Sunday, December 23, 2007

Smug

Well, I suppose I'm just looking for good news after reading that Texas is considering offering scientific degrees in Creationism - so does this count?
Germany’s interior minister called the Church of Scientology "an unconstitutional organization" and said the nation is seeking to ban the group.

Let's dig around the web and see iwhat we can find...

"...To explain the furious hostility between Germany and the Church of Scientology, German officials might point to the story of a young man from Braunschweig named Juergen Behrndt.
Shortly before his graduation from technical school in 1989, Behrndt received an offer of free career counseling in a brochure from an employment agent in Hamburg. But the man turned out to be a Scientologist recruiter, and instead of employment advice, he gave Behrndt a copy of the Scientologists' Bible, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Then a woman from the Scientologists' Hamburg office began calling, Behrndt said, and pressuring him to take a 200-question personality test.

He did, beginning a six-year membership with the group, an endless series of "audits" of his mental health and classes to "stabilize" his mind. "When things went well, I paid ever-more money out of my pocket," Behrndt recalled. "When things went poorly, I was insulted and rebuked." In Behrndt's first year of membership, Scientology officials visited his parents with him seeking a DM 75,000 ($50,250) loan toward his activities. By the time he broke from the group in 1995, Behrndt had spent some DM 200,000 ($134,000), was unemployed and emotionally ravaged: "Many days I saw no reason to even get up."

This article from German Life goes on to explain that:

"Scientology sprouted in America in the 1950s. L. Ron Hubbard, a moderately successful science fiction author, founded the group and wrote Dianetics and other books that outline his principles. Scientologists believe that an intergalactic holocaust 75 million years ago caused mankind's spiritual problems. They perform "audits" of their members' mental states and offer expensive remedies in the form of counseling and self-improvement courses."

To me, Scientology has always been a scam sect featuring movie stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Of course, to me, Mormanism is also a sect featuring Donny Osmond and the Morman Tabernacle Choir. A choice between bad movies and even worse music.

And even more interesting is this:

"There are three notable American court cases involving Scientology that illustrate why Germany's concerns about this organization are justified. In the early 1980s, American courts convicted 11 top Scientologists for plotting to plant spies in federal agencies, break into government offices and bug at least one IRS meeting. In 1994, in a case involving Lawrence Wollersheim, 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 September 1997, the Illinois Supreme Court found there was evidence enough to allege that Scientology had driven the Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy by filing 21 lawsuits in a 17-month period. The court stated that "such a sustained onslaught of litigation can hardly be deemed 'ordinary', if [the Network] can prove that the actions were brought without probable cause and with malice."

In addition, a New York Times article on March 9, 1997, outlined "an extraordinary campaign orchestrated by Scientology against the [IRS] 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." A related New York Times article on December 1, 1997, added that earlier IRS refusals to grant tax exemption "had been upheld by every court." (On December 30, 1997, a Wall Street Journal article outlined details of the $12.5 million tax settlement between the IRS and Scientology, including the Scientology agreement to drop thousands of lawsuits against the IRS.)

On December 1, 1997, a New York Times article described Scientology records seized in an FBI raid on church offices that prove "that Scientology had come to Clearwater with a written plan to take control of the city. Government and community organizations were infiltrated by Scientology members. Plans were undertaken to discredit and silence critics. A fake hit-and-run accident was staged in 1976 to try to ruin the political career of the mayor. A Scientologist infiltrated the local newspaper and reported on the paper's plans to her handlers." A related Times article also on Dec. 1, 1997, reported on a criminal investigation into Scientology's role in a member's death in Clearwater, Florida. In November 1998, the responsible State Attorney charged Scientology's Flag Service Organization with abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license.

Given this background, Germany, as well as Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Israel and Mexico, remain unconvinced that Scientology is a religion. "
(The above lifted from here)

Now, ever since a Hari Krishna stuck a pin in my back because I kicked her out of the store where I was working, I've been against any sort of sect. I also chased the Hari Krishna down the street and would have pounded her if I hadn't been hampered by my sarong falling down.

4 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

Scientology is not above death threats - I've witnessed a case among my colleagues at university. And most Germans are really angry that Cruise was chosen to play Stauffenberg in the movie.

I'm all for freedom of speech, belief and the whole stuff, but people should be protected from the shifty practics of Scientology.

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty scary sect. And I don't equate it with any type of religion.
You'll have to let me know what the court decides abount banning it in Germany. We can have a party.
:-)

Sam

Travis Erwin said...

Okay I realize this is a serous post and I in fact learned several things that I was unaware of, but then again, I've got issues with all organized religion and these kind of sects and things only increase that skepticism.

Having said all that the scene you set at the end ...

Now, ever since a Hari Krishna stuck a pin in my back because I kicked her out of the store where I was working, I've been against any sort of sect. I also chased the Hari Krishna down the street and would have pounded her if I hadn't been hampered by my sarong falling down.

... Had me laughing. I can see that as a hialrious scene ina novel.

Wynn Bexton said...

These sects can be as dangerous as any other fundamentalists can be. And
Scientology, to me, is NOT a 'religion' but a cult, like the Mormons. Interesting post and I learned stuff I didn't know before.