This is an excerpt of the CSCE hearing on religious intolerance in Europe today, as far as Scientology is concerned.
[ Full hearing ]
[ Scientology versus Germany | Main Scientology page ]
Thursday, September 18, 1997
Other Written Submissions
The Commission met in room SDG-50, the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC. at 10:00 a.m., Hon. Alfonse D'Amato, Chairman, presiding.
Commissioners present: Hon. Christopher H. Smith; Hon. Matt Salmon; Hon. Steny H. Hoyer; Hon. Edward J. Markey; and Hon. Conrad Burns.
Chairman D'Amato. The Committee will come to order.
We are here today to look into a matter that touches one of our most cherished and most personal rights, the freedom of religion or belief. Unfortunately, there are a number of countries - countries in Europe, believe it or not - that even today are abridging religious freedom. Freedoms that so many of us not only cherish, but all too often take for granted and assume that people throughout the world, and particularly in the Eastern Hemisphere, enjoy.
Not only does religious intolerance violate human rights and threaten democracy and peace in Europe today, but in the recent past it has led to the tragedies of both the Holocaust and the genocide in Bosnia. The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief is an internationally recognized human right.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Principle VII of the Helsinki Accords provide for freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief. Our witnesses today will tell us how governments are breaking their promises in the Helsinki Accords to ``recognize and respect the freedom of the individual to profess and practice alone or in community with others, religion or belief acting in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience.'' All European states have signed these accords, but some simply don't respect freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, in conflict with their international human rights obligations. Their conduct speaks louder than their words.
We are here today to examine whether these governments have kept the promises they have made. Everyone - even those who hold minority beliefs - deserves tolerance. America has always had a special role leading the world to recognize and protect these fundamental individual rights, and the Commission is pledged to monitor violations of these rights. We look forward to hearing the testimony of these witnesses who represent the Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Judaism, the Church of Scientology, Christian Evangelical churches, and a Russian religious liberty institute. We will stand with the oppressed who need our help. That is what this Commission has done from its inception. We will hold to account governments that fail to live up to their promises.
Now, some may ask why. Let me respond with the words of Elie Wiesel when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1986. He said:
``We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or their beliefs....''
I would hope that assaults on minorities would not be looked upon with indifference. Unfortunately, we see that today. One of the early indicators of serious troubles in society is when governments attack minorities, including religious minorities. The situation then becomes perilous. The use of police power by some governments has narrowed the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief to the point where it could vanish.
Let me give you just a few examples: Believe it or not, the Russian parliament is once again about to consider legislation that would restrict freedom of religion or belief in Russia. This follows a Yeltsin veto of an earlier bill that contained serious restrictions on this vital right. The proposed law would limit freedom of religion for millions of Baptists, Catholics, Pentacostals, and others. It is outrageous and unacceptable that such religious bigotry could become law in Russia at the end of the twentieth century. The U.S. Senate passed an amendment on July 16th by a vote of 95 to 4 cutting off U.S. aid to Russia if they adopted such a statute. I voted for that amendment, and so did all of this Commission's Senate members. We will be watching very carefully the outcome of this new bill. This hearing is timely in that we want to send a message to those who profess peace and who profess to stand for human rights: if they pass this bill and seek to discriminate against the millions and millions, there will be consequences. We will stand with those who are oppressed.
In Bulgaria, foreign missionaries have been refused visas and residence permits, and some were physically assaulted. Mormons had personal belongings confiscated, and police beat Jehovah's Witnesses.
In Uzbekistan, the largest Protestant church has been blocked from registering as a church, and its pastor has been imprisoned and denied a lawyer. Independent Islamic leaders have disappeared, and Bibles and other religious materials have been confiscated.
With the end of World War II and the prosecution of the Holocaust's criminals, the world agreed that religious and ethnic minorities had to be protected. Bosnia is a bloody warning to all of us to all of us that those protections are still fragile.
We cannot - and we must not - stand silently by while basic individual freedoms enjoyed by members of the majorities are denied to members of minorities throughout the world.
Now I will turn to my distinguished Co-Chairman, Congressman Chris Smith, for any opening remarks, and thank him for his continued efforts on behalf of all who are oppressed, even the smallest of minorities. Congressman Smith.
I want to thank Mr. D'Amato, Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, for his very eloquent statement and, as we work together in a bipartisan way - I see my good friend, Mr. Hoyer, who is the Ranking Democrat on the House side - to promote human rights abroad, you have been a leader, Mr. D'Amato. I want to thank you for that leadership.
I do want to thank you as well for calling this hearing on religious intolerance in Europe today.
Let me say at the outset that I know there is a heightened interest in today's hearing, perhaps because three celebrities are slated to testify. I want to make it very clear that they and all of our witnesses are very welcome to be here. However, in the interest of fairness, transparency, openness and truth, I am very hopeful that our inquiry into the Scientologists' allegations of intolerance be explored with due regard to the substantial concerns raised by governments, including the U.S. Government, concerning the practices and methods employed by Scientology.
To examine one without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the other runs the risk of doing a grave disservice to the cause of human rights in general, and religious liberty in particular. The inquiry should be exhaustive and today's hearing, in my view, is only the beginning.
Interestingly, in correspondence I received yesterday - and I'm sure my colleagues did as well - the German Government, which has been the brunt of much of the criticism, states: ``Among countries that do not consider Scientology a religion are Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain, as well as Israel and Mexico.'' I look forward to learning more about this as this hearing progresses.
Mr. Chairman, the Commission has assembled a very impressive and diverse panel of witnesses who are experts on a subject of increasing concern to the Congress, the Administration, and the American people. Today's hearing is particularly timely, the week after the world bid farewell to Mother Teresa, the selfless, humble woman who, because of her religious faith and belief in Christ, devoted her life to tolerance and love for the poor and the outcast, regardless of their religious beliefs. In only a few days, on September 28, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be observed around the globe.
In this connection, we are quite aware that there are countries outside of Europe, such as Sudan, Iran, and China, that are known to be a living hell for countless religious believers. In some countries, practicing one's faith may be equivalent to signing one's death warrant. Both the House and the Senate has heard blood-chilling testimony to this effect. I would note parenthetically that my Subcommittee, Mr. Chairman, on International Operations and Human Rights, has held a series of hearings on the rising tide of persecution against Christians, the rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world, and we also held hearings on the persecution of the Buddhists in Tibet.
Let me apologize. I will need to leave shortly, Mr. Chairman, and later return to the hearing. We are marking up at 11:00 o'clock, H.R. 2431, the Religious Persecution Act that has been introduced in both the House and the Senate side. As a matter of fact, Fr. Christiansen was one of our witnesses last week - and experts who testified on that legislation and offered a number of useful insights into the legislation. So, I will return after the completion of mark-up, Mr. Chairman.
Just let me say a couple of things and then I will conclude. Certainly today's focus on Europe does not imply that our own history has been free of discrimination and repression. There is a reason why so many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reside in Utah. We all recall that in 1844, Philadelphia, the so-called ``city of brotherly love'', was the scene of bloody anti-Catholic riots over which version of the Bible would be read in city schools. We still need to be vigilant against religious intolerance in our own country, whether engendered by fellow citizens or by government bureaucrats with little understanding or sympathy for religious faith.
Religious freedom, Mr. Chairman, is not something just for religious people, nor is it isolated from our basic freedoms. Religious freedom essentially is the right to freedom of speech, thought and assembly directed toward one's deepest spiritual needs. If the state is permitted to deny these basic rights to one person or group on the basis of religion, what is to prevent the state from denying these rights to other persons or groups for other reasons? As theologian Martin Niemöller reminded us, if we do not defend today's minority, who will be around to defend us if we are subjected to tyranny?
Mr. Chairman, in the former Soviet Union, we know that religion was repressed for 70 years, yet there is a very strong religious revival that has been going on. As you pointed out, in Russia there is an ongoing concern that the Duma may act again, despite the veto of President Yeltsin, to crack down on religious proselytizing and those faiths that fall outside of the official government view.
We heard recently from Larry Uzzell of the Keston Institute - he's a good friend of mine, whom I've known for 20 years - and he made an excellent point when he said, ``the secret police informers, collaborationist clergy, and xenophobic bureaucrats in the nomenklatura's old-boy network think they have a natural right to dictate to all confessions in Russia. Unless Yeltsin reverses course, they will get it.'' These are ominous and very scary words from a man who has been following this for a great deal of time.
Armenia's 1991 law on religion prohibits proselytizing, and President Ter-Petrossian has recently had to resist attempts by parliament to restrict further the activities of religious minorities. In Azerbaijan, a January 1997 decree banned activities of foreign religious missionaries, following June 1996 amendments to the religion law, which prohibit the teaching of religion that is alien to Azerbaijani traditions or those which might lead to a division of society. The Word of Life congregation, one of the largest Protestant churches in the country, has been registered as a non-profit organization that delivers relief to thousands of refugees, but has been unable for the past 3 years to obtain church registration.
Mr. Chairman, I have a number of other examples in my statement, and I would ask that the full statement be made part of the record. Let me just say again how pleased I am that we're having this hearing, and we need to continue this focus, this scrutiny. As one of our former Supreme Court Justices said, ``one of the greatest disinfectants is light,'' and we need to continue to bring light upon these abuses.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Commission. I appreciate the opportunity to testify regarding the widespread discrimination perpetrated by official sources in Germany. I accepted this invitation because the Helsinki Commission, its members and Congress have a critical role in redressing the situation. Indeed, the most important thing you can do right now to combat religious discrimination in Germany is to pass the House Concurrent Resolution 22, the Payne-Ney Resolution.
In this remarkable century, we have learned some hard lessons about intolerance. We have learned that intolerance can lead to discrimination and that discrimination very easily breeds persecution. The country in which members of my religion, Scientology, face the most severe discrimination is Germany. Another country in which religious minorities face persecution is in Russia. For instance, I understand that the Russian Duma is about to consider legislation that would restrict freedom of religion or belief in Russia, including for Catholics, Baptists, and the Pentecostals. These problems are not isolated. I believe that the actions of the German Government have exacerbated the situation of religious minorities in Russia.
My purpose in testifying today is to lend a voice to the many people in Germany whose rights as human beings and citizens are being trampled. Because they are members of minority religions, they are denied the rights of everyday people. Their experiences of discrimination and persecution go unheard because there is no one to speak up for them. When German Government officials forbid artists to display their paintings, ban their concerts, and blacklist them, for the sole reason of their different religious beliefs, even the German media has been silent. It is time someone spoke up for their rights, because if we do not do so now, their plight will grow worse with every passing day.
Government-orchestrated discrimination and intolerance toward Scientologists and members of other minority religions has reached frightening levels. Artists, athletes, professors, students, executives, Scientologists in any profession, know they risk losing their job, their business and their fundamental rights if their religious affiliation is made known.
For example, in 1991, Chancellor Kohl's party, the Christian Democratic Union, known as the CDU, banned Scientologists from membership. Other parties followed the CDU's lead and today Scientologists are not allowed to belong to any of Germany's major parties. The CDU membership form even requires an applicant to attest that he is not a Scientologist before he is allowed to join the party.
The CDU Young Union, the youth wing of the party, publishes a booklet entitled ``InSects - No Thank you!'' The cover of this booklet depicts minority religious members in Germany as insects to be exterminated. The booklet has been officially endorsed by the CDU's Party General Secretary.
Individuals and businesses throughout Germany are routinely required to sign a declaration, referred to as a ``sect filter'', swearing that they are not Scientologists. Failure to sign means that companies will not hire them, trade unions will not admit them, they will not be permitted to join social groups, banks will not open accounts for them, and they are even excluded from sports clubs, solely because of their religion.
Present in this room today is Ms. Claudia Engel, a German Scientologist, married and with two children, who was denied a license to operate an employment agency solely because of her religion. The denial was based upon an order by the German Minister of Labor that no Scientologist was to be granted a license. By the time a court finally ruled that Ms. Engel's rights had been violated, the business she had worked so hard to build had been destroyed and her professional reputation irreparably damaged.
Since November 1996, the Bavarian Government has blacklisted Scientologists from the civil service. All applicants for employment in the public sector in Bavaria must attest that they disassociate themselves from Scientology. If a company doing business with Bavaria is suspected of having Scientology connections - in other words, if it is owned by or employs members of the Church of Scientology - the state will refuse to consider their bids. The German Government even placed Scientologists under nationwide surveillance - in layman's terms, it spies on them. This brazen decision to unleash the intelligence machine of the state against Scientologists violates the fundamental rights of German Scientologists as well as foreign Scientologists who travel or do business in Germany. Scientologists may be followed, their mail may be intercepted, their phones may be tapped, their conversations may be overheard and their offices may be infiltrated. Apparently the justification for this ominous decision to spy on private citizens - against which Scientologists have no recourse and which has been undertaken by no other government in the world - is that the Church of Scientology is somehow political. I have never heard this claim made anywhere except in Germany. It is utterly unfounded and ridiculous. I have been studying Scientology for more than two decades and have never seen or heard anything resembling political objectives. I know it is a religion - my religion, and that of millions of others around the world. It deals with the spiritual side of man, and its goals are wholly religious and humanitarian. The American Government carried out an exhaustive examination of Scientology which ended 4 years ago with the finding that it is a non-profit organization devoted exclusively to religious and charitable ends. Given all this, it defies understanding why the German Government would choose a policy of religious intolerance and persecution. The most innocent targets of the climate of hatred created by the German Government are children. Children of Scientologists have been expelled from kindergartens, schools and sports clubs, and often subjected to harassment and ridicule due to their parents' religious beliefs.
I am personally familiar with this discriminatory campaign. In August and September 1996, politicians of Germany's two leading parties, the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party, called for boycott and a ban on the movie Phenomenon because I am a Scientologist. A boycott was also called against Tom Cruise and the movie Mission Impossible, also for no other reason than that he is a member of the Church of Scientology.
Of course, we can chuckle about it because in the overall scheme of things these boycotts did no great harm. However, the mere attempt by politicians to censor art because of the artists' religious affiliation sends chills down my spine. As Americans, we are reminded of McCarthyism at its worst. The most fearsome aspect of this undemocratic behavior is that it indicates just how bad discrimination must be for ordinary German Scientologists who do not have the same opportunities to speak out against this type of arrogant intolerance. The freedom to create and communicate an artists' vision free from state interference is the most cherished of all freedoms and the most fundamental of human rights. If we do not challenge these unwarranted acts of discrimination, what will happen next? What other artists will be banned or boycotted because of their religion or beliefs? Will artists who happen to be associated with other minority religions also be singled out? Are the ``thought police'' far behind? Many members of Congress, including some who are sitting here today, have written to the German Government protesting the treatment of American and German Scientologists and members of other religious minorities. I have personally seen many of these letters, and I am gratified that so many of you have risen in vocal opposition to these injustices. I am also pleased that the State Department's Germany Section and its Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs has consistently reported these practices in spite of German Government efforts to stifle their reports.
Unfortunately, in spite of your protests, the situation continues to worsen.
Germany is not a Third World country. It is considered a democracy, and it leaves no doubt that it expects to be treated like one. The United States has severely criticized China for human rights violations, and we correctly condemn Third World countries for such barbaric abuses. If we expect Third World countries to listen to us and heed the moral dictates of international human rights agreements, we must apply the same strict standards of criticism to our allies when they violate the human rights commitments they ought to be upholding.
General awareness of discrimination against religious minorities in Germany must be greatly increased. I urge you, therefore, to formally raise the issue at the upcoming November Conference of OSCE.
I also urge you to raise the volume and the intensity of this issue. I request that an official delegation be sent to Germany to investigate the discrimination and to report back to the Helsinki Commission, to Congress, and the American people. Many Americans simply do not realize what is going on in Germany. If they did, they would be appalled because every single American I have personally briefed on the situation has been shocked and amazed by the German Government's undemocratic behavior. There simply is no question that members of minority religions in Germany, like everyone else, deserve to be treated with tolerance and respect.
Members of the Commission, you share the responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of Congress, the Administration and concerned American citizens, and you have the means to devise and enforce effective remedies for such human rights violations.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Thank you very much, and thank you for taking your time, because this is not a matter of Scientologists and deprivation of their rights, it goes well beyond, as you have stated.
We're talking about individual belief that people can hold and cherish, and should be allowed to, without there being oppression. I am shocked by this publication, as you have pointed out, that calls for the extermination basically of people who may have different views and beliefs, not just Scientologists. That is shocking. Indeed, the great economic power that the German Government has is well known and, indeed, looked up to, and there is a very real question as to the totalitarian states that still exist, or states that have little in the way of democracy. If, indeed, they look and see what is taking place in the powerful, respected democracy, and what is to prevent them and aren't they really being encouraged when it befits their own needs for political purposes to become involved in crushing or stamping out or using, holding up those who are different - very easy.
Our good friend and colleague, Congressman Salmon from Arizona, understands as well, as he refers to his forefathers who were persecuted, who were killed, who were driven from the land because they were different. It's easy to galvanize huge masses against those who are perceptively different because, again, they practice a different faith, are of a different color, wear a different garb. This is important in this day and age. I must tell you, notwithstanding my work on the Commission - and I think Congressman Hoyer who has been here before me - that I was not aware of those things that you, and Rev. Jones and Mr. Selthoffer and the other panels, have testified in terms of the manner in which oppression is taking place. Indeed, where there is a group or an individual who threatens by way of his or her acts or plans to harm another person, obviously the state should take action, and you endorse that, but to single out people because of their religious belief or conviction is absolutely inappropriate, totally inappropriate, and we will pursue this matter.
Let me call Mr. Hayes, Isaac Hayes. We will then open for questions, after we hear from Mr. Corea and Mr. Hayes. The panel, I know, has a number of questions and we would like to get from you personal accounts of what you have seen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Commission, I thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. I would like to commend you for conducting this hearing on the persecution of religious minorities in Europe, and in particular by the German Government. It is important that Germany's violations of minority religious rights are brought to the attention of the Congress, the White House, and the American people. Your determination to hold these hearings is a necessary and welcome step in bringing public awareness to that government's contravention of rights guaranteed by international law. I speak today in several capacities--as a member of a religious minority, as an African-American, as an artist, and as someone who took an active part in the civil rights struggles both in this country and in South Africa. I know discrimination when I see it, and it is alive and thriving in Germany. For at least 6 years now, the German Government has sponsored and encouraged discriminatory acts against my fellow parishioners of the Church of Scientology in both the public and private sector. This includes boycotts, blacklisting, expulsion from schools and jobs, and methodical social ostracism. You will hear today about the discrimination Mr. Chick Corea experienced in Germany and you are familiar with the attempted boycotts of movies featuring Mr. Tom Cruise and Mr. John Travolta because they are Scientologists. Let me tell you of some other, equally outrageous, examples of discrimination directed against American artists. Golden Bough, a group of American musicians specializing in traditional and original acoustic music, has performed extensively throughout Britain and Europe. The band members are Scientologists. Since 1991, a series of canceled concerts and broken engagements, have severely undermined Golden Bough's ability to perform in Germany. During a 1993 concert in the city of Stade, Germany, members of the CDU Young Union disrupted Golden Bough's performance by storming the stage, where they chanted slogans and waved banners denigrating the band members' religion. The CDU Young Union, by the way, is the under-30 arm of the CDU. It is the same political organization whose members have passed out condoms in black boxes marked with a skull and crossbones and the words ``Dianetics'' and ``Scientology.'' Those who hand out these condoms claim that they are ``90 percent effective'' in preventing future generations of Scientologists. Prior to 1991, Golden Bough averaged 15 concert performances on each German tour. In 1996, only two concert tours could be arranged, and this year Golden Bough has not played a single German gig. This is the consequence of the religion-based artistic apartheid practiced by the German Government. For German artists, the situation is even worse. Carl W. Roehrig, a Scientologists who has produced more than 1,200 original works of art, has suffered the sudden closure of exhibits, cancellation of his bank accounts without notice, and customers threatened for purchasing his artwork and engaging his artistic services. The economic consequences of the harassment were disastrous for Carl. The German Government is a signatory to international agreements guaranteeing freedom of religion. In fact, Germany has modeled its constitution on ours, including strong protections for the right to religious belief and worship. Scientology is a religion and has only spiritual and humanitarian aims and motivations, this I know to be true from my own personal experience. The Church of Scientology has also been adjudged as exclusively religious and charitable by the U.S. Government. Of course, the Church and its members support democracy and the rule of law. They are active in their communities, fight crime, drugs and illiteracy. These facts are what make the German Government's discrimination against Scientologists so incomprehensible and all the more hypocritical. In 1996, for example, the Bavarian Government passed legislation requiring that all applicants for public sector jobs or contracts declare any connection with the Church of Scientology. Government officials in Bavaria, as well as in other areas such as Stuttgart, have stated that they will not let Scientologists work in public service. While a ``declaration'' requirement is theoretically not an actual ban, in practice it amounts to the same thing. The real reason that the Bavarian Government requires a declaration rather than enforcing an outright ban on public sector employment of Scientologists is to disguise what must be decried as a blatant human rights violation. Many individuals have been fired from public sector jobs because of their membership in the Scientology religion. In the private sector, corporations are refusing to contract with Scientologists, many companies will not hire Scientologists in case they are accused of being influenced by Scientology, and others take active steps to identify and punish employees who are Scientologists. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gerhard Waterkamp, a German national who recently sought refuge in California. Before then, Mr. Waterkamp was living in Germany and working as an executive with a multinational company called Freudenberg. This company employs some 25,000 people and earns more than $1 billion annually here in the United States alone. Near the end of 1995, Mr. Waterkamp was informed that he was to be promoted to a senior executive position at Freudenberg. Instead, a few weeks later he was fired because Freudenberg executives had discovered his name on a list of people who had participated in religious services at a Church of Scientology. He offered to voluntarily transfer to the United States where religious tolerance is a way of life. However, he was told that company policy forbade Scientologists to work for Freudenberg anywhere in the world, including the United States. When Mr. Waterkamp tried to find another job, he was unable to do so. Finally, he was advised by one head-hunter that ``as long as you carry this `Star of David' on your jacket, being a Scientologist, you will not get a job in Germany.'' That prophecy proved true. Eventually, Mr. Waterkamp and his family had to emigrate to the United States to find employment and the freedom to practice their religion. In Germany today, Scientologists are banned from all major political parties, including the Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor Kohl. Scientologists who have been life-long members of these parties have been expelled. Since only political parties can choose candidates to fill government offices, Scientologists are without a voice in the formation of government, and without the means to create such a voice. This is disenfranchisement and undemocratic, plain and simple. The campaign of discrimination against Scientologists by the German Government is intensifying. In June, Germany's Interior Ministers authorized covert operations against the Church of Scientology and its parishioners, including surveillance and infiltration of church offices. Other Germans are publicly encouraged to report anonymously on Scientologists. Big Brother has arrived. No other democratic country has so hounded a religious group. For years, as noted by the Helsinki Watch and other human rights organizations, Germany has had a problem protecting the rights and safety of members of minorities, whether it be violence toward immigrants or exclusion from government jobs. In fact, as recently as July, executive members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People( NAACP), of which I am a lifetime member, went to Germany as part of a fact-finding mission. They have since informed the NAACP Board of the appalling human rights abuses they observed against Scientologists and other religious minorities, and have urged further action to be taken. Nations which have signed human rights treaties, such as the Helsinki Accords, must hold one another to the commitments they have undertaken. If industrialized nations do not demand that one another meet their human rights commitments, developing nations with poor human rights records are less likely to meet their own human rights commitments. An unfettered iron fist looms over religious minorities in Germany, and they never know when or where it will strike next. This Commission can make a dramatic difference by demanding that Germany immediately stop the harassment of religious minorities and meet its international human rights obligations. Let me urge two courses of action. One, that the Commission adopt the example of the U.N. Special Rapporteur and send a fact-finding delegation to Germany to look into and report officially on the German Government's adherence, or lack of it, to the Helsinki Accords. Two, that full and unequivocal support be given to the resolution by Congressmen Payne and Ney which asks Congress and the United States Government to declare their uncompromising condemnation of religious discrimination and to demand that Germany respect the rights of members of religious minorities in spirit and in practice. Mr. Chairman and Members, the roots, the bitter roots, of religious intolerance, religious oppression, and human rights violations must be--must be--eradicated; if not, I'm afraid that the seeds will grow into flowers of evil and will proliferate our society. Thank you very much for this opportunity. Chairman D'Amato. Mr. Hayes, thank you for your deep commitment to individual rights and for coming forward today with your testimony. Our last witness of this panel, Mr. Chick Corea. Mr. Corea, it's good to see you.
Mr. Corea. Thank you. I'm going to try to add some personal comments to this. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Commission. I hope I don't--I'm going to reiterate a few things, but mainly my statement is one of personal experience over these past few years. But before that, let me thank personally Congressman Donald Payne for introducing legislation that, combined with these hearings, may bring an end to discrimination by the German Government. I think this hearing is both very important and very timely, a fact amplified by yesterday's arrival in Germany of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, who will conduct a 10-day fact-finding mission there to personally investigate and determine the extent of discrimination against members of minority religions. A little bit about myself is that I've been traveling around the world performing my music as an American artist for over 30 years. I'm also a Scientologist and have been since 1968. I'm very proud of my religion, but religious faith to me is a subjective as well as private matter. Although I would be free to do so, I don't normally articulate my beliefs in public, and certainly not from the stage. I make this point because of what follows. In 1993, this Commission published a report entitled Human Rights and Democratization in Unified Germany. That study alerted the international community to the first signs of a deliberate policy of discrimination by the German Government, especially against Scientologists. That same year, I experienced for the first time an attempt by the German Government to deny me my right to perform in Germany. The state Government of Baden planned to conduct a jazz concert in conjunction with the World Athletic Championship on August 15, 1993, in Stuttgart and invited me to perform, a normal thing. After accepting the invitation, I was told that the state Government had canceled my contract after learning that I am a Scientologist. That was the first time that I had ever experienced anything like that in all of my musical travels around the world. At first, I did not grasp the larger implications of German Government actions against my religion and my music. However, I have been forced by circumstance to examine the issue. The German Government discriminates not just against me, but also against all of my fellow parishioners. It discriminates against other minority religions equally wantonly. This discrimination is not only wrong on moral grounds, as I have known all along, but is illegal under international law, as has been stated a number of times here, and is very obvious. It is my understanding that the Helsinki Accords and similar international agreements, to which Germany is a signatory, guarantee the religious and artistic freedom of citizens in member nations. German Government actions against my fellow parishioners and I violate these guarantees. I have studied Scientology for 35 years. I know that it is a religion in the most profound sense of the word. I don't see how anyone but the person who believes and who prays and who studies himself can make that kind of a judgment. I don't see how any group or commission, especially government, can make a judgment like that. The U.S. Government has expressly recognized the Church of Scientology as a religion, deserving the status of a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, organized and operated exclusively for religious and charitable ends. To suggest as the German Government alone has done, that Scientology has political aims is absurd and without factual foundation, as I can attest from my over 30 years of experience in the church. Why the German Government would insist on publicly deriding my religion, which does so much good, has me puzzled and very, very concerned. I do know that there is no possible excuse or valid justification for the German Government's discriminatory policies and actions. Mr. Chairman, I wish I could report to you that, since my initial problems in 1993, the situation in Germany has improved. I wish I could report that the words of protest from the musical, artistic, religious, human rights and political community had persuaded the German Government to abandon their policies of religious and artistic apartheid. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. I am here to tell you, and I am supported by official documentation such as the last four State Department Human Rights Reports, that intolerance and discrimination against members of minority religions who live, work in or visit Germany is increasing. After 1993, the officially sanctioned discrimination against me grew worse. As you can see from those State Department reports, my experiences in Germany are mirrored by those of other American and German artists who happen to be Scientologists. After the refusal in 1993 of the Baden-Württemberg Government to honor my contract to perform, I attempted to continue with my performances in other parts of Germany. I didn't want to just say, well, I'm not going there anymore, I had developed a really wonderful relationship with German audiences which I really cherish. However, the German Government not only tried to stifle my rights to perform, but regularly made public statements criticizing me due to my religious beliefs. Believe me, the only reason why I'm bringing these personal things up is not because I like to be critical or something, but I want to bring these issues to be viewed. In 1994, for example, I was invited to perform at the Opera House of Kassel. When the Ministry of Science and Art learned that I am a Scientologist, they pressured the organizer to cancel the concert. I guess the pressure came a little elate because this time they failed, but they went so far as to force the promoter to add a supplemental clause to my contract, which I knew nothing about until weeks after the concert, actually--forbidding me to ``promote'' Scientology before, during or directly after the performance. Were I to so much as utter the word ``Scientology'', according to this clause, the government would impose a 50,000 Deutchmark penalty. Such state and local government actions continue today. In 1996, I accepted an invitation to appear at the 27th Annual Jazz Week Festival in Burghausen. The local government ``sect expert'' demanded that my performance be canceled. The Minister of Culture at first refused to do so, on the grounds that I was performing as a musician, not a preacher--I actually saw the little article that was translated to me in the German press--and the concert sold out and went ahead. But soon afterwards, members of the Bavarian parliament severely criticized the Culture Minister for defending my right to perform. The State Minister-President intervened and publicly compelled the Culture Minister to order the festival organizer to ban me from any future performances at a state-subsidized event. This is like being placed on a blacklist and extinguished as a performer, since in Germany the vast majority of music festivals are subsidized by the state. Prior to 1994, I enjoyed a special and successful musical relationship with the German people, averaging over a dozen performances a year in Germany. I could have scheduled many more, but limited the number so I could still perform elsewhere in Europe. Due to the German Government's ongoing campaign against me, since 1994 I had just one or two performances per year in Germany. What bothers me is the fact that this can happen on the threshold of the year 2000, in a country we think is a democracy. If this can be done against me, then I can only imagine with horror just how terrible it must be for the German Scientologists who cannot speak out in an international forum. These German Government actions at federal, state and local levels are chilling. They amount to nothing less than a deliberate policy of religious apartheid. They infringe on the rights of all artists who are members of religious minorities, and all people who are denied the right to hear my music. What especially bothers me is the last point, that the German Government is infringing on the rights of the German people, whom I consider my friends and with whom I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship for the last 30 years. Over the years that I have endeavored to protect artistic freedom for all in Germany, it has been gratifying to know that I have not been fighting alone. Many officials in Congress and the executive branch have defended my right to perform and my right to spiritual choice. Those of you such as Congressman Payne, Congressman Pastor, and Congressman Ney who have repeatedly championed my case, I thank from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful also for the support of State Department officials such as Secretary Coffey and his staff, Janice Wiener and others concerned with the German Desk. Ladies and gentlemen of this Helsinki Commission, I urge that, as the U.N. Special Rapporteur has done, the Commission send an official fact-finding delegation to Germany to investigate and report back to Congress, our government, and the American people on minority religious discrimination and, in particular, on the German Government's violations of the rights guaranteed under the Helsinki Accords. I further recommend that the resolution by Congressmen Payne and Ney which demands that Germany meet its human rights obligations is given your full support. Just one final note. I believe that freedom to express to one another what we really think about life and freedom to create and share music and art with one another are the most cherished and basic rights needed to have a truly free and democratic society. Artistic and religious ``cleansing'' have no place in this. Thank you for hearing my testimony. Chairman D'Amato. Thank you, Mr. Corea. Mr. Hayes, you made reference to a family and a gentleman who was upwardly bound, they are here today? Would you identify them? Mr. Hayes. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Waterkamp. Chairman D'Amato. Mr. Waterkamp and his wife and their two children. Mr. Hayes. Yes. Chairman D'Amato. Mr. Waterkamp, you are living now in the United States, you are working here? Mr. Waterkamp. Yes, we are living now in California. Chairman D'Amato. In California, and you couldn't get a job after this business where it was revealed you were a Scientologist and you lost your employment in Germany, is that right? Mr. Waterkamp. Yes, I was searching for 8 months and I couldn't get a job. The company that fired me said it was company policy not to hire Scientologists, and this was known in Germany and nobody would hire me. Chairman D'Amato. You were effectively blacklisted then. Mr. Waterkamp. Yes. Chairman D'Amato. And a head-hunter, as Mr. Hayes said--I think sometimes we have to put a face, a human dimension on these issues--these are not just numbers. I've met these two beautiful young daughters--congratulations on such a beautiful young family--this morning at breakfast, and I didn't know. I thought they were just visiting from California. Then I was told that they were forced to leave because the gentleman could no longer hold a job, after he was upward bound, and he was thrown out not on the basis of poor performance, but because he is a Scientologist. I don't endorse any religion, that's up to the individual. You don't even have to believe, but that's your right. If you don't want to believe, that's your right. I think that because of the sensitivity today that we are afraid to speak to these issues, you know, as to whom we offend. You have a beautiful family, and we are certainly proud to have you here in our country, but we want you to be able to make those choices as to where you want to live and where you want to work on your own. Thank you for coming today, and for bringing your family. Before I turn to my colleagues, I just want to make an observation because some are going to ask and some are going to say why--why this hearing--is it John Travolta who brought this, or is it Isaac Hayes or Chick Corea, is that why? Well, what about those millions throughout the world, who don't have somebody of some prominence, who don't come forward--and I think Mr. Corea said it very well in his testimony--about the nameless faces, but they are people and they have families just like the family that we saw here, just like the children that we saw here. I cannot believe that this gentleman--now, maybe he's a master spy, but it doesn't seem to me that this gentleman poses any kind of threat so that he would have to lose his job and see his family turned out. I've seen this kind of situation, and we are cowed by the alliances that we have, and somehow those who may speak out are then branded as being ``anti'' some country. Nobody here has said one negative word about the German people. As a matter of fact, what I've heard is friends, well received, loved, who want to continue whether it's in their profession or work, whether it's in their ministry, but that it is government policy that puts out this kind of absolutely absurd, horrible, horrible kind of limits debasing people. That it is political parties engaging with the act of participation with government that would ridicule and hold up to scorn and, indeed, encourage the kind of demented activities by the skinheads and others, and then they go, oh, it wasn't us, we didn't do it, we didn't burn that building, we didn't attack these people. If you create the climate in which prejudice and hatred can abound, what do you think is going to take place? And so there are going to be those who say--and I understand the body politic--oh, why are you engaging in this? Because it is our job. Congressman Hoyer and I and others have been on this Commission and engaged in its work. If we're going to be just some kind of lip service show thing to take up the popular causes, I don't endorse nor do I condemn nor is it the job of this Commission to endorse any religion, any group, any belief, or any disbelief. That is for the individual to decide on his or her own how they want to worship. But it is this Commission's job to speak out and to search out whether or not those who are signatories to the Helsinki Accords will be protective of those individual rights. It is ours to monitor and to report, and we will do that, and that is our obligation. There will be a meeting in November, and we will see to it that we discharge those duties not when it's just popular because there's a large number of people, or there is an ethnic group that has political clout in their country, that's easy. But what about when there is a small oppressed minority? Do they not have the right to the protections guaranteed by this Constitution and by those official Accords that we and others have signed? Let me say again, and I will repeat for those who are here and for the record once again when asked why, why this Commission, why this work? Because it is our job. It is our job. It is the very charter, the Helsinki Accords to which we are signatories. We don't just want to be signatories for the purposes of politics. There were some who signed, on the alter of political expedience as, indeed, the Russians signed. How many days and how many times and how many trips did Congressman Hoyer and I take to hold the Russians accountable. Didn't we do that, Congressman? Didn't we bring them to task as they persecuted Jews, and Pentecostals, and fired people from their jobs, and put them in isolation? And we fought for them, we fought for their release, and we met with them. It's easy to do when there are millions of people, whether they be Catholics or Jews. We did. Easy to do when we're fighting those who are totalitarian on their face. What about holding our friends and neighbors accountable? Maybe not so easy. Maybe with some political risk. But it's easy to mount the campaign. So I'm going to refer to the words of Elie Wiesel when people ask why. These were his words when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1986, not so long ago. ``We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.'' Listen to that--incredible--neutrality helps the oppressor. ``Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.'' Think about that. Think about the skinheads who rove and burn and pillage, and people who have to live shut away, afraid to mention that they may have a belief, afraid that their children will be oppressed, because there are those of us who live in this great and powerful and wonderful democracy where people have a right to say what they want, you can agree and disagree, and now they have to be silent because there is no one to speak up and the tormentor becomes even more emboldened. Then Elie Wiesel goes on to say, ``Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy''--listen to that, when human dignity is in jeopardy--``...national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.'' Ah, were we to have a government that would put aside the niceties of our political alliances and stand up for those who are victimized. It's pretty hard to tell your brother or your sister or even your child that you're doing the wrong thing, even within our families, let alone to say to an ally, a great ally in terms of trade, in terms of the military, in terms of all of those national alliances, ``Wait a minute, this is wrong.'' Elie Wiesel says that ``when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must, at that moment, become the center of the universe.'' To all of those inquiring, doubting, probing people who may ask that question of this Senator, of this Commission, now or later, that is my response to you.
[...] Mr. Hoyer. Thank you very much. I had the opportunity to chair the Commission when the report to which one of you referred was issued in 1993, before we had a ``hostile takeover'' of the organization of which I am a member. [Laughter.] Mr. Hoyer. Why? Why do you think this is occurring in Germany? What is the cause? What is the motivation? Mr. Hayes, the gentleman whom you introduced stood and said he has been unemployed and blacklisted because of his association with Scientology. Clearly, you know many African-Americans have a similar story of lack of opportunity, or denied opportunity, or, in fact, removal from situations of opportunity because of race. We know that racism is endemic, unfortunately, throughout the world, and continues to be a real problem in this country. Why in Germany do we see this phenomenon directed at Scientologists? And I was not asking just you, Mr. Hayes. Mr. Travolta and Mr. Corea and Mr. Selthoffer, I would be interested in your view as well. I apologize. As you heard, we have a vote, so we will go soon. Mr. Travolta. I'll make it short. In brief, we don't really know. As said in my statement here, there is some accusation of political objectives, but we have never, ever been political, and that's the only thing that I know of. Frankly, we are trying to talk, to find out what is wrong, but we can't. There is no forum to do this, and that's why we're coming to you for your help. Mr. Hayes. I'd like to make an observation. It could be out of lack of communication. When the unification of Germany occurred, they had some economic problems. Usually in a society where jobs seem to be threatened and so forth, people tend to get uneasy, and they feed on the flames of ignorance and fear. Scientology, the religion, people who are Scientologists, the technology that we study, the principles that we practice, there are some people who apply technologies and they become pretty much well off. When someone sees something like that happen, it tends to threaten one's existence, and that's just a human frailty. That's the only thing that makes sense to me at this point. Mr. Hoyer. Thank you, Mr. Hayes. Mr. Corea. Mr. Corea. I had one thought because I and others who are intelligent and logical and reasonable have been asking that question for years. I mean, it's the question to ask. I think, for me, what I finally can grasp as the simplicity of it is that if the answer were a reasonable one, as the question is, it would have long ago been answered. So, we're not dealing with reason, which is the frightening part of it. We're dealing with incredible, weird, wild emotions. A number of the government people here amongst the Senators and Congressmen have already personally experienced this kind of illogical response to the question why. It's been asked. I think the answer is that it's not a logical one, and therefore the problem. Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Selthoffer, did you have a response? Mr. Selthoffer. I've also thought on that question myself about the last year of so. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm not a police officer. The people I've talked to in the beginning of the Enquette-Komission, members of the SPD and things like this, they would question us when we were asking about the Enquette-Komission, are you a ``sekt?'' There are secretaries. We received no faxes, no basic information on who was forming the Komission, outside of its own purposes, and stuff like this. I alone didn't have this problem, but also other attorneys around Germany asked regarding it. We were basically stonewalled. There was no open communication. As Mr. Travolta said, there is no forum for discussion. The mechanisms, as we've watched the problems with Scientology, the German mechanism of in every conceivable aspect of anybody's life are fully in motion against that group, and there's nothing stopping them from turning to the next one, or the next one, or the next one. I don't believe in their good graces, or any government's good graces. There has to be constitutional limits, and checks and balances. I think in this particular instance, there is a lack of checks and balances, or maybe a lack of watchdog groups not only in Germany, but across Europe, that could ring the alarm bells and bring, whether it would be court cases or media, to bear on the situation. That's just my own opinion, but I think it's pretty much the situation, especially also with Eastern Europe. They don't understand constitutional protection yet, as you well know. Mr. Hoyer. Well, I thank you for your answers. Mr. Corea, I think you may be right. Obviously, prejudice tends to be irrational, fear-driven. That is unfortunate, and we find it in all of our societies. There is a forum, and that is what the Chairman has brought up. I have the opportunity on at least an annual basis, and usually more regularly, to interface with members of the Bundestag for the purposes of meeting in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Chairman D'Amato, of course, is the leader of our delegation, but has not been able to go, so I have led our Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, of which I am Vice President, for the last 4 years. Iam going to discuss this with my friends from the Bundestag, who are good people, and see if there can be discussion on why this is happening. Obviously, the skinheads we understand. We have skinheads in the United States. We have haters. We are not going to eliminate that, tragically, from my religious perception, perhaps, in our lifetime until, from my perspective, the ``second coming.'' But, having said that, what we must eliminate is governmental sanction and support for that. That is the key. We are not going to eliminate all the haters of the world, unfortunately, but we can eliminate their support structure in a formal way, as societies. I want you to know, Mr. Chairman, I will certainly pursue this, and will be back to all of you and to our Chairman. Thank you very much. [Applause.] Chairman D'Amato. Let me say that we intend to use the proper authority that is vested in this Commission not to be confrontational, but to be inquisitive, ask why, and to seek the kind of dialog and open the doors that can bring about understanding and cooperation. We all have an obligation to do that. I don't think anybody wants to be told, ``You must do X, Y, or Z.'' This is not a question of being ``in your face,'' but it is a question of putting forth the facts as those of you have testified, and some who, by their presence--Claudia Engel, again, a woman who literally lost her profession because of being a Scientologist. Claudia, why don't you stand? Again, she is the young woman who Mr. Travolta talked about, who had an employment agency and who saw her business destroyed because of her belief. Why don't you come up. Ms. Engel. The thing you were pointing out, that was--in my case, it was the government who said, ``You are not OK to have this profession because you are a Scientologist,'' so it wasn't any skinhead or somebody, it was the federal minister who gave this order out that no Scientologist is allowed to get this special license you need to do this personnel agency. So, no Scientologist should have been able to get this, and this is the reason why they did take my license away. Chairman D'Amato. You had been in this business for how long? Ms. Engel. Just half year, so I got tested before, like police statement that said everything fine, and then by newspaper report it was found out--and they really say we found another Scientologist. I had to sign the declaration like you have to do if you get a job or something, telling that I'm not a Scientologist, that I don't think the teachings are right, and that I'm not a member. Yes, it's even that I didn't have read a book. I should have signed it and, of course, I didn't because I don't lie because of my beliefs. The answer I got just a few days later with a cancellation of my license, and telling that I'm an unreliable person, and to have this label means like brand mark, you know? So, I, of course, went in front of the court and I did win this court case in the second instance, but the judge said that it is illegal what the government does. So, the judge are telling that it is illegal, but this doesn't change the situation. This order from federal minister is still there, and I still have to fight to get my license continued. Chairman D'Amato. Let me say--and, again, I think it's important that we are able to call someone who would otherwise be a nameless, faceless number. In other words, unless you were here, it would be just someone, or the fact that people lose their jobs and can't work. We thank you for coming forward because you are now a person. This is what's happening to people. The Waterkamps and their family, they are people. This is what is happening, and that's why I make a commitment to you that I will attend--if we are out of session, and I think we will be--in November, the review meeting for human rights, human dimension implementation, which talks just about this, which will be held in Warsaw. I will raise this issue personally, and I will raise it not in a confrontational or adversarial manner, but in a manner to see if we can't open dialog with people who someone can see present no threat to national security or to the peace or well being of other citizens, and what you're saying is let us be what we want to be, without there being this harassment and this official, from what I hear you testify, is governmental action to suppress and to oppress people because of their beliefs. So, that's a commitment that I make as Chairman and as a member of this Commission. Let me ask if there is anything anyone wants to say before we conclude. Any member? Ms. Engel. I just want to thank you very, very much because I came over here because it is a real hope I have personally and I have for all fellow Scientologists in Germany, because we don't have the chance in Germany to talk to make such a dialog, which I think is the right thing. So, thank you very much. Chairman D'Amato. I want to thank you, we want to thank you, Mr. Travolta, again, who has loaned himself--and let me tell you, it takes courage for even a great performer to come forward when there is so much in the way of controversy as it relates to a religion, a belief, et cetera. Isaac Hayes, Mr. Corea, I want to thank every one of you, Pastor Jones, Mr. Selthoffer for coming forward and revealing themselves and, really, putting themselves up and saying, yes, this is where I am, this is my belief, and I am willing to fight for others. You don't need to. You don't have to go to Germany ever. None of you have to go there to perform. It's not going to cost you one penny. You'd probably just devote your attentions in other areas, but we're talking about people who otherwise would be abandoned--who would be abandoned in silence. That's what Elie Wiesel was talking about.
SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
We are here today to look into a matter that touches one of our most cherished and most personal rights, the freedom of religion or belief. Unfortunately there are a number of countries in Europe today that are abridging religious freedom. Not only does religious intolerance violate human rights and threaten democracy and peace in Europe today, but in the recent past, it has led to the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Bosnian genocide. The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief is an internationally recognized human right. Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Principle VII of the Helsinki Accords provide for freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief. Our witnesses will tell us how governments are breaking their promises in the Helsinki Accords to ``recognize and respect the freedom of the individual to profess and practice, alone or in community with others, religion or belief acting in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience.'' All European states have signed these accords. But some European laws and regulations don't respect freedom of thought conscience, religion or belief, in conflict with their international human rights obligations. Their conduct speaks louder than their words. We are here today to examine whether these governments have kept the promises they have made. Even those who hold minority beliefs deserve tolerance. America has always had a special role leading the world to recognize and protect these fundamental individual rights and the Commission is pledged to monitor violations of these rights. We look forward to hearing the testimony of these witnesses, who represent the Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Later Day Saints, Judaism, Christian evangelical churches, the Church of Scientology, and a Russian religious liberty institute. We will stand with the oppressed who need our help. We will hold to account governments that fail to live up to their promises. Some may ask why we criticize the use of government power to protect the majorities in those societies. Let me answer those questioners with Elie Wiesel's words, spoken when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1986: ``We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must at that moment become the center of the universe.'' Assaults on minorities are one of the early indicators of serious trouble in societies. When governments attack minorities--including religious minorities--the situation then becomes perilous. Using the police power of the state, some governments have narrowed the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief to the point where it could vanish. Let me give you just a few examples: The Russian Duma is about to consider legislation that would restrict freedom of religion or belief in Russia. This follows a Yeltsin veto of an earlier bill that contained serious restrictions on this vital right. The proposed law would limit freedom of religion for millions of Baptists, Catholics, Pentacostals, and others. It is outrageous and unacceptable that such religious bigotry could become law in Russia at the end of the Twentieth Century. The United States Senate passed an amendment on July 16th by a vote of 95 to 4 cutting off U.S. aid to Russia if they adopted such a statute. I voted for that amendment, and so did all of this Commission's Senate members. We will be watching the outcome of this new bill very closely. In Bulgaria, foreign missionaries have been refused visas and residence permits and some were physically assaulted. Mormons had personal belongings confiscated and police beat Jehovah's Witnesses. In Uzbekistan, the largest Protestant church has been blocked from registering as a church, and its pastor has been imprisoned and denied a lawyer. Independent Islamic leaders have disappeared, and bibles and other religious materials have been confiscated. Unfortunately, these problems exist throughout Europe. With the end of World War II and the prosecution of the the Holocaust's criminals, the world agreed that religious and ethnic minorities had to be protected. Bosnia is a bloody warning to all of us that those protections are still fragile. We cannot, and we must not, stand silently by while basic individual freedoms enjoyed by members of the majorities are denied to members of minorities. Now, I will turn to my distinguished Co-Chairman, Congressman Chris Smith, for any opening remarks he may desire to make. ________________________________________________________ WRITTEN STATEMENT OF CO-CHAIRMAN CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate the opportunity to join you for this Helsinki Commission hearing on the issue of ``Religious Intolerance in Europe Today.'' I know that there is heightened interest in today's hearing because three celebrities are slated to testify. They and our other witnesses are very welcome to be here. However, in the interest of fairness, transparency, openness and truth, I am very hopeful that our inquiry into Scientologists' allegations of intolerance be explored with due regard to the substantial concerns raised by governments, including the United States Government, concerning the practices and methods employed by Scientology. To examine one without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the other runs the risk of doing a grave disservice to the cause of human rights in general, and religious liberty in particular. The inquiry should be exhaustive and today's hearing is only the beginning. Interestingly, in correspondence received yesterday, the German Government states that ``[a]mong the countries that do not consider Scientology a religion are Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain, as well as Israel and Mexico.'' I look forward to hearing more about this. The Commission has assembled an impressive and diverse panel of witnesses who are experts on a subject of increasing concern to the Congress, the Administration and the American people the violation of the ``freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.'' Mr. Chairman, today's hearing is particularly timely the week after the world bid farewell to Mother Teresa, the selfless, humble woman who because of her religious faith devoted her life to tolerance and love for the poor and the outcast, regardless of their religious beliefs. In only a few days on September 28 the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be observed around the globe. In this connection, we are quite aware that there are countries outside of Europe, such as Sudan, Iran, and China, that are known to be a living hell for countless religious believers. In some countries, practicing one's faith may be equivalent to signing one's death warrant. Both the House and the Senate has heard blood-chilling testimony to this effect. The internationally recognized right to ``freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief'' is carefully delineated in the Helsinki Final Act, the 1989 Vienna Concluding Document, and the 1990 Copenhagen Document. These obligations are the standard throughout Europe, and this is the rubric under which today's hearing is being held. We are prepared to hear from representatives of various religious faiths and beliefs, and to address the obstacles that prevent individuals in Europe from freely professing and practicing their religion or beliefs. Today's hearing will not confer status of any kind on any individual or organization. Certainly today's focus on Europe does not imply that our own history has been free of discrimination and repression. There is a reason why so many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reside in Utah. In 1844, Philadelphia--the city of brotherly love-- was the scene of bloody anti-Catholic riots over which version of the Bible would be read in city schools. We still need to be vigilant against religious intolerance in our own country, whether engendered by fellow citizens or by government bureaucrats with little understanding or sympathy for religious faith. Religious freedom, Mr. Chairman, is not something ``just for religious people,'' nor is it isolated from the other basic freedoms. Religious freedom, essentially, is the right to freedom of speech, thought, and assembly directed toward one's deepest spiritual needs. If the state is permitted to deny these basic rights to one person or group on the basis of religion, what is to prevent the state from denying these rights to other persons or groups, for other reasons? As theologian Martin Niemoller reminded us, if we don't defend today's minority, who will be around to defend us if we are subjected to tyranny? The focus of our hearing today is on Europe. The United States is deeply interested in the development of security, cooperation, democratic development, and civil society in Europe. We must, with our friends and allies in Europe, help preserve and expand the foundations for a more tolerant Europe, free from the religious and ethnic intolerance that has led to bloody wars in the past-- wars in which the United States has become involved. Also, I note that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been suggested as a model for development of security and cooperation in other regions of the world. Legislation has been proposed in the Congress that would promote OSCE-type arrangements in Asia, for instance. There have been nascent efforts to establish an ``OSCA'' for Africa. Mr. Chairman, we need to be ever vigilant to ensure implementation of basic agreements on religious freedom that have already been adopted. For if we are not true to the words contained in the original documents, how can we honestly promote them as a model for another region of the world? Mr. Chairman, I would mention in particular specific problems that have come to our attention recently. First, in the former Soviet republics, where the Communists suppressed religion for 70 years, a religious revival accompanied the campaign for, and the attainment of, independence. But this natural and healthy tendency has often led to concerns about the influence of non-traditional religions and their success in proselytizing among people coping with the spiritual and economic consequences of the collapse of communism. In many cases, governments have coopted nationalist symbols, including religion, and have cooperated with established religious structures in restricting the activities of what they see as ``newcomers.'' In Russia, there has re-emerged, after President Yeltsin's first veto, proposed legislation in the Russian parliament that, if enforced, could return Russia to the days of the commissars for so-called ``minority faiths.'' For instance, in order to enjoy full legal rights under the proposed law, a religious organization would have to prove that it has been ``legally existing'' for fifteen years that's back to 1982, when those churches that did exist openly were tightly controlled by the Kremlin, and Yuri Andropov was throwing dissidents into the GULAG for, among other things, seeking religious freedom. Apologists for this new legislation claim that it is needed allegedly to ``fight crime.'' True, there is crime in Russia, but certainly it is not gangs of Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses who are mowing down business rivals in the parking lots of sleazy casinos. And, it wasn't the Catholic or Baptist churches that were running phony pyramid schemes to wipe out the savings of desperate investors. As Keston Institute's Moscow representative Larry Uzzell (a good friend who has my highest respect, and who recently conducted an extensive Commission briefing on the draft Russian law) recently concluded, ``the secret-police informers, collaborationist clergy, and xenophobic bureaucrats in the nomenklatura's old-boy network think they have a natural right to dictate to all confessions in Russia. [And] Unless Yeltsin reverses course, they will get it.'' Armenia's 1991 law on religion prohibits proselytizing, and President Ter-Petrossian has recently had to resist attempts by parliament to restrict further the activities of religious minorities. In Azerbaijan, a January 1997 decree banned activities of foreign religious missionaries, following June 1996 amendments to the religion law, which prohibit the preaching of religions alien to Azerbaijani traditions or those which ``might lead to a division of society.'' The Word of Life congregation, one of the largest Protestant churches in the country, has been registered as a non-profit organization that delivers relief to thousands of refugees, but has been unable for the past three years to obtain church registration. In Central Asia, where the dominant religion and cultural force is Islam, restrictions have been placed on printing and distributing religious literature and speech, especially in the indigenous language, and on organizing religious meetings. In addition, the majority Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities have allied against Protestant and other minority religious groups to counter the increase in foreign missionary activities. In Uzbekistan, for example, the Protestant church Word of Faith has been unable to gain registration, despite repeated attempts to comply with registration laws, perhaps because the church uses the Uzbek language in its activities. The senior pastor, Denis Podorozhny, an Uzbek citizen, has been imprisoned repeatedly and denied a hearing and a lawyer, while being held incommunicado. Moreover, we have heard reports that Uzbekistan's Government has confiscated a shipment of 24,960 New Testaments, apparently because they are printed in the Uzbek language. Religious minorities confront impediments in a number of post-Communist transition countries even in countries that generally respect human rights and are making notable progress in their democratic development. Even Bulgaria, a country that generally respects human rights, continues to deny to some minority religious organizations which the authorities do not consider to be mainstream faiths-- such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Word of Life and the Unification Church. Without such registration, religious groups encounter discrimination, as they cannot open bank accounts, own land or other property, rent halls and offices, and are not entitled to standing in a court of law. Members of other churches, including the Mormons and certain evangelical groups, have experienced harassment and even assault. These are just some of the concerns that we have regarding religious intolerance in Europe. I know that our witnesses will have much more to add on this subject. In closing, I want to reiterate what I said a few weeks ago during a Commission briefing on the proposed Russian religion law. Our concern here should not be seen as hostility toward, or a challenge to, any other faith. The fact is that a ``minority'' denomination that experiences discrimination in one country may enjoy respect and even government deference as the ``majority'' denomination in another country. We ask only that states live up to the human rights commitments, including the Helsinki Accords and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, which they have vowed to uphold. Mr. Chairman, I look forward to our witnesses' testimony. Allow me to apologize in advance that I must leave the hearing for less than an hour in order to chair the mark-up of the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act (a bill which would cut off non-humanitarian assistance and impose trade sanctions, among other provisions, should the particular country engage in widespread and ongoing religious persecution). An International Relations meeting with the Secretary of State was called for this afternoon, which has required that the mark-up, originally planned for this afternoon in the Subcommittee I chair, be rescheduled for this morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Recent Incidents in Germany of the Blacklisting and Boycotting of Scientologists
Scientologists in Germany continue to be the targets of systematic discrimination in every stratum of society as part of an insidious exclusionary policy initiated, encouraged and sanctioned by the government to stigmatize and ostracize Scientologists. As documented in human rights reports issued by the United Nations, the State Department, and human rights groups, federal and state government officials have urged the public to blacklist and boycott Scientologists from every aspect of German life. In January 1996, Federal Minister of Family Affairs Claudia Nolte held a press conference to declare ``war'' on Scientology. In November 1995, Federal Minister of Labor Bluem, in an interview on Scientology with Der Spiegel, called for a ban of all Scientologists from occupations which ``intersect with society,'' including schools, the government and business companies; in August 1996, Mr. Bluem called on Christian Churches to join government efforts to ``fight'' Scientology. The Ministers and Senators of Interior of the States (in December 1995) and the Minister Presidents (in March 1996) also recommended a series of measures to ``oppose'' Scientology, including a recommendation that government offices in the area of fiscal affairs place a declaration clause in contracts with companies doing business with the government to ensure that no business is done with Scientologists. The declarations initiated and recommended by the government require individuals and companies to affirm that they do not use L. Ron Hubbard's technology, that the individual or company personnel are not trained or participating in courses or seminars where such technology is applied, and that the individual or company rejects the application of such technology. Such declaration forms are deliberately designed to require an individual to: (1) either declare his religious beliefs and be punished for them by being blacklisted or boycotted; or (2) publicly denounce his beliefs under threat of economic sanctions. This policy is manifestly illegal and contrary to fundamental human rights. The use of such declaration forms, chillingly referred to as ``sect filters,'' has become a commonplace requirement in Germany under the government's encouragement, example and leadership. Individuals and businesses are routinely required to sign a declaration swearing that they are not Scientologists, do not (and will not in the future) sympathize with Scientology and reject its teachings in order to: be hired or maintain a job in a company; join or remain in a political party, trade union, social group, profession, or athletic club; sign a business or service contract; and open a bank account or receive a bank loan. Government entities throughout Germany such as the Hamburg government's ``Working Group Scientology'' office publicly promote and disseminate these ``filters.'' Since November 1996, all persons seeking employment in the public sector in Bavaria must fill out a questionnaire regarding their association with Scientology and attest that they dissociate themselves from Scientology. A company intending to do business with the state of Bavaria or any other government entity in Bavaria must execute a similar declaration or the contract offer with the state will not be considered. The cities of Augsburg and Regensburg in Bavaria have adopted similar measures and declarations for employees and business contractors to sign. The Christian Democratic Union, the ruling party in Germany, ratified oppressive and illegal measures against Scientologists at the CDU Party Congress in October 1996. These measures included the following: a demand that the federal government prohibit Scientology in Germany; creation of laws banning Scientologists from the civil service; a recommendation that the Bundestag and all State Parliaments encourage politicians to declare in writing that they are not Scientologists; creation of laws banning Scientologists from performing or displaying their art at all state supported concerts and other artistic and cultural events; identification of Scientology artists so that no contracts are signed with them in the first place; and prohibiting companies and persons from working with or doing business with the government unless they affirmatively state that they have no connection to Scientology. Such pronouncements convey a powerful political message to the German public by officially sanctioning an illegal exclusionary policy toward Scientologists which amounts to a government approved policy of religious apartheid. Recent examples of this campaign against Scientologists follow. o In July 1997, the Christian Democratic Employees Association Germany (CDA) published a book on Scientology entitled ``Scientology a Danger for Our Society.'' The introduction of the book is written by Federal Minister for Labour Bluem. The book notes that the CDU/CSU political ``sect'' spokesmen for all state parliaments adopted a catalogue of measures to ``fight'' Scientology, including endorsing the use of ``sect filters'' to screen applicants for public service employment and contractors with the government. o In July 1997, the Superior Court of Bonn upheld the expulsion of three Scientologists from the Christian Democratic Union on the grounds that a political party may exclude individuals if the party believes that such individuals do not identify with the party's aims. o In July 1997, performing artist Isaac Hayes requested that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) investigate discrimination against Scientology artists in Germany. o In June 1997, the city counsel of Iserlohn demanded that the owners of private bookstores in Iserlohn sign a written declaration agreeing not to sell Scientology literature in their bookstores. The city counsel stated that future book orders by the city would be contingent upon execution of these declarations. o In June 1997, the Board of the Federal Chamber for Dentists published anti-Scientology measures adopted on 30 April 1997. These measures include: prohibiting Scientologists from being dental trainees; prohibiting further education and training for dentists who are Scientologists; refusing dentists who are Scientologists the right to lecture at Chamber training events; and the adoption of ``sect filter'' declarations. The Chamber of Dentists of Nordrhein withdrew the permission for education to a trainer supposedly connected to Scientology. The Chamber of Dentists in Saarland noted that it intends to refuse permission for further training to a dentist who is a Scientologist. o In June 1997, media articles were published accusing a company in Rhineland Palatinate, Link Electronics GmbH, of being ``infiltrated'' by Scientologists because the owners of the company had failed to provide ``sect filter'' statements disavowing any connection to Scientology. CDU MP Kramer demanded an investigation of the company by the Minister of Interior. Mr. Kramer issued a statement to the press in which he announced that ``The time for playing down the activities of Scientology in Rhineland-Palatinate is finally over.'' An official from the Kandeln Labor Office informed the company that former employees of the company had provided declarations to the Labor Office claiming the company was affiliated with Scientology. The Labor Office official also notified Link Electronics that Labor Office files on the company were designated with an ``S'' for Scientology. The Labor Office provided a ``sect filter'' declaration for Mr. Link to sign, informing him that the ``S'' designation would only be removed if he signed the declaration. o In June 1997, Secretary General Gerhard Aigner of UEFA, European football's ruling body headquartered in Baden-Baden Germany, announced that Italian Club Inter Milan would be fined for allowing the placement of a pitch perimeter ad regarding Mr. Hubbard's book Dianetics in its stadium during UEFA Cup match broadcast throughout Europe. Aigner informed the press that ``we cannot allow soccer games to be used as a platform for such actions.'' o In May 1997 the SPD organized an event against Scientology in the city of Dachau. A Scientologist who is a media journalist and lives in Dachau, Hans Bschorr, was identified as a Scientologist and vilified due to his association with Scientology. The Deputy Mayor of Dachau, Katherine Ernst, called on the public to ``help to keep Dachau free of Scientology.'' In 1996, Mr. Bschorr no longer was used as a journalist for Bavarian Radio when his association with Scientology was discovered. o In May 1997, Maria Krueger, a Scientologist who runs a preventive health business in Prutting in Upper Bavaria, filed suit against the city of Hamburg to prohibit the city from distributing ``sect-filter'' declarations to companies to sign disavowing any connection to Scientology. Ms. Krueger brought the action after she was requested to sign a ``sect filter'' declaration by a vitamin wholesaler. The declaration was provided to the wholesaler by the Chief of the Hamburg government's ``Working Group Scientology,'' Ursula Caberta, who has distributed thousands of these ``filters'' to companies and associations throughout Germany. The Administrative Court of Hamburg dismissed her application for a preliminary injunction on the grounds that there is no legal duty for anyone to enter into a contract. o In April 1997, the Chief of the Hamburg government's ``Working Group Scientology,'' Ursula Caberta, spoke at an anti-Scientology event in Wiesbaden and called upon the attendees to ``protect themselves from Scientology'' through use of ``sect filters'' in contracts of companies stating that the applicant doesn't support the technology of L. Ron Hubbard. o In April 1997, the CDU in Bonn demanded that contractors, applicants and employees of the Construction and Location Commission and the Personnel Commission execute ``sect filter'' questionnaires to screen and exclude any individuals or companies connected to Scientology. o In April 1997, the newspaper Saar Wirtschaft promoted the use of ``sect-filter'' declarations to identify and exclude Scientologists and stated that information regarding these filters may be obtained from the Ministry for Women, Labour, Health and Social Affaires in Saarbrucken. o In April 1997, the Federal Minister for Youth, Claudia Nolte, made statements to the press that applicants for civil service employment should be screened for connections to Scientology. o In March 1997, the Church received a copy of the ``sect filter'' form used by the Berlin Administrative Office. The form requires contractors to disavow any connection to Scientology in order to exclude Scientologists from contracting with the Berlin Government. o In February 1997, Stuttgart issued an order that all applicants for civil service employment would be required to state any affiliation with Scientology. The measure is intended to exclude members of the Church of Scientology from working in the public sector. The order also prohibited members of the Church and any organizations affiliated with the Church from entering into public contracts regarding management, personnel or training services, that no public halls are rented to the Church, and that no supports are given to companies associated with Scientologists. o In March 1997, shortly after the Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in response to the United States State Department Report denying that there was any discrimination against Scientologists in Germany, a shocking secret order of the Federal Labor Office was exposed requiring all labor offices to mark businesses which were suspected to be owned by Scientologists with an ``S'' in computer files to identify the religious affiliation of individuals who own such businesses in order to blacklist them for their religious beliefs. o In April 1997, a planned exhibition by the artist Gottfried Helnwein by the Art Association of Ingolstadt was canceled on the grounds that the Government of Bavaria has urged all Bavarian communities not to subsidize events involving Scientology artists. The Secretary of State of Interior, Hermann Regensburger, who is also on Ingoldstadt's town council, identified Mr. Helnwein as ``an internationally known Scientologist'' and therefore ``it would not be acceptable'' if the town ``supports this artist with exhibition rooms and offers a platform with the use of tax moneys.''Likewise in April 1997, the Mayor of Berg canceled an exhibit of paintings by Bia Wunderer in the city hall the day before the exhibition was scheduled solely because the artist is a Scientologist. o In March 1997, the Chamber of Commerce Goppingen undertook a program of actions against Scientology, including examining companies affiliated with the Chamber to determine if they apply Scientology methods and disseminating ``checklists'' to the public designed to determine if a company ``applies Scientology's methods.'' o In February 1997, the company Siemens distributed a sect-filter declaration entitled ``Disassociation Declaration Regarding Scientology'' to its employees and its German offices to affirmatively attest that no employees of the office are connected with Scientology. The company noted that it frequently demanded such declarations from business partners in order to prevent business relationships with any company connected to Scientology. The company also noted that business partners have demanded that Siemens provide sect filter declarations as well. Therefore, Siemens provides such declarations disavowing any connection with Scientology to business partners on request. o In February 1997, a booklet entitled ``Scientology in the Area of the River Rhine/Main'is published by a private corporation and distributed to city halls. The booklet contains an introduction by the head of the ``Working Group Scientology'' of the Hamburg Government, identifies four companies supposedly owned by Scientologists, and promotes the use of ``sect filters'' to boycott and blacklist Scientologists. o In February 1997, the company Hans-Gunter Berner sent a circular to all their employees accompanied by a ``sect filter'' which all employees were required to sign, attesting that they had nothing to do with Scientology or the teachings of Mr. Hubbard. The circular noted that the company took this action in consultation with the city of Hamburg in order to protect its reputation and that any employee not signing the declaration would be dismissed. o In February 1997, the League of the Free Welfare Work District Committee Stuttgart decided to use a ``sect filter'' declaration in contracts with business partners to ensure that they do not cooperate with organizations or individuals associated with Scientology. o In February 1997, the paper Erdinger Neueste Nachrichten reported that many local communities in the area around Munich have determined to implement the decree from Bavarian Minister President Stoiber excluding Scientologists from the civil service. The communities of Feldkirchen, Ismaning and Aschheim have determined to implement this exclusionary policy. o In February 1997, Georg Stoffel, a Church of Scientology staff member in Munich who also runs an advertising agency, lost his contract with the Tourist Traffic Association of Munich after a number of newspapers published articles identifying Mr. Stoffel as a Scientologist and noting that the Association contracted for services with Mr. Stoffel's agency since 1995. A CSU MP, a Lutheran Sect Commissioner and the Deputy Minister of the Bavarian Ministry of Interior demanded that the contract be dissolved. The Chairman of the Association then announced that the Association Board decided to immediately cancel Mr. Stoffel's contract. o In February 1997, the community council in Vaterstetten, a village in Bavaria, determined that all civil service applications and contracts with the village would include a ``sect declaration'' filter in order to exclude Scientologists. The community council agreed to implement these requirements prior to employing any administrative personnel. o In January 1997, the Bavarian and Baden-Württemberg Governments proposed a motion to the Upper House of the German Parliament calling for a concerted campaign against the Church of Scientology, including taking up Scientology at European Conference of Ministers meetings and in other international fora, initiating proceedings to deregister Scientology corporations, passing regulations to restrict the Church's activities, excluding companies owned by or employing Scientologists from entering into public contracts, and implementing federal discriminatory measures already approved at the state level. o In January 1997, during a freezing winter in which many homeless people died of the cold weather, the Church of Scientology launched a project to help them. Volunteers provided homeless people with warm clothes, hot tea, soup and shelter. On 29 January, the Office for Public Order in Stuttgart issued a decree, delivered to the Church the same day, forbidding the Church to distribute tea, food and clothes or to provide any shelter to the homeless. Violations were to be penalized with a fine of 1.000 DM. The Church was charged 100 DM for the administrative cost to the city of issuing the decree. This decree was later canceled and then revised after a public protest. o In January 1997, the newspaper ``Erdinger Neues Nachrichten'' reported that the Wasserversorgung Zornedinger Group, a water company, announced that it will only do business with companies not employing Scientologists. The company stated it will implement a ``filter'' for new employees to determine if they are members of the Church and to obtain their views on Scientology. These decisions were made in response to similar restrictive measures implemented by the Bavarian Government. o In January 1997, the Storman CDU resolved at their party convention to require that every applicant for public service and every contractor with the government execute ``sect filter'' declarations. o In December 1996, Germany's federal and regional governments resolved to exclude Scientologists from entering into public service contracts requiring ``a special degree of trust'' such as education and counseling services. o In December 1996, the city administration of Illertissen in Bavaria voted to issue public contracts only to companies that give written confirmation that they are not affiliated in any way with Scientology or Scientologists. o In December 1996, the SPD in Baden-Württemberg, issued a report calling for a nationwide ban on Scientology and restrictive government measures to halt its growth in Germany. o In December 1996, a Scientologist who is an artist, Waki Zoellner, received a commission to create a fairytale sculpture to be placed at the entrance of the Pius Kindergarten. The Mayor of the community, Gmund Tegernsee, notified Mr. Zoellner that the commission was canceled at the insistence of the district council on the grounds that the city and the kindergarten did not approve of the artist's association with the Church of Scientology. o In November 1996, the Dresdner Bank informed the Church of Scientology Munich that its accounts with the bank were being canceled. o In November 1996, the Federal Minister of Labour Norbert Bluem called for the exclusion of Scientologists from public service. o In November 1996, Manfred Gahr was dismissed from his employment at the ``Fraunhofer Gesellschaft'' because of his affiliation with the Scientology religion. o In October 1996, the Minister-Presidents of all German states announced that they would continue to ``combat'' the Church of Scientology; requested the federal government to name a central office to coordinate activities against Scientology; demanded that Scientology be placed under surveillance; demanded that the federal government investigate the Church under association laws; and demanded that the government exclude companies owned or operated by Scientologists from public contracts. Subsequently, in December 1996, the Minister-Presidents and Chancellor Kohl determined to set up a ``Permanent Working Group on Scientology'' at the federal level under the direction of the Federal Ministry of Women, Youth, Family and Seniors with other federal ministries taking part to form a coordinating body for all actions taken to ``combat'' Scientology at the federal level. o In October 1996, the Lister Copy Shop refused to copy information for the Church of Scientology Hannover following an executive meeting in which the company decided it would accept no jobs from the Church of Scientology on the grounds that it would ``damage its reputation.'' o In October 1996, a propaganda event against Scientology occurred in Ottobeuren. The spokesperson for the event identified companies and individuals who she claimed were associated with Scientology and urged the audience to adopt ``sect filters'' in all companies to exclude Scientologists. o In October 1996, a Scientologist received promotion materials from a trade association named AGA. The Association's membership application contains a ``sect filter'' in which the applicant must state that he does not use Scientology principles and has no connections to Scientology. o In September 1996, a Scientologist employed in a Catholic nursery since 1983 was dismissed when she refused to sign a declaration attesting that she neither is a Scientologist nor sympathizes with Scientology. o In September 1996, Gunter Zuhlke, a Scientologist from the area of Dusseldorf, brought an action against the city of Wirges regarding the cancellation of a contract due to his religious beliefs. Mr. Zuhlke was in the process of contracting with the city to buy a house owned by the city. The city council initially agreed to enter into the contract but canceled the contract after the media reported about Mr. Zuhlke's association with the Scientology religion. o In September 1996, the city of Mechernich determined that all persons, companies and offices which provide the city with services of 1000DM per year must sign a ``sect filter'' declaration disavowing any connection to Scientology. o In September 1996, CDU Rhineland Palatinate Chairman Heinz Herman Schnabel, demanded that cities and communities in Rhineland Palatinate pass a decree prohibiting Scientologists from public proselytizing. o In September 1996, the German Postbank--which is owned by the German Government--canceled Scientology organization banking accounts on the grounds that the Postbank's business would suffer from boycotts by other businesses if such accounts were not canceled. o In September 1996, the magazine of the German Police Union, ``German Police,'' published an article informing readers how to ``expose'' Scientologists by forcing potential business partners to sign a declaration attesting that they are not associated with Scientology. The ostracization of Scientologists remains so serious that many businesses not associated with Scientology are forced to publish announcements in newspapers denying that they support or ``sympathize'' with Scientology and warning that anyone who makes such claims will be sued for defamation. These announcements are necessitated because the economic blacklisting and boycotting of Scientologists urged by the Government in every stratum of society results in financial ruin for businesses suspected of hiring or doing business with Scientologists. Indeed, in August 1996, the magazine Die Woche ran a story entitled ``Do Not Buy from Scientology,'' a chilling reminder of similar slogans during the dark days of German history. In May 1997, Warsteiner Brewery published an advertizement in the Hamburg Abendblatt entitled: ``10.000,--DM reward. We fight back. Warsteiner Fights Against Slanderer.'' In the advertizement, the company disavows any connection to Scientology, notes that its business has been damaged through rumors to the contrary, states that all employees have signed affidavits attesting to no connection to Scientology, and puts the public on notice that it will prosecute anyone claiming that the company is ``connected'' to Scientology. Also in May 1997, two other companies, UPT Hans Schuster and Partner and Landmark Education, publicly disavowed any connection to Scientology and provided clients with attestations from anti-Scientology organizations confirming that there was no connection. Likewise, a March 1997 announcement from VFB Association Stuttgart disavowing any connection to Scientology and warning that anyone claiming such a connection would be prosecuted, and a January 1997 press release from the ``Hofbrauhaus Freising'' Brewery stating that ``it has nothing to do with Scientology,'' are illustrative of the climate of intolerance in Germany and the dire economic consequences that occur if one is ``accused'' of being a Scientologist. In January 1997, the newspaper ``Munchner Wochenblatt'' reported that an individual, Walter Jurgen-Haabe, who ran a successful non-profit nursing association named ``Salus'' was incorrectly identified as a Scientologist, resulting in the boycotting of his company and his receipt of anonymous, threatening phone calls due to his supposed connection to Scientology. One of the cardinal principles of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as set forth in ``Basket Three'' of the Helsinki Final Act which the Conference adopted in 1975, is the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief. A logical corollary of this principle is the prohibition against arbitrary and discriminatory government practices directed toward minority religious practice and belief. Exclusionary laws designed to punish members of a religion for their beliefs are manifestly illegal and are universally condemned as a repugnant violation of the most fundamental human rights principles. Yet, in Germany, the blacklisting and boycotting of individuals simply because they choose Scientology as their religion is the officially approved order of the day.
SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Recent Educational ``Enlightenment Campaigns'' In Germany Which Infringe on Fundamental Freedoms of Religious Minorities As the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance noted in the 30 December 1996 Report (E/CN.4/1997/91) submitted to the Commission on Human Rights regarding the Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, education is crucial to developing a culture of tolerance--the school system must be sheltered from any political and ideological interference so that it may serve as the prime means of combatting discrimination and intolerance. The United Nations Human Rights Commission recently incorporated this concept into a Resolution (Resolution 1997/18 of 11 April 1997) which urges States: ``To promote and encourage through the educational system and by other means understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief.'' These cherished principles of tolerance and non-discrimination in education have been turned on their head in Germany. The federal government and state governments have initiated or endorsed ``enlightenment'' programs for teachers, parents, students, police officers, judges, state attorneys, prison officials, health professionals, civil service employees, businesses and chambers of trade and industry in order to indoctrinate and agitate German citizens about the ``dangers'' of Scientology and other minority religions. . The United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern about such ``enlightenment'' programs, recommending that Germany ``discontinue the holding of ``sensitizing'' sessions for judges against the practice of certain designated sects'. Yet, many German states and localities continue to initiate ``enlightenment campaigns'' as part of an official government propaganda effort in educational institutions to ``educate'' children of all ages about the ``dangers'' of Scientology and other targeted minority religions. In addition, the Federal Minister of Family Policy, Claudia Nolte, published inaccurate and inflammatory ``enlightenment'' materials on Scientology and other minority religions and announced that she would ``oppose'' Scientology ``with all the means at my disposal.'' As detailed below, these campaigns continue to operate and have intensified. Schools should be the prime means to fight intolerance, yet in Germany they serve as training grounds for it. This propaganda campaign has severely infringed upon the rights of Scientologists by creating a climate of prejudice toward members of minority religions and by fostering negative stereotypes which are based on uninformed and unscholarly generalizations or anecdotes. This campaign is especially injurious to the rights of children of Scientologists who are pupils in these schools as well as their parents by denigrating their beliefs and by refusing to respect their right to freedom or religion and belief. Children of Scientologists are frequently subject to physical and verbal harassment and shunned as a result of these coercive practices. In 1996, Bavarian schools were ordered to inform pupils of all ages about ``the goals, strategies and operating procedures'' of Scientology and to also inform parents through an event about the Scientology ``problem.'' Headmasters were required to report to the Ministry of Culture regarding the measures taken to implement this campaign. The Bavarian Ministry of Culture provided the information on Scientology to be used to ``enlighten'' students, teachers and parents in the April 1996 issue of ``Schulreport,'' a magazine published by the Ministry of Culture. More than 90,000 copies of this report, which forms the center piece of the ongoing ``enlightenment'' campaign in Bavaria, have been disseminated. A review of this report evidences that no attempt has been made to convey information in an objective, scientific and scholarly manner as required in a democratic society. Instead, the information is replete with false and derogatory information on the religion designed to foster prejudice and intolerance against Scientologists. Activities which are lauded if accomplished by established religions ``such as rehabilitation of drug addicts'' are denounced as attempts at ``infiltration'' if done by the Church of Scientology. The stereotypes fostered in the report are repugnant. Scientologists are depicted as victims of mind control and indoctrination and as mentally inferior human beings and their religious beliefs are derided. The report includes inaccurate, absurd and chilling stereotypes such as ``advising'' that one may identify a Scientologist by such characteristics as sudden weight change, loss of strength or altered beard growth. The report is illustrated by ``comic strip'' pictures drawn by children who already have been ``enlightened'' about the ``dangers'' of Scientology. Typical is the picture series entitled ``Scientology No!'' It depicts a half naked person chained on a rack. The top of his skull is removed with a chainsaw. The brain is washed in a Bosch washing machine and then returned to the person's head. No attempt is made in the report to provide information in a factual and objective manner. Instead, the program is designed to agitate and indoctrinate the children of Bavaria against a minority religion. Rather than fostering a culture of tolerance, it is designed to teach fear and loathing of Scientology and anyone associated with the religion through the dissemination of uniformly derogatory misinformation demonizing Scientologists. This program continues to this day. The effect of ``enlightenment'' programs on children of Scientologists in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and throughout Germany vividly convey the reality of the extreme hostility to Scientologists taught in German schools at the direction of the state. Children of Scientologists in German schools are frequently the targets of harassment and intimidation by their classmates. They are routinely insulted as ``sect swine'' and shunned by other children. Teachers warn classmates that Scientologists are ``criminals'' and ``brainwashed automatons'' bent on ``enslaving'' them. As a result, harassment, estrangement and intimidation have become an everyday occurrence for children who have parents known to be Scientologists. Typical is the campaign of intimidation at the Merz school in Stuttgart directed at a few children of Scientologists who attend the school, where a classmate informed one Scientology child in July 1997 that ``one should bury all Scientologists while they are living.'' Intolerance in all its manifestations has at its root beliefs about the superiority of the prejudiced and the inferiority of the targets of intolerance. The government's intensive and ongoing campaign throughout Germany to ``enlighten'' the public by providing inaccurate, unscientific, and uniformly derogatory information on the Scientology religion and its parishioners amounts to a program of indoctrination fostering a culture of intolerance. A few recent examples of this campaign follow. # These ``enlightenment'' campaigns have a devastating effect on Scientology families. For example, the Keller family has been denounced by name in their village in Bavaria as Scientologists in ``enlightenment evenings'' by ``citizens initiatives'' against Scientology. Their house is referred to in local press as a ``lair'' of Scientologists. The local association for the creation of an adventure playground for children bars Scientologists from its members, requiring a ``sect filter'' declaration from members swearing they are not Scientologists. The Keller children are insulted as ``sect pigs'' in their neighborhood. Their classmates have been warned by teachers that Scientologists are brainwashed, incapable of thinking for themselves and bent on ensnaring others. The family has been isolated and ostracized under the authority of the state due to their religious beliefs and association. The plight of the Kellers is not unique but typical. This is the treatment accorded Scientology children and families in Bavaria. # In July 1997, the Merz school, a private school in Stuttgart, sent a circular to all parents of students urging the parents to sign a ``sect filter'' declaration dissociating themselves from the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. Two hundred parents signed the declaration. Children of parents who did not sign the declaration may no longer attend the school. The school announced that it coordinated this action with the Association of German Private Schools and with the ``Protection of Association Robin Direkt Inc..'' Speakers of the Merz School stated that such action was taken to defend against the school against the rumor that it is ``infiltrated'' by Scientologists. In order to justify these actions, students in the school were ``enlightened'' about the dangers of Scientology. Children from one Scientology family who attended the school were forced out of the school when their parents refused to sign the declaration. # In April 1997, an anti-Scientology ``enlightenment'' event occurred in Wiesbaden organized by local institutions, including the city library and the citizens high school. Speakers included the Hamburg Working Group Scientology Chief and a member of parliament, Karin Wolff. # In February 1997, the Lutheran Church in Rheinland published a biased 84 page booklet entitled: ``Scientology as an Issue in Religious Lessons at School.'' The cover page contains the drawing of an octopus with the Scientology cross on its forehead. This booklet is designed for use in schools to ``enlighten'' the pupils about Scientology and provides instructions to teachers. The author identifies himself as a priest of the Lutheran Church in Rheinland, who writes anonymously. The booklet encourages teachers to invite speakers to provide information regarding the ``dangers'' of Scientology but ``urgently recommends'' not to invite Scientologists to speak about Scientology. # In February 1997, the paper Erdinger Neueste Nachrichten reported that the Parent's Council from Erding invited an anti-Scientology spokesperson to an event in the sport-hall of the basic school Klettham against Scientology. Many parents and teachers attended this event. # In February 1997, the paper Badische Neueste Nachrichten reported that the deputy head of the police in Karlsruhe, Dieter Behnle, held an ``event'' about Scientology entitled ``Scientology a Criminal Organization Infiltrates Economy and Society'' in the Durchach Margraf High School. # In January 1997, the magazine ``Leben und Weg'' published an article calling upon the Ministers of culture in each state to establish a network of ``sect-contact'' teachers to work closely on enlightenment campaigns with ``sect-commissioners.'' # In January 1997, the newspaper Münchner Merkur reported that Ingrid Hein, head of the kindergarten at the city hall in Germering claims she is the ``victim of a witch-hunt'' due to rumors that she is a Scientologist despite the fact that she declared in front of the city that she is not a Scientologist. In order to prove that she has no connection to Scientology, she invited the public to an event attended by 200 parents of school children where speakers ``enlightened'' the public on the dangers of Scientology. # In May 1997, a demonstration against Scientology was organized by the Initiative of the Montessori Parents and promoted by the Ministry of Culture of Bavaria. Posters for the Anti-Scientology event and flyers rife with false and derogatory information on Scientology were prominently placed in Bavarian schools and pupils were encouraged to attend. These posters and leaflets claimed that Scientologists wanted to rule the world through manipulation and called for an end to ``undue intolerance'' toward Scientology in Germany. The Headmaster of one school attended by Scientology children encouraged the distribution of these posters and flyers and the promotion of this event. The event was attended by a large number of school pupils, younger children and their parents and a few teachers. Some of the demonstrators carried small signs stating ``Bavaria in the hands of the Scientologists--no thank you'' and Scientology: ``men despising cartel of suppression.'' Participants were provided black balloons with the message ``Scientology ugly--Dianetics poison.'' A sticker stating: "Warning -- danger -- Scientology may endanger your personality'' was also circulated. A speaker for the Montessori Parent Initiative thanked the police union for financing the placards for the event. Some teachers discussed the ``dangers'' of Scientology in their classrooms prior to the event, and one teacher even showed an anti-Scientology video to students before the event. Children of Scientologists who attended the school were ostracized and vilified as a result of these actions. # In November 1996, the regional Government of Bondenseekreis in Baden-Württemberg issued copies of an inaccurate and exceptionally inflammatory booklet on Scientology to all kindergartens in its region. # In April 1997, the paper Seehaupter Dorfzeitung reported that the parent's council of the basic school plans an ``enlightenment event'' about ``sects.'' # In November 1996 the child of a Scientologist was insulted by his classmates as a ``sect pig'' after his teacher briefed his class that the child's mother is a Scientologist and that Scientology is a criminal association. # The oppressive atmosphere in German schools and the desire to allow their children to be educated in an environment of tolerance has led some Scientologists to establish a private boarding school across the border in Denmark. In October 1996, in order to assure that children of Scientologists do not attend German language schools in Denmark, the German language newspaper in Denmark, Nordschleswiger reported that the German School and Language-Association for Nordschleswig (DSSV) in Apenrade (Denmark) determined that no children of Scientologists may be accepted in its institutions. This exclusionary ruling occurred after the head of the ``Working Group Scientology'' in Hamburg, Ursula Caberta, criticized the attendance of Scientology children in the Denmark school and after the Hamburg school authority threatened to penalize parents unless their children were returned to schools in Germany. # In September 1996, the paper Ratinger Wochenblatt reported under the headline: ``Enlightenment about Scientology'' that the Board of the city of Ratingen decided to initiate an ``enlightenment program'' about Scientology targeting teachers and pupils from Ratingen. The program will consist of information provided by ``sect experts'' about the ``dangers and methods of this criminal association.'' # In June 1997, the Youth Office for the Landkreis located in Tolz-Wolfratshausen distributed a circular to all kindergartens and day nurseries in the Landkreis. This circular was also distributed to the public by ``Montessori Parents'' in Munich. The circular included ``warnings'' about the ``dangers'' of Scientology provided by the Bavarian State Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Women and Health. The circular falsely implied that the religion attempted to convert children by offering solutions to educational problems. The kindergartens were asked to alert their staff about the danger of Scientology. The ongoing ``enlightenment'' campaign against Scientology and other targeted minority religions amounts to the pursuit of an indoctrination program which does not respect parents' religious and philosophical convictions. This campaign is extremely injurious to the rights of children of Scientologists who are pupils in these schools as well as their parents by denigrating their beliefs and by refusing to respect their right to freedom or religion and belief. An educational program which does not convey information in a neutral, objective, scholarly and pluralistic manner has no proper place in a democracy. Education should be the essential means of combatting discrimination and intolerance; it should not be turned into a training ground for it. The ``enlightenment'' programs throughout Germany represent a flagrant violation of the right to freedom from discrimination in education articulated in Article 5 of the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (Declaration). Article 5 (1) provides that parents ``have the right to organize the life within the family in accordance with their religion or belief and bearing in mind the moral education in which they believe the child should be brought up'; Article 5 (3) provides that the ``child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief'' and that he ``shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, [and] respect for freedom of religion or belief of others . . .'' It is absolutely crucial to the effective exercise of the rights articulated in Article 5 of the Declaration that any school programs provide factual and objective information which conveys tolerance and respect for minority beliefs. Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also protects the right of parents freely to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own conviction. Moreover, these programs directly contravene the principles of non-discrimination in education explicitly articulated in UNESCO's Convention Against Discrimination in Education and the requirement articulated in Article 14 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child that States respect the right of children to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Finally, in OSCE meetings of the Conference On The Human Dimension, participating states have reaffirmed their commitment to protecting minority human rights ``as an essential factor for peace, justice, stability and democracy'' and have condemned ``all manifestations of xenophobia and discrimination against anyone, as well as persecution on religious and ideological grounds.'' (Copenhagen Document, Para. 3040.7). These instruments establish the right of an individual to have a religion or belief of personal choice and the right, in community with others, to manifest this religion or belief in worship or practice--a right to which all persons, including religious minorities, have a moral claim. Yet, the German Government is flagrantly violating these cherished principles of non-discrimination in education, directly infringing upon the fundamental human rights of children of Scientologists and their parents throughout Germany.
Ref Pol 65 1. 00
Washington, September 16, 1997
Senator Alfonse D'Amato,
Chairman, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6460
Dear Senator D'Amato:
Thank you very much for your letter dated August 25, inviting a representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to testify at the public hearing ``Emerging Intolerance in the Federal Republic of Germany,'' to be held by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on September 18. I am also aware that my deputy, Mr. Thomas Matussek, has received a letter, dated September 9, from Mr. Hathaway, Chief of Staff of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, explaining that the scope of the hearing has now been changed.
Please understand that an official representative of Germany cannot, on principle, testify before the Commission. As you may know, I have proposed on several occasions to meet individually with various Members of Congress to explain Germany's approach to the Scientology organization. While none of your colleagues expressed an interest in an exchange of views, I would be glad to renew my offer.
In the meantime, I enclose a background paper outlining the German position on the Scientology organization. The Commission staff has already been supplied with a copy.
Scientology and Germany
Since October 1996 the Church of Scientology has waged an aggressive campaign against Germany. Using full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post, the Scientology organization has compared the treatment of Scientologists in present-day Germany with that of the Jews under the Nazi regime. This is not only a distortion of the facts, but also an insult to the victims of the Holocaust. Officials in Germany and the U.S. have repeatedly spoken out against this blatant misuse of the Holocaust. Ignatz Bubis, Germany's top Jewish leader, denounced the comparison as ``false'' and most recently, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns at a press briefing on June 6, 1997 said:
``Germany needs to be protected, the German Government and the German leadership need to be protected from this wild charge made by the Church of Scientology in the U.S. that somehow the treatment of Scientologists in Germany can or should be compared to the treatment of Jews who had to live, and who ultimately perished, under Nazi rule in the 1930s. This wildly inaccurate comparison is most unfair to Chancellor Kohl and to his government and to regional governments and city governments throughout Germany. It has been made consistently by supporters of Scientology here in the United States, and by Scientologists themselves. I do want to disassociate the U.S. Government from this campaign. We reject this campaign. It is most unfair to Germany and to Germans in general.''
After having conducted thorough studies on the Scientology organization, the Federal Government has come to the conclusion that the organization's pseudo-scientific courses can seriously jeopardize individuals' mental and physical health and that it exploits its members. Expert testimony and credible reports have confirmed that membership can lead to psychological and physical dependency, to financial ruin and even to suicide.
In addition, there are indications that Scientology poses a threat to Germany's basic political principles. Because of its experiences during the Nazi regime, Germany feels a special responsibility to monitor the development of any extreme group within its borders. German society is particularly alert towards radicalism of any kind and has set stiff standards for itself when dealing with aggressive, extreme groups - even when the groups are small in number.
Every citizen in Germany has the right to challenge the legality of government decisions which affect him or her, in an independent court. The Scientology organization has made ample use of its right to go to court in Germany and will continue to do so. Up until now, no court has found that the basic and human rights of Scientology members have been violated.
Is Scientology a Threat?
According to a decision of March 22, 1995, by the Federal Labor Court, Scientology utilizes ``inhuman and totalitarian practices.'' Often members are separated from their families and friends. The organization is structured so as to make the individual psychologically and financially dependent on a Scientology system. There are cases of the Scientology organization using this system of control and assertion of absolute authority to exercise undue influence in certain economic sectors--particularly in personnel and management training--causing serious harm to some individuals. In response to the growing number of letters from concerned parents and family members,particularly from those with relatives in Scientology, the German Parliament (Bundestag) established an investigative commission which will present a report on the activities of ``sects and psycho-cults'' in the course of the year 1997.
In the United States, two legal cases involving Scientology support the German Federal Government's concerns about the organization. In the early 1980s, 11 top Scientologists were convicted in the United States for plotting to plant spies in federal agencies, break into government offices and bug at least one IRS meeting. Referring to Scientology's battle with the IRS for tax-exempt status, The New York Times in a front-page article published March 9,1997
``found that the (tax) exemption followed a series of unusual internal IRS actions that came after an extraordinary campaign orchestrated by Scientology against the agency and people who work there. Among the findings ... were these: Scientology's lawyers hired private investigators to dig into the private lives of IRS officials and to conduct surveillance operations to uncover potential vulnerabilities.''In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a California court's finding of substantial evidence that Scientology practices took place in a coercive environment and rejected Scientology's claims that the practices were protected under religious freedom guaranties.
In other countries, too, the Scientology organization is increasingly seen with great concern.In France, a government commission led by Prime Minister Juppé, and charged with monitoring the activities of sects, convened its first meeting in mid-November 1996. On November 22, 1996, in Lyon, several leading Scientologists were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and fraud in a case where methods taught by Scientology were found to have driven a person to suicide.
In Italy during December 1996, an Italian court ordered jail terms for 29 Scientologists found guilty of ``criminal association.''
In Greece, a judge declared in January 1997 that an Athens Scientology group was illegal after ruling that the group had used false pretenses to obtain an operating license.
Some of the German states have taken steps to protect their citizens against Scientology:
As of November 1, 1996, all applicants for admission to Bavarian public service and Bavarian public service employees must indicate whether they belong to the Scientology organization. Membership in Scientology alone does not automatically exclude individuals from public service.
The Scientology Public Relations Campaign Against Germany
The Scientology organization has financed several highly visible public relations campaigns directed against the Federal Republic of Germany in American publications. Among the papers that have carried full-page ads in the last couple of years are the New York Times, the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. In addition, the International Herald Tribune published a controversial open letter to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The Scientology organization has also distributed pamphlets such as "The Rise of Hatred and Violence in Germany", reiterating its allegations.
The open letter to Chancellor Kohl, written by a Hollywood lawyer with famous Scientology clients, appeared in early 1997in the International Herald Tribune. The letter repeated Scientology organization assertions against Germany and was signed by 34 American celebrities. ``Disgraceful and irresponsible" is how Michel Friedman, a member of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, described the letter. He added: ``It's totally off the mark. Today, we have a democracy and a state based on the rule of law.''
Following the letter, the U.S. State Department again criticized the Scientologists' public relations campaign, saying, ``we have advised the Scientology community not to run those ads because the German government is a democratic government and it governs a free people. And it is simply outrageous to compare the current German leadership to the Nazi-era leadership. We've told the Scientologists this, and in this sense we share the outrage of many Germans to see their government compared to the Nazis.''
Are the Cases in the Ads True?
The Scientologists' repeated allegations that artists belonging to Scientology are being discriminated against in Germany are false. Freedom of artistic expression is guaranteed in Article 5 (3) of the German Basic Law (Germany's Constitution), thus artists are free to perform or exhibit in Germany anywhere they please. Jazz pianist Chick Corea performed in Germany as recently as March 24, 1996, during the 27th International Jazz Week held in Burghausen, an event which received approximately $10,000 in funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Culture.
``Mission Impossible,'' starring Tom Cruise, was a hit in Germany, grossing $23.6 million.
Likewise, the Scientologists' claim that a teacher who taught near the city of Hanover was fired for her beliefs is untrue. The woman was not fired, though she repeatedly violated school regulations by using the classroom to recruit students and their parents to Scientology. After multiple warnings, the woman was transferred from classroom to administrative duties to prevent further violations.
Contrary to allegations that Scientologists' children have been prevented from attending school, all children in Germany, including Scientologists', are legally required to attend school. If a Scientologist's child is not enrolled in a German school, it can only be that the parent has pulled the child out.