Here are a few critical comments regarding a report published by the US State Department report:
International Religious Freedom Report
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
taken from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2001/5650.htm
The first paragraph correctly indicates that this is actually a Scientology report:
The Basic Law (Constitution) provides for religious freedom and the Government generally respects this right in practice. The Government does not recognize Scientology as a religion and views it as an economic enterprise. Concerns that Scientology's ideology is opposed to a democratic state have led to the screening of firms and individuals in some sectors of business and employment.
In the following, there are a couple of missing data. The OPC was established in Germany at the behest of the Allies after WWII to hinder weird little cults like the Nazis from coming to power. The OPC has no police authority, and only ever collects information.
The federal and state Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC), "watchdog" agencies tasked with monitoring groups whose ideologies are deemed to be counter to the democratic order, have been "investigating" the Church of Scientology and Scientologists for approximately 4 years. During that time there have been no prosecutions or convictions of Scientology officials in the country, and the investigation has uncovered no concrete evidence that the Church is a "security" threat.
More missing data: The "concrete evidence" referred to above had already been established in 1997, when Scientology was put under surveillance. That is the way German law works. Unlike in the USA, Scientology was informed that it was being put under surveillance. The Scientology reacted in its usual manner. It has gone to extreme lengths to resist efforts at being observed by any responsible agency.
The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights. The status of Scientology was the subject of many discussions. The U.S. Government has maintained consistently that the determination that any organization is religious is for the organization itself.
More missing data: The U.S. Government has maintained consistently in the last seven years that the determination that Scientology is religious is Scientology itself. In the twenty-five years prior to that, the U.S. Government consistently maintained something altogether different, as it did in the years prior to 1967. Also the U.S. Government inconsistently grants Scientology financial advantages it gives to no other corporation in the world.
The U.S. Government has expressed concerns over infringement of individual rights because of religious affiliation and over the potential for discrimination in international trade posed by the screening of foreign firms for possible affiliation with Scientology.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, it is now safe for politicians to portray themselves as champions of world religious freedom as defined by Scientology. Prior to that time, the silence was deafening.
The Unification Church has 850 members; the Church of Scientology has 8,000 members; ...
In the early 90s, Scientology stated it had 300,000 members in Germany. By the mid-90s, it stated 30,000. The present estimate of Scientology's members by the German OPC is 6,000. The reason for this steady perceived decrease, according to Scientology, is that Scientology has gotten a bad reputation because of all the negative publicity it has received. More likely is that Scientology never had 30,000 members to begin with, but that management is manipulating its own statistics to suit its own purposes in accordance with the press and public relations policies of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Several states have published pamphlets detailing the ideology and practices of nonmainstream religions. States defend the practice by noting their responsibility to respond to citizens' requests for information about these groups. While many of the pamphlets are factual and relatively unbiased, others may harm the reputations of some groups through innuendo and inclusion in a report covering known dangerous cults or movements. Scientology is the focus of many such pamphlets, some of which warn of alleged dangers posed by Scientology to the political order and freemarket economic system, and to the mental and financial well being of individuals. For example, the Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution published "The Intelligence Service of the Scientology Organization," which outlines its claim that Scientology tried to infiltrate governments, offices, and companies, and that the church spies on its opponents, defames them, and "destroys" them.
If you want to understand Scientology's political origins, please read the following, an unofficial translation of Scientology's Intelligence Service: http://cisar.org/books/trn1050.htm
In April 2001, the Federal OPC concluded in a 265 page annual report for the year 2000 that its reasons for initiating observation of Scientology stated in 1997 were still valid. The 5 pages (down from 6 last year) covering Scientology described the organization's political ideology that is deemed to be antidemocratic, quoting from the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology pamphlets.
So there we have it. The big religious news from Germany. The report on Scientology is used to make it look like a trend. The number of pages has gone down from six all the way to five. Here is the reason, according to Senator Arlen Specter, that he introduced the law which established the committee giving this report in the U.S. State Department:
"The great untold human rights tragedy of this decade is that Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Jews and other religious minorities are being persecuted in great numbers around the world. Killings, rape, imprisonment, torture and abduction are commonplace for many religious believers in many countries.
... [This law] established the Office of International Religious Freedom headed by an Ambassador at Large whose primary responsibility is to advance religious freedom abroad and recommend appropriate U.S. government responses where this right is violated. If a country is found to engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom, the President is to impose at least one of a number of listed measures, such as economic sanctions ..."
To get the law passed, politicians said its purpose was to protect religious freedom. But the fact of the matter, as shown from the State Department's report on Scientology in Germany, is that Senator Specter's law is doomed to impose arbitrary sanctions on America's strongest allies. This report was obviously drafted by Scientology, as shown by selection of the words "sect filter." No where in the German government, nor in the German newspapers, nor in the companies that use the Hubbard technology declaration form do the words "sect filter" appear. "Sect filter" is a Scientology term designed to make it sound as if Germany discriminates against religions.
Until March 2001, the Government required firms to sign a declaration (a "sect filter") in bidding on government contracts stating that neither the firm's management nor employees were Scientologists. Firms that failed to submit a sect filter declaration were presumed "unreliable" and excluded from consideration. In response to concerns expressed by foreign governments and multinational firms unable to determine the religious affiliation of all their employees, the Economics Ministry limited the scope of the sect filter to consulting and training contracts in 2000. In March 2001, the Economics Ministry was able to persuade the federal and state interior ministries to accept new wording that would only prohibit use of the "technology of L. Ron Hubbard" in executing government contracts. Firms owned or managed by or employing Scientologists could bid on these contracts.
The above is a misrepresentation of fact. It makes it sound like the Hubbard technology declaration form, which has been deliberately mislabeled "sect filter" by the Scientologists for propaganda purposes, was weakened by a change of wording. The fact of the matter is that prior to March of 2001, there were several different versions of the Hubbard technology declaration form in use by various agencies. The form was standardized to make it more effective. The stance against Hubbard's anti-democratic technology is stronger now than it ever has been before.
Scientologists continued to report discrimination because of their beliefs.
It is true that the Scientologists have reported thousands of cases of discrimination based on beliefs. When reviewed, it turned out that reports by the Scientologists are approximately 99.9 percent inaccurate. (see http://cisar.org/books/trn1070.htm)
The degree to which anyone believes inaccuracies is also going to be inversely proportional to the degree that good judgment is demonstrated in making decisions. Based on this skewed, incomplete report, it can be predicted that the U.S. State Department will exercise poor judgment in regards to the subject of Scientology