Letter to the Editor
Not a Sect
December 7, 2000
Frankfurter Neue Presse
Concerning the news material in the project "Newspaper in School' (Only few sects are violent," HK of 22 November) we take the following position:
What is a sect? The definition that was given in their article is right but not complete because one also has to look at the meaning of the definition of a word as it is used today.
If one looks in Duden's [the German equivalent of Webster's], one finds that a sect is a smaller denomination which has split off from a larger congregation or a church. Besides that the word "sect" is used more and more with the idea of "something bad, dangerous or evil." According to that the Evangelical Church is a sect since it split from the Catholic Church.
Is Scientology a sect? No! Scientology is not a splinter group.
Sect: a dissenting or schismatic religious body; esp. one regarded as extreme or heretical
Admittedly, that is not a Duden's dictionary, but it shows that a "sect" can be a dissenting OR a schismatic religious body. It does not say that a sect is a dissenting AND schismatic body, as implied by Scientologist Gross in her reply.
Whether that is how "sect" is defined in German or not, OSA representative Gross then went on redefine the word "sect" by inappropriately generalizing it to mean "something" bad, dangerous or evil. Finally, that redefinition of "sect" was used to identify a Christian denomination, i.e., the probable denomination of the writers OSA is responding to, OSA being the controlling agency in Scientology.
In summary, OSA's policy is to "introvert" its opposition. One way it does this is by:
- Invading one's private sphere: in this case getting across the idea that the words you are using do not mean what you think they mean
- Implanting the private sphere with an idea which will be disadvantageous to you: in this case assigning its own definition to the words you are using, then
- seemingly turning your own words upon you, but with the new disadvantageous definitions.
The purpose of the above is to take negative attention off Scientology by turning opponents' views in on themselves, like a mental ulcer or cancer. This is an exchange which people think of as "fair" because it mimics free discussion: there is an exchange of opinion and a dissenting opinion. What is not recognized is that logic is being altogether avoided through redefinition of words. Scientology's seeming dissent pivots on its own redefinition of words, not on the meaning the words were intended to convey.
The above is an example of the devious means which OSA uses to "clear" the planet of opposing views. If OSA can succeed in getting people to recognize its own redefinition of words as a acceptable way of winning an argument, it will create an environment in which Scientology can expand.
June 15, 2000
Frankfurter Neue Presse
In regard to: "Diocese EDP: Scientology is not invited" of June 9:
In the middle of February, we had already stated that we were pleased with the review of Windows 2000 by the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology BSI so that irresponsible speculation by official church amateur computer inquisitors would no longer be fed.
The usual groups put under suspicion were held over the fire by those representing the interests of the state churches, because a program component had been developed by a company of an American Scientology member. It must be obvious to anybody, however, that in spite of the worldwide installation of Windows 2000, only a few federal German state church functionaries are spreading absurd rumors of espionage. Using the same absurdity, it could be stated that the security of one who uses software developed by a Catholic company is at risk because the data could be manipulated so that the Vatican could secretly eavesdrop.
From: "Frankfurter Neue Presse"
Marathon for Human Rights
From: "Stuttgarter Zeitung"
August 10, 1998
"Too few are familiar with human rights," says Andrik Sch., singer and committed Scientologist. That is why he wants to make them [rights] known. "Down with Intolerance," he led a group of about 100 flag and banner bearing adherents in song on the steps of city council. They are part of an escort for a group of ten marathon runners who stayed in Stuttgart on Saturday. They started in England on June 25. After they left the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy, they were on their way to Frankfurt, where they wanted to arrive today, Monday.
On the 50th anniversary of the General Declaration of Human Rights, they had covered a stretch of 3,300 kilometers. The Marathon was accompanied by Irving Sarnoff, the founder of the organization, "Friends of the United Nations." The German government also signed the human rights [declaration] said Sarnoff, who says that he is not a member of Scientology. "We have come here to remind them of it." However, he agrees with the sect in his criticism that the German administration reduces the rights of members of smaller religions. According to Scientology's presentation, its 30,000 members are persecuted in Germany, and they suffer disadvantages in the work place.
copyright 1998 Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany
Scientology recruiting in the Schirn Cafe
Contract with sect triggers dismay
February 26, 2000
Frankfurter Neue Presse
Frankfurt. The controversial Scientology Organization wants to advertise its goals from Monday to Wednesday in the Cafe of the Frankfurt Schirn Art Building. That was confirmed yesterday by the Director of the Art Building, Hellmut Seemann. At the same time, he said he regretted that no legal grounds were available on which to prevent the gathering. The contract had been agreed upon by the Cafe's lessee, Klaus-Peter Kofler. Kofler himself could not be reached on Friday to get his opinion.
According to Seemann's statement, the Scientologists did not show up under a cover name, but under the designation of Scientology. A procurator in Kofler's business, Kofler & Company, Inc. agreed to the renting. "It could be that Kofler himself was not even involved," said Seemann, "but he could at least distance himself from the organization by donating the rental income to a charitable organization." Scientology will pay Kofler 45,000 marks rent for the three days. Kofler told the "Frankfurter Allgemeinen" newspaper that cancelling the contract was not possible because of the amount.
The Frankfurt Superintendent for Schools, Education and multi-cultural opportunities, Jutta Ebeling (Greens) criticized the gastronome for his conduct in an open letter. It said that he bore the responsibility that "this sect was being made presentable" and that it was advertising its "cynical tricks" while she, Ebeling, was doing everything "to hinder access of sects to youth."
According to advertising leaflets, the organization wants to present video presentations, a photography exhibition and "live demonstrations" at its gathering, entitled "What is Scientology?".
A letter of protest to Kofler was also written by Frankfurt's Director of Culture, Hans-Bernhard Nordhoff (SPD). He said he learned of the arrangement at the Schirn Cafe "with great dismay." "The Schirn Art Hall and the neighboring cafe understandably appears as a unit in the public picture; gatherings in your Cafe will therefore always be identified with our renowned art hall," wrote Nordhoff. Although it was not legally possible for him to interfere with this use, he appealed "very urgently" to Kofler to conscientiously review as to whether Scientology recruitment operations were legal in the Schirn institution and the culinary operation, said the culture director.
Frankfurt sect expert and spokesman of the Evangelical Church, Kurt-Helmuth Eimuth, could hardly imagine that Kofler had deliberately slipped into the contract with the "cynical organization," because it is well known in gastronomy that such behavior could be "absolutely ruinous to one's image," said Eimuth. According to what he has observed, the activities of the sect in Frankfurt in recent times "have wilted considerably." He said that criticism was having its effect.
German Religious Communities for religious Tolerance
Jews, Moslems, Sikhs, Scientologists and Unification Church form Coalition
From: "ORIGINAL TEXT-SERVICE"
August 14, 1998
Frankfurt/Vienna (OTS) - During a protest march which took place on August 10 in Frankfurt, and in which several thousand people of various faiths participated, representatives of both acknowledged and unacknowledged religious communities released an open letter in which they announced the establishment of an "Interreligious Coalition for Religious Freedom" in Germany.
The coalition, which was founded by Scientologists, Moslems, Jews, Sikhs and the Unification Church, has made their goal the end of the spread of the climate of religious intolerance in Germany, and has punctuated a better future on the basis of mutual respect and tolerance.
The coalition indicates in their open letter that "this problem by far does not only concern every religious community which is generally calumniated as a "sect," but also every religion that generally enjoys recognition as a world religion."
Open Letter (in full):
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On August 10, 1998, in Frankfurt, a peaceful protest march brought religions of varying backgrounds together for religious freedom.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the General Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, we, the undersigned, wish to point out the spreading climate of intolerance, discrimination and unequal treatment of religious minorities in Germany. At the same time we would like to punctuate a better future on the basis of mutual respect and tolerance.
We would like to make it clear from this place that this problem by far does not only concern every religious community which is generally calumniated as a "sect," but also every religion that generally enjoys recognition as a world religion, but in Germany however presents a minority and therefore is confronted with similar prejudices and mechanisms as the newer religious communities.
It is our desire to put religious freedom and the ideal of the German Basic Law on a wider plane. The German republic should be the standard in regards to independence rights not only in Europe but also internationally.
For this reason the undersigned have decided to found the "Interreligious Coalition for Religious Freedom."
Frankfurt, 11. August 1998
Dr. Mohammed Herzog, Islamic Community of German-speaking Muslims
Eli Gampel, Central Community of Orthodox Jews
Surinder Singh Bhinder, German Sikh Community
Andreas Rath, Unification Church Germany
Helmuth Bloebaum, Church of Scientology Germany
Direct questions to: Church of Scientology
Austria Andreas B.
[Telephone number given]
"Assembly for religious freedom"
From: "Frankfurter Rundschau"
July 13, 1998
by Wolfgang Hettfleisch
The Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. in the United States is throwing a big event on August 10 at the Frankfurt opera house. The "Freedom for Religions in Germany" movement, which comes about under the direction of Scientology, wants to put 10,000 demonstrators on stage this day in Frankfurt.
The announced "Assembly for Religious Freedom" is directed against the German government. The activists accuse the administration of persecuting religious minorities and their adherents.
The German officials do not judge Scientology to be a religious system of beliefs, but a strongly profit-oriented commercial business. This powerful belief business is suspected of pursuing goals hostile to the constitution.
On the occasion of this "historical meeting" (as stated by the Church of Scientology of Washington), 2,000 Scientologists from the USA will fly to Germany. The organizers state that its participants will include members of other religions, as well.
The Frankfurt City Office stated that the meeting was scheduled with them. Permission to hold the event will not be denied because the authorities do not see any direct endangerment to public security.
In July of last year about 1,500 people appeared under Scientology direction at the same place for the same reason, to demonstrate for "religious tolerance." Celebrity artists such as actress Anne Archer and musician Isaac Hayes appeared then.
Scientology is hardly a theme
Chick Corea on Tour
September 30, 2001
dpa - www.seitel.web.de
Frankfurt/Main - Eight years ago the Baden-Wuerttemberg state government declared American pianist Chick Corea persona non grata. The reason was that Corea is a member of Scientology, an organization which is under observation by German homeland security, and which is suspected of putting its members into psychic and financial dependency. He was invited not to take part in the concert after all and could not play the opening of the world champion track meet in Stuttgart.
Similar action against stars who have connections with Scientology are hardly heard of anymore: before long Corea will be touring German cities without objection. This Tuesday (Oct. 2) the renowned jazzman will be opening his joint tour with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba in Frankfurt's Old Opera. The both will also go to Baden-Baden (Oct. 5), Stuttgart (Oct. 7), Cologne (Oct. 8) and Hamburg (Oct. 9).
"We can only exert our influence upon concerts that are promoted with public money," said sect expert Werner Carlhoff from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Culture. He says things are no different from what they were in the past in Baden-Wurttemberg: if the concert receives public money, Scientologists will not be appearing. Carlhoff said it does not make sense to give money to an artist who will use that money to support an organization that German homeland security has under surveillance. "I cannot speak for the other German states."
In the Hessian Ministry of Art there was no reaction to the problem, although Chick Corea will be appearing in Frankfurt and later, on November 1, in the Darmstadt state theater. "We aren't theater censors," said ministry spokesman Rudolf Kaechler. He said being a member of Scientology was not against the law, and that neither would anyone say anything about movies posters with Scientology members Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
The Wiesbaden state theater referred us to the agency that organized the series of concerts. Evelyn Meining is in charge of that; she also works for the Rheingau Music Festival. "We strongly differentiate between the person and the artist," she explained. She said it was part of the contract that Chick Corea not advertise for the organization. All establishments, including the state theaters, had been assured of that.
Attorney Helga Lerchenmueller from "Aktion Bildungsinformation" in Stuttgart says that argument is a naive downplaying of the situation, "Chick Corea always advertises for the Scientologists as a sympathetic supporter." She said he uses his appearance to boost the organization's image. Neither would anyone know who was traveling in his wake. "And if he advertises anyway, such as with a t-shirt, the most he'll get is a a conventional fine which won't worry him too much," said Lerchenmueller. The Stuttgart ban had not affected the respect for Corea, the lawyer soberly declared. Just the opposite, he had used the public stir for publicity. Therefore the opponent of Scientology has kept her distance from such actions.
Corea put on a professional air, "The times have changed, the opponents have calmed down," he said casually. He said everything had been only a big misunderstanding, which he would be only too glad to help clear up. He said that Scientology was a recognized religion in many countries, mainly in the USA. He said he would not let himself be separated from his public by intolerant policies. "For me it is always a great pleasure to play before my fans in Germany."