Clinton, Travolta and the Scientologists

From: "Sueddeutsche Zeitung", Germany
February 17, 1998

US Government Denies Deal

Samuel Berger, the Security Advisor to the American President, met with a group of prominent Scientologists and assured them that he would have a discussion with the German government so "that nobody would have to be discriminated against solely based on his religious belief." Berger verified that the meeting had taken place, and that actor and Scientology adherent John Travolta had also participated. In an interview with "George" magazine, Travolta had asserted that President Bill Clinton had also given him support with the words, "Your program makes a splendid impression. In view of the problems which they have had in Germany, I would be glad to help you." Clinton is then said to have arranged the meeting with Berger. Travolta allegedly met with Clinton last April during the filming of the film, "Primary Colors," which plays in the American movie theaters in March. In the film, Travolta plays a southern governor who is clearly modeled from Clinton's image and who - bothered by woman troubles and other problems - ascends to the presidency. Rumors have been spread in Washington that Clinton had wanted Travolta to make a presentation which was agreeable to him and offered his support to Scientology in return. Berger denied this account and said that Clinton had not promised Travolta any support in return for a favorable portrayal in the film. To be sure, Berger's denial hinged on the connection between the role in the film and assistance for Scientology. What remained unanswered was what issues of foreign and security policy could have interested a group of Scientologists. Berger brushed the meeting aside with the excuses that he had merely wanted to get an autograph for his children. The film "Primary Colors" comes to the American movie theaters in the middle of the Lewinsky affair and attests to the prejudices and rumors about the American President. What is interesting in the USA is whether Clinton had wanted to purchase a sympathetic portrayal for himself. The role of Scientology and its dispute with Germany had a completely subordinate role. Two weeks ago the State Department had published its annual human rights report in which the discussion between Scientology and Germany was mentioned in less harsh tones than before. The public reaction to the report could hardly be noticed. The State Secretary, who is responsible for human rights, repeatedly stated that Germany was an "extremely close ally." In connection with Scientology he spoke only of an "organization," not of a "church." Scientology itself has been the topic of several critical reports in the past months. Among other things, the nebulous conditions under which the sect received tax exemption have been questioned. In addition, the investigation into the mysterious death of a sect member in Florida has been stepped up.

Stefan Kornelius

German Scientology News