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Tom Cruise's religion may affect his pocketbook in Germany

Cruise

Scientology isn't well received there

August 11, 1996
Web posted at: 12:05 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- Actor Tom Cruise may have a movie blockbuster in the United States, but in Germany, the star of "Mission: Impossible" faces a controversy that could hit where it hurts: the pocketbook.

Germany's problem is not with the movie plot or dialogue. It's with the star and his religious beliefs.

scientologist church

Cruise is a member of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology, a credo that critics say is steeped in science fiction more bizarre than any cinema plot.

Opponents of Cruise's church vow they'll make it impossible for "Mission: Impossible" to be a box office hit. German political parties say Scientology is a cult that seeks to manipulate its followers and make money.

Germany's Christian Democratic Union party dominates the government coalition, and even their rivals support the assault on Scientology.

The youth wing of the Christian Democratic Union is calling for a boycott of "Mission: Impossible" amid growing resentment of the sect in the country.

Other Hollywood figures such as John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, subscribe to Scientology. But Cruise's high profile and the timing of the film's release in Germany are raising the stakes.

Corea

Another Scientology devotee, jazz pianist Chick Corea, has been discouraged and even barred from playing some concert dates in Germany, a fact that drew even the attention of the U.S. State Department.

The agency has sent a message to Congress saying it "had concerns" over the treatment of Scientologists by German authorities, a spokesman said Friday.

The Scientologists say they have no political ambitions, and a church spokesperson explained that it's just the latest in a wave of anti-Scientology "hysteria" to hit Germany.

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