by Guenter Kehrer

Don't Panic

(possibly) Stuttgart, Germany
June 15, 1997
Sonntag Aktuell (7te Ausgabe der STZ, STN, etc)

Scientology is under surveillance by Constitutional Security. Guenter Kehrer, willful religious sociologist, demands more composure: "Scientology is not a social problem."

Mr. Kehrer, what do theologians say about the decision of the Minister of the Interior to have Scientology put under surveillance by Constitutional Security.

They're happy, of course. It could even turn out that we receive some scientifically relevant information by doing that. Just as the persecution of the Christians was interesting. In that case the theologians also learned something about Christianity, but mainly it served as a wealth of information about its persecutors.

What is one learning about the persecutors of the Scientologists?

Their strange understanding of religion and the degree of ignorance, which is even greater than one would normally expect of politicians.

What does Scientology really have to do with religions?

Religion has several characteristics: a creed which the adherents are obligated to regard as true, which has influence on their lives; and a cult. Scientology fulfills that condition like hundreds of other religious congregations here do.

This congregation, critics say, has a nonsensical system of belief

I see it that way, too, but that is almost a good sign for religions.

Isn't Scientology more of a business which sells belief as a good?

That is quite usual in the history of religion. If you want to get married in the Shinto religion in Japan, of course you must first pay the priest.

So everybody should be happy according to his own nature? Even if people are duped or threatened by it?

The limit of freedom of religion is the criminal code. One can not determine what is more sensible for another without the state meddling in things which don't concern it.

And how does one protect psychically unstable people?

Also in the scope of the criminal code. Religiosity which is particularly marked could also be taken, so to speak, as a sign of psychic stability.

You sound very calm. Critics see the danger that the Scientologists' influence in politics and business are growing.

Excuse me, but the Christian churches, which are not entirely lame, are also trying to stamp society according to their own image. All people who seriously believe in their religion try to do that.

So what do you suggest?

More composure, less excitement. I do not regard the Scientologists as a social problem. I admit that their system of belief is difficult for a rational person to swallow. But Anthroposophy is just as abstruse. And one more thing: among the 80 million people in Germany you will find a couple of hundred adherents of every kind of foolishness. If things were otherwise, we'd all go to the devil.

The interview was conducted by Susanne Stiefel

Letters to the Editor

June 22, 1997

Abstruse Science

In response to "Don't Panic," interview with Guenter Kehrer by Susanne Stiefel

It was a mistake to interview a religious sociologist on this theme since Scientology is neither a religion nor a church, as was determined in 1995 by the Federal Labor Court, and others. Scientology, from the viewpoint of the charitable ABI organization in Stuttgart [Aktion Bildungsinformation], is an international commercial enterprise whose methods show no regard for people. Scientology disguises itself as a church. Scientology wants a dictatorship, and is under surveillance in all states by Constitutional Security. Comparing the persecution of the Christians to surveillance by Constitutional Security is an absolute perversion. Christians were persecuted and murdered by Roman dictators. In [this] democratic state, totalitarian, dictatorial dealings of Scientologists are being observed.

Eberhard Kleinmann
Chairman of Aktion Bildungsinformation e.V, Stuttgart

Stoopid gawsip is all the same, Mr. Kehrer. What appears abstruse is the science by which you conclude that Shintoism, Anthroposophy, yes, really all religions can be named in the same breath as Scientology, and give the impression that there is no principle difference among them. You shall know them by their deeds! And, indeed, there is quite a considerable difference, for instance, between the many instructions of Anthroposophical fundamentals which work for a human society and a society like Scientology, which exploits people and makes them dependent.

Ulrich Aupperle

To the religious academic, Guenter Kehrer, who believes Anthroposophy is a "system of belief," and mentions it in the same breath together with Scientology, for your information: Anthroposophy is a science of the mind which has found its place in book stores since the beginning of the century, and whose books are available for study by anybody. A learned person should really have known that.

Lucie Ziegler

When a religious sociologist who is professionally involved with religions, like Mr. Guenter Kehrer, expresses himself as he did in his interview, then I ask myself the following questions: First, Is Mr. Kehrer himself a Scientologist and on their psycho-trip? Second, is he trying to make himself look important even though he does not demonstrate a grasp of Scientology? Third, is he so innocent as to be dangerous? If everybody thinks like Kehrer, then the fall of Germany and the healthy human mind has already been programmed.

Wolfgang Buehl