The following is the text of the ad placed by the
Scientologists in The New York Times:
Practicing Religious Intolerance
To prevent a repetition of the persecution of religious
minorities in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the country's
post-war Constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom and practice.
However, to circumvent the Constitution and justify their
attempts to deprive members of the Church of Scientology of
their civil rights, German officials have bluntly asserted
that Scientology is not a religion.
Those who know little or nothing about Scientology may wonder
what is wrong with this assertion. The answer is, everything.
Founded by writer and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology
is a religion in the oldest sense of the word. Like all true
religions, Scientology helps man to realize his inner
It has been recognized as a religion by courts, scholars and
agencies in numerous countries, including the United States,
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy Australia,
New Zealand, Canada and many others. In all, the religious
bona fides of Scientology have been upheld in more than 100
courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the
Italian Supreme Court and the Australian High Court. There
have been more than 30 court decisions in Germany
acknowledging the religious nature of Scientology. Twenty-
eight internationally renowned expert authorities in religion
conducted their own studies and independently came to the
conclusion that Scientology is without question a religion.
Furthermore, the United States government decided in 1993,
after an examination of Scientology, unprecedented in scope,
that Scientology is a bona fide religion and that its
churches and social reform organizations are fully tax-
But this is not the impression that certain German Government
officials would want the world to have. Because the
Constitution makes discrimination against the Scientology
religion illegal, these officials simply ignore the court
rulings, scholarly expertises and governmental acceptances.
In this way, they think they can make their assaults on
Scientologists appear justifiable and evade their
responsibilities under the Constitution and the European
Convention on Human Rights.
As a dozen international religious scholars recently pointed
out in a public statement directed at German Government
leaders, these arbitrary decisions are based not on an
impartial study of the facts, but on irrationality and
You may wonder why German officials discriminate against
Scientologists. There is no legitimate reason, but then
there was none that justified the persecution of the Jewish
people either. Followers of the Jewish faith had other than
Christian beliefs and a strong culture. Hardly justification
for the campaign of hatred that was levelled at them. Yet it
was because their beliefs were different that they were a
convenient scapegoat, which led in the end to their senseless
Considering the events of World War II, most would agree that
Germany is the last country that should make governmental
pronouncements on what is or is not a religion. It has no
tradition of championing religious freedom or human rights.
Quite the contrary. It is the only c country in the world
that has embarked on a systematic campaign of discrimination
against Scientologists, attempting to deny them a livelihood
by excluding them from the civil service, professions and the
Whether or not you agree with Scientology, that it is a
religion is not only known to its millions of adherents, but
has been decided time and again by scholars, officials and
courts all over the world. That German officials take a
radically different stance should set alarm bells ringing in
And indeed it has. Since 1993, the United States State
Department, the United Nations, the Helsinki Commission, U.S.
Congressmen and Senators, religious scholars and historians
have cited Germany for human rights abuses against
Fortunately, Scientologists are resilient and energetic.
They come from all walks of life and every profession. They
have close, happy families and enjoy raising children, while
taking active roles in their communities. A truly democratic
government would value such resources in the nation.
If it sounds impossible that a supposed democracy would deny
the bona fides of a genuine religion in order to persecute
it, let's not forget that the Nazis did precisely that to me
Jewish people in the 1930s. Their pronouncements, "The Jews
are not true religion" justified their persecution, which
began with denial of basic human rights and dignities.
"Never again" must not be an idle thought, it must be a
promise we keep. History has taught us that we must not stand
by and ignore the alarming similarities between the 1930s and
today. Had voices been raised in 1930, some would have
scoffed, but had they been loud and long enough, it might
have made a difference.
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