Where most people are indifferent, if not amused by the lot, Germans really do not like scientologists. A few years ago, the state went on the offensive when it was reported that Tom Cruise was supposed to play a Hitler assassin.
This week, a TV-movie will air on German television, based on the true story of a former Scientologist.
For years, Scientology has been considered a business rather than a religion, and whose members’ activities are monitored by German domestic intelligence agencies.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which monitors activities by the Church of Scientology in Germany, still considers the organization to be as danger as ever. In a 2004 ruling, an administrative court in Cologne ruled that there was good reason to “monitor” the organization “especially using the methods of the intelligence services.”
The US media, which is normally hostile towards the Scientologists, have been consistently supportive of the Church over its treatment in Germany, which it claimed discriminatory. But back in 1997, an open letter from a slew of celebrities (including the most famous ones, Cruise, Travolta, to Goldie Hawn and Oliver Stone) to the German Chancellor drawing comparisons between the government’s hostile attitudes towards Scientology and the Nazi party. Needless to say, it did not go over too well with the Germans, nor with the State Department.
End of the day, the Germans are still working through the process to determine whether Scientology is working under the pretense of a religion, when it is really a business seeking tax-exempt status. Unlike most other states that goes about it quietly, the German government goes after the organization with zeal. That’s pretty nervy.