gee Luana,I didn’t see any mention of the Freewinds and its insignificant little asbestos problem on your blog. Hope you never traveled or studied on it. But then you’d have to associate with SPs before cancer could be a factor, huh?Luana’s Haven my keister. Hope you didn’t tell the Co$ all your secrets, they’ll just use them against you later!

  • David

    A checkered past….What else is there to judge on? You’re aware of those issues, Claire? Then how do you reconcile that? I mean aren’t those transgressions EXACTLY in violation of the constitution? Seems like a no-brainer.

  • Anonynony

    Hee, Luana — 3 or 4 Anonymous guys? You seriously have no idea…Though if it actually IS true that you genuinely DON’T have any idea, I cordially invite you to attend/observe/stare at the upcoming protest. You’ll know us — we’re the people handing out leaflets, wearing disguises and hugging people. We’re all also VERY versed in Scientology and the Church’s misdeeds, so please do strike up a conversation! Just come with an open mind and follow Hubbard’s ABCs, you’ll be fine.HUGS!

  • Stop Fair Game

    Jeanne wrote:Jeanne wrote:Jeanne wrote:

  • Barry N.

    Church of Scientology slanders its critics and doesn’t afraid to lie about anything.Their doctrine is to lie to non-scientologists about what its doctrine really is. Think about that.Xenu, spaceships, alien ghosts. C’mon man.

  • meowtruth

    “You will get used to it, don’t worry, it’s just that their intellectual level does not go beyond “copy & paste” of pre-written propaganda. Most of them are otherwise harmless.” Haha, ok OSA :) You mean like Scientologies websites, with the same inanae drivel written over and over and over? Or the lies you try to push on youtube over and over and over? Yep, we are pretty “harmless” – so much so that we have caused 90% of the Scientology centers to close on our protest days because they are unable to counter the truth that is spoken and passed out in pamphlets at the protests. Poor brainwashed cultie. I like how you point people to your own propaganda sites like “scientologymyths” and such – talk about copy and paste, mm?Germany, more than any country on earth, have every right to be sensitive and aware of anything that smacks of a totalitarian organization (with it’s own secret police force – OSA – and concentration camps), and they are absolutely right to ban Scientology, the biggest non-religion and scam ever seen in modern times. How’s your stats today Gregor? Thursday is right around the corner, lol.

  • AuroraGB

    I’ll tell you what the German Government is afraid of. They have seen all this before in the 1930s and 1940s up to the end of the second world war. The way Scientology operates is so similar to the way a certain individual came to power and they are going to make damned sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • James

    Luana: Do you even care that people may be afflicted with mesothelioma from being on the Freewinds? Do you think it is just a “wog”/”Suppressive” lie?Even if you think I am full of crap, please, if you have been on the Freewinds, please get yourself checked for signs of mesothelioma. The management has covered up the presence of blue asbestos for years! I as a concerned person feel that members of the organization should know that they may have been afflicted from their stay onboard.So Luana, will you dismiss this? Will you check into it? Do you tune me out because I disagree with Scientology? But what is the price of tuning it out?

  • Graveyard Dog

    Luana claims that Scientology critics are the type who rent graveyard plots in your name as part of their insidious campaign of harassment against poor long suffering cultists.Google ROBERT WELKOS. Read the first article. He’s the LA Times journalist harassed and fair gamed by the Church in the 1980s.Funnily enough, someone tried to interest him in a grave plot. And then came the rest… threats, crank calls, everything you’re now whining about.Irony, eh?

  • Dana

    First and foremost, it is wonderful to see a mention of Scientology in The Washington Post. Secondmost, I hope to see it again, but under much more careful scrutiny.I understand that the nature of this piece was to remain a reflection, and bring up questions rather than carefully researched answers. That is the next step.I urge you to make your own decisions and opinions, Ms. Claire Hoffman. The Internet is a great resource, but also can be cluttered. Perhaps speaking with current as well as former Scientologists could yield more concrete answers. Supporters and critics alike can create a well-balanced piece. That is what we the Public need the media to do. We need to be informed.Thank for you posing these questions out there, I eagerly await another installment.And on a more historical note, to answer some of the questions posed in this piece: Germany has without a doubt dealt with one of the most widely prominent, violent and impactful regimes in its past. Adolf Hitler managed to come into power when all his intentions were widely published and therefore easily known (“Mein Kampf”) – yet he was still able to do it. It is an example of a historical figurehead arriving at just the right moment at just the right time, and taking advantage of the circumstances. Millions paid their lives for it, and even a mention of the word “Nazi” riles German authorities today. Rightly so.In all honesty, that may be where the German government is coming from, regardless of whether or the Scientology is truely a dangerous cult – I will tell you that I think it is. It’s all in the history, Ms. Hoffman!I will need to get my own printed copy of the Post today. Or will this not be printed?

  • James

    Indeed, Graveyard Dog.Also another journalist was sent a bullet in the mail, harrassed by phone call and other such things after he wrote a critical story.

  • storge

    ok, Claire Hoffman, you asked for this. So here it is, point by point.>Whatever you think about Scientology, you have >to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the >German state. Most people consider Scientology a wacko cult. Take a public survey on this if you dont believe me. The German government is obligated to protect its citizens from dangerous ideologies.>In December, Germany’s interior ministers said >they considered the religion to be “not >compatible with the constitution.” I think if you look into it, they never called it a religion, these are your words. And yes, the German constitution protects the sovereignty of the individual. Hypnotism masquerading as psychotherapeutic self-help in incompatible.>Yesterday, an AP story reported that the German >Scientologists have dropped a legal battle to >keep the country’s intelligence services from >monitoring its activities. What is Germany so >afraid of?Dangerous dehumanizing ideologies.>The Church of Scientology has long battled to >end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of >freedom of religion, and the U.S. State >Department regularly criticizes Germany for the >practice in its annual Human Rights Report.It is not recognized as a religion.>Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of >extreme?Compared to Scientology’s practices? No. Scientology puts people in gugalgs they call RPF, Scientology separates children from parents and parents from each other in violation of the UN Charter on the Family, Scientology tells its members to commit suicide if they are perceived as dangerous to Scientology PR efforts. Scientology also has a history and pattern, indeed even a doctrine, of infiltrating national governments, lying to courts and law enforcement and covering up the deaths that occur because of Scientology.>Tey are a religion largely focused on self->imrovement.No they aren’t, Claire. Dianetics was promoted as a self-help therapy, but if you read the history from a disinterested POV you’ll find even before Scientology emerged from Dianetics as a way to circumvent the US tax code as a religion free from taxation, Dianetics was solely about income, about taking money from suckers.>While I’m well aware of their checkered past, Claire, you’re not. Either you’re not, or you are lying. >decrying it unconstitutional seems like a >threatened position to take by a nation. Read the German constitution.

  • D. Rodriguez

    They are sensible enough to know that nothing good can come from allowing Scientology in their country. It isn’t a real religion. The followers don’t believe in God, they believe that they themselves are Gods and all kinds of science fiction nonsense about a race from other planets, etc. etc.

  • TJ

    You’ve got a lot of reading and learning to do Claire Hoffman.

  • Concerned European

    Dear Claire,Here in Europe we are aware of the pain that wolves under sheep hides can bring to a country. Just labelling oneself as a religion doesn’t mean it has to receive such treatment – proper scrutiy has led several european countries not only to deny scientology status but also to prosecute them for their crimes (such is the case of the belgian branch of the cult, currently undergoing several trials).

  • kaos

    I wonder if writing to the management or editorial departments of The Washington Post might be more effective in getting a proper, factual artical written about Scientology. They opened the door by allowing this propaganda to be printed in their supposedly investigative paper. This isn’t the Washington Post of Woodward and Bernstein!Kaos

  • confused

    The criticisms I see leveled at Scientology here apply equally well to any religion.Religion is a symptom of human weakness. We rely on our imaginations to compensate for our fears, but religions take pretending WAY too far. Scientology is no worse than the rest, just newer. The rest of you “faith” people might as well scoot over and make room for one more group of dimwits ready to sacrifice their critical faculties for the false satisfaction that comes with an unending commitment to a set of fictional ideas.

  • confused

    The criticisms I see leveled at Scientology here apply equally well to any religion.Religion is a symptom of human weakness. We rely on our imaginations to compensate for our fears, but religions take pretending WAY too far. Scientology is no worse than the rest, just newer. The rest of you “faith” people might as well scoot over and make room for one more group of dimwits ready to sacrifice their critical faculties for the false satisfaction that comes with an unending commitment to a set of fictional ideas.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Miss Hoffman,Since you appear to be quite the religious one, I believe it would greatly behoove you to learn and understand Ron L. Hubbard’s and scientology’s true position on God, Jesus–and figures of other world religions. When you understand this, you will understand why scientology does not deserve to be called a religion, why scientology has nothing to do with God, why scientology does not have “Churches”, and you will understand why Germany’s stance on scientology righteous, throughout.Fore example, did you know that while scientology says that their belief system is compatible with those of other religions, that once you’re well on their path to “enlightenment”, known as the “Bridge to Total Freedom”, you as a scientologist, will learn that Jesus, and all of the other Biblical themes (as well as Buddha etc.) were psychically implanted into YOUR spirit by a group of evil psychiatrist overlords some 75 million years ago? Now, while I’m no clergyman or biblical scholar, as a faithful Christian, I don’t see how this assertion is compatible with Christianity, or indeed any other religion. How can an institution dreamed up by a delusional, manipulative science fiction writer, who’s claims are refuted by all scientific evidence grow to be called a religion?You need to understand that scientology does not help people do anything but rid themselves of pesky things such as money, and free will… And the only way you will learn such things is to thoroughly research the subject on your own.By all means, look at both sides, ask questions of both sides, and come to your conclusion. You’ll find that if you ask scientology all the questions in the world, you will only be delivered fluff answers, with NO SUBSTANCE. Ask a scientologist what scientology is about. They’ll say it’s about helping people, and that’s it’s great and everything.You will never get an answer of substance, and this is because they believe that a psychic self-destruct code of sorts was implanted by the psychiatrists, in a similar fashion as to how the images of Christ were implanted, and that if you learn the “truth” before these implants are cleared, your body will self-destruct and you’ll soon die of pneumonia or other horrible disease.Walk into a church and ask a Christian what they believe, and you’ll get a straight answer. Ask a Muslim, you get a straight answer, and so on. What does that tell you? What do they have to hide? Figure it out, and then come back here and tell us what you learned.

  • storge

    CONFUSED: it is more dangerous at the present time. Christianity has finished its crusades and suicide martyrdoms long ago. Islam is focused on the dar el salaam as a geopolitical bloc. judaism isnt and wasnt a warring religion now for thousands of years. buddhist sectarianism has calmed down somewhat. scientology is based on the imagination of one dead man and the reality tunnel being pressed onto scientologists is really narrow. read more about it at numerous websites, the danger is real.

  • storge

    what bacconator said

  • concerned german citizen

    “The criticisms I see leveled at Scientology here apply equally well to any religion.”jewish equivalent to fair game policy?I disagree with your last point. Scientology is more dangerours than genuine religions in that it has explicit programs to infiltrate governments and businesses. Granted, it didn’t produce anything like the crusades or islamic fanaticism, but that’s no argument that nothing should be done about the things it is responsible for.

  • Wog

    Confused,Let’s see, what other “religion” forces abortions on parishioners? Especially when those parishioners are forced to work 15 or more hours a day, 7 days each week and every week of every year. Even the 6 year olds are forced into this slavery and they are sometimes allowed to see their parents as much as once weekly for 1/2 hour at a time. Oh, and then there’s the problem with forcing believers to disconnect from any and all family and friends who don’t agree with Scientology’s teachings. What about all the deaths attributed to this “church?” If you’re not a Scientologist then you can google names like Lisa McPherson, Elle Perkins or even the founder’s son, Quentin Hubbard. And there are dozens more. But heck, what church doesn’t follow all those practices?

  • Loc Gaton

    I must admit, that after reading this article and it’s replies, that I’m a little confused. I’ll explain why.I’ve heard about this covert war that a group of internet hacktivists have been having against the Church of Scientology, but I’ve always seen them as a harmless- if a little strange- religion. Now, I’m not the sort of man who jumps into either side of the fray quickly or easily, but having researched both sides of the argument, following the links provided by both sides, i’ll give you my thoughts on the type of information provided by each side.On the side of scientology, I find a very pleasant series of websites, with easy to follow links and information that seems to support the argument that they are just a genuinely nice group of people trying to help the world. However, it absolutely smacks of propaganda, any citations or corroborative evidence is extremely tenuous at best, or even seemingly fabricated- in short it insults my intelligence. You encourage people to ‘read about scientology’- but you charge money for your most basic scripture ‘dianetics’. Why should I pay YOU for something to help you defend yourself against accusations that your ideology and your actions are heinous? It doesn’t sit right with me.On the side of Anonymous, your information is far harder to read through, it’s very confronting, and while extremely shocking, even if a third of it is accurate information (and unlike the scientologist’s actually corroborated with tenable and valid evidence like court records) it casts a very dark shadow on the whole nature of scientology.I have to say to you, Ms Hoffman, that I am appalled at your lack of research. It took me half an hour to read both sides of the argument and form an opinion based on facts given and evidenced- and not on simple beliefs and altruistic hearsay. I think that the german government has every right to be afraid of the possible effects that Scientology has on it’s citizens, and I think that we should also be afraid of the effects here. That said, if this fair game policy is true, I won’t be taking any part in the demonstrations and such, but I will give out my vote of support to Anonymous.May god bless you.Loc.

  • Confused

    Storge:Maybe you and I are reading different papers. I can’t think of a single major violent episode involving Scientology – but I think that Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam are all sponsors of violence in the modern context. Many current global conflicts have important religious aspects. That is to say that even if religion is not the avowed purpose of the war, sides are chosen along religious lines.To provide a relevant domestic example, much discussion regarding the “War on Terror” uses religous language to condemn “Islamic Fundamentalism.”

  • Gaby

    Jeanne:I can guarantee you that the German Bundesverfassungsschutz does not do shoddy research.As for your comment about Germany denying Scientologists jobs in government. Let me ask you this, would you let the fox guard the hen house. I mean, if you would you are welcome to, but I and many other would rather not.And maybe you forgot to read all the other comments where Germany is not the only European country having an issue with scientology.

  • kaos

    Confused, Yes you are! Do a bit of googling and then get back to us…

  • Hunter911

    “Jeanne:It’s ironic the German government accuses Scientology of violating the constitution while at the same time refusing to hire Scientologists or depriving them of their jobs and not allowing them to join political parties based solely on their religious affiliation.”Aah the typical nonsense! I work in a government agency with the staus of “Beamter” which means that in return for live long job safety I give some of my rights to the state and I have to be 100% loyal to the constition. If I violate my workplace with proselytizing or trying to sell something (may it be insurances or Scientology courses) I can be fired. To avoid this at some agency’s (where you need a security clearance) you have to sign a paper that says that you won’t apply Scientology tech at the workplace. If you do sign that welcome on the job. But your personal believes have to stay at home! Also some contractors who don’t want Scientology brainwashing in their companies let their business partners sign this paper. If you don’t sign they won’t do business with you and it is their freedom of choice to do so! Believe what you want at home or live with the choice of others who disagree with your methods! This is a secular country.As for political parties not the government decides who may join them but the parties themselves and it is in their right to do so. Get your facts straight. This country has seen one of the most devastating wars about religion in history. Killing more than 30% percent of the population in some areas even 66%. Germans call this the “30year war” the dutch the “80year war”. “I have to agree with Jeff. This is not the Constitution that was put in place after WW II to prevent just such intolerance and discrimination.”LOL The constitution was also made to prevent another 1933 and only 6 (in 1956) years after it was introduced the communist party was forbidden (there was also a 1951 ruling against a nazi-relaunch party), since then many left and right wing extremist organizations were forbidden and their symbols outlawed, but also Islamic groups, Foreign groups like the PKK and others. It is written ins the reconstitution to outlaw those kind of groups. You definitely should re-read the german basic law (constitution) and stop sprouting such nonsense as above. Also to the author of the article. Germany is NOT the United States. What is holy in your constitution isn’t the same in other countries. Certainly no one will stop you believing in what you want, but once you try to rip ppl off or work against OUR constitution the state has the obligation to take a closer look. And practicing a religion (which you can do with no problems) and being a recognized religion (which is a status that isn’t gained easily but will give the religion a lot say in matter) is not the same in Germany. Yes, this is a complicated matter, but it is your _duty_ as a journalist to try to understand. I recommend reading about German history of the 100years, reading the German Basic Law And why attacking only Germany, what about Greece where even the ‘practice’ is fobidden since 1995?

  • jibba

    scientology is not a religion, they are a business and they corrupt the minds of their followers. Scientology is a cult go to xenu.net and read about it.Also for all of you christians out there please go to google video and watch “zeitgeist”

  • Anonymous

    LOC GATON: Fair Game is no lie. This is why we hide our identities.However, as of present, you have about as good a chance to be struck by lightning on a nice but slightly day, as you to be exposed to Fair Game by scientologists because of protesting; and if you follow good practices to remain Anonymous chances are that you’ll never be harassed.Most of the Anonymii who have been harassed and Fair Gamed knew this was going to happen, simply because they put their names on protest permits. It was an inevitability, and they understood this before hand.If these brave people can knowingly expose themselves to Fair Game, isn’t spending a few hours in a mask hanging out with a bunch of cake eating goofballs just about the least you can do, if you truly abhor the actions of scientology? We’re playing a game with scientology, and the stakes are literally the lives of many people.

  • Topaz

    Um. if you REALLY want to know about scientology, go to http://www.Xenu.net and click on What Is Scientology, or google these terms:

  • Topaz

    Um. if you REALLY want to know about scientology, go to http://www.Xenu.net and click on What Is Scientology, or google these terms:

  • confused

    What is it exactly that you would like me to google? My understanding of scientology is limited, although I have done some reading on the topic over time. My understanding of world religions and their impact on politics is much deeper – much of my graduate work was focused on this topic.Perhaps it would help if you could provide some concrete examples of how Scientology has demonstrated its dangerous tendencies? As for the five majors…..count almost every genocide and about 90% of human war over time.Just choose any other religion and study its birth and expansion. You will be hard pressed to find even one that has been as benign as scientology.

  • Ed “DeadFace” Bacchus

    First, the “Church” of Scientology tells you that it is compaitable with all other religions. Then, at OTIII, they tell you that all religions are implants and that Jesus, Moses, Buddha et al never existed. (see docs EVRYWHERE and various interviews from ex-CoS members).Then, at OYVIII, for some reason, further along the Bridge, Hubbard states that Jesus did exist and that he was hateful and a lover of young boys. (see Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz)Now, Claire, what do YOU think of this bait and switch and switch again “religion”?

  • storge

    CONFUSED: thank you for your answer. I would only say if we could provide a list of casualties, of physical deaths, I would assume scientology’s “end of cycles” read: suicides, top the list currently. I could be wrong here. Looking at it from the outside with hopefully a disinterested point of view, I think scientology is a dangerous cult.

  • confused

    storge:I agree that Scientology is a dangerous cult. But for me, that is just one more religion on the list.

  • NWills

    Thank you for your balanced comments about Germany and Scientology. Scientology has been a wonderful part of my and my family’s life, literally saving my daughter’s life and helping her live a happy and productive life.

  • wog

    Confused,Google; Lisa McPherson, Fair Game, Operation Snow White, Elle Perkins, exscientologykids, Xenu, Rehabilitation Project Force, Gerry Armstrong, Operation Freakout, it just goes on and on. Once you start you will find yourself going in so many directions you’ll get dizzy!

  • Bob

    The problem is not Germany’s vigilance in monitoring Scientology. The problem is the United States’ negligence in doing so. Scientology is a business masquerading as a religion.

  • Ed

    I am deeply suspicious of any religion that requires payment for services rendered. That criterion puts a target of doubt on the validity of Scientology.

  • Dave Miscavige

    nwills,thanks for being upfront about your membership in Scientology. Too often members act like they have no affiliation and act as if there should be no controversy. I am happy your experience has been positive, I think the lower level teachings can be effective. But I know that the Management of CoS is militant, subversive, totalitarian and evil. Stay at the lower levels and you should be fine.

  • Anon

    Freedom of religion is not freedom to abuse. Unfortunately, Scientology falls into the latter category.

  • JBE

    I support the German Gov’s refusal to recognize a raceteering group seeking financial gain through its operations, thefts, lies, opression of its members, attacks on its former members, and collection of feel levied on current members.This racket owns businesses, has a secret political agenda, and outright lies to its members about its purpose and operations that exploit the membership financially.Scientology is NOT a religion. It is a racketeering organization who’s main product – a book called “dianetics”- was written on a bet that L. Ron Hubbard could not make the mythical religion of his science fiction books’ protagonists into an actual cult.But he succeeded!Scientology is a cult created expressly for financial gain who’s leadership steals from its members and lies to them.It is NOT a religion.

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    Anyone who has believed that government has nothing to do with religion should be better informed after considering this controversy. Clearly, religion can be a threat to government and therefore to the order a country’s citizens expect and put a government in place to provide. Governments of all kinds should be considering how best to address disputes regarding religion in ways other than just denying that it is any of their business.

  • Confused

    Wog:thanks for the list. I will follow up. To clarify, though, I don’t find any fault with the claim that Scientology is a dangerous cult. My main point is that all relgions are dangerous cults. Further, I think that it will be VERY hard to demonstrate that Scientology is more dangerous than these other religions. Any short review of human history will justify this claim.While Scientology’s danger is mostly small-scale/hypothetical, the rest have a demonstrated pattern of violence-inspired-by-intolerance. At this rate, it would take Scientology thousands of years to match the body count piled up by any of the five majors in the past 100 years alone.

  • RE: Nwills

    Yes and how much do you pay them each year?

  • RE: Nwills

    Yes and how much do you pay them each year?

  • James

    Confused – That would change if Scientology got power. The undesired would be “deleted” (in Hubbard’s words)That is why it is imperative to make sure they do NOT get power. I really do not want to live in a place with a new “reich”

  • wog

    confused,I understand your reservations. But except for fundementalist Islam, no other religion is practicing murder and mayhem today. All those issues are in the past. Scientology is practicing it’s evil today! And while I know that Catholicism is getting terrible press these days, its sins aren’t written into their scriptures. L. Ron Hubbard commanded all the evil be done.Wog

  • confused

    Is there some danger of a Scientologist theocracy in Germany? Or anywhere else, for that matter?Theocracy is dangerous, no doubt. I have not seen any evidence to suggest that one religion-in-charge is capable of doing more damage than another. Still, Scientology would have to overcome a series of religious genocides and a whole century of religious war to really merit the criticisms leveled in this thread. Are you all so blind to the history, attitudes, and behaviors of your own religions?

  • M. Stratas

    The Germans have not forgotten what happened to their country under Nazism. Considered highly intelligent and educated, the Germans of that time fell prey to the propaganda, jingoism, nationalistic militaristic fervor propaganted by Hitler. Scientology aims to appeal to the “mind” of the person so it purports to be “open” not insidious. Germany knows what it is doing. Scientology has nothing to do with freedom of thought or religion. Scientology is brainswashing; just look at the bizarro Tom Cruise. Cruise is not the same person from when he firts started in the movies.

  • geth

    It seems to me more effort was put into researching these comments than was into the article they refer to.While it is certainly easy (and well precedented) to mock the tenants of any faith as ridiculous, it is abundantly clear that it is not the beliefs of the Scientologists that inflame citizens, but the practices of the organization that masquerades itself as a ‘church’.Crying religious persecution requires, well, persecution.Criticizing the acts of a religious group does not threaten the beliefs of said group. The slow response of the Catholic Church to the accusation of child molestation has been loudly decried in the media, however these calls for justice have never degraded the belief that Christ is wholly divine. Nor when terrorist organizations assault the innocent do we turn about and say “Mohammed is not the prophet of God”. The German government has every right (and the duty!) to forbid an organization from practicing its methods within Germany if those methods are deemed to be harmful and dangerous to German citizens. Germany has not said “The beliefs of Scientology are illegal”, they have said “Your structure is undemocratic, and you cannot extort or hurt German citizens.”Pyramid and Ponzi schemes are illegal in the United States. One can only hope that we are quick to follow in Germany’s footsteps in recognizing the Scientology organization as one.As the wise man once said, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

  • David Mudkips

    The funny thing about all the criticism about Scientology is that it’s got NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION WHATSOEVER.Scientology is a tax-exempt “charitable” CORPORATION. People may chuckle at its kooky “religious” dogma — but that’s not what is at issue.If any other tax-exempt charitable corporation (say, the March of Dimes) were pulling the same sort of illegal and abuses nonsense as Scientology is — they’d have 10,000 protesters outside of their buildings every month too!Slapping a, “now were a religion” label on a scam is not a license to commit fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, frame critics for bomb threats or infiltrate and bug federal offices.What would YOU do if you find out the March of Dimes was doing all of those things?(apologies to the March of Dimes for even making the comparison)This isn’t a fight about religion. It’s a fight about the broken ethics and massive abuse of a corporation. They don’t get to get away with playing the, “religious bigots!” card.

  • Chris Owens

    NWills, maybe you can answer any of the questions i posted earlier i really appreciate that you admit being a scientologist and tell that right away instead of accusing me of hate speech so the question was …L. Ron Hubbard teaches (as far as i know) that two percent of the world’s population should be disposed of “quietly and without sorrow” sorry but regarding my cultural background i can´t but think of something we know to well here in germany so maybe you or anyone who disagrees with the goverment i voted for can kindly explain something like that to me.Another question that just came into my mind … that two percent are those who are below a certain degree of a “tonescale” (also something i found on the web) i think it was below 2.0 right? Who if i may ask is below these 2.0, what would disqualify me?If you cannot answer that correctly then who can?

  • David Mudkips

    The funny thing about all the criticism about Scientology is that it’s got NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION WHATSOEVER.Scientology is a tax-exempt “charitable” CORPORATION. People may chuckle at its kooky “religious” dogma — but that’s not what is at issue.If any other tax-exempt charitable corporation (say, the March of Dimes) were pulling the same sort of illegal and abuses nonsense as Scientology is — they’d have 10,000 protesters outside of their buildings every month too!Slapping a, “now were a religion” label on a scam is not a license to commit fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, frame critics for bomb threats or infiltrate and bug federal offices.What would YOU do if you find out the March of Dimes was doing all of those things?(apologies to the March of Dimes for even making the comparison)This isn’t a fight about religion. It’s a fight about the broken ethics and massive abuse of a corporation. They don’t get to get away with playing the, “religious bigots!” card.

  • evan

    There are a lot of posts here so I haven’t read them all and I hope I’m not repeating somebody else’s points…It is troubling that Germany’s reaction to its Nazi past has been to allow a great deal of government control and censorship over religious and political activity. The German republic clearly does not have as strong a tradition of free speech and expression as we do in America.However, if the German government were EVER going to restrict/monitor and suppress religious or political activity, the Church of Scientology should qualify. My research on CoS has convinced me that the German conclusion is correct. CoS is a business and NOT a religion. The sad truth of Scientology is that it was invented by a professional con man (Hubbard) who was extremely methodical in his efforts to disguise his money-making pseudo-religious organization in the robes of true religion, with the intention of gaining the protections of the American constitution and tax code that are due to religions.I don’t believe in government censorship, but if the Germans are going to suppress Neo-Nazi activity, they might as well include Scientology as well. The CoS has consitently shown itself to be aggressive, violent, manipulative, willing to blackmail, extort, physically intimate and otherwise bully anybody who speaks out against them. Furthermore, its is well documented that the CoS attempted to infilitrate and subvert the United States government to further the “church”‘s goals. Scientology is dangerous.

  • Q-bert

    Scientology’s “Auditing” is in fact a brainwashing technique called “Coersive Persuasion”Scientology should be banned.

  • David Mudkips

    The funny thing about all the criticism about Scientology is that it’s got NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION WHATSOEVER.Scientology is a tax-exempt “charitable” CORPORATION. People may chuckle at its kooky “religious” dogma — but that’s not what is at issue.If any other tax-exempt charitable corporation (say, the March of Dimes) were pulling the same sort of illegal and abuses nonsense as Scientology is — they’d have 10,000 protesters outside of their buildings every month too!Slapping a, “now were a religion” label on a scam is not a license to commit fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, frame critics for bomb threats or infiltrate and bug federal offices.What would YOU do if you find out the March of Dimes was doing all of those things?(apologies to the March of Dimes for even making the comparison)This isn’t a fight about religion. It’s a fight about the broken ethics and massive abuse of a corporation. They don’t get to get away with playing the, “religious bigots!” card.

  • James

    Confused-Perhaps I can put it this way, as this may appeal to your stance. If you can stop an evil (the management of Scientology) before it got too big to really do anything about it. Would you? Scientology is still young. There is still a chance to expose it and prevent it from doing some really really bad stuff. (Well, it already has done a ton of bad things but you know what I mean)

  • HaveItYourWay

    Religions reach out to a Higher Being … Scientology reaches out for the bank accounts and minds of confused, often desperate people.

  • geth

    Confused wrote:”Still, Scientology would have to overcome a series of religious genocides and a whole century of religious war to really merit the criticisms leveled in this thread. Are you all so blind to the history, attitudes, and behaviors of your own religions?”Someone else doing something wrong does not excuse wrongdoing.Perhaps I should put it this way: it is BECAUSE of the history, attitudes and behaviors we have learned from studying these religions that we can say “Scientology’s practices are harmful and wrong!”Or are you implying that compared to genocide, the small-scale harm to members and critics of Scientology should be tolerated? Or excused? Or praised for being “not as horrendous”? The lesser-of-evils argument is very unappealing.

  • Confused

    Wog:I can think of some other religious conflicts that are going on today:1) The conflict between Judaism and Islam in the Middle East (which is an ongoing military conflict).The list goes on. Hopefully the point is made, though. Religious conflict is NOT a thing of the past. You dont have to look back to the Crusades to see Christianity or Islam or Hinduism go to war. Just look at a paper.

  • ti

    EVERY Government should be watching this group.They have been caught and convicted of infiltrating governments before (THE US GOVERNMENT).They have also been found guilty of numerous other crimes.Scientology is not compatible with the US constitution ether. They actively defend their right to ‘fairgame’ people (injure, sue, lie to, kill).

  • Confused

    James:I understand your feelings about this. If I had my way, religion itself would be dissolved.BUT, I defer to a higher principle here. I don’t think it is my business to BAN any religion. Nor do I think it is right for any government to support one religion over another, or to deliberately marginalize a the growth of a religion. I think the fact that Germany is considering banning Scientology tells us a lot more about Germany than it does about Scientology. I also believe that any good American would defend the right to religious freedom with their last drop of blood.Having said that, I don’t think any religion/business should be tax exempt.

  • mzbond

    I think it is wrong for ALL religious instutions to be tax exempt. Churches are making profits and should be taxed on their profits. Religion is a big business.

  • geth

    Confused, I doubt very much that anyone here is arguing that the conflicts and religious violence that have been mentioned (and that you have listed) are anything but atrocities.But please: are you saying it would take such actions on the part of the Scientology organization before you engaged your morals? Is it incorrect for people to protest a wrong as they see it? How much harm is to be tolerated?

  • Confused

    Geth:You are totally right. The crimes of other religions do not justify the crimes of Scientology. I am not a supporter of Scientology or any religion.I do think, though, that adherents of other religions who throw these stones at Sceintology are unaware of the fact that they live in the proverbial “glass houses.”

  • Anonymous

    France considers it a cult, you know. Russia just raided a NarConon. The Freewinds are being impounded by the Dutch due to Blue Asbestos (dedliest form that can cause uncurable cancer) that the Church knew of (if confirmed and it looks very likely it will be) for about 20 years. They will have no recourse in attack.

  • Piskie

    Confused: My religion (Episcopal) is generally seen at the milder end of the range and yet was founded in exceptionally dubious circumstances and has done truly dreadful and wicked things to people over the years. I’m a good Episcopalian and a regular churchgoer, but I think most people would think me either mad or dishonest if I resolutely refused to acknowledged that my church had ever done wrong; or accused every critic of Episcopalian of practising hate speech; or colluded with other Episcopalians to blacken the names of people whose only crime was, say, to question the morality of Henry VII (or Gene Robinson even), or suggest that our Mass isn’t as good as the Catholics’, and that our priests aren’t really legit.That’s what Scientology does.Every time.

  • Piskie

    Confused: My religion (Episcopal) is generally seen at the milder end of the range and yet was founded in exceptionally dubious circumstances and has done truly dreadful and wicked things to people over the years. I’m a good Episcopalian and a regular churchgoer, but I think most people would think me either mad or dishonest if I resolutely refused to acknowledged that my church had ever done wrong; or accused every critic of Episcopalian of practising hate speech; or colluded with other Episcopalians to blacken the names of people whose only crime was, say, to question the morality of Henry VIII (or Gene Robinson even), or suggest that our Mass isn’t as good as the Catholics’, and that our priests aren’t really legit.That’s what Scientology does.Every time.

  • Anonymous

    “I do think, though, that adherents of other religions who throw these stones at Sceintology are unaware of the fact that they live in the proverbial “glass houses”What happened 1000 years ago, or last week, doesn’t affect the followers of a religion. The perception, I think, but not the followers. One can still have faith. This “church” is doing adverse things today and now. What other religions have done in the past does in no way justify what one might do today. This goes for any religion.

  • Mike

    Mr Tom Cruise says “Why ask permission, We are the Authoritys” in the much view video clip.and you wonder Why the Germans dont like a Cult with that Mindset ?Scientologys goal is to “Clear” the planet.as the Freewinds Asbestos in the Air Conditioning scandal shows, this Cult cant even look after a micro environment such as this boat, let alone the whole planet.

  • Anon

    if you REALLY want to know about scientology, go to http://www.Xenu.net and click on What Is Scientology, or google these terms:

  • geth

    Confused wrote:’You are totally right. The crimes of other religions do not justify the crimes of Scientology. I am not a supporter of Scientology or any religion.I do think, though, that adherents of other religions who throw these stones at Sceintology are unaware of the fact that they live in the proverbial “glass houses.”‘Confused, I can say as well that I am not a supporter of any religion. However, it is not so easy as to fall back on the “Let he who is without sin” argument (and I use that as a literary reference!).Can only an atheist criticize religion? Or a Catholic? Or a Mormon, or a Buddhist? What must be reemphasized is that none of this vitriol is being hurled at the individual who reads Hubbard’s texts and says “Yes, I believe this”. It is reserved for those within the Scientology organization who knowingly cause harm, mislead, and extort those within, and engage in harmful acts to those critical of said organization.To make a rather glib analogy, we all have the right to not be stabbed. If I am a shoplifter, that does not in anyway infringe upon my right to not be stabbed. Now of course, I must be held accountable for being a shoplifter, and pay for those illegal acts, but at no time does it mean I have forfeited my right protection from physical harm.We ALL live in glass houses, Confused. There is no supreme secular moral authority that is blameless of any wrongdoing. What can be relied upon is a citizen recognizing something like the Scientology organization and saying “This is wrong!” Individuals must make their individual moral judgments within the bounds of the society they agree to inhabit. It just so happens that in this case, many such individuals find the actions of Scientology to be reprehensible.

  • Observer

    To Confused: You are currently acting like a Sea Org Pr plant. It’s seen before in different places and I don’t think anyone believes when you say that you are not a member. In fact just how you try to turn the attention to other religions is what the policy says to do. And it is ridiculous how you think that some crimes should be overlooked as someone else is doing bigger crimes.Crime is a crime and now it’s our turn to ask “what are your crimes” (in case someone doesn’t know scientologs try to confuse critics by chanting agressivily “what are your crimes” as Hubbard said that only criminals would be against them).

  • Anonymous

    “What is Germany so afraid of?”The Co$ is still ran by powerhungry, greedy leaders. Their “checkered past” continues to this day. Their use of critic-suppressing tactics to intimidate anyone who opposes their organization. The use of Fair Game, although said to be stopped, still continues. They stalk, and identify their critics to post slander in their neighborhoods. No other “religion” attacks its critics with such atrocity. More of a cult-like routine if anything. Their human rights violations on their members (see: Sea Org) are disgusting. Forced abortions, child labor, disconnection, and much more. We are Anonymous.

  • Gerald

    You say “They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement’. You forget to tell why it is a religion. The point is the definition of “religion”. You do not specify yours, and you have not checked what the German definition is.

  • More info

    Google: “end of cycle” suicide

  • Anonymous

    Germany has a unique history, to put in mildly. I’m not particularly surprised or disturbed about their government taking this stance (although I understand how the impingement on thought and association might be disconcerting — as an American, I am suspect of such things).But your article (as I read it) includes a general (and very American) presumption — which I do not share — that anything called a “religion” or “faith” has at least some merit and is to the good. Although, as the Supreme Court once said, we are a “Christian nation,” and (more broadly) a religious one, I think the country needs to reexamine this article of faith (so to speak). A religion is an organization of people, and like any organization can do harm and/or good. The fact that people think what they are doing is compelled by a higher power or belief should not lend their actions any more credence than actions by a company, a family, or any other association. It adds nothing to the merit of what they do.

  • Mark Jones

    Ms Hoffman, my apologies if anyone else has offered this analogy in one of the previous posts, but this would be my response to this article.Just imagine that the abuses going on in the Mormon sekt in Texas would have been extremely well documented on the internet. Suppose furthermore that hundreds of people would have been protesting outside the cults’ buildings for a number of months (with a smaller number of people having protesting there for decades). The protesters have made it abundantly clear that their main objective is to alert and educate members of the public (spearheaded by the press) about the abuses of the cult. Suppose furthermore, that many members of the cult would already have been convicted for pedophilia and other crimes. Imagine now that the Texas government would have issued a statement at this point to the effect that a raid would be an appropriate move.Would you have written an article, suggesting that the Texas government is being paranoid?Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening here.Many comments have expressed disappointment about this article (readers new to this article will find out as they scroll down). I can vividly understand this. They are the people protesting each month, trying to tell people: IT’S ALL ON THE INTERNET! READ ABOUT IT! It’s very disappointing when a journalist dismisses this gargantuan mountain of evidence about Scientology abuses as nothing more than a ‘checkered past’.I really hope you will take a bit of time to do some more research on recent abuses of the Scientology cult. I cross my fingers that you have the courage and professionalism to report on the result of such research.

  • JRT

    Germany is taking the correct approach. Ms. Hoffman really needs to do her homework with respect to Scientology. It is not a religion – it is a business at best, a cult at worst.Really Ms, Hoffman, you should have known better.

  • SamSam

    I strongly agree with the stance Germany is taking. I just don’t understand why the US is so far behind in cracking down on this sort of deep corruption.

  • Mike Hanlen

    What is Germany afraid of? Germany still remembers the SS. There is a lot of parallel between the way Scientology is run, particularly the Sea Org within Scientology and the Nazi SS.If you would do ten minutes research you would see that a “checkered past” is a vast understatement when it comes to the truth about Scientology. This is not a religion. It is a scam disguised as a religion and is meant to part people from their money, and for the leaders to enjoy control over their lives. Germany does not forget the past. Neither should anyone else.

  • Jay McGraw

    I’ve been a minister of the Church of Scientology for over 30 years. We’ve seen various witch hunts against Scientology in England, the US, Spain, Australia, and other countries. Eventually we prevail against what is essentially religious discrimination, aka bigotry. I see a lot of it in the comments on this very article. We have seen a great increase in anti-religious sentiment in general in America over the last few decades, and one can’t watch television these days without seeing fundamental Christianity and various ofshoots of it vilified and ridiculed in shows like SVU, CSI, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, etc.Scientologists appear to me to be one of the few groups standing up to this wave of hateful anti-religious sentiments, and by doing so we have taken a lot of heat.We also have powerful enemies in organized Psychiatry and Big Pharma, who are now joined at the hip financially. We have worked very hard for the last few decades to stem the tide toward the labeling and drugging of everyone in this country. It was the Scientologists who organized getting the black label warning boxes put on the big money-makers for Big Pharma, the anti-psychotics that routinely cause suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation a fair percentage of those who take them. We’ve been decrying the link between school shootings and psych drugs for decades now, and are finally getting some public recognition for this.As Winston Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” We’ve take a strong stand against the abuses of psychiatry as we see them as crimes against the spirit of man, with which we deal in our religion.As long as psychiatry labels, drugs, imprisons, tortures, and kills 115,000 people a year in psych instituttions, we will continue to fight them.To me, it appears that the influence of psychiatry in Germany is pretty strong, and when you hear anti-religious spewings from government officials there, you don’t have to look back very far in history to know that there’s something fishy about it.

  • brendon

    Germany is treating Scientology much in the same way as the US did for most of Scientology’s history. The issue is not Germany. The issue really is why in 1993 the IRS reversed a Supreme Court-backed position (Hernandez v. Commissioner) that “auditing” was a quid pro quo and therefore not deductible. It was essentially a business. That reversal is what effectively turned Scientology into a religion that could be included on the State Department’s watch list of countries who discriminate against religion. And, of course, Germany is fully aware that Scientology is an organization that has a criminal history of infiltrating government organizations (see Operation Snow White for one).Oh yeah, for even more fun, the IRS refuses to disclose the settlement agreement with Scientology. Want a Pulitzer Ms. Hoffman? Uncover the story of what the COS did to achieve that reversal.

  • Gerald

    On second reading, this brainless article is more like a cheap trick to get a lot of comments. I regret my earlier comment.

  • Anonymous

    Does a plumber get special attention when he commits a crime? Do we look the other way when your local locksmith steals from your home? Would you dimsiss an account of a 15 yearold girl getting raped just because the person she’s accusing seems like a nice guy? HELL NO. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. I don’t get special treatment and neither should the CoS. It’s time to pay the bucher’s bill.

  • Anonymous

    Does a plumber get special attention when he commits a crime? Do we look the other way when your local locksmith steals from your home? Would you dimsiss an account of a 15 yearold girl getting raped just because the person she’s accusing seems like a nice guy? HELL NO. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. I don’t get special treatment and neither should the CoS. It’s time to pay the butcher’s bill.

  • Anonymous

    Does a plumber get special attention when he commits a crime? Do we look the other way when your local locksmith steals from your home? Would you dimsiss an account of a 15 yearold girl getting raped just because the person she’s accusing seems like a nice guy? HELL NO. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. I don’t get special treatment and neither should the CoS. It’s time to pay the butcher’s bill.

  • mollie

    It seems to me that you are not well informed about Scientology and how dangerous it is. But it is possible and easy to get information and then you can publish them here again and help to warn people about this dangerous cult.

  • James

    Jay McGraw – Have you been aboard the Freewinds? May want to get yourself checked for mesothelioma. The church management did not tell the members about this despite the fact THEY KNEW since 1987. The Freewinds is currently having the asbestos removed under the watch of the Dutch government. From several reports, blue asbestos HAS entered the ventilation system of the Freewinds. Jay, please get yourself checked for mesothelioma.

  • Hypatea

    CONFUSEd: “Is there some danger of a Scientologist theocracy in Germany? Or anywhere else, for that matter?”Yes. Scinetology is censoring the internet and the public debate about Scientology.

  • geth

    Mr. McGraw:Can you please provide documents or links to non-Scientology or CCHR sites that back up your claims that German policy is influenced and/or controlled by psychiatrists?Can you please provide the source for the 115,000 people that you state as being tortured and killed by pharmaceutical companies and/or psychiatrists every year?As far as those killed by anti-psychotic drugs, can you please define what you consider as a ‘fair percentage’, and what medical study provided this number?While topics such as this provoke often heated responses from both sides of the issue, and should be expected to rouse those willing only to shout slogans at each other, as a claimed representative of the organization in question I would be very interested to see the research behind your statements.Though I’m sure you can point to documents produced by your own organizations, for something that styles itself as a ‘science’ and a ‘religion’, I would be very interested to see independent, peer-reviewed studies that support your claims.Undoubtedly there are comments posted here which are contrary to your position, but many of these comments have referenced as well as linked to court documents and government statements with support the user’s words. I would like to see yours.

  • Jay McGraw

    Note to self: when writing troll comments on the net, I should only use the bit with circular reasoning where I accuse people of religious bigotry. To consequently start ranting about Psychiatry deaths is utterly off-topic, so people might be disinclined to take anything I say serious.Jay, on a more serious note. I really hope that you will consider doing an thorough doubt formula one of these days. Some data you could use:Good luck.

  • BlueTwo1

    According to the record, The Church of Scientology is a litigious bunch of crackpots who follow a belief system that was cooked up by a second-rate science fiction writer. Germany had its share of kooks during the 20th Century. Their belief system deified a failed art student/World War I medal-winning messenger boy and blamed the Versaille treaty, their loss of World War I in general, draconian war reparations, and social and economic upheaval during the post-war period on European bankers (read Jews) and their relatives (read all Jews). That crackpot lead Germany into a ruinous Second World War that they also lost, after completely militarizing their society and organizing a genocide. So, to explain why Germany is sensitive to crackpots, one must only refer to how things turned out for them with a crackpot for a Leader.

  • Amanda

    I have NO problem with the BELIFES of Scientology.I DO have a problem with children working more then the LAW allows.I DO have a problem with the US IRS giving one entity MORE exemptions then others.I DO have a problem with being harrased because I speak out abou these issues.I spoke out about the Catholic bishop scandle and NO ONE bothered me….but now I get followed by PIs….. I Spoke out about the abuses of the Polygamists in Utah and NO ONE BOTHERED ME… But now got a cease and desist letter????All I have done is speak out about these SPECIFIC ISSUES… I am NOT anonymous.. I am known. I protest and lobby about these issuesWHAT DOES THIS ORGANIZATION HAVE TO HIDE…WHY ATTACK a suburban housewife????

  • concerned german citizen

    Jay McGraw:”As long as psychiatry labels, drugs, imprisons, tortures, and kills 115,000 people a year in psych instituttions, we will continue to fight them.”Don’t you think, you are generalizing a fair bit when you imply “psychiatry” as a whole would be committing these acts?”To me, it appears that the influence of psychiatry in Germany is pretty strong, and when you hear anti-religious spewings from government officials there, you don’t have to look back very far in history to know that there’s something fishy about it.”spewings? I suggest you read some of the reports that have been compiled after months of careful investigation. And the so-called “witch hunts” in other countries that you mentioned might serve as an indication that there is more to it than just german anti-religious bias. “It was the Scientologists who organized getting the black label warning boxes put on the big money-makers for Big Pharma, the anti-psychotics that routinely cause suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation a fair percentage of those who take them.”I guess you are proud when less people take anti-depressants? It is known there have been some deaths because of this ideology against psychiatric treatment in general and preferring bogus vitamin treatment instead. E.g. Jeremy Perkins’ mother.”Scientologists appear to me to be one of the few groups standing up to this wave of hateful anti-religious sentiments, and by doing so we have taken a lot of heat.”Scientology was being criticized from day one before it even dawned on Hubbard that it might be practical to call his organization a religion.”Eventually we prevail against what is essentially religious discrimination, aka bigotry. I see a lot of it in the comments on this very article.”You see, this is an example why it’s so difficult to have meaningful, critical discussions with many Scientologists about what they regard as their religion: whoever criticizes must be a bigot or worse. Never mind a lot of quotations from Hubbard texts were used and a lot of references to actual, documented events like “operation snow white” or to institutions such as the RPF. It’s all religious bigotry and there’s no need to answer any criticism on point.

  • hirsute anon

    Jay McGraw: Flunk! I’ll repeat the auditing question:When L Ron Hubbard decided to create a religion for profit (numerous citations over the years from around 1930 on to various personalities are available), he realized he would need an oppressor. In 1965 or so he sponsored (ordered) a study to find the members of the conspiracy against Scientology (none had bitten so far). Stemming from that study David Gaiman of East Grinstead St. Hill GO burgled the Max Plank Insitut in West Germany to try to prove some conspiracy against Scientology. You failed. There is no conspiracy against Scientology. Most psychiatrists have never heard of you and don’t give a damn. It’s failed marketing. You’ve been had.PS We’ve watched your efforts to paint antidepressants as drugs that cause enturbulation (psychosis) and we’ve watched that black pr campaign fail too, for lack of scientific basis. L Ron Hubbard can make stuff up and pretend he’s creating a science, but in the real world among real people you need studies and figures to prove things. Flunk, I’ll repeat the audting question…

  • hirsute anon

    Jay McGraw: Flunk! I’ll repeat the auditing question:When L Ron Hubbard decided to create a religion for profit (numerous citations over the years from around 1930 on to various personalities are available), he realized he would need an oppressor. In 1965 or so he sponsored (ordered) a study to find the members of the conspiracy against Scientology (none had bitten so far). Stemming from that study David Gaiman of East Grinstead St. Hill GO burgled the Max Plank Insitut in West Germany to try to prove some conspiracy against Scientology. You failed. There is no conspiracy against Scientology. Most psychiatrists have never heard of you and don’t give a damn. It’s failed marketing. You’ve been had.PS We’ve watched your efforts to paint antidepressants as drugs that cause enturbulation (psychosis) and we’ve watched that black pr campaign fail too, for lack of scientific basis. L Ron Hubbard can make stuff up and pretend he’s creating a science, but in the real world among real people you need studies and figures to prove things. Flunk, I’ll repeat the auditing question…

  • storge

    scientologists will tell you psychiatrists perpetrated the holocaust. in fact psychiatrists were not involved, except in a very limited humanitarian capacity among the children at Theresienstadt concentration camp. The really famous psychiatrists/psychologists (Scientologists don’t make a distinction between the two professions) were Jews, Sigmund Freud from Austria first and foremost. Carl Jung had no use for Nazis either, although his name was attached to a Nazi conference document against his will. and yeah, if the “psychs” are killing 150,000 people annually, where are the bodies? where are the bone yards? this is just more of the crap they peddle as religion, not even up to snuff for the low standards held by alien abduction fanatics and satanic ritual abuse nuts.

  • fail

    Time and time again as we intend the absolute annihilation of the Scientology cult

  • matza

    “They are a religion largely based on self-improvement”:This writer is either a) woefully naive, or In either case should not hold the position of journalist for the washington post, since either has an agenda (a sinister one, too) or is incapable of conducting basic research on the web.

  • Tom3

    $cientology is not a religion.$cientology is a ripoff cult.Germany has the right idea. Just like Canada regulates Amway and other pyramid deals, Germany is regulating a ripoff cult to protect the people.$cientology costs BIG bucks, up to $300,000 to get past clear and up to the OT levels.You cannot put a price on enlightenment.$cientology is a scam.

  • John Burkhart

    I suggest the author read through some of L. Ron Hubbard’s writings again. Hubbard made his intentions to make a new government and even commit genocide perfectly clear.

  • L.RON

    TELL US Claire Hoffman, HOW MUCH DID THE CHURCH PAY YOU TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE???SCIENTOLOGY IS A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION AND RELIGIOUS DEBATES ARE IRRELEVANT!

  • SUOMYNONA

    IMHO – Scientology is Evil and Tom Cruise practices Black Magic.LRH studied w/ Aliester Crowley in 1945. His own son is quoted above saying “that he was Crowley’s successor”If you read the teaching of both Aliester Crowley and L Ron Hubbard, they teach and believe the same things.“The whole and sole object of all true magickal training is to become free from every kind of limitation.”“Our whole activity tends to make an individual completely independent of any limitation.”Scientology’s symbols and the SatanicThe RTC (a main Scientology corporation) symbol contains the Dianetics triangle, which is a common magical symbol, representing the door of the Cabala, the letter Daleth. Hubbard indeed assigned it to the Greek equivalent of Daleth, Delta. The triangle on its base is also the symbol of Set, the Egyptian god called by some “the destroyer of man”, the male equivalent of Babalon. Indeed Crowley equates Set with Satan. Hubbard also used the “Daleth” triangle of the Egyptian destroyer-god Set as the Dianetic symbol.Hubbard copied the back of Crowley’s Tarot-cards, a distinctively marked cross, which he used for his main Scientology church cross and symbol.The Sea Organization symbol of Scientology’s elite paramilitary division is also interesting. The five pointed star, or pentacle is the most commonly known symbol of magical power. It is held between two thirteen-leaved laurels.The theta symbol used by Scientology is the central symbol of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, where it denotes “Thelma” or the will. Perhaps Hubbard’s “thetan” is pronounced to match with a lisped “Satan”? He was, after all, wry in his humor and such a subtle perverse twist and deceit of lower initiates would be entirely congruent with classical Satanism.Crowley’s order – the OTO – had a common origin with the Thule group to which several members of the Nazi hierarchy belonged (including deputy party chairman Rudolph Hess). The sig rune used by the Nazis – appears on the Scientology International Management Organization’s symbol – a red square enclosing a white disc and set off by four lightning flashes or sig runes. The swastika of the Nazi flag has been replaced by the Scientology “S and double triangle”. The symbol of the Religious Technology Center is surrounded by sig runes. The sig rune is otherwise peculiar to the Nazis.L. Ron, junior, was sure that the teachings of the pre-Nazi Germanen Orden and the Thule secret societies had passed directly to his father by courier. No explanation is given for using these sig runes by Scientology. At the time that both of these symbols were introduced, Hubbard also created the International Finance Police, headed by the International Finance Dictator. An significant choice of words.I repeat:Hubbard copied the back of Crowley’s Tarot-cards, a distinctively marked cross, which he used for his main Scientology church cross and symbol.

  • Tony Clifton

    Somebody didn’t do their homework. First of all, why is the Co$ being discussed in a column entitled “Under God”? Scientology has nothing to do with God. Don’t take my word for it, ask them. The closest they get to “God” is their unholy worship of their founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology is essentially a cult of lie-detector users whose leaders rely on extortion, terrorism, and mind-control to keep the money rolling in. It’s closer to Amway than to religion. What kind of religion makes you keep “stats” to show how much money you’re bringing in to the organization? Another responder said that just because you call it a religion doesn’t mean that it is one. I agree! Germany already knows this. Smart people — they recognize a dangerous group of hoods when they see one, having had a good bit of practice with a similar group, the Nazis.

  • Anonymous

    Where is Ms. Hoffman to respond to all of this? Cowering in fear of being silenced by COS? Or, perhaps, she is COS herself, and her little PR trick backfired totally? Kind of like Oprah?

  • Marco Mielcarek

    The “U.S. State Department regularly criticizes Germany for the practice in its annual Human Rights Report” says Claire Hoffman in her column. I can’t wait for the day the U.S. will have regained the moral high-ground to convincingly condemn Germany (a state that has learned from history) in terms of its monitoring practices of a pseudo-religious and exploitative organization with a clearly anti-constitutional agenda. It would be civil-liberties preserving if the same people who defended Scientology raised their voices against prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, eavesdropping on innocent citizens and CIA detention practices authorized by the Bush administration.

  • Patrick

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”The “Church’s” treatment? I think it’s a stretch to call this entity a “church,” and doing so exposes what may be the author’s true intention – namely to legitimize Scientology by mainstreaming it into the American psyche.Sorry Claire Hoffman, but the public isn’t that gullible.

  • Green Apple

    They are a religion that *claims* to be largely focused on self-improvement. In reality, they are a totalitarian cult. The world under Scientology would resemble Burma and North Korea more than any religious utopia.Germany knows the dangers of totalitarianism firsthand, and is well within its rights to come down hard on the Church of Scientology.

  • simplymortified

    Scientology isn’t a religion. Its a money making cult that was started by a compulsive lair. Pretty much every part of Hubbard’s “story” has been de-bunked as either lies or exaggeration. Scientology is nothing more than a new age vulture that preys on the weak and confused, it is little better than the Catholic church in the 15th & 16th century when it sold indulgences to raise money.

  • Ferd

    It’s my understanding that Ponzi schemes are almost universally outlawed. Why should this one be any different?

  • Poink Future

    Is Claire Hoffman a Scientology agent?Her personal website:You decide.

  • Topher

    Dear Claire,Thanks very much for your article. Truthfully, German Scientologists have suffered for many years. Imagine losing your job or being expelled from a school because of one’s religious beliefs – yet that’s what has gone on in Germany for years.There are those who will use your article to take a swipe at you and yet another against my church. Frankly, I’m bored with the continual dredging up of decades old stories and ex-members that purport to show the character of the Church of Scientology or its Founder.It is typical of unreasoned hate speak to accuse a journalist of being in collusion with a group because the writer dared to state something positive about the Church. Incredible. It only shows how deep the religious prejudice and bigotry runs.I know that this post is only going to throw gas on the fire as it will be derided and will undoubtedly fuel yet another salvo of bile from the hate speakers. Honestly, I don’t care. I am proud to be a Scientologist, proud of my Church, and invite anyone who is ACTUALLY interested in finding out what Scientology is about (not the falsehoods that are continually spewed about on the Internet)to go to an online bookstore and order a book. Have the courage to read it and actually make your mind up for yourself. If it’s not for you, fine. That’s your choice. But please, don’t infringe on my choice to follow my religion and knock off the hateful rhetoric.Again, thank you for your article.

  • storge

    dear newsweek/washington post, your comments here are being censored. way to go, how impartial. like hiring someone who writes copy to order for the church of scientology, as is apparent from her blog. cancel my subscription etc

  • Deutscher Michel

    @Nazibuster:1. There is no “official state church” in Germany.2. “Germany still collects church taxes for the official state churches that were awarded this preferential treatment by Hitler in exchange for not interfering with his holocaust plans.”How do you explain the mass killings of priests and pastors by the “Werwolf”-squads roaming around countrysides long after the 8th of May 1945?3. “The Catholic church is run by an ex-Nazi-Pope”Pope Benedict’s membership in the Hitler Youth is clear as day seeing that he is still alive today. Anyone not joining the “Hitlerjugend” in his youth would have painted a brick wall with his own blood sooner rather than later.That’s the beauty… or rather grimm reality… of totalitarian systems not unlike the Church of Scientology’s own utopia of a “clear” and SP-free planet.Please don’t argue with us about our past. We’re getting hyperschooled in it and we know what happened.Let’s get back on Scientology, shall we… why have several key members of Operation: Snow White of “U.S. government infiltration”-fame been pulled from the “Guardian Office” (now “OSA”), to be reassigned to Delphi Schools, Inc, another front group of Scientology?

  • Balut

    Checkered past? First off thats a gross understatement and they are still doing outrageous things to people

  • hirsute

    topher: “I am proud to be a Scientologist, proud of my Church, and invite anyone who is ACTUALLY interested in finding out what Scientology is about (not the falsehoods that are continually spewed about on the Internet)to go to an online bookstore and order a book.”don’t pay the scammers for their “religious” materials. the books are overpriced for a reason, to get you to pay them for their “knowledge.” what other religion charges for access to its scripture? none. it’s all available for free on the internet.

  • Paganplace

    “How do you explain the mass killings of priests and pastors by the “Werwolf”-squads roaming around countrysides long after the 8th of May 1945?”Easy enough: Just cause someone runs on a ‘Christian values’ platform doesn’t mean they aren’t a ‘wolf in the sheepfold.’ Doesn’t mean Hitler didn’t have a certain amount of backing, just cause he turned around and did some nasty things to some of those backers once he had power. Like the SA.

  • Nomnomanon

    Scientology is not a religion; it is a dangerous cult which aims to rid the world of everyone who’s not like them. Germany has a bit of a history with that. Germans know a dangerous cult when they see it.If you would do some actual research into the “teachings” of Scientology, you would find that Sea Org coerces young women into abortions; even children are sent to the RPF, which is basically a forced labor camp; their front group CCHR blames WWII (as well as a lot of the other ills of the world) on psychiatry.Their cruise ship, Freewinds, is currently having the blue asbestos removed. After they did nothing about it for years. They had been advised of the asbestos in 1987 by architect Lawrence Woodcraft. Workers have refittted the ship more than once in between then and now. Tom Cruise’s birthday party was held on the ship. And they are STILL denying that it was ever a problem. How many have been exposed? We don’t know, but I’m betting the number is higher than in the hundreds. With articles like this, the American public is not seeing the truth. WaPo, you fell down on this one big-time.

  • TaffyDownUnder

    Scientology is a cult which promotes the separation of its members from their non-Scientology family. They manipulate members to extract money from them in the name of “self-improvement”, they are the only “religion” I know of where you have to pay to have access to the “churches” teachings. They sue anybody who reveals aspects of their “religious” documents; what do THEY have to hide. In addition they promote the withholding of mental health care from members which has in Australia resulted in the death, through suicide, of at least one member.

  • James

    Topher – Tell me how warning people of the health hazards present on the Freewinds is Loose blue asbestos on the Freewinds is not something made up by “hatemongers” Please, if you have been aboard the Freewinds get yourself checked for signs of mesolthelioma.The management knew about this problem for YEARS. You may think me a “wog”/”suppressive”/”bigot” but what I say here is only to help.

  • Void

    I believe that groups like Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Church of Latter Day Saints run afoul of German law, because recognition by the state of a lawful religious practice requires that a member of the group be guaranteed the freedom to leave the group without fear of sanction or retribution.None of these groups can fulfill this requirement.Indeed, all of them either shun (LDS, JW) or actively retaliate (Scientology) against members who leave them. These practices are not just social habits, but are part of the dogma informing and shaping their group coherence and identity.As I understand it, German religious freedom extends to the protection of the right of the citizen to be free to change their affiliation.It’s a different system with different rules. To my mind it is extremely fair and insightful.

  • SaintRick

    Scientology classifies itself as a church merely to reap the legal advantages of that identification.Over the years I’ve known a couple of people who were bilked out of their life savings by the “Church” of Scientology. It seems to me a ban of Scientology can be justified in much the same spirit as the laws against harmful drugs: to protect people from being grossly damaged by their own stupidity.The “ideas” of Scientology should be freely available, of course. Let people read L. Ron’s drivel to their heart’s content. But the organized practices of The Church of Scientology are a fraudulent con game. Those who profit from them should be jailed.

  • brendon

    Ooops, I meant to address my comment in my last post to topher, not Claire.Blog owner is free to correct.

  • bob

    I don’t thinks so, laws that protect people from there own stupidity take power from the individual and put them in the hands of the state, such a thing is, in my book, ‘bad’.what you can do however is make laws that protect you from OTHER people’s stupidity, like drunk driving laws. in this respect the CoS is known to cause problems for people who are not scientologists. anyone who disagrees with scientology “can be tricked lied to or destroyed”, I want laws that will protect me from that.

  • Openminded_really

    I don’t want to go online and order a book about Scientology from their website, I’d like to be able to just READ IT ONLINE, FOR FREE. If the message seems to offer spiritual fulfillment, then I’ll donate my money for the Good Works of the Church. Otherwise, it seems a lot like just another male size enhancement spam to me.

  • Deutscher Michel

    @Paganplace> Easy enough: Just cause someone runs on a ‘Christian values’ platform doesn’t mean they aren’t a ‘wolf in the sheepfold.’Wheather or not you think that Pius XI willingly sided with the “devil” that was Hitler and his crusade against Judaism after the “Reichskonkordat” (and I actually tend to think so), you’ll find yourself between a rock and a hard place arguing that the Catholic Church under Pius XII was fully behind Hitler’s Plans after the persecution of Polish Christians.Let’s get back to Scientology one more time… why was Mary DeMoss’ name completely purged from the newly relaunchend CCHR website?

  • A concerned German citizen

    When I first read the article I was absolutely shocked! After reading through the comments I’m not quite sure whether to calm down or to be even more concerned…On the one hand I am glad to see that certainly the majority of you bring along the intelligence to critically evaluate this article and try to consider the German point of view.A small example of Scientology’s methods to bait fragile minds:At the entrance of my University in Berlin I am regularly encountered by ambivalent people who hand out flyers to students. The flyers encourage you to participate in a mental test – it is named “Oxford-Test”! The city of Oxford should sue them for abusing this reputable name!It is so distressing how people are being taken by this! I sincerely hope that the German government is going to manage to stick to its rigorous refusal of this superfluous but dangerous organisation named “Scientology”.

  • Anonymous

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Actually, no. Germany has been against totalitarian, authoritarian, cultic regimes since they last let a totalitarian, authoritiarian, cultic regime gain power. How they’re treating Scientology just shows they’ve learned from their past and will not let another tyrannical group take root in their land.If anything, they’re being wise and are protecting freedom by acting against this cult which endorses eugenics (google “quietly and without sorrow”).

  • A concerned German citizen

    When I first read the article I was absolutely shocked! After reading through the comments I’m not quite sure whether to calm down or to be even more concerned…On the one hand I am glad to see that certainly the majority of you bring along the intelligence to critically evaluate this article and try to consider the German point of view.A small example of Scientology’s methods to bait fragile minds:At the entrance of my University in Berlin I am regularly encountered by ambivalent people who hand out flyers to students. The flyers encourage you to participate in a mental test – it is named “Oxford-Test”! The city of Oxford should sue them for abusing this reputable name!It is so distressing how people are being taken by this! I sincerely hope that the German government is going to manage to stick to its rigorous refusal of this superfluous but dangerous organisation named “Scientology”.

  • Anonymous

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Actually, no. Germany has been against totalitarian, authoritarian, cultic regimes since they last let a totalitarian, authoritiarian, cultic regime gain power. How they’re treating Scientology just shows they’ve learned from their past and will not let another tyrannical group take root in their land.If anything, they’re being wise and are protecting freedom by acting against this cult which endorses eugenics (google “quietly and without sorrow”).

  • Artoo45

    To Poink Future . . .

  • Anonymous

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Actually, no. Germany has been against totalitarian, authoritarian, cultic regimes since they last let a totalitarian, authoritiarian, cultic regime gain power. How they’re treating Scientology just shows they’ve learned from their past and will not let another tyrannical group take root in their land.If anything, they’re being wise and are protecting freedom by acting against this cult which endorses eugenics (google “quietly and without sorrow”).

  • truthbomb

    They fear cults and cult activity, both of which should be illegal in the United States. If this were the case, we would not have abominations like FLDS.

  • concerned german citizen

    Nazibuster:”Scientologists in Germany are persecuted today by state churches (The Catholic church is run by an ex-Nazi-Pope) with the help of the so-called “Verfassungsschutz”, the modern version of the GESTAPO.”you either have got no idea what the GESTAPO was or you play down the nazi crimes here.Topher:”Frankly, I’m bored with the continual dredging up of decades old stories”You’re fully within your rights to be bored by this and I understand it must be painful to acknowledge this, but these stories aren’t all decades old. The declaration of Astra Woodcraft is from 2001, the raids on the greece Scientology center happened in the 1990ies, Lisa McPherson died in 1995. The tax exempt status was gained by bypassing the usual IRS procedures in 1993. The belgium Scientology center in Brussels was raided less than a month ago. The SP Hall situation at Int Base is allegedly going on till this very day.The ability to confront is really important in this context, it’s just a question of ethics.

  • Rick

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Actually, no. Germany has been against totalitarian, authoritarian, cultic regimes since they last let a totalitarian, authoritiarian, cultic regime gain power. How they’re treating Scientology just shows they’ve learned from their past and will not let another tyrannical group take root in their land.If anything, they’re being wise and are protecting freedom by acting against this cult which endorses eugenics (google “quietly and without sorrow”).

  • Rick

    Apologies for the triple-post, I was getting no confirmation screen :3

  • Anonymous

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”I just read possibly the most insane article I have ever read. Nope, I think the only reason why a dangerous, bloodthirsty and brainwashing cult has managed to be around so long is because said cult practices a policy of “fair game” on all its critics, seeking to destroy them by any means necessary. As sad as the truth is, the Germans are the sensible ones here. They see the connection between the sadism and fascism practiced by the COS, and the sadism and fascism practiced by the 3rd Reich. They have been through this before.I note that the writer does not mention COS’s quest to dominate the world, and destroy all their detractors, just as she does not mention fair game, brainwashing, the child slavery practiced at Sea Org and other COS “bases,” or the policy of family disconnection, which is necessary to isolate its brainwashing victims.Man, I just can’t believe that the writer has utterly failed to do ANY research before making such absurd statements. A simple google would have informed her her position was unfathomably uninformed. In fact, she seems to be simply repeating a COS press release. Man o man, i just can’t believe this story coming from the WP.

  • Marc M Arcab

    This is to the author and editors of the article.scientology abuse -druggoogle it.we did the “minus drug” to cut out all of their ideas that psychiatry is responsible for the evils of the world and has been controlling mankind for MILLIONS of years… yes, they actually believe that.anyway, so look it up. and when your soul turns black from reading it, realize that some people would rather live in a fairy world while being eaten by sharks, than to fight the sharks themselves.

  • Analogy

    “Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.”Ban the Nazis? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are a party largely focused on helping the German race. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.

  • Bob

    Hey! You guys are oppressing me! Er… repressing me! Suppressives! Evil Supressive Persons!Joking aside, deo you even know what that really means, Ms. Hoffman? What a Supressive Person is? Research it and see if it strikes you as a legitimate religious beliefs or one of the classic hallmarks of a Cult? People using the “C” word (hint: not Church) is NOT hype. NOT a coincidence. There’s a valid reason they do. Unless of course you ask the Cult Awareness Network…Oh wait. You don’t know the story of how the “Church” of Scientology helped drive the (then) very well respected Cult Awareness Network OUT of business and then bought up the name and phone numbers to control a source of dissent? Look this UP if you don’t believe me. This ISN’T “tin foil” conspiracy talk–its ALL publicly documented. 60 Minutes did the story. Would you believe what 60 Minutes says if not me? What kind of real Church does this kind of stuff?

  • James

    Bob – good point! The takeover of the Cult Awareness Network by Scientology was just one of the many examples.

  • Chris

    No, I’m sorry. Unlike here in the United States, Germany, after its experience with an almost religious cult, learned that “values,” even if couched in religion, should not be protected if they are in opposition to a country’s constitution. Too many times in the United States, hate is allowed free reign in the name of “religious freedom” — as if any religion truly endorsed hate.

  • Ari, Netherlands (next to Germany)

    I have read these comments with interest. I am not a specialist, but have read on scientology ideas on the internet, and talked to several people who have done one of their courses here in Europe. This thing could very well become a religion. The Xenu story of the 76 overpopulated planets and the souls which have been sent out in clusters, one of which have become us, is not really any crazier than the adam and eve story. There seem to have been some low life and prostitutes at its origin, but that is not unlike christianity. It has borrowed from other creeds, not unlike the major religions. One problem I see, is that they render services for payment. They give you schooling, and you pay for the courses. How can that give them a tax exemption ?Another point, about the Germans. The author missed something on Europe, here. Take christianity. It has been a religion for 17 to 20 centuries. However, in the days of the European inquisition and the pogroms, when people got tortured, burned, and killed in other ways, the christian church were clearly anti-current-constitutional. I think I would have wanted to stop them, and many Europeans are with me in this. So I fail to see this author’s point about constitution and this particular, maybe, religion, when there are signs of coercion, illegal practices, and ethics of which the German state apparently concluded that they won’t do society any good. She could have spent some words on that, instead of hurrying to finish her article with an authority-based argument like “They are a religion”.

  • Terryeo

    Ms. Claire Hoffman,I would like to take this moment and respectfully request that you look into the current, ongoing, and unconscionable acts perpetrated by the “Church” of Scientology.To put it simply, I ask you this: What criminal traits do you think of when asked to describe the notorious mafia syndicates of the 1920′s?You will find that the current Scientology organization commits the very same heinous acts (and more) on a worldwide scale.Germany is Winston. We live in 1984.

  • SP 3

    This is nothing but irresponsible journalism.

  • Terryeo

    Ms. Claire Hoffman,I would like to take this moment and respectfully request that you look into the current, ongoing, and unconscionable acts perpetrated by the “Church” of Scientology.To put it simply, I ask you this: What criminal traits do you think of when asked to describe the notorious mafia syndicates of the 1920′s?You will find that the current Scientology organization commits the very same heinous acts (and more) on a worldwide scale.Germany is Winston. We live in 1984.

  • WOWOMG

    Suomynona wrote:IMHO – Scientology is Evil and Tom Cruise practices Black Magic.LRH studied w/ Aliester Crowley in 1945. His own son is quoted above saying “that he was Crowley’s successor”If you read the teaching of both Aliester Crowley and L Ron Hubbard, they teach and believe the same things.“The whole and sole object of all true magickal training is to become free from every kind of limitation.”“Our whole activity tends to make an individual completely independent of any limitation.”Scientology’s symbols and the SatanicThe RTC (a main Scientology corporation) symbol contains the Dianetics triangle, which is a common magical symbol, representing the door of the Cabala, the letter Daleth. Hubbard indeed assigned it to the Greek equivalent of Daleth, Delta. The triangle on its base is also the symbol of Set, the Egyptian god called by some “the destroyer of man”, the male equivalent of Babalon. Indeed Crowley equates Set with Satan. Hubbard also used the “Daleth” triangle of the Egyptian destroyer-god Set as the Dianetic symbol.Hubbard copied the back of Crowley’s Tarot-cards, a distinctively marked cross, which he used for his main Scientology church cross and symbol.The Sea Organization symbol of Scientology’s elite paramilitary division is also interesting. The five pointed star, or pentacle is the most commonly known symbol of magical power. It is held between two thirteen-leaved laurels.The theta symbol used by Scientology is the central symbol of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, where it denotes “Thelma” or the will. Perhaps Hubbard’s “thetan” is pronounced to match with a lisped “Satan”? He was, after all, wry in his humor and such a subtle perverse twist and deceit of lower initiates would be entirely congruent with classical Satanism.Crowley’s order – the OTO – had a common origin with the Thule group to which several members of the Nazi hierarchy belonged (including deputy party chairman Rudolph Hess). The sig rune used by the Nazis – appears on the Scientology International Management Organization’s symbol – a red square enclosing a white disc and set off by four lightning flashes or sig runes. The swastika of the Nazi flag has been replaced by the Scientology “S and double triangle”. The symbol of the Religious Technology Center is surrounded by sig runes. The sig rune is otherwise peculiar to the Nazis.L. Ron, junior, was sure that the teachings of the pre-Nazi Germanen Orden and the Thule secret societies had passed directly to his father by courier. No explanation is given for using these sig runes by Scientology. At the time that both of these symbols were introduced, Hubbard also created the International Finance Police, headed by the International Finance Dictator. An significant choice of words.I repeat:Hubbard copied the back of Crowley’s Tarot-cards, a distinctively marked cross, which he used for his main Scientology church cross and symbol.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++WOW… The world needs to know this. If the world knew Scientology was founded by a Satanist to create tons of unknowing brainwashed Satanist.. all the misplaced sympathy for this Cult would disappear.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve recently reviewed a great deal of material about the Church of Scientology. I’ve been to the COS org website, as well as the critics websites, like the xenu website and the lermanet website. I’ve reviewed actual COS documents and LRH’s own handwritten documents.I think it is, indeed, a cult that engages in brainwashing which seeks to rob its victims blind, and disconnect them from their families and friends, so the brainwashing works.I like Tony Ortega’s point, from the Village Voice, “Scientology is a money-making scam that doesn’t tell its own believers until they’ve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars that the point of all their classes and lie-detector machines is to remove space-alien souls from the human body.”Also, Google “fair game” Google “Lisa McPherson.” Basically, the COS destroys critics with any means necessary, and also destroy their own members, after bleeding them for every penny.

  • Anne Lowen

    You refer to the “checkered past” of the Scientology cult as being a consideration in your appraisal of Germany’s measures. Unfortunately, the subterfuge, slander, and altogether malignant nature of Scientology are all too real in the present day.Scientology achieved religious recognition in the US by filing 2500 lawsuits against the IRS and blackmailing its officials. It now enjoys an entirely unjust standing with the IRS that, financially, places it above genuine religions such as Christianity or Judaism.Use of brainwashing is institutionalized. Smear campaigns and spurious litigation are practiced against anyone who dares to leave the cult or speak out against it. The German government considers Scientology to be a threat to liberty on a par with Al-Qaeda and organised crime. And justly so. The be-all and end-all of Scientology is profit and power, regardless of who gets in the way. It is a cult, not a religion. Followers who have paid enough to be told about Xenu and the Body Thetans (see Hubbard’s atrocious science fiction for more information) are instructed to lie to anyone who hasn’t. Everything about Scientology is deceptive and deceitful, and Germany’s stringent stance on the cult is the best possible approach.

  • WOWOMG

    The washingtonpost.com “Discussion Guidelines” states:3. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forumsPLEASE.. Disregard all post submitted by Scientologist.

  • Jimbo

    Scientology is not a religion. It is a sophisticated money making scheme run by people who control and take advantage of vulnerable people. It is not much different than other large group awareness training programs like the Landmark Forum. The Germans are right in closely watching this organization.

  • Luana1980

    Why isn’t Embezzlement a religion yet? or how about “The Temple of Child Abuse”? does criminal activity become legal if I call it a religion?

  • Jonathan Faukes

    Topher: I am glad that you are a proud member of your church, faith should be a strong factor in peoples lives no matter what. However, the very fact that you describe criticism against your church as “Hate Speech and bigotry” is absolutley insulting. As a person who has had 3 decades of family affected by the troubles in Northern Ireland. the very notion that you are comparing their plight to the posting of sourced and accurate statements from Scientology publications, court procedings and judgements is outright ludicrous. The throwing of incinidary devices into religious buildings, the bigoted asaults and the defamatory language of opposite sides in that conflict. That is hate speech and a true example of bigotry. Prank calls, researched statements and legal protest is not hate speech. No Scientologist has died, lost family or been persecuted for their faith by anonymous and it will most likely stay that way. I am glad you are happy being a Scientologist and you have found your faith when many people flounder and struggle to find their own. Your answer to these comments, however,is truly disgraceful and an insult to those who have experienced the loss and harm caused by true religious bigotry. Defending your faith is one thing. Comparing a couple of factual posts to decades of hurt, loss and suffering is completely different. Everyone please. Stop, think and then post.

  • John Grady

    The overwhelming amount of vitriol directed at Scientology is amazing, and truly misses the point. Whether your looking at mainstream Christianity, Islamic sects, or Hindu nationalists, you can find many instances of inhuman treatment of others, and and ‘cult’ like groupthink. You can do that just as well with sectarian ideologies (Soviet communism, Nazism, ethnic warfare, etc). Should we ban all religions, and then after that, all groups? Should we just ban the religions that the majority doesn’t like? Is that progress? If your metric for banning a religion is deceit, groupthink, filling the coffers, well, then ban them all. Then ban political parties, sports, and bingo too. Ban all the little old ladies that keep to themselves too much. Or maybe when someone breaks a regular old secular law, we punish them, according to the law. Otherwise, let them be. If everyone stopped hyperventilating for a minute, they might realize how little sense they are making.

  • James

    John Grady – Have you overlooked the fact that Scientology management covered up the presence of blue asbestos on their religious cruise ship the Freewinds since 1987?

  • Paganplace

    I’ll *defintely* say that Scientology’s claims that criticism of their organization is ‘hate speech’ are the claims of privileged people who’ve never *experienced* real hate speech, or the actions that come of it. Seriously. You don’t get to cry ‘hate speech’ when someone doesn’t listen to threats from your thousand-dollar-an-hour *lawyers.* Seriously. My religion ain’t too popular, either, and someone might take a baseball bat to me for anything from their idea of Cotton Mather to their idea of Harry Potter.If I can have a modicum of a sense of humor about *that,* lacking any private armies of lawyers or whatever, *you can look at what you’re doing, and maybe somewhere in your ‘superior’ mind figure out why you look *stupid* claiming to be ‘oppressed’ when you, well, *pretty much are the rich dudes wanting to obliterate everyone else.* Or so your stuff says.I’m all for religious diversity, but, hey.This is L. Ron *Hubbard* we’re talking about here. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And he *did* make the religion on a bet. Scientology has too much money and influence and ideological professions of being willing to lie, cheat, sue, and *destroy* critics and dissenters to whine about ‘hate speech.’ You’re big kids, Scientologists. It’s not to single you out, but, dag. People who got that much money and privilege *don’t* get to whine ‘oppression’ when someone says the books look hinky.

  • Weezer

    Ms. Hoffman, I’m truly surprised to read your article defending scientology as a harmless religion. Have you done any research on the internet? Seen the sworn affidavits from dozens of victims of their scam? Have you read the court documents in which scientologists have been found guilty of fraud and espionage on several governments? The Washington Post is a respected journal, not a venue for puff pieces.I expected a deeper level of journalistic research and editorial responsibility.

  • Songe

    You make me sick, you “faith” commentators. You’re always there, really to circle the wagons and defend anything that remotely calls itself a religion simply because you are scared that you might be next.

  • Christine

    A few quotes from the founder of Scientology:SCIENTOLOGY FOUNDER L. RON HUBBARD ON CRITICS”Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed.” – L Ron Hubbard, HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 1967 HUBBARD ON TRUTH”THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” – L. Ron Hubbard, “Off the Time Track,” lecture of June 1952, excerpted in JOURNAL OF SCIENTOLOGY issue 18-G, reprinted in TECHNICAL VOLUMES OF DIANETICS & SCIENTOLOGY, vol. 1, p. 418HUBBARD ON GAYS AND LESBIANS”The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation in dynamic two such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc., and all down the catalog of Ellis and Krafft-Ebing) is actually quite ill physically… he is very far from culpable for his condition, but he is also far from normal and extremely dangerous to society.” – L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.HUBBARD ON JESUS CHRIST”For instance, the historic Jesus was not nearly the sainted figure he has been made out to be. In addition to being a lover of young boys and men, he was given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred that belied the general message of love, understanding and other typical Marcab PR. You have only to look at the history his teachings inspired to see where it all inevitably leads.” – L. Ron Hubbard, HCO Bulletin of 5 May 1980Yeah, this sounds like a real religion to me :rolleyes:

  • Gorilla Goals

    While many bad things have been done in the name of religion, the goal of religion is to establish and maintain peace and love in society. Scientology seeks to eliminate by any means neccessary those who oppose it.In spite of your loving defence of the cult Claire, the line “While I’m well aware of their checkered past” alone makes you a Potential Trouble Source to them. Your name and this article now appears in their files.Religions do not do this. Cults do.

  • Terryeo

    Germany’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion. But Scientology methods of parishioner donation fly in the face of the German government’s method. The government collects the donations for the two established religions. Those parishioner’s church donations pass through the German government to be accurately distributed to the two established churches. This is a large and fixed economic system. Like income tax, many people’s jobs are involved with collection of donations and their accurate dispersement. Therefore, the constitution says one thing, while practical day-to-day activity, holds another thing in place.

  • Fifth Invasion Fleet

    Summary of this article: “All sorts of vicious crimes against humanity are okay if you claim you have religious reasons to do so. Anyone who says these vicious crimes must be stopped are bigots who have something to hide.”

  • Tessa Hamilton

    I completely agree with Ari’s comment that even if something is the government considers legitimate religion (the medieval Catholic Church), it does not mean that the religion is not corrupt.Interviews from ex-Scientologists such as Astra Woodcraft detail the abuses of Scientology. When she was a young teenager, Scientology made her work 80 hours a week for a tiny fraction of minimum wage. When Ms. Woodcraft was 15, she was married off to a 22-year-old man. When she was 19, she became pregnant, and Scientology told her to abort her child because her child would get in the way of being a member of Scientology’s “elite” Sea Organization. Other children and teenagers in the organization have been molested, then told by church authorities that it was completely THEIR fault that they were molested.None of these abuses are by ANY means acceptable. Our society has spoken out against the sexual abuses of Catholic priests. Our government has taken a stand against the polygamy and child rape of the Fundamentalist Mormon Church. Now we need to make Scientology account for its crimes.

  • geth

    Mr. Grady:The overwhelming fallacy of your example is that bingo groups, sports teams, etc., do not actively seek to extort their members/participants. If they do, they face immediate and harsh legal ramifications. The Scientology organization willfully and knowingly extorts money from its members, and yet enjoys a state of tax exemption in the US that far exceeds that of any legitimate religion. It hides from the consequences of its illegal actions by screaming “Bigotry!” and “Hate speech!” if its atrocious methods are called into question.The German government is not on a witchhunt. They have made a clear moral choice to ban a criminal organization. A pyramid scheme under the guise of a church.

  • Jim

    You are correct about Scientology. It is a religion based on self-help and has some worthwhile ideas.The religion is not the problem. The governing body of Scientology is the threat that the Germans are concerned about.Prosecution of the leadership of the Church of Scientology, not persecution of the followers, should be the goal.

  • David

    You ask what the German government is afraid of? Well they are probably afraid of a totalitarian master race organisation seeking global dominance gaining power, they’ve already had that happen to them once in the last hundred years and they likely want to make sure it does not happen again. Considering the CoS’s history of government infiltration, there ‘homo novis’/clear the planet philosophies, the fact that there founder said that if all the people from the lower end of the “tone scale” were to be suddenly “deleted” it would have a great effect on society, I can certainly see why the Germans would want to keep them away. Germany’s surveillance of Scientology is no worse than trying to keep tabs on some extremist Islamic sect or other terrorist group. When it is said that Scientology is a dangerous cult, it isn’t meant in some sort of wishy washy “they are going to corrupt our morals” sort of way. No, it’s meant in the “if you make them angry they will find were you live and make your life hell” sort of way, they will come after you, they will come after your friends, your children. Paulette Cooper was nearly sent to prison for a bomb threat that the Church of Scientology wrote on paper they stole from her house. it was only because the FBI raided a CoS facility in response to the largest domestic government infiltration in US history that she was able to save herself. it makes one wonder what they have been up to lately and what our government is doing to make sure they don’t revisit there “checkered past”.

  • Grace

    I think the problem here is that you’ve not separated the “faith” (which is weird, but who are we to criticise someone who wants to believe in aliens?) and the “church”. The Church of Scientology’s a business, pure and simple. It’s done a fascinating job of exploiting that icky space between religious exemption and legitimate business, but that is absolutely no reason to shrug it off.I understand the inclination to look the other way, if you’re convinced the Church of Scientology is harmless. But as reams of court documents and hundreds of destroyed families will show, it’s not harmless. It’s a pyramid scheme that flits between “religion” and “business”, and brainwashes people along the way.At the very least, check out the Freezoners — Scientologists who practice OUTSIDE official Church channels. They are faith. The CoS is business.

  • John Packer

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.” After reading sites like http://www.xenu.net and http://www.whyaretheydead.net , I do have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German government. I wonder why the American government is turning a blind eye to one of the largest and most dangerous marketing/hypnotism scams that has ever existed. Calling something a religion does not absolve it from scrutiny. Especially when there is a proven history of criminal action being perpetrated in its name. I reiterate the above sentiments of shame that such a great paper as the Washington Post would publish such uneducated dreck. The author has claimed to be well-read and shows that to be a lie with every subsequent word.

  • Not Lisa McPherson

    Surely you have some minimum criteria for what qualifies as a “religion” in your mind. Otherwise, you’d consider the pederasty of the “Arcadian Fields Ministries” to be protected by freedom of religion.Please take a few minutes to think about what those criteria might be. Then take a few more minutes to apply those criteria to Scientology. I’m not sure what the result will be — I don’t mean to say that Scientology is the equivalent of the “Arcadian Fields Ministries” — but the exercise should be instructive.The actual author of this message is indeed not Lisa McPherson, but if you think I’m signing my own name on a post critical of Scientology, you’re crazy. I have no desire to be Fair Game.

  • Howe I. Shotweb

    Scientology is responsible for the biggest U.S. Government infiltration to date (Google Operation Snow White to learn more) and countless human rights violations, that include, but are not limited to, the use of child labour, forceful imprisoning and denial of hospital care, which has lead to deaths. Germany has every right to be afraid of this brainwashing cult. It often wonders me why haven’t other countries yet taken a similar stance in this matter.

  • SgtTes

    I guess Jim Jones was a harmless little “religion” also, poor investigation into scientology, but most journalists are lazy today…or on someones payroll…or afraid of scientology

  • Concerned US citizen

    Germany recognizes a totalitarianism regime when it sees one. Scientologists consider themselves to be a race above other races. They are not homosapien, they are homo novus. The Church of Scientology CONSISTENTLY violates human rights of their members and I think Germany are the only ones smart enough NOT to look the other way.

  • James

    Well, I guess you are unaware of the fact that the Church of Scientology covered up the presence of blue asbestos on their religious cruise ship the Freewinds then, ignoring a former member’s sworn affidavit in 2001 (and in person, in 1987) As I type this, the Freewinds, is in drydock under seal. For analysis and removal of the blue asbestos by the dutch government. According to verified news, blue asbestos entered the ventaliation system on multiple occasions in which the passengers were not informed. Scientology members go here for meetings and to learn their top levels inside the organization. They were unwittingly exposed. Does covering up a blue asbestos problem on one of their spiritual headquarters sound very “churchy” to you Claire?

  • kaos

    Are you truly that naive or simply another journalist too freightened of this cult to tell the truth.You might want to try to explain away the murder of Lisa McPherson as simply the actions of this quirky religion.I suppose that Germany is affraid of having its citizens made into slaves by the heartless actions of certain Orgs. Or they might want to stem the tide of harassment and blackmail that follows this “religion.”Whatever, you do a disservice to your fellow man by negating the evil actions of this CULT!

  • Rick Win

    You deal with their history of abuse and criminal acts, upon instructions by the church’s founder, as one line? The fact that the church sued the IRS for it’s tax status means nothing? The fact that the church sues those who criticize it? The fact that they have detailed instructions you can find on wikileaks on training techniques to ‘handle’ reporters and questions from authority so as not to shed any information of real significance? You dealt with the most heinous harassment of a fellow journalist Paulette Cooper, who was framed, by the church, for bomb threats? In which in the ensuing investigation she was cleared completely and 11 church officials including Hubbards WIFE went to jail? This article from such an esteemed news source is very disappointing. The German government has every right to keep an eye, a close eye on this cult. They are facing up to a problem which the government of this country fails to confront.

  • Rick Win

    You deal with their history of abuse and criminal acts, upon instructions by the church’s founder, as one line? The fact that the church sued the IRS for it’s tax status means nothing? The fact that the church sues those who criticize it? The fact that they have detailed instructions you can find on wikileaks on training techniques to ‘handle’ reporters and questions from authority so as not to shed any information of real significance? You dealt with the most heinous harassment of a fellow journalist Paulette Cooper, who was framed, by the church, for bomb threats? In which in the ensuing investigation she was cleared completely and 11 church officials including Hubbards WIFE went to jail? This article from such an esteemed news source is very disappointing. The German government has every right to keep an eye, a close eye on this cult. They are facing up to a problem which the government of this country fails to confront.

  • TFW

    As L Ron Hubbard once said,”Therefore, we really do have the remedy before the assault weapon is produced. Did you ever read poor old George Orwell’s 1984? Yes,yes, that’s wonderful. That would be— could be the palest imagined shadow of what a world would be like under the rule of the secret use of Scientology with no remedy in existence.”The Church of Scientology has tried to whitewash this by removing the sentence from his tapes (Google it), but this mentality permeates the organisation of the Church of Scientology to this day.The German government, unlike this opinion columnist, knows a totalitarian regime when they see one.As for “self-improvement”, tell that to the man who committed suicide after paranoid Church members told him he had been drugged and brainwashed by the government to infiltrate Scientology. (Testimonial from his daughter on Youtube.)Tell that to the many people who went as far to re-mortgage their home to pay for more Scientology courses. Tell that to Noah Lottick, who jumped to his death clutching his last few dollars to his chest – the only way he could escape the clutches of the “Church” that had taken him in.

  • Thetan Xenu

    I’m sure that relatives of victims of the Peoples Temple and Jim Jones would disagree. If the US had taken an early role in helping the victims of the cult instead of waiting until it was to late 900 lives would have been saved.

  • Catherine Long

    If you think Mein Kampf was bad for Germany, just imagine a state of Diantetics fiends who think that the perfect human is a “clear” and that all others are “aberrated, mentally ill” people. Not to mention that it is their duty as preclears and clears to “clear the planet”. Yeah, that’s exactly what Germany needs right now.

    Next time sweetie, if you want to pretend you’re an investigative reporter, do some real investigating. The current orgnaization of Scientology is a cult. It’s a mafia run pyramid scheme. The truly RELIGIOUS who simply want to follow the faith and beliefs of homeopathy are called FREEZONERS and Germany has no buff with them. Neither does Anonymous.To quote a friend of mine: “No religion should be allowed TODAY, in the FREE world, to rule it’s people and its detractors with the same criminal practices of the Catholic Church of the Dark Ages.”THIS is why Germany has a problem with the current organization. They need to reform (i.e. conform to the legal rights and basic human principals of DECENCY) if they are determined to exist peacefully among other human beings. You can start a religion that says it’s okay to molest children and rape women. But you’re still going to get arrested once you practice it.

  • LearnABook

    Do a little more research to become familiar with their checkered present.

  • geth

    While it is probably foolish to think that the author will read through all of these comments, one does hope that the volume will perhaps indicate that there is something more to this topic than can be flippantly addressed in a few paragraphs.

  • James Smith

    Where is Scientology Volueenter Ministers at the Myanmmar Typhoon Disaster?Did not Jesus say in Matthew 7:18-20, “Beware of false prophets,…You will know them by their fruits… A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit… Therefore by their fruits you will know them” What are the fruits of Scientology?

  • Scientology is a cult.

    wow. you must not have read enough about what they do when you try to leave scientology. you put your name on the article. i dare you to write an article distinguishing them between a real religion and a cult. they are a money-making cult.they are going to threaten you with a lawsuit, then try to get you fired, then ruin your credit. no religion does that.

  • anonydog

    You wrote: “They are religion largely focused on self-improvement.” Yes, that is what the Cult SAYS in its PR literature, but it is not in fact what they DO! Please google Jason Beghe, an actor and former member of the “church” who recently left and has been speaking very publicly about his experiences: experiences which he believes harmed not only him but his family. Also look into the contract (there is an article about this in a recent Radar Online article) that all people are required to sign before they take a SINGLE course. Read that contract and ask yourself, what faith or religion requires you to virtually sign away every single human right in order to even be allowed to pass through its doors. Google Lisa McPherson and read about what happened to her in the care of church “ministers.” Google Jeff Hawkins and listen (online) or read about his experiences at the notorious Int Base in Hemet California (he also posts onlime in a number of forums as “fishdaddy.”) Google Marc Headley for more of the above (particularly in a blogtalk radio interview with Dawn Olsen). And finally, don’t you watch television? Recently, ABC’s Nightline interviewed a number of former Cult members including Jenna Miscavige (the neice of church leader, David Miscavige), and Astra and Lawrence Woodcraft. The program is still available online at the ABC website. And then after listening to the horrifying stories of all these people (and many many more who continue to tell virtually identical stories over a 25-30 year period) if this Cult can actually be called a “religion largely focused on self-improvement.”I expect better of a paper who had the fortitude to write in depth about the Unification Church so recently.

  • David Miscavige

    I’m not a Scientologist, but I just can’t understand why anyone would think Scientology is dangerous. Is it because of Operation Snow White (the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 Scientologists involved in theft from government offices and illegal wiretapping, eleven high level Scientology executives convicted)? Sure, that was odd, but…someone has to keep an eye on the government.Is it because Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote: “Once the world is Clear – a nation, a state, a city or a village – the Scientology-organization in the area becomes its government! And once this has taken place the only policy accepted as valid is Scientology policy.”“In any event, any person from 2.0 down on the tone scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind…”“It is not necessary to produce a world of clears in order to have a reasonable and worthwhile social order; it is only necessary to delete those individuals who range from 2.0 down…”Text quoted under Fair Use provisions.

  • Dorothy G

    Ms. Hoffman,Surely the intimidation “Fair Game” and “Disconnection” policies of this so-called Church deserve more scrutiny. Suggest you read up and listen to the Jason Beghe interview or speak with Arnie Lerma and many of the other ex-scientologists who dared to speak about their time in this quirky church. It destroys lives, it breaks up families, it forces abortions, it deprives children of education and works its members worse than any sweatshop you will find.Please Ms. Hoffman, do yourself and your readers a favor and educate yourself. Scientology is in conflict with OUR constituion, just that they were able to play some sort of trump card with the IRS to get that “fixed”. Dig deeper.

  • anonydog

    One more thing: Don’t you find it even an teeny bit hypocritical that an organization which not only hires a virtual army of private PIs to stalk, harass and intimidate it’s critics, but also has its own enormous in-house intelligence gathering arm, knowns as the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) is objecting to an investigation by a bona fide government?Really, what kind of “church” trains its own band of spies? What kind of self-improvement is that? Pro-tip: google Sceintology, Fair Game, OSA.

  • Colin

    Hi Ms. Hoffman,You might be interested in a 2001 article written by Prof. Stephen A. Kent, who specializes in the sociology of religion. Stephen notes that Scientology’s history of human rights violations make countries with recent experience living through fascism very suspicious. While France and Germany openly acknowledge and work to prevent cults from operating, America kind of gets stuck on ‘they have a right to their opinion.’ It’s an interesting read. If you were planning to do some research before you write your next article about the CoS overseas, Kent’s article is as good a place as any to start.Kent, Stephen A. (Jan. 2001) The French & German versus American Debate over ‘New Religions,’ Scientology & Human Rights. Marburg Journal of Religion. 6(1) “What is Germany so afraid of” is an excellent question. I heartily encourage you to begin trying to answer it. Your article above has no historical context. And that’s rather disappointing coming from the post.

  • Linda Reyes

    Scientology is a self-help organization that uses religious symbols and the cloak of religion for tax exempt status and for general societal recognition and respect. As per L. Ron Hubbard’s instructions, they are combative towards any critics or any person who dares to question them publicly. As for this column treating them as a religion, how many religions offer their scriptures or theology for sale only to proven loyalists? Germany’s position may seem harsh but once Scientology loses tax-exempt status, the “Nazi” accusations, the spying on government officials, the lawsuits, the whisper campaigns, and open harrassment in public and private begin. Germany is smart to deal with it directly

  • Julia Baptiste

    Here’s just one of the many quotes of Hubbards you can read when you look more closely at the ‘religion’ of scientology: ‘In any event, any person from 2.0 down on the Tone Scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind’- L.Ron Hubbard SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL. ‘There are only two answers for the handling of people from the 2.0 down on the Tone Scale, none of them has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the Tone Scale by enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow.’ (page 170)Claire, if you are not used to some of the special terms being employed here try this:FAIR GAME. Fair Game may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any scientologist without any discipline of the scientologist.The practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease. FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations. This does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP. SP means Suppressive Person.’Fair Game’ is a SP critic of scientology, someone they want out of the way.There’s a lot more where this came from: the websites xenu.tv and Operation Clambake, or try Jenna Miscavige-Hill’s ‘Ex-Scientology Kids’, (the niece of David Miscavige) for details of the child abuse that happens within the ‘church’.Please take this business with scientology seriously Claire. The Germans know what they are doing having already gone through intimate experience of an authoritarian regime wanting to change the world. Please help us all – you are a journalist, I imagine you know how to do your research, how to verify it; how to distinguish between truth and heresay. There is a library of official documents on the internet- court testaments, judges rulings, convicted scientologists, accounts of fraud and terror, suspicious deaths….if I see another newspaper picture of Tom Cruise at another party I will scream.

  • Dave Miscavige

    On July 7,2007 in Austrailia a young lady told police “What have I done? I just butchered my family … I have just butchered my family. I stabbed Dad, Mum and sister. They are all dead.” Her mother actually didn’t die but was seriously injured in the attack.Why did this attack occur? Her family members were Scientologists, a “religion” know to abhor psychiatrists and the medication available to deal with serious mental disorders. He family denied her anti-psychotic drugs for a year. The result is this massacre.Another Scientologist, Elle Perkins, was murdered by her son Jeremy for the same reasons. He was extremely mentally ill. Because her “church” banned anti-psychotic drugs her son was denied their benefits. As a result, in a psychitic frenzy he stabbed his own mother SEVENTY-SEVEN times!You are either on the Scientology payroll or too frieghtened to tell the truth about this “misunderstood” religion!

  • Michael

    Scientologists mock the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ by incorporating the symbol of his ultimate sacrifice into their New Age cult. Where are the politicians in Washington who will deal with this scam which preys upon the weak and the helpless? Where are the social services who will deliver the poor children whose minds are twisted and perverted by Hubbard’s insane and uneducated ramblings? (I will not give them the dignity of the word “teachings”)God will judge all of us for what we do and do not do.

  • Bob

    Fun fact: If a child is mollested in Scientology it is a CRIME for them to report it. Instead they have to use an internal “justice” system that, among other absurdities, forces the child to explain how THEY helped cause their own abuse.Self help religion my ass.

  • S. Friend

    Why would a legitimate organization reject to being monitored?

  • James

    Micheal, this is one of the things Hubbard had to say about Christ.”Anyway, Everyman is then shown to have been crucified so don’t think that it’s an accident that this crucifixion, they found out that this applied. Somebody somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC, found some pieces of R6, and I don’t know how they found it, either by watching madmen or something, but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity. The man on the Cross. There was no Christ. But the man on the cross is shown as Everyman. So of course each person seeing a crucified man, has an immediate feeling of sympathy for this man. Therefore you get many PCs who says they are Christ. Now, there’s two reasons for that, one is the Roman Empire was prone to crucify people, so a person can have been crucified, but in R6 he is shown as crucified.” Hubbard – From “Assists” lecture. 3 October 1968. #10 in the confidential Class VIII series

  • Anonanon

    Exactly how aware are you of their checkered past? The Church of Scientology are a threat to freedom of speech. Not only do they have a checkered past, but they haven’t changed or reformed in any way. People are still being Fair-Gamed, families are still being broken up, and the Church of Scientology are still trying to censor the internet and control information. This is truly a dangerous cult under the guise of religion, and to brush them off as having a checkered past is, in my opinion, an understatement.Banning the organization of Scientology is different than banning the religion, as Germany is reported to have the largest group of Freezoners (a splinter group of Scientology, who follows the religion but disagree with the policies), so religion is not an issue here. Please educate yourself more, as the monthly worldwide protests are happening for a reason.

  • AnonyBaG

    “Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past”They are a business focused on money. I could show you hundreds of selfhelp books/courses that cost literally 1000 times less than Scientology does. You show me a religion that charges $1.8 billion for self improvement, and I’ll show you a scam.And as far as their “checkered past” goes, you should look at their checkered present.

  • Fritz

    The punchline of the German constitution is “Human dignity shall be inviolable”. And there, in my opinion, lies the conflict with Scientology. Freedom of religion is, as far as Germany is concerned, second to that basic principle. And from what I have read about Scientology, concerns about their attitude towards human dignity (of their members as well as of non-members) are definitely justified.Additionally: Is it any wonder that Germans are a bit sensitive when it comes to organisational mechanisms that so blatantly scream “Herrenrasse”?

  • Anne

    The ‘Church’ of Scientology is taking a lot of heat in Europe in general at the moment. This year the CoS was indicted in Belgium for extortion, fraud and organized crime and in 1995 was banned in Greece after attempts to infiltrate the government. I also suggest looking up the details about “Operation Snow White”, “Operation Freak out” and “Project Normandy” to gain an understanding of the scale of the CoS’s attempts at intimidation and government infiltration within the US. I believe people should be free to practice their religion/beliefs, but in this case I believe the German government has every right to be concerned about an organization with such a well documented history of criminality.

  • James B. Lightfield

    “What is Germany so afraid of?”Perhaps the same things that other (and in my opinion much smarter countries) in Europe are. (COS banned in Greece, sued for fraud in Belgium, raided in St. Petersburg for keeping blackmail files sued in France, Spain, Canada, and Italy). Germany knows all too well the dangers of cult movements. Their not so distant past haunts them and they have taken firm steps to be certain that THEIR country does nothing to encourage and lift up these evil cults. Faith in an evil galactic warlord aka Xenu is one thing, blackmail, slavery, government infiltration, child labor and abuse, forced abortions, blue asbestos filled cruise ship, fair game, and numerous other offenses are MORE than reason enough for Germany to stand firm. I am not making this up; a new device called the Internet has opened up a world of information available at your fingertips. Try it. Specifically the not-so-secret-anymore documents on Wikileaks that highlight not only the whacky spiritual writings (my opinion only I personally worship the FSM) but the HOST of illegal activities including their despicable LEAF project, and other sneaky unethical means of infiltrating and affecting media.As a writer with such a public forum, I would have expected you to do your research. Clearly using the old tried and true methods of journalism are no longer of any interest to today’s writers because so few of them bother with “truthiness.”As for the religious fear factor (AKA OMG WE ARE NEXT) let it go. When Catholic priests diddle little boys they are called to stand in court, it’s against the law. When FDLS people break the laws regarding sex with minors, they are face the courts, when the messianic cult fellow diddles children he is arrested. It is not about what those people believe it’s about what they do being AGAINST THE LAW. When Xians or Catholics begin to (again since they used to) violate human rights in order to push their religion THEY too will be held accountable because IT’S AGAINST THE LAW.It is about time that the media in the U.S. stop being afraid of speaking out AGAINST cults and other so called religions that BREAK THE LAW, it is in YOUR best interest to do so. In other countries around the world the media is standing UP and reporting on these abuses with far more courage than their counterparts in the U.S. media. Did you know that many other countries and their media have reported on the very real and very serious dangers of the Scientology ship of cancer death, the Freewinds. The asbestos infiltration has been known about in the U.S. for almost 20 years and the ship is BANNED from docking here. I guess the health of members of OTHER countries is just not that important since THEY are just now finding out the horrors they have been KNOWINGLY exposed to. Not ONE main stream American media has been brave enough to do an article on this and help warn the countless THOUSANDS of Americans who have been exposed to this deadly asbestos. No, Americans have to find out via the media of other countries and blogs. SHAME.The U.S., the country with the free speech, and hard hitting journalism….a fantasy.Do your research and stop being afraid that YOUR religion will be next. Don’t break the law, don’t lie to people, don’t rob them of their money and their human rights, don’t force them to separate from their families, don’t attack people who do not agree with you, don’t lie with every word out of your mouth,, and no one is going to bother with you.I am tired of the Cult of Scientology and their Teflon coating…even the Teflon Don eventually went down. tl;dr

  • TheD2JBug

    I would consider how Scientology got religious status under the law in the United states before I made any comments on how Germany deals with Scientoly. You’re a smart lady , you can google it

  • Do some research

    Here’s a master race description for you to ponder:”Scientology, how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the master race. How’s that for a religion? ” Frank Zappa

  • Bob

    Ms. Hoffman,A few recommendations. If you want to read information from actual people who’ve lived through what you are characterizing as “self help” and violently disagree with your characterization?www(dot)exscientologykids(dot)comIf you want to do the ACTUAL job of a journalist and report on Scientology? Go to Google News and search the following word:”Freewinds”You’ll see a shabby number of results, because you and your colleagues seem to be largely ignoring what’s going on, but the results that ARE there should alarm you and perk your interest as a journalist.

  • James

    Uninformed softball pieces like this make me sick.

  • Another Bob

    Ms. Hoffman,A few recommendations. If you want to read information from actual people who’ve lived through what you are characterizing as “self help” and violently disagree with your characterization?www(dot)exscientologykids(dot)comIf you want to do the ACTUAL job of a journalist and report on Scientology? Go to Google News and search the following word:”Freewinds”You’ll see a shabby number of results, because you and your colleagues seem to be largely ignoring what’s going on, but the results that ARE there should alarm you and perk your interest as a journalist.

  • James

    Bob, I agree. The mainstream media has been sitting on their asses about the blue asbestos problem on the Freewinds and articles like this let it happen. It pisses me (and other victims of this cult off) to have those that should help turn a blind eye to real stories of people who have been “in”

  • Anon

    Scientology is largely “focused” on self-improvement in much the same way that a stage magician’s audience is “focused” on his right hand while his left hand switches the cards around. It’s a sham. Your own desire to improve yourself gets turned against you and used to blind you to the abuses and fraud, to make you stay and give more money while you get nothing of value in return.I think actor Jason Beghe said it very well in his interview with Mark Bunker after having left Scientology:

  • Anton

    Ms. Hoffman,In May, 2000, the San Francisco Examiner carried an editorial on America’s penchant for interfering with sovereign nations in their dealings with the Scientology business. It read in part:===Begin Quote===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.

  • Dave O’Riley

    If you regard Scientology as another religion which deserves respect like any other religion, that is commendable. It speaks about the fact that so many Americans take Freedom of Religion very seriously and that is something to cherish.However.Scientology is not a religion. It is a cult.If this is a new concept to you, but are are interested in finding out if this hold any water, please go the following site: xenu-directory (dot) net.The best bit of this site is the link: Scientology – Through the Door on the right hand of the screen.It contains short testimonies of people about their experiences in Scientology. A few are very positive but (being a critical site) many are from ex-members.If you read a couple of dozen stories, you will find that a very consistent picture emerges.People often benefit from the early self-help courses, in particular the communication course and auditing (a form of regression therapy). However, many quit after a few years because the are put off by the high prices, the hard selling and the abuses that staff members have to undergo. Many have found out the ‘good stuff’ has been ‘borrowed’ and is readily available elsewhere.Those who have stayed for a decade or longer, mostly leave the cult bankrupt and emotionally traumatized. They often underwent years of managements’ abuses before they finally were able to leave.One ex-member (Jeff Hawkins) put it this way:I really hope you will take a few minutes to read this site. My apologies for putting this as a rhetorical question, but wouldn’t you need to be aware about this in case friends or family members start looking for answers to life’s questions outside of established religions?PS I may have made grammar errors. Apologies, I am not a native speaker.

  • Mike Rinder

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”The question shouldn’t be why are Germany holding this position and their current course of action – the question should be why has the American government not woken up to what has been operating under their noses for the past four decades.

  • another anonymous

    Perhaps we all should acknowledge that Germany has significant experience with Totalitarianism and therefore has some credibility in recognizing similar phenomenon in more modern times.Here is a quote from an Order of the Guardian’s Office (now renamed the Office of Special Affairs, essentially scientology’s dirty tricks department):”Guardian Order 060971″ seized in FBI authorized search of Scientology headquarters:Ms. Hoffman, your organization may wish to pay particular attention to point #2.

  • stivbator

    I think that Germany has had enough experience with super-race global domination groups to see the inherent danger of a criminal cult like scientology.

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  • Ex Scientologist

    It is ironic that this blurb about Scientology occurs in the “Under God” column. You see, Scientology has no belief in God….it is the first godless 501c3 “religion” in the United States.Nazi German leaders were fascinated by the occult.A better question would be “Why does the US tolerate the human rights abuses of Scientology, and why did the IRS cave to their demands and grant them greater priviliges than other, longer established religions?”Let us know what you find out about that.

  • BritAnon

    ‘What is Germany Afraid of?’It’s not afraid of anything, what it won’t tolerate is a totalitarian organisation that is a threat to its democracy, it’s had one before, remember?Germany is leading the way in Europe, the so called ‘church of scientology’ is not a religion, it’s a pyramid scheme, a business, a CULT, and europe doesn’t want them there, harassing critics, putting their own ‘parishioners’ in ‘rehabilitation camps’, and preying on the young the weak and the addicted with their quasi-cure-alls for the worlds ills.Maybe the American government should be looking a little closer at the Enemy at their own door, the cult that co-erced their own IRS to give them a tax exemption that no other REAL religion qualifies for?

  • Paul

    Before you write an article you should investigate the subject. This is something Claire Hoffman didn’t do. The problem is not their religion but the organisation and their policies behind it.Next time do some research, search the internet, ask question to ex-scientologists and ask questions why many church members became a freezoner.

  • anon21
  • Patrick Janson

    I’ve always considered Scientology to be dangerous rather than quirky, but many of the alleged abuses in the comments sound bizarre and outrageous.Nevertheless, I feel it would be reasonable for Ms Hoffman to try and overlook the fact that so many comments are overly emotional and look into some of the sites suggested. If she were to do a follow-up piece based on that research, I for one would be very interested.I mean, what if they are right?

  • Skeeze-Wad

    ‘Checkered past’ is putting it extremely lightly. This cult has killed, manipulated, robbed, and abused (sexually, verbally, physically) its members. Germany’s got the right idea. They are trying to ban Scientology because it is a CULT that ruins people’s lives. It’s easy to find info on the internet these days about Scientology, but here are some helpful links:xenu (dot)comDo you’re research next time, or you fall right into their pockets.

  • Tobi

    A state has to protect its citizens. That s why Germany is looking after Scientology. Imagine your child would say I am a Scientologist now. All I have to do is spend all my money to this organisation, seperate myself from my family and work 12 hours a day for free for the Sea Org, so I can walk on the bridge to hapiness.Would you still call it freedom of religion, Mrs Hoffman?

  • Richard

    Dawkins is right,as soon as anybody or any organization attaches the ‘Religion’ sign it gets an extra bonus that it does not deserve. There is no reason why it should, however.Mrs. Hoffman, you are guilty, guilty of the sin of gullibility. That is a sin, these days.

  • Ruth

    From your very own ‘On Religion’ section:Anglican Something missing?

  • peter

    You are either a scientologist or you didnt do any research on just dangerous and corrupt this criminal enterprise is I thought the wash post was a respectable paper

  • Freedom Fighter

    Miss Hoffman, did you do any research at all before writing this? I cannot believe how uninformed you are about this cult. Do you know about Operation Snow White? Operation Freakout? The German Government is absolutely doing the right thing.

  • Jeff

    If Scientology is “against the German constitution” then this constitution has not changed since 1934.

  • Sam

    Is the Church of Scientology going to notify the past passengers of the Freewinds about the asbestos?

  • Barry N.

    Germany has seen this picture before from another ruthless organization decades ago. (hint) This is why Germany and some other European countries are starting to see what Scientology really is. This is a mind control CULT whos interests are money and power. Google “Operation Snow White” or “Lisa McPherson” or more recently “blue asbestos & Freewinds”Pay attention North America. There are good people in this “Church” who want to leave but are afraid.

  • Miss Jean Brody

    Claire, you haven’t done your homework.But to answer your question, they are afraid that by hook or by crook the Scientologists will get some power and then, in keeping with their holy scripture, commit crimes that will make WW2 look like a bit of playground bullying. Look up Fair Game, Suppressive, Potential Trouble Source and Treason and see what you find.If you want to replace Woodward and Bernstein as the most important journalists your newspaper has produced, go after Scientology the way they went after Richard Nixon. Keep your head down though.

  • Terry Yeo

    “Unconstitutional” is putting it lightly. In my opinion, Scientology is a fascist and totalitarian ideology that exploits its own followers. Its leaders enjoy luxuries and privileges far removed from the conditions that rank and file Scientologists are subjected to.Why does Scientology have its own intelligence agency, the “Office of Special Affairs”? What did L. Ron Hubbard say about democracy?

  • comment 3

    I rarely see a response rate to a blog of such volume. My hope is that response rate will not be equated with success by the Washington Post leadership. Because while the volume is impressive, the 99% negative response rate to the article and the many posts commenting on the naive reporting show that such work diminishes not only the credibility of the author but harms the credibility of an otherwise great newspaper. And one comment on the article: freedom is one of the great achievements of this country, but its protection is first and foremost afforded to the individual, not an organization.

  • kaos

    Jim Grady,Mike Rinder blew,Then Mary DeMoss,Tee Hee

  • Anonymous

    “Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.”The Germans don’t feel they are a religion and feel they are largely focused on just getting more money. And I don’t believe they are a religion either, since the help they offer to their own members is so costly. It’s obvious the Church of Scientology has a lot of money (being able to give Tom Cruise a 100,000 dollar birthday party? oO), so why not cut the price of the classes. At least that is what a religion in my view would do, sure there are expenses. But in the end isn’t about trying to help the members of the religion and not drain them for every penny they got?Because that is what CoS in my view seems to be doing. And since they are I agree with the German government in not viewing it is as a religion and it is certainly not largely focussed on self-improvement. Unless the self is just the few members on the top, who are living the good life.

  • AuroraGB

    Wow, a lot of comments. I commented yesterday and had to read a LOT of responses before I got to mine. Most of them negative towards scientology. Now there’s a surprise (not). A lot of people are crying out that the emperor is not wearing any clothes :)Anyway, kudos to the German government. They are clearly stating the old adage ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’. Germany obviously is going to great pains to make sure another totalitarian organization does not gain any power and for that I give them my utmost respect.Now, if only the American government would grow a pair.

  • Staggo Lee

    This post is uninformed and disingenuous. The Germans are wary of cults of personalities. I wonder why? Also, with a literally tortured history on gay issues in Germany, a homophobic cult stirs up unwanted extreme sentiments. As for Tommy boy, he’s like a scab that just won’t heal.

  • Anonymous

    Claire,You write “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.” I do not wonder about that. I wonder why the US government isn’t doing the same, they should not have tax exempt status in the US. This “religion” is corrupt and criminal. I applaud Germany and wish more countries in the world would do the same.You write “They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.” Obviously you are not informed. Obviously you haven’t really done your research. They are not focused on self-improvement. They are focused on mind control, they are focused on money. What religion costs more than $50,000 a year? Checkered past? They have more than a checkered past. As a reporter you really have a responsibility to do some research before you make statements like that. How about murder, how about kidnapping, how about excessive litigation to silence critics. Why don’t you go to YouTube and type in scientology. You will get a first hand look at what they do. I have to wonder about you. Are you a scientologist in hiding? Come clean.Concerned in Canada

  • William Buddusky

    Well Claire,

  • Anonymous supporter

    This coming Saturday May 10th, 2008 is the next World Wide protest of the Church of Scientology by Anonymous. Please google or go to enturbulation.org to find out about and join a protest in your area. The first protest was in February of 2008 and on February 10th (the birthday of Lisa McPherson, google her if you don’t know who she is)thousands of people in countries all over the world, wherever the Church exists went out to protest. I was so amazed and excited about this. I started to really inform myself about COS and I became afraid. People think this Church is harmless but it isn’t and I am afraid.I am not a member of anonymous but I whole heartedly support them and believe they are so brave for doing what they are doing. I guess really when I think about it I am a member of Anonymous. I haven’t been to a protest but I am working behind the scene to do my part. Knowing the “fair game” policy, I know that they are literally putting their lives at risk by protesting. Every day I thank the powers above that finally someone is doing something. It is amazing to me that for so long this organization has gone on committing these terrible crimes and they haven’t been stopped. That is what makes Anonymous so amazing. Not the government, not law makers, not police, not the army but a group of people from the internet fighting back and actually having an effect on the COS. And don’t doubt that they are having an effect. That is part of the reason the church is doing so much damage control these days with Tom Cruise and in other ways. Anonymous is bringing attention to the issues and people are finally being informed of what is really going on.So if you can support anonymous by protesting, if you can’t join the physically protest, then get yourself informed and spread the word. Most of us have experienced the feeling of something wrong going on in the world but feeling helpless because you are just one person, one voice and you feel you can’t make a difference. Well now because of Anonymous and the Internets our one voice really does make a difference and I finally have a realistic hope that the Church can be brought down.Saturday May 10th, 2008. Join the protest and help put a stop to these people once and for all!

  • Beth

    Whoa! There are too many comments for me to read them all right now. Probably a number of people have already said this, but it bears repeating: Google “Operation Snow White.” Then “Operation Freakout.” Then “Rehabilitation Project Force.” For heaven’s sake, just Google “Scientology”!

  • Wow

    Are you kidding me? Have they paid you? Don’t even call yourself a journalist.

  • JC

    It is time to stop the nonsense criticism, some say “ohh gosh..get the facts” and here I stand questioning those who dare to attack scientology. I have read some of their books, know some scientologists and have seen how they are constantly active in the community. The scientology controversy and the incredible length of these comments goes to show that scientology is having an effect that is being noticed. I know of stories where organizations (including many new religious establishments) have gone under insidious attacks by those whose vested interest are being attacked. Many of these organizations with hidden agendas surreptitiously attack organizations such as the church of scientology.In life, it is so easy to criticize an individual or a movement, it is rather harder to be someone who makes a change regardless of the criticism one will be open to receiving, to prove this, look at the incredible number of “critics” all over.Germany has had a history of religious bigotry and it hasn’t totally changed. Why is scientology accepted now in so many places yet Germany continues to obstinately attack the church? Isn’t this rather suspicious of those who are laboriously attempting to ban the church from its country?We know it is controversial but WHY? You guessed right, like many good man in history (who have been jailed, betrayed, cowardly murdered) the scientologist are opening eyes and bringing understanding to people. WOW who wants that?….I can think of a bunch of names who would rather keep us ignorant of what is really going on. So…my recommendation…read the article, critique it, express your self BUT find out more about scientology before. They have their site at www. Scientology.org

  • nanu nanu

    Is that Elron in the cupboard?

  • Nan

    Wow…I bet many of these comments come from those “annons” who are attacking the church left and right. It becomes rather annoying when these dudes keep attacking the church of Scientology with all sorts of biased comments. The church doesn’t seem to be perfect (is there any “perfect” church?) but it seems to be doing a good job. I bet you if you(Claire) had gone the same way and viciously attacked it just for the pleasure of it, you would have gotten RAVE reviews by these dudes.Just keep on reporting, I am sure you had a reason to say what you did. After all, once you seem to say something good about these scientologists you are deemed a “failure” to journalism. That is rather sad but is what is happening.

  • wog

    JC,Why is it that you RonDroids point to only one “true” place for information. You know the one, Scientology dot org. Why not tell them to google Scientology and see what gets more hits, positive or negative. Spin your crap any way you want to, your profits are in the toilet. Your most famous public spokesman, Tom Cruise, is watching his career fail just like Valkyrie is. That piece of junk will be lucky to go straight to DVD.That’s OK, we understand you are just trying to get your stats up to avoid the RPF. Good luck!

  • Anon Anon

    If this article is “on faith” did Ms. Hoffman or any journalist here ask any scientologists what their faith actually is? They never say. Their answer is always along the line of “come to our church” or “buy our books”.The “Church” of Scientology _charges_ members to learn their scripture. It is a training organization, not a church.

  • Anonymous

    This article has been added to Digg. I suggest everyone click on the Digg link under the article which will take you to the Digg page. Digg it and add your comments there as well. This article is outrageous. It is irresponsible reporting. Claire Hoffman has obviously not done her research. I expect more from the Washington Post.

  • Pierre JC

    Congratulations, Clare! You have succeeded in doing a religious believer’s first duty: You have preserved your precious ignorance.

  • JC

    YEAP….quick response….ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK….and it is not just a simple and well developed attack to what I said…hey dude..why the curses…ha? What are you upset at? I know my truth and you know yours! so you stick to developing a good argument rather than trashing mine and insulting. The article has its views and like many articles on line, one can read and either agree or disagree. As far as referencing the “web”, sure I need not say that, that is what many do…WELCOME TO FREEDOM! yet when many of these comments (and since many have now access to post as they please) come from whoever feels like writing anything, they are not always very reliable. After all you and I are now posting right? who should people believe..you or me? and why?The idea here is to simply get well informed…not just from one side but from various sources but in the process let’s not forget that in order to make a good decision one ought to look with care.Sooooooooooooooooooooo…stop tracking every move of those who are saying something different from you and let them search!JUST LOOK AND ASK BUT DON’T ASSUME BEFORE YOU DO!

  • ANONYMOUS

    Maybe you should inform yourself about Scientology’s call for a “worldwide obliteration of Psychiatry”, or it’s view of a “clear” planet, complete with the genocide of everyone who isn’t a Scientology. Educate yourself. Knowledge is free.

  • PAUL

    Don’t you people have a life? wasting time saying all of this stuff. by the way..there are some comments who label themselves “anonymous” who would go about saying something with out at least leaving some sort of name. I read it and It didnt “freak me out”… my neighbor is related to a scientologist and she is quite a wonderful individual.I’ve noticed that those articles online who trash Scientology don’t get as much response as this one…hahaha…I guess the scientologists are making a good job at removing the dust that has settled in some areas…hahahaI can’t wait to see more…!

  • GoGoGirl

    Not only should you Digg this article. You should write to the editors of The Washington Post. This article is so irresponsible. We need to report the “reporter”.[email protected]

  • wog

    JC,Nothing I said was untrue, But in your best SciLon spin you tried to make it seem like an attack.What’s next? “What are your crimes?” C’mon JC, just once, ask me! We know a plant when we see one. And while we’re here, please explain to me how THOUSANDS of ex-parishioners can all come up with the same stories of abuse and human rights violations despite not knowing one another. Don’t you hate when that happens?Once again, I dare you to suggest a google search rather than that one site you know will put a positive spin on the BS you’re selling. Oh, that’s right, you SciLons can’t go anywhere near google without being declared! Some “church” you belong to, I love the dictatorial methods of forcing each and every one find THE EXACT SAME TRUTH.

  • Response to Nan

    A couple of comments below Nan is commenting.Now, Nan, I know that you are being thought that any criticism to the church’ management is an attack to your religious beliefs and with that to your personal integrity.However, I’d want to urge you to really try and separate the two. It is your church’ management that we are fighting. Virtually all of the abuses we talk about on this page, are extensively supported with evidence (several first hand accounts, internal documents and convictions throughout the world). Admittedly, the evidence of a few claims (in particular that Hubbard wrote that Jesus is a pedophile) is more sketchy and wouldn’t hold up in court. Though evidence is still available, also for such an outrageous claim.Your religious beliefs are your choice and your choice only, and we make an honest attempt at respecting them as much as possible. I really hope that one day you will you do a doubt formula on the your church’ management. For those reading this comment not familiar with Scientology terms: this is a process where you gather impartial evidence about a subject with an open mind to reach a conclusion. Nan, if you are ready to do this, I suggest use make use of the data in the area Scientology – Through the door on xenu-directory (dot) net. Please remember this, it’s a site I hope you will read one day.I know that you are closed off for such thoughts, but please accept this is not personal. In fact, from our point of view, we are fighting for your wellbeing too. I know that one day you will be able to respect that. Good luck.

  • GoGoGirl

    We have to forgive the Scientologists who write here. Remember, they are not allowed to look at anything on the net that is negative about their “religion”. We have to fight for them. They don’t know that they have been brainwashed and they aren’t allowed to inform themselves.

  • Response to Paul

    Yous said: ‘my neighbor is related to a scientologist and she is quite a wonderful individual.’Well Paul, it’s clear from your post are a Scientologist too. I’m sure that you are quite a wonderful individual person too (although you comment wasn’t very nice, and you lied about not being a Scienologist).We can’t wait to see more of this too. We will continue to stand outside the cults properties, we will continue to write in these comments sections until journalists understand that writing about Scientology without doing any research is irresponsible.In fact, we will continue to protest until the US government understands that Germany is doing the right thing and undertakes action against the cult too.

  • NAN

    I had to come back to this page to see if my request for an response was fulfilled and it was. Well first, I appreciate your more coherent attempt to inform me of your views of Scientology. They are taken. Although It seems rather odd that you guys continue to attack the church, first with repeated on going rants, then when requested to provide a more logical approach, you provide an attempt.Listen I read the article, I have had opportunities to deal with scientologists and they have provided me with their literature, I even went to some of their events where I had a chance to speak with their “sea org” or management dudes.I have tried to find something bad in their public activities and I just haven’t found it. Now are they perfect? You bet they aren’t but are any of us perfect?I see where many of the attacks come from…they are opening their mouths, they are saying things many of us don’t want to hear and that makes many of us uncomfortable. They are shaking the ground now with their open attack to the Psychiatric approach to mental health (which hasn’t had a history of being the best) and they are attempting to inform based on THEIR views. You hold yours, I hold mine. You recommend me to see your “site” I recommend you to see “mine” and then we move on from there.The article by Claire is one more view, an acceptable view, just like all of the other articles that say things against Scientology. This is not a matter of “reporting” to the heads of the Washington post or to “DIGG IT” or to the cops or the FBI or the department of homeland security…..OHH MAN…this is just one more article!read it and move on!

  • Steve

    Dear Ms Hoffman,Since the Anonymous movement started, we have seen only one other article which showed the same naive and uneducated stance towards this dangerous cult. As it happens, she wrote a second article today in which she interviews a former member of the church. Together, these two article form a much more balanced view on Scientology.I really hope you will chose to do the same thing.My apologies if you find our criticism harsh, but I assure you it is most certainly not unfair.Kind regards,

  • Youngj1

    I’m not very well versed with the doctrine of Scientology so I will refrain from passing any judgements other than to say that any posters whose religions do not have their crazies or bigotted and exclusionary doctrine cast the first stone! And all you Christians (and others) who find it necessary to disparage another’s religion please take a moment, look in the mirror and ask yourselves if your being true to the credo “Judge not lest ye be judged”

  • JC

    WOOHOOO…I AM GETTING SPARKS!ha, you may say as you please, after all you are behind a screen and a series of keys. I know what I know, I’ve spoken with many scientologists and know how they behave and act. you may continue to say and write and write and write, so may I.I’ve known about their on going support to the way to happiness campaing, and to many drug prevention programs (want to trash those too?) and that is enough ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH for me to know that these dudes are not bad people.I have taken a look at various sites…the xenutv and others and yeap…and will see more…sure why not. So far, what I know is SCIENTOLOGISTS are good men and women.

  • Response to Nan

    Hello Nan,Now I always enjoy a civilized discussion. Your second response really has me wondering whether or not you actually are a member of Scientology, which is what I initially thought.But anyway, you mentioned that you have met Sea Org, or church management. I’m sorry for not making myself clear, but Sea Org are the biggest victims of the cult. Although some members of Sea Org weren’t good people before they joined, I sincerely believe Sea Org members are well intentioned. Anything illegal or abusive they do, is a result of the institutionalized thinking mechanisms they have acquired over the years. With church management we mean only one man really: David Miscaviage. Now unfortunately, I am not a native speaker, so I’m a bit short at the moment for words for ‘evil’ that the English language is so wonderfully rich of. So, I’ll just stick to evil, OK? Another thing you said is:Well, first of all, it would make sense they would try to keep the bad stuff away from the publics eye wouldn’t it? Are they successful in that? Yes and no. No, because it’s well laid out on the net. Yes, because the combination of Tom Cruise and the alien stuff, has given the public the firm view that Scientology is a somewhat kooky religion for famous moviestars. As a result, they don’t look behind the veneer.Second of all, is there something bad in their public activities?Not directly, but there’s risk. This risk lies mostly in performing medical assistance without a license. Take the stress test for example. This is a psychological test. It is designed to invariably give you a negative outcome; you’re insecure, depressed etc. It’s is an attempt to get under your skin to sell you the first courses. Last month, a Norwegian girl, Kaja Ballo, committed suicide after receiving such a negative result. It’s irresponsible to have people without a degree in psychology take such tests as they didn’t recognize this girl needed professional attention.A second example is Narconon. This program is designed to help people of drugs. Besides blatant lies about their success rate, what they do is dangerous. They subject people to a combination of hour long sessions in a sauna, pyshical exercise and overdoses of vitamins. Many medical experts have warned this is a dangerous combination (and based on assumption on ‘flushing’ drugs out of a body which are scientifically incorrect) and Have causes people to die.A third public activity of Scientology is Crimonon, which is supposed to help criminals and get them back into society (and into Scientology of course). I don’t know much about Crimonon in all honestly, but I did read an article this week that the former Dutch (European?) Executive Director of Crimonon, Jesse Remmers, is a hitman currently on trial for at least six liquidations. This leads me to question the effectiveness of the program.

  • Here, Kitty, Kitty

    Hey Claire,After all the fuss do you think you might now want to write a more expansive article on the Church and its current troubles?Or is there now also a part of you slightly afraid to come home and find your pet cat dead, your car repossessed and a new best friend who keeps encouraging you to commit suicide?

  • Peter

    I’ve yet to see any reason to suppose that Scientology is a religion. What are the arguments that it should receive the special treatment? In case there are some arguments, is there any support for those arguments?My impession is that Germany is far too timid in how they treat Scientology.

  • Conrad

    Well, i was going to comment on the ignorance on display in this article, but i think it’s been covered. scientology is no good, germany’s got the right idea. maybe some day america will get smart and tax ‘em to high hell, too.

  • Observer

    Oh, now I see the real meaning of this article. It was written to see if there’s enough public support for a real and critical article on scientology. It seem s that the general public is fed up with the cult’s lies and the way they are handled in the media these days. The public will support you when you do your duty as you did with the Watergate case. We’ll laugh with you when the cult will accuse you of sending bomb threats (they actually claimed the BBC is a terrorist organisation and is sending them bomb threats).But the biggest thing is to inform all the honest and hard working low level scientologists who know nothing about the corruption higher up. I have seen them and they are really nice and it’s painful to me to see how they are exploited and their lives slowly ruined by the leaders of this cult.Help the people by exposing the crimes

  • Observer

    Oh, now I see the real meaning of this article. It was written to see if there’s enough public support for a real and critical article on scientology. It seem s that the general public is fed up with the cult’s lies and the way they are handled in the media these days. The public will support you when you do your duty as you did with the Watergate case. We’ll laugh with you when the cult will accuse you of sending bomb threats (they actually claimed the BBC is a terrorist organisation and is sending them bomb threats).But the biggest thing is to inform all the honest and hard working low level scientologists who know nothing about the corruption higher up. I have seen them and they are really nice and it’s painful to me to see how they are exploited and their lives slowly ruined by the leaders of this cult.Help the people by exposing the crimes

  • Response to Nan

    Nan, I read your response again, and reading it again, something came to mind…you are a still a Scientologist are you not, and you have done a doubt formula once isn’t it?However, when you did so you were lead astray. You focussed on the public works of Scientology, which are partly sincere and well-intentioned, in particular on the part of the Volunteer Ministers.It is a shame that you didn’t focus on some other outpoints that you may have noticed over the years. A couple of suggestions:I really hope you are reading this Nan and willing to do another doubt formula.To moderators: apologies for the multiple posts!

  • AnonymousToo

    Members of this “church” get commissions if they get someone else to join – and spend $$$ learning the “faith”. Religion? Or pyramid scheme?

  • other scientology related murders

    google FRANK VITKOVIC

  • wog

    why was this locked? too much real info getting out or does Claire simply noy like her church being talked about like this?

  • Thomas

    Hi,Your comments seem strange, frowning upon Germany, while in the US recently hundreds of Mormon women and children were detained for what they think are religious practices. How did the US authorities handle ‘religious freedom’ in Waco, TX in 1993?Thomas, Germany

  • Disappointed

    It’s this country that needs to reconsider its treatment of Scientology. Our unwillingness to judge anything calling itself a religion has allowed a explicitly socially destructive organization to flourish here at home. It has also, strangely, rendered us a country that agonizes over Christmas trees in public parks at the same time as it publicly funds Kirsti Alley’s anti-extraterrestrial vitamin regimen.Germany is not the outlier here. Canada also considers the organization a business. As does Israel. As does Ireland. As does New Zealand. As does France. As does Belgium. As does Russia. And so on… Nor do these countries allow Scientology’s lobbying wings, like Narconon, use public funds to indoctrinate children into the organization the way we do.It’s especially disheartening to hear this when, not a month ago, a young Norwegian woman committed suicide under the influence of Scientology “personality testing.” Or consider the Australian who was recently denied psychiatric care by Scientologists and murdered his family. These are matters of public welfare, not freedom of conviction.

  • Klaus

    Hi ClaireMay I ask you a couple of questions? Protection of the citizens against seduction, exploitation and persecution is a major objective of the German constitution. Fortunately, the German government, legislature and executive follow the rules.Scientology does not follow the rules. Seduction, exploitation and persecution is usual in this organization, in both psychological and financial sense. That is why Scientology is not compatible with the constitution.And referring to Scientology as “religion” or even “church” is ridiculous, although describing Hubbard as “Godfather” is appropriate to a certain extent (or don’t you even watch movies?). Scientology is simply a commercial enterprise, abusing its members to make them addicted and to gather their money. “Church of Exploitation” would be a more suitable name.Klaus

  • Mark

    Scientology is not a religion, it is a sect.

  • Dushanbe

    “What is Germany afraid of?”Umm… Well, gee, what might Germany in particular be on the lookout for?An organization *already* convicted of infiltrating the US and Canadian governments, *already* convicted of fraud, and *already* convicted for harassment, stalking and withholding medical treatment–this is an organization that raises a few red flags.

  • Sterling Doughty

    Scientology may indeed be a “religion”. But, given your comments about it, I presume you are either a member of the “church” or ignorant of how mind-control cults (which Scientology most certainly also is) operate in the reality they hide from public view. I had several close friends become Scientologists. They have all left and all have extremely negative views of the experience. One, who reached a fairly high level in the cult, was repeatedly threatened with death. My own cult experience was mainly with Arica Institute, headed by Oscar Ichazo, a former Bolivian, now a recluse living on Maui who claimed the ability to deliver enlightenment in three months and to transform humanity in 10-15 years. But behind the scenes the group practiced hypnotism, mind control, heavy drug use and bizarre sexual practices including sex with underage women, incest and secret sexual “initiations” by the cult leader involving the wives and partners of male members. Fortunately it is now nearly defunct. Since I left the group more than 30 years ago and exposed its practices through my metaton web site, I have been the recipient of hate mail and false and defamatory ad hominem attacks from group members although none of what I have alleged has ever been proven wrong. Concerning Germany’s actions, I can only suggest you allow the Germans to have and interpret their own Constitution and not apply your erroneous theories based on US Constitutional principles whose own promise of religious freedom has been repeatedly violated by the state.

  • Glenn

    Over 400 comments, while the average on your last few posts in the list is 31, not bad. Like everybody else here, I have done my little research to get my facts right.Scientology indeed offers psychiatric or psychologic treatment to people who need help, or wish to improve their lives. Conventional psychiatry is pictured as the evil by scientology. Not surprising. They are the direct competition to the them. At the church’s origin, there is Hubbard, who popularized some psychology and mixed it with scifi. It doesn’t matter that much, if Hubbard was setting up a hoax. It only matters what the church is doing Now. For a comparison, Jesus may have been a hoax, and Constantine the Great a fascist, but subsequent followers have made a complete religion out of their belief system. Next, many people feel well after taking a scientology course. So far, so good.I hope you will agree, that, if there are any excesses, they need to be punished according to the law. There is evidence of pressure by the church on dissidents by illegal means. There is evidence of tax evasion. There is evidence of theft of government documents. There is evidence of abuse of the legal system.You seem to be frustrated that Germany claims the organization is acting against the principles in their constitution. Your main claim is that they are a religion focused on self improvement.The focus on self-improvement is evident. The discussion, however, is whether they are genuine or not. Another discussion is about the ethics of the organization’s behavior. Is it hard to believe that they have activities which go against the ideas enshrined in the German consitution? You owe your readers an explanation.Now, for religion.The church’s texts are copyrighted, their core teaching is a trade secret. You pay, in money, or with labour, for their teachings. Without that, you cannot benefit from them. Ms. Hoffman, pick up the glove, and explain how this makes them a religion. You have a complete blog at your disposal. Blogs are about opinion, facts are in the newspapers. However, if you give an opinion, and then run away from it, your blog is just a waste of bandwidth.

  • Jane Crenshaw

    Why do people in America continue to consider Scientology as a religion? Clearly it is not. It is not a sect either since it is not a sub-group of any religion. Scientology is more properly described as a cult. Why should we call it by any other name?

  • serious question now…

    Claire,1. That there is a considerable amount of documented evidence now available to show that Scientology as an organisation (as opposed to Scientology as a belief system) has over the years acted unethically and sometimes criminally – in an organised and determined manner – towards its critics and ex-members.2. That the wording of your original column gives little or no understanding of this, thus already rendering you unable to answer the very question you posed: What is Germany afraid of?Many hundreds of readers have now taken the time to guide you to the materials that could have helped answer your question before you committed it to paper.I think you now owe it to your readers, Scientologists and non-scientologists alike (esp. Scientologists), to review the leads offered, speak to the Church and the German authorities, and answer that question yourself.At the very least you might wish to come back onto this thread and indicate whether you would still fall back on the term ‘checkered’ past, given what you now know.I think that lots of your readers would like to hear your views on this.

  • Terryeo

    Really, it is amusing to see big pharma’s employees and people encouraged by Psychiatry, posting drivel and nonsense. HA !

  • Aurelius

    As an American living in Germany, I fully support the German government’s position on Scientology here. Their consitutional basis for keeping an eye on them is sound. What strikes me as hypocritical is the U.S. government’s ignorance of its own recent history. For many years the American government (through the IRS) hounded Scientology unmercifully. Second, the Bush-Cheney administration has been spying on their own cititzens (en masse) since 9/11. Where do Americans have the right to tell anyone how to behave in this area. Such hypocrisy vexes the soul.

  • LookAgain….

    Claire: “Serious Question now..” said it all (Posted May 8, 2008 05:32). We all look forward to your followup after a little research. Scientology needs to obey the laws of any business, including paying taxes — both in the US and Germany. They are basically a pyramid/extortion operation with no basis as a religion.

  • John

    I have been a member of the Church for over 25 years. I am aware of the controversy’s. I see a lot of untruth printed about the organization. The comments in this section are full of this kind of blatant uninformed attacks. I have found the teachings and general direction of the organization to be constructive and rational and usable. I have raised my kids with it and they are considered by everyone who knows them to be intelligent and responsible. While also being able to decide for themselves. Organizations are not perfect its true. But they dont deserve to be attacked relentlessly like this. The intention and condition of the attacker is telling in their blatant and obvious use of lies and other nastiness to force their point across. What are they afraid of really? If you are interested, go to the library, get a book and see for yourself.

  • get your facts!

    What is Germany afraid of??? Are you serious? I’m sadly disappointed that OUR country wont do the same. What kind of reporter are you? Especially since you are saying the total opposite from what you wrote in a prior story regarding Scientology as WILEY has stated. THANKS WILEY.

  • Sharone Stainforth

    L. Ron Hubbard was a Science Fiction writer who wanted to make more money so he turned his fantasies into a reality, not only for himself but also for thousands of people.He wrote volumes of books and policy letters which was how he ran his organizations.”Scientology is not a religion”-L. Ron Hubbard.Creation of Human Ability,1954.”we’re playing for blood the stake is EARTH” L.Ron Hubbard, Policy Letter 7/11/6218/10/67 Penalties for Lower Conditions- SP Order “Fair Game”HCO Policy Letter of 21/10/ 68″Somebody some day will say this is illegal. Be sure by then the Orgs(Scientology) say what is legal or not” – L. Ron Hubbard.”There is nothing as wild as in the books of Man as will probably happen here on earth. And it will happen simply because all of this is so incredible that no one will think of stopping it it until it is far, far too late.”L. Ron Hubbard.Germany has every reason to be concerned about Scientology, it is a pity more countries are not as concerned, especially America.Scientology is a totalitarian organization and needs investigating.

  • mobedda

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Why would you start with this premise? Their position is the same as mine: Scientology is NOT a religion; it’s a confidence scam that uses vulnerable people for their sweat and money and worse.

  • Just me

    I live in Holland (next door to Germany) and I am GLAD they are taking steps to protect the public from this dangerous cult.Internal Scientology-tactics are like George Orwell’s “1984″ ones and the German goverment recognises the same things in their group-dynamic that made Hitler rise to power. These people are a lot more dangerous then you think. My question is: WHY doesn’t the USA, home to most scientologists, do something about this or at least starts a full-scale investigation? This cult is rich, who has been paid off, which lobbies are out there, why are you not in tune with the rest of the world on this subject?

  • Anonymous.

    The church of Scientology has years of human rights abuses. The make their members pay for salvation.This is no religion, this is a business.

  • raker

    Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the countries that embrace a crackpot organization whose mission is to separate people from their fortunes, and call them “religion,” and exempt them from paying taxes.

  • Matt Gleeds

    I am certainly all for religious freedom. However, Claire Hoffman’s uncritical acceptance of the Scientologist’s propaganda that they are for ‘self improvement’ is a disservice to her readers. Given the history of the ‘church’ and it’s founder, it is simply not credible that they are anything but crackpots and should not be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • A C

    Are you insane? The COS is a cult determined to take every last dollar out of all of their follower’s pockets, and control everey aspect of their lives.Do a little research before you write more uninformed

  • Anon

    Hey, Claire.I highly suggest you read Bare Faced Messiah. It is an extremely good book that can be found online that among other things details how LRH decided to make a religion after his Dianetics movement had to pay taxes.Scientology claims it is a religion but everything it does is business. It acts like a business when practices are exposed. It relies on lawyers to the point where it’s suspicious. It has lavish events and special centers for celebrities so they look good. It talks frequently about money and you can get no services without it. It pays less than minimum wage across all ages. It’s a capitalist’s dream.Scientology is not recognized as a religion by Israel, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Mexico, and Luxembourg. All of these states have decided something is fishy about this organization, you may want to look into Scientology to see why rightfully they think this.

  • A C

    Hey Clair,Are you insane? The COS is a cult determined to take every last dollar out of all of their follower’s pockets, and control every aspect of their lives.Do a little research before you write more uninformed

  • Anonymous

    I have an idea. How about the Washington Post do their job as the media. Do some research into the story before publishing it, and find out what Germany is, in fact, “afraid of”. The information is out there.

  • a123

    $cientology is dangerous to democratic government and to a free press since they have demonstrated time again that they will infiltrate and harass those that disagree with them whatever plans they want to move forward. $ci goes absolutely personal, taking the low road, and with a viscousness that’s more akin to extremest groups and not a religion.

  • a123

    $cientology is dangerous to democratic government and to a free press since they have demonstrated time again that they will infiltrate and harass those that disagree with them whatever plans they want to move forward. $ci goes absolutely personal, taking the low road, and with a viscousness that’s more akin to extremest groups and not a religion.

  • Mount Vernon Farms

    So many comments in so little time.

  • jkp

    All this does is underline the ridiculousness of providing tax exemptions to churches. The problem isn’t that Germany is treating Scientology as a business, the problem is that it draws the distinction and provides exemptions for ‘mainstream’ religions such as Christianity and Islam.Whatever their flaws (and there are many flaws!) Scientologists are not going around blowing up women and children as part of some sort of irrendentist suicide cult. Perhaps the plank should be removed from our own eyes before we criticize the splinter in Scientology’s.

  • Anonymous

    Germans understand master race theories, the intense brainwashing and marketing strategy and intimidation that goes with it. The business enterprise exploiting the gullible and vulnerable, benefiting the top tier, the science fiction explanation of the mantel of religion…Cult of Dangerous Science Fiction

  • concerned german citizen

    JKP:”Perhaps the plank should be removed from our own eyes before we criticize the splinter in Scientology’s.”list of some splinters- by no means complete, probably just a small part:Lisa McPherson

  • albert

    They fear another stupid dangerous religion. They have had enough of facist crap.

  • Natasha

    Claire, you ask what the German government is afraid of.It might interest you to know in 1979, eleven high-placed Scientology officials involved with Operation Snow White pleaded guilty or were convicted in the U.S. federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of U.S. government offices, and theft of documents and U.S. government property. More recently in 1992, Canadian court convicted the Church of Scientology of Toronto for two counts of breach of the public trust, also for stolen documents from public and private agencies.Germany wants to make sure the Church of Scientology does not do the same in their country. With Scientology’s track record, Germany’s government is justified its diligence.

  • Mary

    Clair,Are you a moron? The COS is is no more than a rich, evil, AMWAY!

  • Anonymous

    Scientology Kills, Germany should be congratulated for not supporting a dangerous cult.

  • Anonymous

    Scientology Kills, Germany should be congratulated for not supporting a dangerous cult.

  • John, John, John

    John, I’d like to respond to your comment below.You say: What are they afraid of really? If you are interested, go to the library, get a book and see for yourself.Well, John is suggesting us to read Dianetics. Now I do have a strong opinion on this book, but I’ll hold back on speaking up since it opens up for people to accuse me of bigotry. What is fair to say though, is that although Scientology sounds like Science, none of the claims in Hubbard’s books are supported by verifiable scientific experiments. However, if you are interested you should definitely read the book. But if you do, please also read some of the critical sites. John is really insulting our intelligence when he says our accusations are unfounded. The ‘net people’ who are commenting on this article are fully aware of the superfluous of information on the internet. I spent at least a month reading sites on both sides of the story, assessing evidence before I joined Anonymous. I also had a lenghty e-mail discussion with an ex-member who found the critics were going over the top. But the evidence is surmounting: it consists of hundreds of consistent first person accounts, actual (scanned) policy documents and tons of verdicts the world over. My conclusion: On a person-to-person basis, most people in Scientology are without any doubt wonderful and well-meaning people. As an organization, they are rotten to the core and sinister of comic-book proportions. Their crimes are like a fractal: every time you look closer, you will see more and more abuses.If you are reading this as an independent reader, please don’t take his veering along a bit for face value: Sure, scientology is not perfect, but they don’t deserve this onslaught of criticism.I really hope you’ll take a bit of time do a bit of research on your own. Or actually, perhaps you better shouldn’t. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing some silly mask standing outside one of their locations on May 10th or June 17th.Regards

  • David

    Some scary things about the organisation that calls itself “the church of scientology”.The organisation is very effective at usurping the desires of people to do good to people to make it work for the good of the organisation. Members are convinced that the only way to “really help” is to get people on “the bridge” to becoming “clear”. Which translates to getting them to join up and pay for courses.The organisation is so efficient at indoctrinating its members with this belief that they openly promote the organisation and its agenda and even recruit in disaster zones, such as 9/11 and the boxing day Tsunami.The organisations’ doctrines empower abusers to commit abuse both to members and to critics. They encourage members to report on members. They include all manner of punishments for being out of line with the organisations’ doctrines. They state that members make trick, lie to, sue or in any other way destroy critics without punishment from the organisation. All the organisations’ front groups may seem to be worthy causes but at the end of the day they are about recruitment:-CCHR is all about “the world wide obliteration of psychiatry” to be replaced by dianetics, which is the basis of the organisations’ teachings, so getting people to join up and paying for courses.WISE, is all about applying the organisations’ teachings in the business place, joining up and paying for courses.Narconon is all about getting people off drugs using purif run downs, which is part of the organisations’ teachings, which leads on to joining up and paying for courses.Applied scholastics is teaching the organisations teachings in schools, while at the same time aluding to the organisation so when pupils come across it they are more ameanable to joining up and paying for courses because that is what they did in school.The list goes on. The organisations’ goal for its members is getting everyone on the planet “on the bridge” to being “clear” and ultimately “clearing the planet” ;which translates to getting everyone to join up and pay for courses. Members believe that if everyone joined up and paid for the organisations’ courses the world would be a much better place. There would be no more critics of scientology; you would read about them just in the history books. The number of critics to them is a major indicator of just how bad the world is because anyone who criticises the organisation is a criminal, to be handled or declared an suppressive person and disconnected from. Keep Scientology Working = Keep the money coming in. It is sad but true that there are still good people in the organisation; I’ve met some. Some have perhaps woken up to the abuse but feel trapped as they no longer have assets of their own or friends who are not scientologists. Others may still be deluded in to the believing the organisations’ mission (making everyone a scientologist – known as “clearing the planet”) is the ONLY way to help. Of course personal improvement through the organisation’s courses will help you see things their way; they do involve a lot of brain washing techniques. It will undoubtedly improve the organisations bank balances. But will it stop human rights violations? Will it bring world peace? Will it end poverty? Will it stop slavery? I doubt it. According to the reports from many ex-members human rights violations are not uncommon in the organisation. People are made to work in slave labour conditions. Staff members can end up dependant on the organisation because they have no money anymore. As for world peace, the organisation that calls itself “the church of scientology” is incredibly aggressive in its agenda and sees everyone who is not “in it” as “out of it”.

  • Anonymous

    A religion? Riiiiight, how many religions charge for their teachings? How many religions teach that space aliens blew us up?

  • Rojo

    Claire – You need to stop referring to Scientology as a religion. It’s a cult, plain and simple. The Germans have got it right.

  • Artoo45

    Hooray! A real Terryeo post. I was beginning to miss your sad little jabs us. Yes Terryeo, we’re all of us, in thrall to Glaxo and Astra Zeneca. Hell, I’m on their payroll. They pay me millions of Marcab Credit Units a year just to criticize the cult because they’re simply TERRIFIED of the brilliant research of Hubbard. They quake in fear that the Marcabian invaders from the fifth vector or whatever are going to return and take over their eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil industry of death (I wish I could use that drippy “House of Wax” type font when I type Industry of Death). But anyway, glad you could join the statcrasher’s ball. Hope you didn’t spend any time on the Freewinds, ’cause mesothelioma is a total bummer.

  • SOME QUESTIONS FOR JOHN:

    JOHN WRITES: I have been a member of the Church for over 25 years. I am aware of the controversy’s.”OK. THANK’S FOR BEING HONEST ABOUT THAT. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CONTROVERSIES? WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF RPF, OP SNOW WHITE, THE HARASSMENT OF PAULETTE COOPER, THE DEATH OF LISA MCPHERSON? “I see a lot of untruth printed about the organization. The comments in this section are full of this kind of blatant uninformed attacks.”OK. AND CAN YOU GIVE US, SAY, THREE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST THE CHURCH – CITING NAME, DATE AND CLAIMANT – AND EXPLAINING HOW THEY ARE BLATANTLY UNINFORMED?”I have found the teachings and general direction of the organization to be constructive and rational and usable. I have raised my kids with it and they are considered by everyone who knows them to be intelligent and responsible. While also being able to decide for themselves. I’M SURE YOU HAVE, AND I’M SURE YOUR KIDS ARE GREAT. YOU’RE RIGHT TO BE PROUD OF THEM. MY BAPTISMAL GODFATHER IS ONE OF THE FINEST MEN I KNOW. HE WAS A SCIENTOLOGIST FOR NEARLY AS LONG AS YOU – HE EVEN WORKED ALONGSIDE HUBBARD AT SAINT HILL. NO ONE DENIES THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF BEAUTIFUL SCIENTOLOGISTS, PAST AND PRESENT. BUT THE MANAGEMENT ETHICS OF THE ORGANIZATION ARE CORRUPT, AND ITS SENIOR MANAGEMENT IS A LAW UNTO ITSELF”Organizations are not perfect its true. But they dont deserve to be attacked relentlessly like this. The intention and condition of the attacker is telling in their blatant and obvious use of lies and other nastiness to force their point across. What are they afraid of really? If you are interested, go to the library, get a book and see for yourself. “IT’S INTERESTING THAT YOU WRITE ORGS AREN’T PERFECT. YOU CAN’T BRING YOURSELF TO WRITE THAT SCIENTOLOGY ISN’T PERFECT. WHY NOT LOOK AT IT THIS WAY: ‘CRITICS OF SCN ARE NOT PERFECT, IT’S TRUE. BUT THEY DON’T DESERVE TO BE ATTACKED RELENTLESSLY LIKE PAULETTE COOPER, ROBERT WELKOS, RUSSELL MILLER, BENT CORYDON, DAVID MAYO, ROY WALLIS, CYRIL VOSPER, JON ATACK, VICKI AZNARAN…’AND YES, I AGREE, GO TO A LIBRARY AND FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF. START WITH RUSSELL MILLER’S BAREFACED MESSIAH. OR ROY WALLIS’S ROAD TO TOTAL FREEDOM. OR JON ATACK’S PIECE OF BLUE SKY. YOU SEE, JOHN, I’VE READ DIANETICS, SO I’M ABLE TO COMMENT ABOUT BOTH SIDES? HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THE BOOKS?ARE YOU ALLOWED TO?LOVE. D.

  • Ted

    You should focus more on the potential harm that the church of scientology is capable doing to Germany as a nation. They have every right to defend theirselves against this insainly dangerous cult. The more power this cult has the more dangerous it becomes and it needs to be stopped before it can infiltrate the goverment and corporations more than it already has.

  • JimBob

    The only thing that makes Scientology a religion is the fantasy nature of its basic tenets — Thetans and all that crap. But unlike other established religions it is secretive and hidden. I can walk into a church or a synagogue or a temple and participate in their cute little fantasy-based rituals if I choose (well, except for the Mormons, and they’re as wacked-out at the Scientologists). With Scientology I have to be inculcated into the secret cult, learn the secret handshakes and get a decoder ring that outsiders don’t get. It’s not a religion in that it isn’t open.

  • John

    Scientology is the least philosophically and theologically dishonest viewpoint of any movement, let alone religion. It’s built around nothing more then exploitation and greed. Any religion with those principles does not deserve protection.There are three types of people who have looked into Scientology. Those who exploit it, those who are suckered into believing it and those who are disgusted by it. Thank God the german government nipped this dangerous pseudo-religion in the bud.

  • Anonymous

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”Clair, honestly. A quick 5 minute Google search will turn up reason upon reason as to why Scientology is treated as a business in Germany and nothing more.Here, I’ll help. Google search for the following:- Operation Snow WhiteIt is a glorified self-help programme that charges intense amounts of money for it’s services. By that definition, Tony Robbins should have his own religion.

  • Amateria

    The Germans initially did not recognize Scientology as a religion because it charged its members such high fees to participate in the religion in the first place (Unlike Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which encourage their members to donate but do not require vast sums of money in order to have access to religious texts and knowledge of the secrets to obtain a favorable afterlife). To the Germans, it was a scam that masqueraded as a religion.

  • Glen, Europe

    wow, this post has a lot of response! Very amusing.You cannot take all the ex-scientologist comments here too seriously. Like ex-christians, ex-muslims, or ex-husbands/wives, exes tend to be a bit extreme in their opinion of the religion (cq. partner) they just left. Of course, if you have been fooled, you feel bad about it. But too many people blame just the scammer instead of themselves.The negative response however, is also caused by the ambition of the author. If you try to be critical of the German government (I suppose her main question is rhetorical), you should give some logical arguments. There are no real arguments here, and the article is short on logic.The only argument I read, is her statement that Scientology are a religion focused on self-improvement. We have to believe her on her pretty eyes that this is correct, and that she has a definition of religion which makes sense (other commenters have pointed this out). But next, their is a logical problem in her understatement, that an organisation’s activities cannot be unconstitutional, just because they are a religion in this sense (also been said elsewhere in the comments, witness the medieval European church, or islamic fundamentalist organizations). Somebody with two Master’s degrees cannot possibly suffer from this kind of sloppy thinking. It is bad faith to assume, as I see suggested in the comments, that the Washington Post put this posting here as a provocation to up its number of hits. My guess is that Ms. Hoffman was either almost missing a deadline, or simply out of ideas, and quickly typed in something on scientology and a well-known foreign country.

  • Lawyer

    You should check (and cite) the German constitution before you start calling things “unconstitutional.”

  • Bridge Jumper

    When leaders of faiths come together they talk about their faith.When leaders of Scientology get together, they talk about money.That is all the top level managament cares about.

  • Michael

    You are aware, I am assuming, that Germany is not a member of the United States, and that its constitution is not the same as that of the latter. Using the term “unconstitutional” in this case is therefore completely unfair, as there is an implication that somehow or other the ban you speak of violates the U.S. Constitution, which is completely unenforceable in Germany. Second, what does the constitution of Germany say with regard to religions and their behavior? Is in fact the behavior of Scientology a violation of the German constitution? And even if it is not, how is it any of our business? Are you suggesting some sort of regime change in Germany to make their constitution more like that of the United States? What is the point of your article?

  • very concerned

    For the past 10 years I have conducted an intense study of the Church of Scientology (COS). I have spoken to scores of people, former members around America, Canad and Europe. I have had access to thousands of pages of mimeographed memos sent by Hubbard to members during the first 20 years of the organization. I have experienced first hand the deception of a Scientology leaders telling “an acceptable truth”, which led away from the actual truth. I have verified the placement of COS staff in government offices even to this day, causing continued concern of a comment made by the director of the Los Angeles office of the FBI, that in essence said that the COS had a better informating gatherin program than the FBI itself.My bookshelf is filled with COS works including on called “The Problem of Work” by L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., Ph.D. Hubbard never finished college and his degree was from Sequoia University, a degree mill shut down by the State of California.Are some people helped by COS? Some adults, young and old alike, missed something in their upbringing. Hubbard says many, if not all problems are related to misunderstood words. His solution? Look them up in a dictionary. What English teacher hasn’t been saying that for years? Some people are helped to be more assertive and in many cases agressive by Hubbard’s classes. Taking a course in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” would be far cheater and there wouldn’t be pressure to take more classes and move on to the Bridge which will cost 100′s of dollars. That’s were COS heads a person.Just this morning (5-8-08) CNN carried a story about COS and when the COS representative was asked about the disconnection policy of COS which forces members to disconnect from and even divorce spouses, friends, co-workers who are critics, he said in essence that he know nothing about such a policy. Either he is not aware of the truth or is deliberately avoiding telling the truth. One former member has stated that there are over 23,000 persons declared Supressive Person, persons to are to be totaly avoided by COS.After years of study and interviews I believe that the Time magazine article of May, 1991, was absolutely accurate when it called the COS “a cult of greed and power….which operated in a Mafia-like fashion…. a huge global racket”.Someone once said that “the hottest places in hell(what ever that is) are reserved for people who try to manipulate the idealism of others for their own selfish ends”.It’s not the religion of Scientology which is begin questioned. They are free to believe what they will. It is their behavior which has been so destructive to thousands and is just the oppositive of that taught by moast major world religions.

  • dcp

    I looked up all the things that the other readers said to research, and they’re right. These people are psychos. This is no ordinary religion. I can understand what happened to Tom Cruise now. It’s all starting to make sense. They need serious help.

  • John,

    To D below,Sorry about your obvious turmoil. It comes through loud and clear. I would guess that the folks you mention have had their problems and are guilty themselves, maybe? Please dont assume that what I have written was all there could be for me to say about something or my beliefs. Just wanted to get another less enturbulating viewpont across. I went to Germany as a Scientologist 10 years ago. I was treated to a customs guy pretending to stamp passports at the airport. Refused hotel rooms that had been reserved, power cut off at the event, more green khaki cops along the march route (past lots of monuments recognizable from Nazi film) than you could count. Intentional lousy reception and service. Not much compared to what the jews got but not much to recommend the Germans and their method of handling things. I spoke to many germans whos business and lives had been intentionally ruined by German tactics almost exactly like the tactics used against the Jews. Also saw lots of ridiculous TV rants about Scientology. And ad campaigns similar to the ones used against the Jews. Germany has a poor human rights record and defending them in their religious persecutions is wrong. I know the difference between errors being pointed out and and attempts to correct them and folks that are intent on destroying. I myself intend to protect myself as others of my group intend to also. Thats it for me.

  • Arminius

    Never have I seen such a firestorm on the ‘On Faith’ site. I find it very encouraging that so many of the posters see the truth about $cientology. Of course, we have the CoS droids here trying to do damage control, and the other assorted nitwits. Poor, benighted Claire Hoffman. Why did she produce such a pathetic essay? Here are some theories:Well, she got #4 for sure. Don’t know about the others.

  • Toronto Guy

    I knew a woman who told me, flat out, that she and her (ex)husband had been the Co$ VIP hospitality couple for Toronto in the ’80′s.He drove, she cooked, and she also prostituted herself for the VIPs, “warmed the beds,” if you would. She was very clear about the types of sex acts that had been demanded of her by her “priests.”She was also very clear about how the Co$ brainwashes people. A temple prostitute!? Duh!Naturally, all Co$ people will claim she lied. Just like then Cardinal Ratzinger spent a decade claiming the catholic pedophile victims were liars so as to cover up for his buddies.Scientology is a pyramid scheme solely designed to enrich/empower the people at the top of the pyramid by bilking people and brainwashing them. It’s a “genuine religion” only in the same way the “Jedi” or “Klingon” religion people are: ironically or mockingly.

  • A friend of D.

    Hi John,In your respons to D, you mention:I couldn’t help myself from laughing about this. As a critic of Scientology, I can see how robotic, yes, even brainwashed this response is.You see, the people that John is talking about are critics of the cult that have been subject to what is called the ‘fair game’ policy, which says that (per policy letter) Suppresses Persons (or critics) can be ‘sued, harrassed, lied to ur utterly destroyed’. This information can be easily googled by the way.Now, Scientologists are being learned to believe that every critic of the cult has hidden crimes, or overts as they call them. Otherwise, they would not be protesting the cult.If you go to Xenutv (dot) com, you can find a number of video’s where Scientologists are repeatly asking Mark Bunker, also a Suppressed Person, ‘What are your crimes’, ‘What are your crimes’.I know I shouldn’t have laughed, because it is really sad, but I just coulnd’t help myself.Dear people, if you consider Scientology to be a perhaps strange but otherwise valid religion, I urge you, please do some googling. You’ll come to understand why this article has now some 400 posts.A couple of suggestions: Google Scientology in combination with words such as forced abortion, slave labour or child labour. Each of those has some 40.000 hits, so there’s quite a bit of reading to do.

  • kaos

    terryeo,How much have you spent to gain that “insight?” Please, by all means, spend all your money to get on up the bridge on your way to OTIII and the real “truth.” Man, I wish you were a fish, I’d catch you every day!Just remember, once the “church” is done raping your checking account, once you have no more money or slave labor to give, anonymous will be there for you. Also keep in mind, if Scientology asks you to go for a boat ride decline. Regardless of what you’ve heard, you don’t get mesothelioma from SPs, you get it from your “church’s” ship!

  • Fritz

    John wrote: As a German I can assure you, that’s not discrimination. That is just how things are done here.As to comparing the treatment of scientology with that of jews in the 1930s: You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Read the German constitution and also take a look at the mechanisms that were used by the Nazis to ascend to power at the end of the Weimar Republic and their idea of humankind and the individual. It’s all in the historical context. We’re just vigilant. Rightly so.

  • Elron

    Well Claire,You spew that Co$ garbage and then disappear after the SHTF. What a coward, or a Scientology SHILL! Step up you lying filthy tramp!

  • Fritz

    John wrote: As a German I can assure you, that’s not discrimination. That is just how things are done here.As to comparing the treatment of scientology with that of jews in the 1930s: You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. Read the German constitution and also take a look at the mechanisms that were used by the Nazis to ascend to power at the end of the Weimar Republic and their idea of humankind and the individual. It’s all in the historical context. We’re just vigilant. Rightly so.

  • dcp

    Leave Claire Hoffman alone. She is being very smart. She only pretended to support Scientology and have the readers tell the truth on her behalf. She knows what will happen to her if she tells the truth. She’s probably blogging right along with rest of us adding in information for us to research. Attagirl!

  • Anonymous

    Once the Germans bought a master race ideology from a short, brown haired, brown eyed Austrian. Don’t expect them not to be vigilant about anyone selling them similar sounding stuff with a proven “checkered past.”

  • D.

    John replies to me: ‘Sorry about your obvious turmoil. It comes through loud and clear. I would guess that the folks you mention have had their problems and are guilty themselves, maybe? Please dont assume that what I have written was all there could be for me to say about something or my beliefs. Just wanted to get another less enturbulating viewpont across.’And that, folks, is why so many people find Scientology such a turn-off. Patronising. Finger-pointing. Misleading. Smug. And, ironically, oh so holier-than-thou.

  • Martha

    I’m confused. What is all this about? I’ve always regarded Scientology as a bit weird, but never gave it much thought. Surely people here must be a paranoid to believe this is going on. Wouldn’t law enforcement step in? I mean, somebody mentioned forced abortion and child labor earlier. That sounds pretty ridiculous to me.

  • just google the damn thing

    Martha, if you’re confused, don’t write and tell us all about it like Claire has. You have net access. Do what these people suggest. Just google.Then you might not be so confused…

  • Anonymous

    It is in the nature of cults to maintain a powerfully charming PR face; they are trained to field questions from outsiders. What goes on inside is another story that only ex-members brave enough to speak out reveal.

  • Rob d’blind

    You should put more research into your articles.The so called “church” is nothing more than a corporation that uses a “religious” mask to pull people into its brainwashing machine in order to clean them dry of money and get free slave labor. I can’t think of any other religion that does this at the level they do. Children hauling rocks…people pulling 72 hour stretches with little sleep, no pay, and little food or creature comforts…mandatory abortions…the list is endless. These people were manipulated over a long period of time to actually believe in the message of a bunch of con artists that they are saving the planet! The only thing they are saving is millions in labor costs of having to actually hire professionals, on top of their tax benefits!If it was up to Scientology, we would all be slaves working for the betterment of DM, and anyone who didn’t agree gets to chat with Mr. R245 and forgotten.

  • Fritz

    I have just read that TIME article mentioned somewhere in the comments. And although I knew about the economic aspect of scientology, I was shocked when I read about the amount of money individual members pay.I guess that’s what makes it so hard to exit. All that money, lost. It must be like sitting at a table in Vegas hoping to win at some point. You just don’t leave until you do. The question is how one can help those people. Does anyone have numbers on the success rate of court cases against CoS. Is there any chance of getting the money back?

  • Anonymous

    Public education via the media in as many ways as possible with verifiable facts and figures is a good start.

  • Anonymous

    re: Paulquote: “Don’t you people have a life? wasting time saying all of this stuff. by the way..there are some comments who label themselves “anonymous” who would go about saying something with out at least leaving some sort of name.”If only one person reads what an Anonymous has to say, and takes it to heart, then it could not have been time wasted.There is a time for everything,a time to be born and a time to die,This is a time for the masked iconoclasts, and we’re here to undo a great evil.

  • Anonymous

    Developing a “gezielt” deprogramming technique and protection of ex-members is one way to prevent them from returning out of fear.Teach the ex-members other self-help methods that have been proven to be effective and cost little or no money. Offer it free of charge to wean them from their brainwashed addiction to Scientology.

  • Paganplace

    Ah, yeah, ‘Tom.’ Random homophobia and screams ‘They Aren’t Christian!’ will *really* shed some light on the matter. Yah.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, you know, ‘Tom,’ and others, I don’t happen to approve of a lot of things the Scientology organization does, but one bunch of homophobes who believe some manner of superior alien intelligence told them they had a right to lord it over and hurt folks like me with temporal and financial and legal power *really does* seem much like another, if that’s the level you prefer to work on.

  • Fritz again

    Anonymous wrote:Do you really think that people who have invested all they have in that organisation can so easily be made to realize that it all was a mere hoax. You’re bound to cling to it when it’s all you have left. Somehow I start to understand the behaviour of those inside. Of course they can’t acknowledge that it’s a fraud. But I am really angry at people like Claire, who are not able to grasp the necessity of keeping people from becoming involved with CoS in the first place. Only the recruiting of a constant stream of new members keeps a pyramid system running. That’s what makes Claire and with her the WashPo so irresponsible in my view.

  • it is incompatible with a free society

    the organization destroys the lives of people who disagree with them. for heaven’s sakes, they were convicted of the largest case of government infiltration in american history and held liable for the attempted murder of the first journalist to write a book on their organization.thank heavens that germany has learned enough from its history to recognize when it’s time to intervene in the interest of protecting people from those would use constitutional freedoms to exploit the most vulnerable amongst us–children, drug addicts, and the mentally ill.www.exscientologykids.com

  • Anon902503

    Scientology is violent and mean-spirited. I would say their “religion” is not compatable with any civil government. At least not in its present form.

  • who’s the nazi?

    I think the Scientologists should lay off the Germans = Nazis line. Google LRH Eric ButlerThere you’ll see how Ron was a big big big fan of the conspiracy theories of Eric Butler.If you want to know who he was, google Eric Butler Australia Nazi

  • Jacob Heelie

    Hi Washington Post,Clearly Ms Hoffman has done a wonderful job of discrediting your organisation as a reliable news source.It really is hard to find good help these days.

  • roger gonnet

    It’s quite evident that scientology has been banned in UK, NZ, SA, AU, is criticized in mostbcountries where it installs its Profits Centers (they call them “churches”).It’s under justice for fraud, has been heavily sentenced all the way up to Supreme Courts in many countries, and one of those countrties would not be allowed to investigate the methods of the cult?

  • And another…

    Tom Marcellus is another leading Scientologist who moonlights as a Holocaust denier. Google has youtube footage of him chatting with Tom Metzger of the KKK.

  • Anonx

    Claire hoffman dare to call herself a journalist. This gonna be the sadest , less inform article I’ve seen in the past 6 months. She should consider herself lucky she still have a job with all the nonsense she writing.

  • Anonx

    Claire hoffman dare to call herself a journalist. This gonna be the sadest , less inform article I’ve seen in the past 6 months. She should consider herself lucky she still have a job with all the nonsense she writing.

  • Arminius

    Claire Hoffman,You should do these things at once:First, do some research instead of writing ignorant, mindless pandering.Next, apologize to Germany, for they are correct in their estimation of $cientologists.Third, apologize to your readers, and to WaPo, for producing such a truly shoddy piece of journalism. WaPo’s reputation for investigative journalism has been smeared by your ignorance.Fourth, write a follow-up essay, correcting your mistakes.Failure to do this should be punished by, at the very least, being kicked off the ‘On Faith’ panel.Arminius

  • Scott

    I ask, as so many others here are, where is Claire? Has she gone into hiding at Tom’s mansion in Teluride, too shell shocked to resposnd to the over 400 posts here? After visiting, her website, and looking at her earlier take on COS, it does indeed seemt that she has been, like Oprah, indoctrinated into the cult or else is being paid to be a PR person for them.Claire, we are all awaiting your response. This has been going on far to long for you to be silent.

  • Anonymous

    The cult is about training its members in malignant narcissism. It is a shadow religion at best which uses spiritual lingo for gaining power, manipulating and exploiting others.

  • The truth about disconnetion

    Luana suggested to go to scientology (dot) org.OK. Let’s go to scientology (dot) org.Have you seen the CNN broadcast from yesterday in which a Scientology spokesman denied disconnection?If you were to type in faq (dot) scientology (dot) (slash) page40 (dot) htm.What will you find? Scientology confirming on their OWN website that disconnection is a policy.PS. Did you also think that the spokesman, Tommy David, look sort of beaten down? Well, that’s because he’s been on their degrading punishment/slave labor camp, the RPF, for a year.

  • Anonymous

    Collect as much verifiable facts and figures and mount an intense public education campaign. That is how the last remnant of the NAZI mindset was purged. Here is something much more deceptive and insiduous spreading its tentacles silently across the globe in high places in the name of business under cover of religion. The so-called “self improvement” is indoctrination into the “master race” mindset for those with money to for pay for it. The master race mindset comes with a giant leap in self confidence by learning the fine art of exploiting others.

  • david

    I’m with Scott here. Don’t let this be your career definer…

  • Anonymous

    View thisspiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,473896,00.html

  • AF

    The concern that the German government has is not with Scientology the belief system, but with the organization called the Church of Scientology. There are many organizations in Germany practicing Scientology (the “Free Zone” practitioners) but unlike the CoS, none of them are under restriction or surveillance by the German government. The only organization in Germany persecuting the Free Zone practitioners of Scientology is — surprise, surprise! It’s the Church of Scientology, trying to impede the religious freedom of others even as it cries wolf about its own.

  • Anonymous

    Those who take the bait and sign up for a Scientology course, though, have a hard time breaking away again. Wilfried Handl of Vienna experienced that first hand. Handl was a Scientologist himself for 28 years. By the early 1980s, he had even risen to a top position in the organization, as its executive director for Austria.”Modern slavery” “Scientologists believe theirs is the only doctrine leading to salvation and they strive for world domination,” the ex-Scientologist explains. He now believes the organization is “clearly unconstitutional.” Hubbard’s writings envision civil rights being granted only to advanced Scientologists, so-called “Clears,” he says. Handl claims to have invested more than €150,000 ($199,087) in the organization and to have achieved “Clear” status, but he began questioning his beliefs after repeatedly falling ill with cancer. According to the Scientology doctrine, Clears should not be affected by such earthly inconveniences.Handl describes Scientology and the methods it uses today as “modern slavery.” The organization even operates its own intelligence agency of sorts, in the form of the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which the German domestic intelligence agencies are closely monitoring. Internal OSA papers feature statements on the “vital duty” of “dealing with repressive elements in society that can obstruct our expansion.”Ex-Scientologist Handl is even in favor of excluding today’s Scientology members from certain professions. Hubbard’s followers have no business caring for or educating children and adolescents, in his view, just as they should not be allowed to practice medical professions. The “Ideal Orgs” in various European capitals, such as the one in Berlin, are essentially pursuing a single goal, according to the ex-Scientologist: “Infiltrating politics and influencing influencers.”——The March of the Orgs (Der Spiegel)

  • What judges say (part I)

    “Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious…It is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard… It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestionly and to those who criticize it or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others.”–Justice Latey, ruling in the High Court of London

  • What judges say (part II)

    “Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.” –Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia

  • Anonymous

    The people within Scientology are not of their own minds. They speak the way they are told, and the act the way they are told. They are drones because Scientology makes them that way over the period of membership, slowly. Like a poison going into your veins and into your mind, but you haven’t realized you’ve been bitten.Scientology is so far from being anything like a religion it’s absolutely ludicrous to suggest that they are. It is an insult to those who go truly dedicate themselves to an actual faith that is worthy of the worshipers.Google Fair Game. Fair Game is the target we will be addressing on Saturday’s protest. Be careful how you handle publishing articles about Scientology, as Scilons are quite picky on how people do it (they prefer no facts and a direct link to the Scientology website followed by a smileyface).

  • John

    After the experience Germany had with the Nazi regime, no wonder they are careful about similar rising cults.

  • Lex

    Check out the CNN interview with Tommy Davis, official spokesperson of the cult. Remember ‘Comical Ali’ (Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf) the Iraqi Information Minister of the Iraq war? ‘There are no Americans in Baghdad.’ ‘They are coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks.’Tommy Davis IS Comical Tommy. He looks under seige. Put a beret on him and hear him say -’There never was a disconnection policy, we cancelled it many times.’ ‘There is a large, I mean small, number of critics of scientology.’ ‘There are no body thetans, We cancelled them many times. They are ridiculous.”We never harrass critics. We cancelled that policy many times.”There is no anonymous. They are a great threat. They are coming to be destroyed.’

  • Lex 2

    Don’t worry everbody. Scientology is OVER! Tommy Davis cancelled it on CNN.I’m not joking.Tommy Davis, offical scientology spokesperson has, on CNN, cancelled L Ron Hubbard’s beloved and well documented family disconnection policy.Scientology Inc cannot continue to exist without the disconnection policy. He also characterised Hubbard’s well-documented faith in the existence of parasitic, ‘body thetans’ as ‘ridiculous’. Tell all scientologists to watch this important announcement. Be sure to tell the mandatorily divorced ones.As you know, Hubbard said that his scripture cannot be departed from in any way without destroying scientology (See ‘KSW’ – Keeping Scientology Working). Well, family disconnection and body thetans are FUNDAMENTAL Hubbard scripture! They’ve been trashed. Scientology is now destroyed.Oh – you think Tommy Davis was just lying for the camera? You think disconnection remains and body thetans are still on the menu? Never mind. Scientology is destroyed, anyway.Hubbard’s ‘authority’ and the cult’s ‘credibility’ to its own members have BOTH been OFFICIALLY, PUBLICLY and FINALLY trashed, for convenience, by the cult. The cult boss Miscavige never respected cult members and now disregards Hubbard. Any firmly established Hubbard dictate can now be written off, for convenience.The sad old cult fantasy cult is now, officialy, over. The wasted years are over. Family reunion time is here. Dear Scientologists, take your time to re-adjust, but don’t be the last one out.Thank you, Internet.

  • James Talyor

    Ms Claire Hoffman,I assume you are a responsible journalist and well aware about the topic matter you are writing on. Thus I ask you this, would you support the Church of Nazism? Like the Church of Scientology, the rebranded ideology has had a “chequered past” and “ambitions against freedom and democratic system.” Like Scientology, Nazism has been harshly discriminated in Germany. I would go so far to say that Nazism faces worst, being discriminated in nearly every western nation. Followers of Church of Nazism cannot even hold public demonstrations of their faith. Hold talks in public, organise public rallies or even have religious parades. This is discrimination at its worst. An oppression to the new Church of Nazism. An oppression to religious freedom! The beliefs of the Church of Nazism are laudable. They aim and strive for the betterment of the human race by Eugenics. By careful selection, Nazism seeks to improve people and society, so people will be healthier, stronger, smarter, more beautiful and peaceful.Ms Hoffman, if Neonazism had rebranded itself a new age religion would you support it? No? A knee jerk reaction? Sit down and ask yourself, why not? All the nasty things the Nazis did was in the past. Creation of a perfect human and an ordered society sounds like a good, doesn’t it? Chaos leads to crime, right?Just because something calls itself religion does not give itself freedom to do as it so pleases. The past is a record of your actions and deeds. It should not be dismissed so easily, especially (for an organisation) when the people in charge then are the same people in charge now.I’ll tell you a bit of advice that my father told me, and I will share it with you. Judge a man (person) not by what he promises but by his actions. You know what Scientology promises. You also know what it has done. If a man had the same chequered past as Scientology, he would be in jail.

  • Lucy

    I felt the need to respond to John, although I am aware he is probably not watching this anymore.I have a very good friend of mine who is a Catholic. I disagree with some fundamental Catholic beliefs such as original sin, for example. My friend and I have had numerous debates about this and many other things I do not agree with. They do not agree with me and I do not agree with them.When I see my friend we, on occassions, debate these points. We do so with much emotion and feeling.We are still friends the next day. We are still friends several years later. My friend still visits me (and I them) in spite of the fact that they know I do not agree with their point of view and there will be challenges from either them or me on the point.Does what you are saying mean that I could no longer continue a friendship with a Scientologist if I continued to disagree with one or two aspects of their faith?Are you saying that a good friend whom I had known for a long time would discontinue our friendship simply over a disagreement in belief if they were a Scientologist?That to me sounds very unnatural. My Catholic friend is still my very good friend even after 10+ years of our disagreement on certain things about their faith. We talk about these things on a regular basis. They do not shut me out of their life because I disagree. If anything, they welcome the debate and the discussion as it makes their own faith stronger.Why does a Scientologist feel the need to cut from their life anyone who disagrees with their faith?Why is it so important that everyone agree with everything Scientology teaches?I may disagree with many things about many faiths but they will not exclude me from their lives because of this – why does Scientology?

  • Jeanne

    John, Scientology has no such policy whatsoever. I am a Scientologist. I have many friends who are not Scientologists. There is absolutely nothing in Scientology that states or infers that one should not have friends in other religions.To the contrary, a central belief of Scientology is “that all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance.” And point 12 of the Code of a Scientologist is “to support the freedom of religion.” I have been a Scientologist for over 30 years. I have never seen anyone cease to associate with friends over a disagreement about religious beliefs.On the other hand, I’ve had to live through quite a bit of abuse, with friends and family coming down on me for “what I believed” based on rumors and false allegations they’d heard or read, which had nothing to do with my beliefs or the beliefs of my religion, along the lines of some of what you read below here in the comments.There is also a difference between a disagreement over religious beliefs and pressure to change one’s beliefs.I was born and raised Jewish, and when I was in college I had a friend who was very worried about my soul and very insistent that I convert to Christianity. It put quite a strain on our relationship because whenever she saw me she would pressure me to convert. I finally had to ask her please to stop doing this, or that I would rather not talk to her at all. She got this and I was very happy that she decided to let me live as I saw fit and continue our friendship.If I had someone attacking my beliefs in Scientology I would probably do the same with them as I did with her.

  • cd_label

    There is very good reason for Germany to be worried about the “Church” of $cientology. For a start, it tried using the same methods the National Socialists (Nazis) used to take over Germany, eg infiltrating ordinary groups such as charities, prayer groups etc, in order to remove any likely sources of opposition to their rule. Why do we know this? The German Scientologists who were ordered (yes, ordered) to do this recognized what was going on, from the methods used to the justification of this offered by $cientology (in $cientology this is called “the greatest good for the greatest dynamic”) . Their consciences reawakened, they went to the police with their information.

  • Anonymous

    Look up L Ron Hubbard in Wikipedia

  • ClearH20

    Dear Ms. Hoffman: speak with your colleague at the Washington Post, Richard Leiby. He has written many excellent articles on the CoS and their controversies, including an in-depth look at the death of Lisa McPherson. He was also followed, harrassed, and secretly investigated by the CoS for his work. Ask Mr. Leiby about the validity of the CoS organization.

  • John

    I applaud Claire Hoffman for standing up for religious freedom. I’ve been to Germany and I have seen first hand the hate campaign against Scientology. TV stories, print ads and the like. The print ads patterned after the anti Jewish ads from the 30′s and 40′s. Same artwork and slogans different religion. I have also spoken to German Scientologists who had been directly targeted in their personal and business lives by these hate campaigns. Its not something as an American I found very encouraging. It reminded me of the treatment of the Blacks and other minoritys here up until change started to occur during the Civil rights movement. Scientologists as a group do not back down from these attacks. They do investigate and find the source of them. And then take appropriate action. The “anonymous” attacks and hate campaign does have a source and per the hate postings here and elsewhere are being carried out like other hate campaigns with lies and fear as the main product. I have seen anonymous protests. They are populated by grungy kids in masks shouting hate slogans and wearing masks. They are not very effective as they are based on lies. Here in the US they look ridiculous and like terroists as they are trying to deny individuals basic constitutional freedoms. The proof is in the comments posted.

  • Ralph

    Having read the comments here, I would like to observe that Claire Hoffman does not deny, that if Scientology do not stick to the law, they should be punished. Many comments here just argue, probably unnecessarily, that scientology has proven several times to act outside the law. That is not Ms Hoffman’s point here. Claire Hoffman’s problem, if you take the post seriously, is that the German government claims that the organization acts against the principles in its constitution.This is not because Scientology sells psychotherapy. The therapies, founded in behaviorism, are based on valid psychological literature concerning conditioning (Skinner, Pavlov). Note, that this does not mean they are good: conditioning is a valid psychological technique, but whether it is good, depends on what you do with it: we were not so happy with the old Soviet Union’s use of it. Even if the therapies are offered by (according to state laws) non-qualified therapists, and to the exclusion of other available kinds of therapy, this is not against the constitution.The problem Germany sees, is in scientology’s organization/management theory. This is based on an application of cybernetics (Norbert Wiener) to human organizations, including the scientology organization itself. This application is not coming out of the scientific literature, like scientology’s psychoterapeutic basis, but out of Hubbard’s brain. The conditioning of the customer is done without consideration of his free will (a basic concept in democracy), the perfect manager in the organization would have qualities of someone susceptible to fascistoid/authoritarian ideas, and the ethics are completely utilitarian. There certainly is discussion possible on this subject. If that were not so, scientology would have been banned long ago. But it is amazing that Ms. Hoffman seems to fail to see the problem. This post needs a follow-up.

  • dcp

    This is the third day already. Can we move on and put another article as the lead in the faith section? Everyone has said everything. This is repeating ad nauseum. (google operation snow white, Scientologists are bad people, Claire Hoffman is a co-conspirator) I get it! Let’s just get another headline. Please!

  • The bottom of the rabbit hole

    If you believe that Scientology is a slightly wacky religion for Hollywood stars, than the fact that there are over 450 comments should make clear there’s more to this story.Also, Scientology is not just a bait-and-switch pyramid scheme, aimed at extracting the maximum amount of money from its believers.In fact, there’s a lot more to it than that. Perhaps you have seen Jenny Miscaviage, the niece of the cult’s leader, speaking on ABC Nightline a few weeks ago about disconnection from family members and child labor. The same broadcast also discussed forced abortion. Let me assure you, the internet houses hundreds stories which are carbon-copies of these seemingly outreagous claims.Perhaps, you have came to accept the notion in the meanwhile that Scientology is an extremely dangerous and sinister movement, that harms many many people and continues to destroy thousands of families.If so, than perhaps it is time for you to take a peak into the bottom of the rabbit’s hole.Google Scientology Musical Chairs.You will be able to read Scientologies sardonic and degrading version of this game.This is why we fight.

  • Patrick

    DCP requested that we should stop posting comments on this article.He considers them to be repeating ‘ad nauseam’. I disagree with this. I feel that many of the posts below are well written and highlight numerous elements of the cult’s misdeeds and doctrines.Ms. Hoffman raised a naive rethorical question in her piece, allowing Scientology to play victim of religious bigotry (exactly like John is doing a couple of posts before DCP). However, many posts have provided extensive arguments why Germany is not only entitled to, but is also correct in, monitoring Scientology very closely.DCP asks us to move on. We won’t. We will continue to comment on this article until Washington Post steps up to the plate and starts providing in-depth coverage about Scientology.They could start by Googling ‘Freewinds asbestos’.

  • patty

    Scientology has nothing to do with God. The truth at heart is it is not a religion.”Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme?” No this is not extreme. It is a wise choice and action. Look at Germany’s history, they have been through a major historic horrific event, they need not experience another one.Scientology is much worse than one can see. As an x-scientologist I can say I am glad that a government is becoming aware of the dangers of this cult. Hopefully one day the US will wake up to this eminent dangerous entity.Spend the time to thoroughly research this cult. It is not what it says it is. The critics and x’s are not just blowing non sense to the wind. Why would the Church Leader David Miscaviage’s niece speak out? Jason Beghe the first actor to speak out? Why would the internet group Anonymous become so interested in challenging the cult?Read exscientologykids.com, xenu.net, http://www.forum.exscn.net … these are just a start.Google is your friend. It is mine, it saved my life.Most people in Scientology are good hearted caring people, they have no idea of the depth of betrayal to their own good they are participating in.Scientology is a psychotic wolf in sheeps clothing.

  • kaos

    DCP,You are of course free to move on from this issue. By all means, avail yourself of the keyboard to find something more important to you. Quite obviously, hundreds of others don’t agree with you. Thank God, or Al Gore, for the internet for it shall set us free!What HAS gone on far too long is Ms. Hoffman and the Washington Post ignoring the very real outrage at this article.

  • Albert Einstein

    The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

  • Jim

    If you advertising that scientology is just some harmless self-help group then you are just as dangerous as Tommy Davis and the rest of the cult’s goons.

  • John

    Disconnection, This can be cleared up. This is described in the “Introduction to Scientology Ethics” book. Pages 201 and 205. The complete statement is “handle or disconnect” emphasis on HANDLE. Meaning as an example lets say your friend is an Anonymous member and you are a Scientologist. You start being attacked in your beliefs, you spend considerable efforts to show your friend your side of his objections. This goes on until it seems you can either buckle under and be under the friends belief system or have your own. The antagonism is not stopping and things do not seem to be handling. So you disconnect. No he does not need to be a Scientologist, he does not have to agree with scientology principles he just needs to respect your beliefs and stop attacking them. Or you could not participate in scientology services while connected to him. He would probably disconnect from you, if you were to start attacking his beliefs and would not stop doing that.

  • silvana

    Scientology wants to clear our planet from Sp’s (criticers of Scientology – Xenu’s jailer’s). They want all of us become Scientologists or non-criticers of Scientology (having a low income, being downstat, prevents you from becoming Scientologist anyway). It’s Battlefield earth. They are dangerous. I don’t want to end up working in a company, ruled by Scientology’s doctrine. I don’t want to be enslaved by Scientology. I’m not German, but I live in Germany. I’m glad the German government is proctecting me against Scientology.

  • disgraceful

    John, your claim that the German Government’s response to Scientology equals Nazi anti-semitism in the 1930s is a disgrace, and an insult to the murdered Six million. If you had an ounce of decency you would be ashamed of yourself. Or perhaps, like IAS bigwig, Tom Marcellus, you believe the Holocaust is a lie…

  • Dave O’Maley

    Dear John, I really hope you will read this. I know the emphasize with critics is on handling, and that disconnetion is an extreme thing to do. Maybe it hardly ever happens, maybe it happens a bit more than you think. For myself, I could never ever imagine cutting ties with people I love. No reason could ever be good enough. Do you remember how you felt about this back when you were not a Scientologist?There are a lot of negative things on this thread, and I’m happy for you to disregard them as false data. But I hope you will find the sheer volume, an indication that perhaps you should do a doubt formula. Perhaps there are some things that you consider not to be perfect about the Church? I really hope you will have the courage to do a doubt formula about these things. If you do, please do it the best way you can. Please don’t shy away from reading some of the things on critical websites. Exscientologykids.org is a great resource if you want to do a doubt formula.My thoughts go out to you. Good luck.

  • Jim

    Ms. Hoffman,You embarrass yourself and The Washington Post by writing such an ill-informed piece. The COS has NOTHING to do with religion!

  • EastAnon

    John:”I’ve been to Germany and I have seen first hand the hate campaign against Scientology. TV stories, print ads and the like. The print ads patterned after the anti Jewish ads from the 30′s and 40′s. Same artwork and slogans different religion.”You have no business whatsoever to compare Scientology to what happened to the Jews. Scientology as an organisation is rotten to the core. What other religion has 80-hour workweek for its staff for less then $50 a week? What other religion forces it’s parishioners to have abortions? What other religion kicks it’s elderly, less productive parishioners on the streets with no pension or medicare, telling them to ‘end-cycle’, or in plain English; drop dead?I am not a kid. I am over 40. I will not back down because you threaten me.Your ‘clearing up’ of disconnection is laughable and unreal. People from all over the world respect each others religion and can be friends. Scientology has an ‘either with us, or against us’ attitude which basically says you can not interact with non-Scientologists, let alone former Scientologists or SP’s.It is you who is spreading lies here, just like your PR spokesman Tommy Davis lied on CNN. He said disconnection does not exist, and you try to explain it away.Scientology is not a religion. It preys upon the weak. It does NOTHING to make other people lives better, despite claiming this anywhere you can. It’s all hot air.Scientology is a cult, and should be banned. Not only in Germany, but everywhere.

  • John

    I have looked at both sides of the issue since I first learned about Scientology 25 years ago. I have been through and seen lots of both sides of the issue. I choose the one I choose based on experience. Thats that. I have a right to my opinion I have a right to say what I have seen and seen to be true and all your nasty or not so nasty comments are not going to deter me from my own integrity on the matter. Lots of outpouring from one side means nothing to me. Scientologists in the main ignore this stuff as trying to reason with it does not work as the intent is not survival or reason. The comments speak for themselves. They are not of the sort that would entice me to join that side. Over and out.

  • Jonathan Faukes

    The replies by Scientologists here are nothing short of a joke. Their constant claims of persecution are outrageous and outlandish. So far they have only been claiming that they are suffering bigotry and hate speech because people have been asking questions about their faith. That is in no way Religious peresecution. Religious persecution is when you are attending your church with the fear that you may not come back home afterward, when you fear your family may be a target for attack, when a society turns your back on you because of that religion.Not one of those things has ever happened to a Scientologist. Scientologists have enjoyed freedom of worship, free of speech and other freedoms some religions have had to fight for. Many people believe Scientologists are good, hard working people but many are concerned about the organisation behind it and the practices they encourage like the suppression of criticism. Questioning is not a crime. If Scientology was a true religion, they would be willing to answer all questions and offer their holy text to those who need it and not at a price. And they would be working with the German Government to discuss the issues they are concerned about instead of screaming “persecution” constantly.The day Scientology is accepted as a true religion is the day when Scientology has nothing to hide from the public.

  • Jack

    With regard to the main point of the article, I’m with you on this Claire. It seems pretty over-the-top for Germany to go after Scientology to such an extent. It seems that the idea of “separation of religion and state” is given lip service in much of Europe, but in actual practice gets easily abused. It’s a shame, since Europe has such a long religious tradition. And frankly, you would think that Germany would have learned a lesson the last time they tried to marginalize a minority religion.With regard to other comments on this board about Scientologists not being allowed to be friends with non-Scientologists (including those that disagree with Scientology beliefs) — that’s ridiculous. I worked at a company that had many Scientologists, Christians, atheists, agnostics, etc. working and socializing side-by-side — and people were easily friends across various religious and philosophical backgrounds. This is just simply a myth.

  • Zenster

    Bravo Germany!!!A U.S. judge once commented that if the Mafia was a religion, it would be Scientology.Bravo Germany for having the strength of fight an evil criminal organization that poses as a religion.Unlike in the U.S. where Scientology extorted the IRS with embarassing pictures, videos, records and recordings of then IRS Commisssioner Goldberg into granting it a tax exemption, making it the only “religious” group in the U.S that is allowed a tax exemption for it’s “educational” courses.Lastly, having the severely brainwashed cult member Tom Cruisazy wearing an SS uniform in his latest motion picture most have scared the hell out of the Germans and the German government is bravely trying to protect it’s citizens from an evil criminal cult. Again, unlike the U.S. which allows criminal activity as long as you pretend to be a religion.By the way, what other “religion” kills the pets of their critics??

  • Dave O’Maley

    John,I’ve read your comment and I see that you do not wish to continue the discussion further. I respect that, but please allow me to make myself a bit more clear on one point in my previous comment.I understand you are upset with the comments and I feel it’s regrettable that we felt compelled not to hold back on our views. But please, do not forget exscientologykids (dot) com. I can assure you it takes a far more neutral, yet informative approach. I hope you will visit it one day.All the best.

  • Luana

    I never commented on the Washington Post but it still seems very familiar. That must be because of all the stereotypes here! Or better said: hello you 3 or 4 Anonymous guys trying to appear a couple of dozens!Having said that, I must congratulate Ms. Hoffman for her unbiased approach to the subject Scientology & Germany. Fasten your seatbelts, you now got on the focus of hate campaigners now who just can’t have it if something is not purely evil about Scientology. Anonymous is known for all kinds of things, like death and bomb threats or just prank calls. You might even get some unwanted pizza delivery today or someone rents a graveyard plot for you or some other nice “prank”. You will get used to it, don’t worry, it’s just that their intellectual level does not go beyond “copy & paste” of pre-written propaganda. Most of them are otherwise harmless.Oh, and for some real answers, here is my share of listing links:scientology dot org

  • kelly

    the “church” of sciontology IS A JOKE! why is their ship being impounded for exposing people to blue asbestoses? wake UP! they have exposed people knowingly to a known carcinogen (that means it gives you CANCER) why don’t they pull the boat into a US port? that’s right, because it will be impounded. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • silvana

    In the beginning of the 90s, I came in contact with Scientology, without knowing. I walked down the street, when somebody held me and offered me a free personal test. As the person was handsome, the rooms were hired next to the guildhouse, what made it look sincere and I was an open-minded student, I said yes.The following test and conversation took about two hours. The test was meant to find the weak points in my personality and the possibility of improvement. I’m not a genious, but after the test I realized, that I had given myself the answers, I knew before. The test was noting else than a confirmation of my self-assessment. I felt that the test was something like a trap. However I felt somehow guilty to have stolen two hours from that person and couldn’t just leave. If somebody does something for free to you, you want to give something back, isn’t it? As I felt bad, I left him my address.When I look back, the whole thing makes me angry. Never did they show, that they were from Scientolotgy . I learned it from the newspaper, when the hire-contract was canceled, because people complained about cozenage. They made the whole thing look like an altruistic thing to help people in some anthroposophic way and not like a business. People are deceivable, if they don’t get true informations. I have seen how easy someone can become a victim of Scientology.

  • Jacob

    Having come under control of a malignant totalitarian group in the relatively recent history, Germans have a natural sensitivity towards such entities. Thus they have recognized $cientology for what it is and are taking appropriate steps to deal with it.

  • Mark

    Is it really an unbiased approach, or just an uninformed approach?A business “focused on self-improvement” isn’t a religion. What are their basic religious tenets? Oh, I have to pay $300,000 to find out their version of the creation myth?Google: Operation Snow White

  • Kendra

    $cientology is as much of a “religion” as the Mafia is. A FABULOUS group of people running the criminal organization known as $cientology. Well, except for the countless unexplained deaths and “suicides”, the stalking, harassing, conning, destruction of families, etc etc.If the “church” of $cientology had the means to create another Nazi organization they’d do it in a heartbeat. They have attempted to infilltrate schools and government. The rest of the world could learn a lot from Germany’s stance. Hopefully we’ll see more countries stand up to these criminals.

  • sameold, sameold

    Luana. You posted the same old nonsense word for word the other day. If you’re going to shill, at least come up with something new.BTW – here’s a test: I dare you to google exscientologykids. If Scientology were genuinely liberating and empowering, you’d be able to without any problems – hey what’s wrong with googling a few words?But you know, and I know, that you are too frightened to. You can’t even entertain the thought that people might be being mistreated by the Church. You are in Fear.And that’s what all your thousands have bought you. Limited net access.

  • Anonymous

    CULT OF DANGEROUS SCIENCE FICTION & EXPLOITATIVE BUSINESS ENTERPRISEThe “religion” in Scientology any child who has read science fiction can understand.The people who might be taken in when there are several free of charge religions to choose fromThose who are enticed by the power and financial rewards at the top end of the business enterprise. They enter the fold without being told when they can get to the top. All they know is that it takes a lot of money to get to the top but when they do get there it is like winning a lottery. The money that is shelled out to get the “knowledge” to get to the top is considered “wise investment.” Drawn towards it are manager types who wants people to do their bidding like mindless slaves; millionaires who hope to become a billionaire someday. The person is taught to feel like a member of a master race born to control the lesser mortals and exploit them. They become mindless computers that master the art of manipulation. Brilliant communication skills and charming PR mark the members of the master race. They speak patronisingly about the ignorance of human beings who are not members of the master race that they are. Mafia tactics silence the dissenters and those who choose to quit.The “master race” avoids the medical profession like the plague for fear of being unmasked.The “master race” are terrified of medical professionals who are specially trained to detect brainwashing tactics.The “master race” is afraid of scrutiny by Pharma companies, psychiatrists and intelligence officers.

  • Anonymai

    Part of the reason why Germany is so “afraid” is because they have had first hand experience with totalitarianism. They recognize fascism.Unfortunately, here in North America we are slower to respond to such things.The CULT of $cientology is not a religion, it is a brainwashing totalitarian organization. Compare the OT summit videos (The Tom Cruise leaked vid was footage from one of these OT summits that are held every year) to some of the old Nazi propaganda filmsThe similarities are terrifying.”Clear the planet” “SPs can be destroyed” ……. look into the linguistic significance of how they dehumanized and terrorize their critics. Not tomention completely brainwash and CONTROL their members. Bankrupting them often. Horrendous cult, just horrendous.whyweprotest.net

  • ron

    Germany has all the right to ban this organization. They are buying companies and spying on countries activities. They are a threat to social life of people.

  • mmcgoverne

    What a very irresponsible piece of “journalism”, and incredibly misguided – does the fact that scientology is, on very tenuous grounds, labelled a “faith” in some countries mean that its immune from the weight of the very real criticism levelled against it on so many fronts? The problem isn’t what people who are Scientologists believe in, it’s the very, very well documented shady practises, disconnection policies, harassment of any and all critics – what a letdown from the paper that broke watergate, not to be informed about Operation Freakout, Snow White, Paulette Cooper etc. “Checkered past” – you insult the memory of too many people who died through association with this CULT, the people who continue to fight, despite harassment that YOU would be very quick to moan about if you encountered it, and the Anonymous legion that has sprung up to peacefully demonstrate against the abuses of Scientology. What a foolish, blinkered, anti evidence, narrow minded point of view, wilfully ignoring reams of evidence. You should be ashamed of yourself. The number of comments on your piece alone speak loudly of just how wrong your “opinions” are, and how out of touch with current feeling and action, including that of Germany. Your crass opinion is sadly what I’d expect from someone for whom faith outdoes evidence and rationalism. Wake up and smell the coffee – this is a dangerous, money making scam that is thankfully, finally feeling the weight of feeling aginst it, DESPITE inane apologists such as this columnist.

  • Speck Cipher

    Scientology has come to my attention and I have learnd a few things about it. One is the few sects that have sepporated from the main group. The sects are more open than the main group and give their church a more evolving doctrine. The thing I find scarry about all the CoS is that it could be the one that has been destroying evedence that scientificaly proves that there is a God even a Christ. Unfrotunetly, a part of main streem christianity has been also against this and has declaired that church a cult, even used its’ uneque desctiption to make a deffinition for the word. I Ironicaly, they have called christ a cult leader in the process. Any way.

  • Speck Cipher

    Scientology has come to my attention and I have learnd a few things about it. One is the few sects that have sepporated from the main group. The sects are more open than the main group and give their church a more evolving doctrine. The thing I find scarry about all the CoS is that it could be the one that has been destroying evedence that scientificaly proves that there is a God even a Christ. Unfrotunetly, a part of main streem christianity has been also against this and has declaired that church a cult, even used its’ uneque desctiption to make a deffinition for the word. I Ironicaly, they have called christ a cult leader in the process. Any way.

  • Peter Zezima

    “We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com’s articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.”Is that an understatement?Murder, extortion, spies, and money are plenty for Germany to be afraid of from the cult which REQUIRES abortions by high ranking members, disconnection from any family member who doesn’t like the cost of Scientology, and since when does a “Church” need an investigative unit and video records of lie detector sessions?Have you done even one MINUTE of research?

  • Anonymous

    Jesus was not a science fiction writer who decided inventing a religion was the best way to make money.Jesus preached in public. The Bible is available to all. Many organizations distribute the Bible free of charge.Christianity was known as a sect of Judaism. A sect is a small break away group. Christians preached their religion in public and had nothing to hide. Jesus commanded His followers to love others, to help the poor and needy and not to exploit anyone.A cult is a group that practices its religion it secret and makes its teaching available only to its members, in the case of CoS at a horrendous price in terms of money and freedom. It robs others of human rights to criticize it for its verifiable wrong deeds. A cult is afraid of outside scrutiny. A cult robs its members of their ability to think critically about its own religion.

  • Anonymous

    A bully feels “persecuted” when confronted and exposed. In Germany CoS is up against Verfassungschutz, a power that will not be taken in by brilliant PR and manipulation. The freedom and welfare of ex-Cos members and non-CoS members is at stake. The Germans are right to have the highest protector of law in the land get involved. This is no matter for religious leaders to tackle.Germany doesn’t need another NAZI-like ideology spreading like a cancer in its land.

  • Anonymous

    CoS is a cult cos the teachings are kept secret and revealed only to members in secret.It is a business because it sells its “religious” text for a very high price.The teachings are revealed in stages as the cult member is brainwashed in stages to proceed to accept the next level of teaching/brainwashing.Any criticism is interpreted as a grave threat to its existence and evil tactics are used to silence critics.It was thought that science fiction turned into a “religion” would be a lucrative business.The goal is power, exploitation and money. The means is science fiction turned into religion with psycho techniques. Ex members could inform the public if any occult ritual is part of the service.

  • Anonymous

    There are many brilliant German theologians. Maybe they also contributed their mite in telling the difference between a science fiction – business enterprise cult and a religion. Discern the spirits and judge them by their fruits. The reign of silent terror is not the mark of a religion.

  • Martin Brown

    I am *incredibly* distressed that you would publish this uninformed puff-piece, even if it’s just in a blog.The history and actions of the Church of Scientology are a tough topic to write about — primarily because they’ve gone to great lengths to obfuscate both their beliefs and their actions.It takes months of investigation to be able to competently comment on their actions — something that *obviously* has not happened here.This complexity is something they rely on to prevent negative public relations. They are *expert* at it.Please… if you’re going to write anything about Scientology in the future, do your homework first. You’re a journalist, presumably. Use the Freedom of Information Act to request the FBI files on their long and sordid history of misdeeds before you write again. I, as a private citizen, have done *my* due diligence when reading up on them.You work for one of the most reputable papers in America. It astonishes me that you can’t be bothered to do the same before publishing this nonsense.Do your homework… and only then come back to comment on this subject.

  • Martin Brown

    I am *incredibly* distressed that you would publish this uninformed puff-piece, even if it’s just in a blog.The history and actions of the Church of Scientology are a tough topic to write about — primarily because they’ve gone to great lengths to obfuscate both their beliefs and their actions.It takes months of investigation to be able to competently comment on their actions — something that *obviously* has not happened here.This complexity is something they rely on to prevent negative public relations. They are *expert* at it.Please… if you’re going to write anything about Scientology in the future, do your homework first. You’re a journalist, presumably. Use the Freedom of Information Act to request the FBI files on their long and sordid history of misdeeds before you write again. I, as a private citizen, have done *my* due diligence when reading up on them, and I’ve been completely shocked by what I’ve found.You work for one of the most reputable papers in America. It astonishes me that you can’t be bothered to do the same before publishing this nonsense.Do your homework… and only then come back to comment on this subject.

  • JP

    As mentioned Germany is not against the beliefs of Scientology. If people want to believe in alien souls that inhabit our world and some uber alien named Xenu, go ahead.The problem I and the German government have is with the organization and leadership of the church.It is basicly a giant pyramid scheme that cons people out of their money, destroys relationships and suppresses and intimidates critics.Get informed about their forced abortions, child brainwashing, beatings on members, private investigator intimidations, abusive labor camps, etc etc etc”checkered past”, how about becoming aware of their checkered present.Defending that criminal institution is down right irresponsible Claire. Shame on you.

  • AF

    I do wonder if, before writing this piece, Claire Hoffman took into account that a lot of the allegations of anti-Scientology discrimination by Germany have been proven to be false. For instance, the Church of Scientology claimed in one of its ads that a teacher had been fired after it was discovered that she was a Scientologist. That’s simply false. The school discovered she was a Scientologist when she distributed Scientology literature to her students, and on that first occasion she was not fired, but reprimanded. She was fired when she refused to stop proselytizing to her students and distributed Scientology literature on eleven more occasions.Or take the case of Antje Victore, who was granted asylum in the US due to her supposed “persecution” as a Scientologist. This was due in part to the letters she presented purporting to be from business owners who said they could not employ her because she was a Scientologist. What later came to light, however, is that the authors of those letters were themselves Scientologists, and had written the letters in response to a specific request from Victore and Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs for letters declaring her unemployable because of Scientology. Victore even sent them letters to use as models. Victore was trying to get away from huge tax debt and possible criminal charges, and the OSA was trying to get her away so that she could not be called against her former boss, also a Scientologist, on his criminal charges.I simply don’t think it’s true that “one has to wonder” about the Church of Scientology’s treatment by the German state. How would YOU treat an organization that acted in such blatantly dishonest ways and then blamed YOU for the fact that it had to be kept under surveillance?

  • Werner VonZandt

    Flash back to 1920′s Germany… No one protested the rise of a fanatical anti-Semite, who believed in racial purity, mysticism, and new world order under a thousand year Reich. After an attempt to overthrow the government, he was thrown in jail, where he wrote Mein Kampf and in a rambling tome, set down many of his ideas. Few bought or read the book.In contrast, in the 1950′s, lots of people bought L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, but after a year, the frenzy of interest in it faded. Hubbard didn’t give up though. He was a pathological liar, in FBI files as “insane” and a master hypnotist, and continued to attract investors and believers in whatever claptrap he was dishing out to dupe people out of their money.The litany of his lies and outrageous behavior would make Hitler in the 1920′s seem almost fair and normal in comparison. Whether it was mailing away for his PhD — he was a college dropout — or claiming he was channeling ten thousands of the greatest minds for his every thought, or making part of his resume that he worked for National Geographic and was the first person to do underwater photography in a bathysphere, Hubbard went on with these tall tales, most harmless, many not.Unlike Hitler, Hubbard was not a loner and was with people (including multiple wives, lovers, and associates) nearly all the time.Anyway, Germany and others take this group very seriously. It has a LONG history. Like Nazis, Scientologists too believe in destroying their critics, and a new world order, with brainwashed zombies as followers. The similarities between Nazis and Scientologists are chilling.David Miscavige, their current leader, is a high school drop out. The cult is shrouded in mystery and claims that they are a Church, but they say in public lately that they let members choose any religion they wish. They deny or distort everything, when questioned, and are instructed to do so by their greed creed.They are rich, powerful and dangerous. Germany doesn’t want them. They learned their lesson from the Holocaust; NEVER forget.

  • Werner VonZandt

    One more thing…consider that Hitler started with ranting in a room off to the side of a beer hall, and rose to lead a country into madness, in attempt to conquer the world.Six thousand glassy-eyed Scientologists have already pretty much taken over Clearwater Florida, their base. They already operate like the mafia, and need to be monitored carefully. They are people who can’t be taken at their word.People need only Google: Scientology Washington Post for some shocking, well-researched articles in your own paper.

  • AnonMSW

    I find it interesting that posts are being deleted from this blog in the same way they were deleted from Oprah’s by the moderators.It’s quite interesting how moderators at both places, the Washington Post and Oprah.com’s blogs are spinning the narrative by deleting posts which refer to the facts of the German report on WISE (Scientology’s “Business Technology” front group) which has been stated by the German governmet to be attempting to infiltrate their economy with the “immediate goal of economic domination” and the “long term goal of completely taking over society.”Here, as there, are the only two possible inerpretations. Massive efforts are being made by Scientologists to squash responses by reporting factual posts as “offensive”; Ms. Hoffman is slanting the truth to support a “kindler, gentler vieew of Scientology” for her own reasons; or, the Editors of the Post are skewing reality by limiting factual reporting in such a fashion as to limit the dissemenation of factual data and conclusions drawn by a United States ally.If the press intends to keep its own constitutional freedoms in the United States without governmental interference, then its coverage must be unbiased. If it cannot be an honest steward of the public trust, and on its own initiative instead chooses to censor facts in order to create fictions, then the Washington Post and Ms. Hoffman should be held to task for their slanting of the truth regardless of their motive.This too shall not stand; America, unlike Scientologists given worldwide press yesterday, is not in danger of becoming Nazi Germany, provided we allow the conclusions of social scientists and the government of Germany to publicly report their findings in our press too. If the goal is to create an America where news is controlled and rationed based upon the whims of the dangerous technocratic and mechanistic oligarchy which is Scientology, then today this blog has succeeded. Should it continue, perhaps when the German report gains the attention of Congress one of the areas of investigation will include Scientology’s “reach” into America’s supposedly independent press and the discussion of who is abusing constitutional freedoms can include The Washington Post.

  • fightforhumanrights

    Why are you censoring perfectly reasonable comments? Just wondering.

  • Kelargo

    Although these specific issues regarding Scientology occurs in Germany; Germany is well known for its draconian restrictions on Free Speech. Germany’s Free speech is restricted all in the name of curbing hate crimes and right wing fanaticism. One must ask a more fundamental question on why people give up their Liberty and Freedom in the name of more security? Fear is such a powerful motivator. Can this happen in America as it happened in early 20th Century Germany? Can America possibly become nationalistic and fascist without realizing it?Governments should be ruled by people- individuals and not become an oligarchy based upon any specific theocratic dogmatism or corporatism for that matter. Through Germany’s restrictions on Free Speech are from fear of giving rebirth to a Forth Reich, promoting such fear can incubate that very thing which is verboten.In America, has any US Government agency used Fear to manipulate the people in daily news stories to promote some corporate fanatical agenda?And should any Religious Institution be given a free ride and not pay taxes? As that seems to really be at the crux of the Germany/Scientology debate and wholly ignored in America as verboten.And what is wrong investigating and prosecuting the criminal activities of a religious institution be it Scientology’s kidnapping and brain washing to Catholic Priest pedophiles?When discussing the concept of “Living Under God”, I prefer to distinguish all associations generated from man made social constructs, to that which is truly Ethereal. The essential extracted part in living Under God becomes very simple, while the convoluted man made cruft continues to remain inane.

  • Anonymous

    Twisted logicIf the public is warned about the dangers of Islamic terrorism, Nazism, Communism or whatever, it breeds a nation of Islamic terrorists, it paves the way for people to adopt Nazi ideals and eventually take power, it forces people to elect officials who are sure to convert the nation into a totalitarian Communist state, in other words in an act of rebellion force people to adopt the very same practice the dangers of which are being brought to the attention of the public.Better safe than sorryThe democracies of both the US and Germany were founded on certain principles. Both countries have a unique history preceding the foundation of a democratic state and their respective Constitutions took them into consideration. It is better to overdo protective measures than be sorry due to carelessness.

  • Anonymous

    Clarification: Terrorism in the name of Islam by some Muslim extremists only.

  • 2Good2Waste

    I would just like to say that the comments here left by Scientologists should be taken with a grain of salt. Scientology’s own teachings state that those here speaking out against Scientology are labeled SP’s or suppressive persons. L Ron Hubbard wrote policies stating that SP’s could be lied to or destroyed by Scientologists without any repercussions to Scientologists. (The policy is widely available on the Internet for those who choose to confirm it.) So any time a Scientologist tells you, “There’s no such rule or practice in Scientology,” or, “I’m in Scientology and I never did X, Y, Z,” they could be and are probably lying. They lie because they are directed to lie by their religious teachings. Now they will post here and tell you I’m lying about this…but don’t take my word for it – or theirs. Please, if you really want answers just research. All the information you need, including court documents, court testimony, criminal indictments, copies of L Ron Hubbard’s tech and policies (in his own personal handwriting) are available for your viewing pleasure. You can also research how it came to fruition that Scientology was given tax-exempt status in the US. How they use the courts to silence critics. How they mock up their own threats and cry persecution or religions bigotry. How they behave more like a controlling cult or criminal organization than a religion. Just a final note….The “Church” of Scientology and its members are responsible for the largest case of espionage and the largest infiltration of the US government in the history of the US. The “Checkered past” comment really does a tremendous job to minimize the astonishingly criminal past of this cult. If that was the intent of the author….mission accomplished.

  • Anonynmou

    By looking at the amount of comments it appears that if you wrote a second article your amount of readers would go up.Might I recommend going toenturbulation.orgAnonymous would be more then happy to help you, in learning the other side of this story

  • Anoneymouse

    By looking at the amount of comments it appears that if you wrote a second article your amount of readers would go up.Might I recommend going toenturbulation.orgAnonymous would be more then happy to help you, in learning the other side of this story

  • Anonymous

    Description of distorted logic was to highlight the inherent danger in being silenced by any institution/body or being manipulated into playing PR on their behalf. Freedom of speech includes freedom to criticize any religious or business practice in a true democracy.Better safe than sorry – if an industry introduces a product that has proved to be harmful authorities step in to take it off the market, eg lead in toys. The safety of citizens is the overriding factor not the financial concern of the industry. A business under cover of religion when proved to cause serious concerns to ex-members and non-members alike deserves to be scrutinized by lawmakers and banned if deemed necessary. Freedom to report on the harm caused is a public responsibility on the part of anyone who possesses any verifiable knowledge. An unsuspecting public deserves to be informed irrespective of the final decision made by the lawmaker.

  • kelargo

    Now you are being specific. Good.That is the same thing I am referring to when I mention free speech and due process. Unfortunately, “ideas” can not be baned. Perhaps CoS should be split up? You as a citizen can be a law maker. Would you really want to ban ideas? Such an environment becomes a breading ground for contempt.

  • German

    As a German i can honestly tell you that the system of free speech works even here! (omg YES! Even though we have a bad history!) Maybe it works better than anywhere else! USA is known for it’s freedom in many ways, which does not mean that that’s always a good thing!(Ownership of guns for example…and many dumb laws) Germany has the duty to educate its people in present times for that there will never be such dark times (WW1+2+holocaust) again. That’s why every new group (which in this case has also influence on the economy) is investigated and rated. Scientology is no religion!(As you can find out by yourself by researching! And as it was stated by many other commentaries) It tries to fish new members with suborganisations like Narnocon, or by offending “free school-help” (you can imagine how that looks like) In my opinion, Germany got less neo-nazis than any other country in the (western) world and even those MAY say what they believe in (of course not stuff like “there was no holocaust” etc.) and they MAY protest! You even can vote for them! So don’t they anything bad about the German right of free speech! It has learned more from its history than most other nations … I won’t talk about American (imperial) politics … you should know it yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Based on his book The Lord of the Rings the author J R R Tolkien could have established a benign “religion” and applied for tax exemption for any business built in its name. He didn’t. Hmmmmmm….

  • Jeanne

    Thanks, Jack, for your posting. And thanks Claire for your integrity in writing this blog posting. From the reaction this blog entry has engendered it shows once again how heated are the opinions about Scientology on both sides. I don’t know if you expected to launch such a fire storm when you put fingers to keyboard the other day.As a Scientologist, it disturbs me to see the animosity I read here. I was raised a Jew, and I wasn’t a total stranger to religious prejudice, although I really found it hard to believe when my parents told me that when they were young there were still signs posted on “for rent” and “now hiring” signs that said “Jews and Negroes not need not apply.” My parents also lived through World War II and witnessed personally, both by loss of family members and by my father’s personal observation when his division helped liberate the concentration camps, the depths to which racial or religious lies and hatred can bring people. I am certainly not trying to draw a parallel between the treatment of Jews by Nazis and the treatment of Scientologists. But I do see a parallel in the unbridled hatred that is displayed in some of these postings.I’ve been a Scientologist for 37 years. In that time I have seen so many people helped. I know Scientologists to be tremendously well intentioned, caring people, who really put themselves out to help others.I have read a lot of the anti-Scientology material on the Net, and so I also understand how those, believing it, would think they are doing a service by these kinds of postings. But I believe it is the responsibility of anyone reading this to challenge what they are reading and not just buy into a hate campaign. When people come to visit our churches and actually meet Scientologists and talk to us and establish dialog in person it dispels the lies. And for anyone posting here or reading here that’s what I recommend you do.

  • Irving Eisenstein

    I’m a Jew too. I won’t hide behind my religion or try to make parallels between it and scientolgy.The scientologist will try to pretend they they are a persecuted minority religion just like the Jews. In fact, they are a fraudulent business with a small religious element.I hope Germany throws their leaders in jail. I wish the United States would hurry up and do the same, just like they did twenty years ago when Mary Sue Hubbard went into the slammer and L.Ron himself was named an unindited co-conspirator. Hubbard died before doing hard time only because the FBI couldn’t find him.

  • Anonymous

    Police probe suicide linked to ScientologistsThe daughter of a member of Norway’s parliament committed suicide hours after she received what her family claims were “devastating” results from a personality test administered by the Church of Scientology. Police in France, where the young woman was studying, are investigating…’Break you down, build you up,’ for a feeA church critic, agreed, claiming the Scientologists viewed people like Ballo as “‘raw meat from the street.’ You’re told you’re worth nothing.”Matthias Fosse, information chief for the Church of Scientology in Norway, rejected such claims, and denied the church preys on young, impressionable people…aftenposten.no/english/local/article2371180.ece

  • Calvin Lawson

    I have to say, I wrote a very even handed response discussing Scientology as a New Religious Movement, and it didn’t make it through moderation. I even apologized for all you haters out there!There is definitely something weird going on here.

  • 2Good2Waste

    I wanted to respond to the comment left by Jeanne wherein she states, “I am certainly not trying to draw a parallel between the treatment of Jews by Nazis and the treatment of Scientologists. But I do see a parallel in the unbridled hatred that is displayed in some of these postings.” While I do believe I see some anger and disrespectful comments posted here, there is a difference between unbridled hatred and actual facts. Any time Scientologists hear negative facts about their Church, they are quick to label those facts bigotry, slander, ignorance, or even lies. Certified court documents reflect evidence and testimony given in a court of law. Scientologists were ordered to turn over religious “tech” or teaching to the courts. These documents are not lies…they are provided by the Church of Scientology as factual evidence. If the documents are false, the Church has a bit more explaining to do wouldn’t you agree?Telling the populous to ignore facts, because they are all-untrue, redacted, forgeries, or just lies, is simply not a credible course of action to present to those unfamiliar with Scientology. Jeanne stated, “When people come to visit our churches and actually meet Scientologists and talk to us and establish dialog in person it dispels the lies.” Jeanne, I have no doubt that you may truly want to help people, and initially (at the lower levels) Scientology can seem quite benign and comforting to those seeking answers. However, for a person who has spent 37 years within the organization, for you to state that Scientology just “wants to help people,” is a very disingenuous statement on your part. I assume you are “clear” or possibly an “OT.” I say to you Jeanne, are you “clear?” Please recall the definition of a “clear” provided to you by your founder L Ron Hubbard. Now, please examine your current abilities. I ask you again…are you a “clear?” The only way to answer that question honestly is, “NO!” Why do you think that is? Have you ever met a clear who possesses the abilities described by the tech? I mean in 37 years, have you ever met one? I am not attacking you Jeanne, though it may feel that way, I honestly care about you. Come to present time. Anything I can do to help you, I will be glad to do. If you are truly happy and content – I wish you the best. However, I cannot sit idly by and watch the “Church” continue its campaigns of dishonesty, corruption, fraud, and criminality. Moreover, being a Scientologist, you should not tolerate it either. Find your own answers…google – Operation Freakout, Operation Snow White, Xenutv, Scientology.org, why are they dead.net and the list goes on and on………..

  • Anon

    Please refer to real journalism on this topic, here:English translation:Undercover journalistFor five months, journalist Fredy Gareis investigated undercover at scientology. Whether at parties or during the twisting courses: The hidden camera always on. In the interview with Stern TV, he explains why Germany is the most important area of operations for the scientologists.Mr. Gareis, some weeks ago you left Scientology again. Does the cult accept your departure?What does Scientology still expect from you?At the end of March a large party was held in Berlin with approximately 250 Scientologists. Is it correct that no other European meeting had as much participation as Berlin?What is the most important recruiting method for Scientology?Is there a certain clientele, which falls for it?Have you experimented changes, even if your intention was to research scientology from the beginning?Did you learn something meaningful in the courses, which occupied you at Scientology?Did they try to fool into believing that they can later heal diseases such as cancer?Scientology is known to deal not very nicely with critics. What do you fear after publication of your history on Stern TV and in Stern?Interview: Soenke WieseAbout the person

  • w post sucks

    do some research next time washington postwhat a disgraceful article with no research at all

  • Anon

    “Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.”I only wonder why other countries haven’t followed suit.”Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme?”Only because they’ll just set up a front group under another name if they’re banned (as they’ve done in Australia in the past), and the forbidden fruit principle might attract new members. The present surveillance policy makes more sense in the long run.”They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement.”On their public face, yes. Internally, they are a religion mostly focused on promoting their own public image and raking in money.”While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.”I wonder if you think it’s also “kind of extreme” for governments to have the mafia under surveillance.

  • Greg Worale

    Thanks for your article about Scientology and Germany. I have been a Scientologist for many years and, at risk of being attacked as parochial for saying so, I have personally found the Church of Scientology’s services to be extremely helpful to me and many others. Regardless of whether one is practicing Scientology or not, it is obvious that Germany does take a extremely hostile approach to Scientology. Possibly because I am a white, native-born, Christian-raised American, I can only relate to Germany’s outrageous viewpoint on Scientologists by comparing it to the tremendous suffering endured by the Jews prior to and during WW II Germany. (As you mention, the US State dept has noted Germany’s current civil rights abuses.) I do not use the example of German animosity and destructiveness towards Jews during WW II in an obvious attempt to illicit sympathies to Scientologists or antagonism toward Germans, but rather only to point out in a clear way that it is possible for a government or nation to act destructively toward a people with complete certainty that they are right, only later in the context of history to realize how atrocious their senseless acts of hate truly were. It would seem every race and creed has been the victim of such hate campaigns at one time or another: the early Christian Church, African Americans and Mormons, the 16th century pilgrims to America are just a few examples. There are many lesser known and even more atrocious campaigns that all began with bigoted smear campaigns: the 20th century such as the pogrom of 10,000,000 Russians. As you rhetorically suggest about Germany’s actions on Scientology: “Isn’t that extreme?” – all one can say is that the hate campaigns toward the Jews was obvious long before the greater crimes of destruction were discovered.

  • The Ronbot Hunter

    There is a law of Nature or law of God called “Physiological Reactions” that is the true secret behind Scientology’s Dianectic study technology.The LRH discovered that when you passed a misunderstood word—you manifested many reactions of various types: Yawning, sleepiness, not there feeling, dizziness, blurry eyes, nervousness and dozens more.Being the liar that he was, he claimed that Dianetics was “‘his” invention and not a law of God; he hid the fact that it is our human inheritance since time began.Granted that his power of obnosis was the best in the world, his crime against humanity was to make a “religion” based upon the falsehood, that it was his invention or creation and not a law of God.There is an EBOOK that explains and reveals the dark and evil secrets of this cult and a few others.It teaches a person the ways of natural self-healing and also exposes this cult for the thieves that they are.Go to: There you will learn to self-heal and learn how to expose the crimes of Scientology.The Ronbot Hunter.

  • Anonymous

    Lama Surya Das, an American Tibetan Buddhist, has very sound advice for spiritual seekers with a checklist for identifying dangerous cults in his book ‘Awakening the Buddha within.’

  • Theta

    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.

  • Terryeo

    “Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.”–Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia

  • Anonymous Clear

    As someone who has been a member in good standing for almost 35 years, I would say that Germany is doing the right thing. Hubbard said, over a period of almost two decades, that scientology was not a religion, and when that was officially altered in 1970, he said that the change was “entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors.”I also agree with Germany and Belgium that the scientology organization is a threat to national security. Google “Operation Snow White” to see how the small amount that they were caught at has played out in the United States.I am no longer actively involved with scientology, but haven’t publicly disavowed my membership due to the extreme retaliatory measures they’ve been known to take against ex-members. I apologize for my anonymity, but it’s the only way I could speak honestly without endangering myself and my family.

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