Whatever you think about Scientology, you have to wonder about the Church’s treatment by the German state.
In December, Germany’s interior ministers said they considered the religion to be “not compatible with the constitution.” Yesterday, an AP story reported that the German Scientologists have dropped a legal battle to keep the country’s intelligence services from monitoring its activities. What is Germany so afraid of?
German officials have categorized Scientology as a business, not a religion, and tax accordingly. Scientology has responded by complaining about “religious discrimination.”
The AP reports that “The North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court in Muenster refused last month to hear an appeal to a February ruling allowing the intelligence agencies to continue observing the Scientologists.
German authorities suspect Scientology of maintaining ”ambitions against the free, democratic basic order,” according to the February ruling.
The Church of Scientology has long battled to end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of freedom of religion, and the U.S. State Department regularly criticizes Germany for the practice in its annual Human Rights Report.
Germany’s top security officials reiterated in December that they consider Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation’s constitution. They asked state officials to begin gathering information to consider whether they have sufficient grounds to seek a ban on Scientology.”
Ban Scientology? Doesn’t that seem kind of extreme? They are a religion largely focused on self-improvement. While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.