1. Is scientology a religion in Germany ?
Clearly not. But for a full answer to that, the best is to show what
status real religions have:
a) Corporation of public right "Körperschaft des Öffentlichen Rechts"
This is the highest status a religion can have; according to the JWs who are suing to get it, there are already 30 minority religions who do have that status. It requires that a community exists for a significant amount of time and has a significant amount of members, and that it is stable. The co$ once made a call for "10,000 IAS lifetime members" in the hope to get that status. I have no indication whether they were able to reach their goal.
b) Corporation for the public benefit "Gemeinnütziger Verein"
This status is rather easy to get and is analog to IRS 501c3 but requires honest bookkeeping. It is a non-profit community that delivers something for the public. This can be religious, charitable or educational. While it may be that scientology orgs had that status decades ago, I do not know any that has it today.
c) Be seen as religion by the courts
Although scientology has won some cases in courts, the record today does not look very good for them. Most famous is the decision of the labor court telling that they are *not* a religion.
2. Under what status does scientology operate in
Mostly as non-profit community "Eingetragener Verein". Easy to register
- you just need seven people and a notary who makes the core contract
"Satzung". You can have almost everything in it, from rabbit breeders to
foot fetishists. It rather very difficult to force the deregistration of
such a community, but city officials have successfully prevented
scientologists to register new communities, or have forced communities
to register their book and course sales through a separate, for-profit
entity. The most successful was Hamburg who won a court case all the way
up to the federal administrative court (see legal part). Other cities
have won too; in some cities, scientology has even agreed to register
their business as such and has withdrawn lawsuits.
3. How is scientology doing in german courts?
a) Analysis of scientology's point of view
Scientology alleges that there are "25" (last winter) or "30" (last summer) german court decisions saying that "scientology is a religion". I have waited to receive them for over a year. I asked publicly for exact court reference numbers, for description of the litigation, and for names of the parties involved, and whether the decisions are final. No answer.
I am particularly interested in the 1985 decision about Karl-Friedrich Munz. The court reference number mentioned is the FAX number of the court. Nevertheless, I was able to find the court decision number (it was printed in a small photo in "Freiheit", where they claimed it was a 1995 decision). I called the court. The clerk was very helpful, and called me back later to tell me that the decision had been routinely destroyed long ago, as is always done with "Ordnungswidrigkeiten" (minor non-cirminal cases, like false parking).
The description of the web page of Leisa Goodman is misleading. through matching with an excerpt posted by another scientologist (Andrew Milne) it came out what I assumed: Lie-sa had printed the self-description of scientology that was mentioned by the court as such. I have still to see that court decision.
In "Freiheit" the scientologists are also misrepresenting decisions, e.g. they claim that the federal administrative court confirmed the religious character of scientology. This is a 100% lie - the court left it open.
b) Analysis of what's actually happening
Scientology and Scientologists have both lost and won court cases.
They have won court cases against writer Renate Hartwig who had to change her book at least twice; won the right to distribute "Freedom" on the streets (because it is both commercial and opinion) in Hamburg; won against being forced out of non-profit status in Stuttgart; won against being denied to run an au-pair service; won in 1988 the right to distribute material in Berlin (now no longer applicable); won an injunction against distribution of a publication in Hamburg.
The have lost a lot more, like being forced to register a commercial business in Hamburg; forced to repay course fees; forced to return a "freeloader bill"; being declared as "not a religion" (this is the "labor court decision"); denied an injunction against strong-worded statements by a Minister; being prohibited to recruit on the streets of Stuttgart; denied an injunction against information in schools; fined for insulting a reverend in writing.
4. What's the meaning of legal precedents in german
(I am not an attorney. German attorneys - please check this!!!!!)
It is much, much less significant than in UK or US courts. On the lowest level, each court decides for itself, although it will usually not contradict a decision by the higher court in the state, since he would look foolish on appeal.
On the middle level (OLG / OVG), courts can still rule differently than courts on the same level. They will or will not allow review by the federal court. Review is allowed if a) the issue is an important law question or b) the court ruled differently than the federal court. If review is not allowed, a party can "complain" about not being allowed and the federal court will decide on the complaint. If review is allowed, the federal court will look at the court papers and analyse them. There is usually just a short hearing; there is not much the two parties can do. The federal court will then upheld the decision or send it back for retrial.
It is important to understand that precedents are usually not binding - they *can* be mentioned. They are used rather as a help for the court, who can read them and see if they can be reused.
It is also possible to complain to the constitutional court (BVerfG), if a party alleges that a decision or a law violates the german constitution. The court often refuses to hear cases, sometimes without comment, sometimes with the comment that ordinary courts haven't been used, sometimes others. Scientology once lost a case there in which the constitutional court ruled that offering personality tests is a "missionary activity" and not "practice of religion".
5. How is scientology reacting about the labor court decision
That is the decision saying that scientology is not a religion. It was a
devastating loss for scientology.
a) "We weren't heard"
This was said by Franz Riedl on one TV show, and is a blatant lie.
b) "We were heard but they didn't accept our documents"
This was said by Andrew Milne. The court got scientology's own books; about the half of the very long court decision are scientology texts.
c) "We heard about the decision from the press"
This is true, but not unusual at all. The courts do this very often, and it often leads to the result of the loser saying "I cannot comment, I do not have the written decision yet".
d) "The court was biased"
Means "we lost but we can't behave like adults"
e) "The court ignored lower decisions"
This is 1. not true (some lower decisions did say that scientology is not a religion), 2. not unusual since higher courts sometimes overturn lower court decisions.
f) "It is the result of enlightment campaigns directed at judges and state attorneys"
This remark is unlogical and probably a blatant lie. If the judge was present at such a seminar, then the scientologists could have filed a motion to force the judge(s) to step down. Scientology has not alleged this! Scientology has also never alleged that a judge did attend such a seminar.
g) "It's not over and we will appeal to the european court"
It is now more than a year ago and nothing has happened. It *is* over. They cannot appeal. They could have gone to the federal constitution court; this hasn't been done. The european court can be called only by the german court, if one of the parties convinces the court that it is in contradiction with european law.
6. What about the "InSects" booklet ?
This booklet was printed by the youth organization "JU" of the CDU,
which is the main ruling party. It is *not* a government booklet. The JU
has no real influence on the party, and certainly not on the government.
The JU (and the JUSOS, which is the organization of the social
democratic party) is rather a playground for the juniors. The cover has
flies and a fly swatter. I have now received confirmation that this
booklet 1. exists, 2. is considered to be "dumb" by two anti-cultists I
7. What's going on with "Chick" Corea?
a) Is he banned in Germany?
Mr. Corea is not "banned". A few years ago, he was refused state subsidies in Stuttgart, and business talks between the state-hired agent and his agent were stopped, after the state learned that he promotes scientology.
He can play in Germany as often as he wants. He just has to sell tickets and/or to find non-state sponsors.
He sued the state of Baden-Württemberg, lost, and lost again on appeal.
b) Is he a recruiter for scientology?
Statement in Impact #12, p.20:
"I have some personal policies as a performer. I consider it's my job to audit an audience."
About acknowledging Ron in his records:
"But many Scientologists and even Sea Org members have told me that it is because of that simple action that they are now Scientologists."
c) What was going on in Hessen?
Hessen is a german state. Scientology alleges that "Chick" was forced to sign a contract forbidding him to proselytize, or being forced to pay a huge amount of money in the case he violates that agreement. Scientology alleges that "Chick" never proselytizes in concerts. So - what's the point? It shouldn't be a problem to sign something forbidding an activity that he never does.
8. Hasn't a criminal investigation on the co$ been
Yes, the Hamburg investigation relating to §129 ("Founding a criminal
organization"). Other investigations are still going on. I have been
told that the §129 was *never* used successfully against *any* criminal
organization in Germany - instead, individuals were prosecuted. (This
allegation has not yet been confirmed or disproved).
The prosecutor writes:
"Finding evidence of criminality-intended and with the values of the constitution law incompatible structures of a majority of people doesn't mean at the same time the existence of a criminal organization as in §129. The condition for this are concrete indications that a long-term and rigid organized group of people have decided to plan and commit crimes, and this with the knowledge of being in an organized group. It is not enough if committing crimes is just a purpose or an occupation of lower meaning. It is also not enough if only single members commit crimes."
Investigations about the suspicion of tax or economic crimes were separated and investigated in the appropriate departments of the state attorney. The interior ministry has issued a lengthy statement to the attorney general and has asked for a re-opening of the investigation.
(The above from Caberta's report on scientology)
9. Were any scientologists sent to jail?
Yes. Detlef Foullois and Karl-Eric Heilig in 1993 for tax evasion. They
were "Patron Gold Meritorious".
10. How many scientology members are there in
For years, the "official" number was "300,000". But in the last years,
the "official" number given by the scientologists is "30,000". I do not
know how they come to that number.
The german scientology organization is financially the second biggest in the world, seen by the count of "Patrons" in IMPACT magazine.
11. Any links between Scientology and
a) Tom Marcellus
He was director of the Holocaust denying "Institute for Historical Review" for over a decade (this stopped 1995), and is also "Patron" of the IAS, which means he has donated $40,000. In 1995 he had a dispute with Willis Carto, the finance guy there, involving whether they would discuss Holocaust denial or other (hateful) topics. It resulted in Carto being thrown out. Marcellus left after his role was discussed in a german radio programme (may or may not be related).
"Freiheit" printed this (translated):
On his own initiative scientologist Tom Marcellus organised a movement against Willis Carto and threw this extremist out of an organization named Institute for Historical Review, after he had discovered that this institute, that claimed to have been founded to correct historical mistakes, was in fact being used by Carto to propagate the Auschwitz-lie. But Carto is still controlling the Liberty Lobby and The Spotlight.
But let's hear Marcellus himself, when he speaks about the Mermelstein litigation: http://web.kaiwan.com/~ihrgreg/jhr/v14n1p25_Okeefe.html
2.The IHR did not accept or in any way agree with Judge Johnson's ridiculous 1981 "judicial notice" that Jews were "in fact" exterminated in "gas chambers" at Auschwitz.
3.The IHR has not retreated one inch from its well-known position that there is no credible evidence to support the theory that Germans allegedly used homicidal poison gas chambers to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
b) Fletcher Prouty
Not a scientologist but a so-called "expert witness" who supported scientology in at least one trial, and who has also connections with Marcellus and Carto.
Prouty's topic at the opening session of the 1990 Liberty Lobby Convention was "The Secret Team." The new Institute for Historical Review's Noontide Press edition of Prouty's book "The Secret Team" was released at the Liberty Lobby conference. Prouty assured the audience it was an "enormous privilege" to have his book republished by the Institute for Historical Review, a group, Prouty claimed, that keeps people "from revising history." Prouty thanked Willis Carto and Tom Marcellus of IHR for the "guts and good sense" to republish his book.
See more on prouty here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/prouty.htm Prouty was an advisor on the JFK film and was the model for the film's character "Mr. X."
12. Does scientology get money thru real-estate deals of its
Scientologists in Hamburg and Germany have made money through the
condo-conversion business. The following is translated from Caberta's
report, it is a letter from the famous Hamburg realtor Götz Brase to his
"You have really wonderfully fulfilled the purpose of the company, by succeeding to produce a highest-ever for the most important stat of the company just for RON's birthday: sold apartments. 22 housing units were sold in one week, and a highest-ever in the form of 23 reservations was accomplished. Besides this, one [Interest- ????] house with 72 housing units was sold and another with 74 housing units was bought. We have always found out that the result of our performance is our team spirit and our purpose [I know this sentence sounds unlogical - it is so in the original text].
With each week, in which we sell more than 20 housing units, we get one step closer to our target, to finance a new org building."
13. Were children expelled out of Kindergartens?
This has been alleged by scientology. MP Renate Rennebach's office has
investigated one allegation that two girls had been expelled from a
Kindergarten. It was a lie. The girls did exist. One was _not_admitted_
to a private protestant Kindergarten; the second attends classes there,
she's the friend of the first. But a foto with both little girls was
printed in "Freiheit", probably without permission.
(In German here: http://www.spdfrak.de/w3archiv/archiv13/prm/95/fp951365.html )
What scientology is really mad about is that there were not able to start scientology schools.
14. Why is Germany more attacked by scientology than other
One should assume that other countries where scientology is in trouble
(Sweden, Greece, Russia, France, Spain) would also be attacked. The
reasons are the following, in my opinion:
15. Who is Ursula Caberta?
The head of the "scientology task force" in the Hamburg interior
department. She is enemy #1 for scientology in Germany. Scientology's
Mike Rinder called her a "Modern day Goebbels".
Behörde für Inneres beim Senat der Hansestadt Hamburg
16. Who is Wiebke Hansen?
The former head of the Hamburg org. She was removed in 1995 and is
missing. She is said to be in the US to "deepen her studies". Others
believe that she forged statistics to make it appear as if the Hamburg
org is successful. Scientology denies this.
17. What are the human rights violations against
Gisela Hackenjos, spokesperson for scientology, in an interview with
"taz" on 24.10.96:
Q: "Do you consider statements critical about scientology to be human rights violations?"
A: "Yes, of course"
18. Does scientology own a german beer company?
No. That beer company was hurt by this baseless rumor and issued a very
strong-worded denial in newspaper ads. The rumor has now mostly died
19. Are there similarities between pictures in the SS magazine
"Der Stürmer" and german newspapers?
Yes, for example the Octopus has been used by both. This has two
The question is not whether a german newspaper, or "Der Stürmer", or scientology itself (e.g. against psychiatry) has used these pictures, the question is whether its use is according to the facts. A german court ruled that scientology may be called an "octopus", based on scientology's own documents.
20. Can "Xena Warrior Princess" be seen in Germany ?
Yes, Sunday 17:00 on RTL. Enjoy.
21. Did the State Department mention Germany
Yes, in their human rights report. These reports are written every year
for many countries, except for the US. The report basically says that
scientologists complain a lot, and gives examples.
1993: gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu:70/0F-1%3a6197%3aGermany (5 lines)
1994: gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu:70/0F-1%3a6428%3aGermany (8 lines)
1995: gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu:70/0F-1%3a23328%3aGermany (15 lines)
The last report, for the first time, mentions that scientology is considered a *business* here. Scientology likes to "..." this when quoting from the report.
22. Did a UN report mention Germany negatively?
No. It was a report *to* the UN, by Prof. Abdelfattah Amor, the special
rapporteur for human rights.
Most are generalities or twisting of facts. For example, the "Volksfürsorge" is not a public institution - it is a private insurance (this error is not in the german version of the document). Much is not very detailed and gives room to interpretation. The source seems to be the scientologists themselves, and Prof. Amor has simply written it all down.
I have a copy of the 1995 report to the UN (document number E/CN.4/1996/95). In the english version, Germany is mentioned with two lines on page 9 (mentions that allegations of attacks have been brought by scientology and by the church of universal life), and on page 11 (4 lines, mentioning the feedback received).
The four lines are in a larger paragraph mentioning letters received.
Germany (legislation guaranteeing freedom of religion; non-recognition of Scientology as a religious community, in particular pursuant by the Federal Labour Court on the commercial aim of Scientology; no discrimination against it)
I have been told that Prof. Amor's paper budget was reduced, therefore he was only allowed to bring summaries in the 1995 report.
The german government has answered both reports. The answers can be classified like this:
23. Did the OSCE mention Germany negatively?
Yes. You can find the article in an impossible format ("common ground")
It contains 18 lines dealing with the Chick Corea "incident". That report was later retracted from the conference due to pressure by the german delegation, but was distributed to the press anyway. Surprising is that conference chairman Dennis DeConcini, was once himself the target of a scientology operation, as explained by this excerpt from the 1980 St. Petersburg Times Pulitzer award winning series on scientology:
... the highest officials of the Guardian Office ordered the implementation of "Operation Devil's Wop." It was directed at Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, who had supported various anti-cult groups. The goal of the operation was to leak to the press a false report linking the senator with organized crime.
24. How does the german constitution protect
Read the german constitution ("basic law") here
The "freedom of religion" is §4:
Article 4 (Freedom of faith, of conscience and of creed)
(1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious or ideological, are inviolable. (2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed. (3) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war service as an armed combatant. Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
It is important to know that §4 cannot be seen alone. Scientology "forgets" that their victims are protected by §1 and §2:
Article 1 (Protection of human dignity)
(1) The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority. (2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world. (3) The following basic rights bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly enforceable law.
Article 2 (Rights of liberty)
(1) Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral code. (2) Everyone has the right to life and to inviolability of his person. The freedom of the individual is inviolable. These rights may only be encroached upon pursuant to a law.
25. What exactly does the labor court decision say?
German text at http://www.thur.de/religio/5azb2194.html
a) Main statements of the court
b) Plaintiff history
The plaintiff was "Mini Hatted Personnel Control Officer" and "Mini
Hatted Director of Personnel".
In the last half of 1990, the plaintiff participated every thursday in meetings of the "Basic Crew", an inner management circle. The employees were called for 11pm, but the meetings often started only at midnight and seldom ended before 2am in the morning. He also had to participate in planned activities, like distributing advertising material on saturday. He once had to send videos and materials to german politicians, which lasted until 4am.
Besides this, he assembled industry scales at home.
On 17.7.1991 he told the co$ that he had the possibility of a free Italy vacation, and he wanted to take it, to recover and to get his life in order. He left on the same day without "leave of absent" and "security check". For that, he got a severe "ethic order". He did still work for them until 28.9.1991.
In 1990, he got DM 4,030.- and in 1991 DM 5,326.50 plus weekly DM 23.62 / DM 23.90 for medical insurance. He paid DM 33.32 taxes in 1991. He had pre-paid DM 17,449 for "counseling" before, and got DM 6,483.- back at the end of 1992.
He claims that he should get DM 3500 monthly, and calculated that he should get back 71,947.58 DM for 1990 and 52,832.83 DM for 1991.
Co$ claims that the plaintiff did religious work, and that he did all his activities (including the meetings) voluntarily, and that the security check is part of counseling preventing that longtime members leave scientology.
c) Why scientology Hamburg is not a religion
The court even used scientology's own papers to decide that they are not
a religion, and only use this as a cover to sell courses. About half of
the court opinion is scientology text.
Scientologists submitted so-called expertises, but the court didn't consider them, because "they only considered scientology's self-image". They also did not consider a paper that was submitted to the UN human rights commission by "special reporter Abdelfattah Amor", because "that report didn't consider the matters that are part of the litigation" and "it is only his personal opinion".
The court did also take into account that scientology registered everything as trademarks, which shows that they run a business. Supporting this is also that "neglecting the scientology trademarks" is considered as a crime in the scientology "ethics". The federal patent court had already decided that scientology is similar to any other company selling courses.
Considering that the plaintiff paid DM 17,000 prior to his job, and got paid about DM 10,000, later got back about DM 7,000, the court concluded that the plaintiff had not been paid at all.
The court named similar cases of people paying high amounts, even having to take loans. One ex-scientologist got a freeloader bill, sued three years later, scientology lost, because it is against the constitution to prevent people to leave a religion or a community.
The court named a lot of examples from scientology papers showing the commercialization of the services. The ads "we use only 10% of our brain" do not show that it is about a religion. The use of FSMs who get a 10% commission is also not religion-like. This is against the constitution and the constitutional court already had decided 1960 that someone who tries to take people away from their religion by using deceptive methods is not protected by religious freedom. In that case, it was a single member of a religious community. The court:
"unlike that case, deceptive recruiting methods have been raised to a principle in scientology".
In support of this, the court cited: - HCOPL 9.5.1965 (in the volunteer minister handbook): "Many asked me to audit them, and I was overworked. I could only save myself by founding a church, to which I forwarded my customers" - HCOPL 9.3.1972 (Rev 4.8.1983) "MAKE MONEY MAKE MORE MONEY" - FLAG directive 13.3.1991 "department for bodyrouting and personnel":
"There was an Org, which had a large staff, but was always fighting below the point. The Org didn't hire the people from the correct source. One result was that the Org was filled with children who skipped school, customers of the soup kitchen, homeless people and other degraded beings"
The court: "Never before has the court seen an official statement with such low opinion about socially weak people who, additionally, are members of its church. It means that the plaintiff is in severe contradiction with his own creed".
The court: "A proof of contempt for human beings is also that and how the defendant tries to drive its members to peak performance, as stated in HCOPL 8.2.1972, revised 21.10.1980:"
"Any quota can be targeted for increase daily or weekly. For instance the Director of Training can establish a quota of 5 extra letters per day over that of the day before. This would mean he would write 45 leters one day, 50 letters the next day, 55 letters the day after that, and so on"
"To improve performance, a new target can be stated daily or weekly. The director of training may set a target of 5 letters more than the day before. This would mean, that who writes 45 letters daily, will have to write 50 the next day, 55 the day after, and so on."
The court: "Who participates in such a 'snowball system' may risk a severe health damage."
The court also shows totalitarian tendencies, that are shown in important papers of scientology, in the list of "crimes" and "high crimes". It mentions the security check as obvious method to prevent member loss with contemptuous methods. That members agree to it is irrelevant.
d) The plaintiff was an employee.
The court explains what a employer-employee relationship is and states
that it does not matter how this relationship is named. It explained the
difference between a sentence about nurses working for the red cross,
where the court had stated that they are not employees, although they
are paid regularly. But Red cross may vote in their organization, while
scientology staffers may not. The staffers are "special members" who may
not vote, only "full members" may vote. There was no way that the
plaintiff could ever be an "full member". While german law for
non-profit organizations allows different memberships, it means also
different duties, which was not the case here. The court even doubts
that he was a "member" as stated by the law at all.
26. What was decided in Bavaria?
a) That in certain cases public contractors have to sign a declaration
whether they use methods of L. Ron Hubbard.
b) That applicants for public jobs have to fill out a form whether they use methods of L. Ron Hubbard. If yes, a conversation based on selected writings and targets of the organization will lead to a decision whether or not the applicant is able to fulfill the requirements for the job. If the applicants doesn't distance himself clearly from the writings & targets of the organisation he won't get the job.
27. What does the german population think about
Here a poll from May 1995, from "Die Woche".
Did you ever hear about scientology?Yes: 63%
What do you connect with scientology?Positive things: 9%
Should scientology be forbidden ? (*)Yes: 69%
(*) Based on all people who have heard / read about scientology
28. Overview of recent legal trouble by scientology /
Note that scientology has also won court cases. I have a few. I could
include them when scientology includes their "losses" and removes their
bogus wins. Believe me: scientology won less.