The most worrying aspect of the abusive response of the German Government to concerns about discrimination against Scientologists (Victims or Villains? Focus, 1-2/2) is that the actual violations and offences against Scientologists are hardly even entering into consideration, either by the German politicians themselves or media writers (such as Washington correspondent Peter Wilson) who report on them.
The treatment of Scientologists has been disturbing for several years, with no just circumstantial but massive instances of their basic rights being violated. There have been 158 investigations into harassment against Scientology churches (with no evidence of wrongdoings found) and 600 documented cases of discrimination against individual Scientologists - loans and mortgages being cancelled, entry refused to political parties, jobs refused, dismissal from jobs and even children being sent home from kindergartens.
Sensationalised media stories that repeat tired and repeatedly disproven descriptions of the Church of Scientology or its founder L. Ron Hubbard simply play the same game, giving a sort of justification for such violations. The Church of Scientology is a church, as has been established in more than 200 legal cases and verified time and again by the world's leading sociologists. Its members are genuine, they work voluntarily for the greater good, they observe firm ethical codes and they pursue spiritual goals.
And L. Ron Hubbard did not tell a convention of sci-fi writers that someone should "start a religion" to make money. (Doubters may care to refer to the latest Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, which has been corrected after its editors cited incontrovertible proof.) What will it take to get through to those who cling to their destructive, stereotyped views?
The hatred and types of actions that had been taken against Jews in 1930s Germany are unquestionably being repeated against Scientologists in the 1990s and the same rhetoric, accusations and justifications fill the air. No amount of bluster and distortion by German politicians or repetition of out-dated misinformation by journalists can be allowed to alter this fact or obscure the real situation which must be confronted.
The United States State Department and people like Bertram Fields (who lodged a full-page advertisement in the International Herald Tribune protesting against this discrimination) are to be applauded.
Church of Scientology
Peter Wilson's article is not only biased against Scientology, but also misses the whole point with regard to the discrimination and abuse suffered by Scientologists in Germany.
The bias is obvious: none of the accomplishments of Scientologists using L. Ron Hubbard's methodology was mentioned. To list just one, the Chelmsford horrors only came to light after 10 years of lobbying and drawing attention to the deaths and damage done to people attending this psychiatric hospital. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights - Psychiatric Abuse, sponsored by the Church of Scientology, was the major key to getting the horrors exposed. Germany is the home of psychiatry and there are other Chelmsfords being exposed there at this time.
The discrimination is obvious. Just suppose that in Germany in 1997 you cannot get a public sector job in Bavaria if you are Jewish. Jewish people are not allowed to join in any of Germany's major parties. Many Jewish people are denied bank accounts. Children have been refused admittance to kindergarten because their parents are Jewish. Businesses owned by Jewish people are boycotted, Jewish people have been assaulted. Many Jewish people have been fired from their jobs and left with no means of support for their family. Some have emigrated to escape discrimination. Attempts have been made to boycott films because the actors are Jewish. This is precisely what is happening with Scientologists in Germany today. Let your readers draw their own conclusions.