n the past few years, the German federal and state governments have taken a series of comprehensive actions designed to create a climate of hate against Scientologists in Germany and to socially ostracize Scientologists while stripping them of their fundamental religious and civil rights. These measures have been publicly endorsed by numerous officials who have declared their intention to “make Germany clear from Scientology.”87 The chilling words of one politician, Susanne Eisenmann, Member of the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg, have been echoed in parliaments throughout Germany: “We need an all-out social ostracism of the Scientology sect. This has not been achieved yet: the road to that goal is still far.”88
The following represent examples of the type of discriminatory measures taken.
Call for a Nationwide Ban of the Religion
As the German government has implemented a policy of refusing to meet and enter into a dialogue with Church officials, Scientologists have been compelled to take their case to the public through public service messages in the New York Times and Washington Post alerting the international community about the systemic violations of the fundamental rights of Scientology parishioners and other religious and ethnic minorities in Germany.
Rather than acknowledge the need for dialogue or that a human rights problem exists, the German government instead has chosen to retaliate against the Church and German parishioners for having the temerity to stand up for their rights.
In October 1994, leading officials in the German government and the Social Democratic Party, including the Federal Minister of Labor, joined together to publicly denounce the Church for expressing its concern about human rights violations in these messages and to call for the religion to be banned in Germany.89 Federal Member of Parliament and SPD “sect” spokesperson Renate Rennebach demanded that the newly elected German government “should put the group under surveillance”90 and Johannes Gerstner of the Christian Democratic Union called for the use of undercover agents to infiltrate the Church.91 In addition, the SPD called for the appointment of a Federal Sect Expert to initiate procedures designed to outlaw Scientology in Germany.92
In January 1996, the Federal Minister for Family, Elderly, Women and Youth, Claudia Nolte, publicly called for surveillance of Scientology organizations and promised to “oppose the Scientology organization with all the means at my disposal.”93
The Ministry of Culture of Baden-Württemberg publicly called for a nationwide prohibition of the religion in retaliation for the Church’s public service messages.
In October 1995, the Bavarian government demanded a nationwide ban of the religion and issued a “twelve point guideline” to stop the spread of the religion in Germany.94 Also in October 1995, the CDU State Parliament Fraction Chairman publicly called for a prohibition of Scientology and government action to “put a stop to the game.”95
These actions in retaliation for Scientologists’ exercise of their rights guaranteed by the international human rights covenants, including the guarantees of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to (1) freedom of expression, (2) freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, through any media, and (3) freedom to hold opinions without interference, prove the Church’s point.
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