Why has Germany banned Scientology?

Conference of interior ministers : The underestimated: Scientology is not banned

Berlin Scientology has been observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany for more than ten years. And he rates the sect as unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the interior ministers of the federal states could not bring themselves to initiate a ban proceedings against the organization. Already at the weekend the chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Brandenburg's interior minister Jörg Schönbohm, announced in an interview: "Anyone who seriously believes that we would be endangered by 5,000 Scientologists is, in my eyes, rabbits." An opinion shared by his Berlin colleague Ehrhart Körting. In an interview with the RBB, the Interior Senator stated: "Fortunately, contrary to initial assumptions, we are in the situation that the Scientology organization is actually an insignificant organization."

According to estimates by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany, Scientology has between 5,000 and 6,000 members. In January 2007 the organization opened a new center in Berlin-Charlottenburg. At the same time, there was increasing evidence that Scientologists want to exert greater influence on federal politics. All members of the Bundestag received mail from Scientology - a commercial was supposed to convince them of the harmlessness of the organization. In an interview with tagesspiegel.de, the SPD interior expert Dieter Wiefelspütz warned against underestimating the organization: "I respect the thoughts of the interior ministers regarding Scientology. Personally, however, I tend to believe that the organization should not be played down."

Business with the youth

Antje Blumenthal, a member of the Bundestag, is the Union parliamentary’s rapporteur for sects and psycho-groups. She also warns against taking Scientology actions lightly. With her teachings, Scientology tries above all to make people weakened by life crises dependent on the sect, according to her assessment: "We have to intensify the education so that people simply pass by the Scientology street stalls," she demanded in an interview with tagesspiegel.de . Above all, Blumenthal observes with concern the attempts of the sect to win young people over to their ideology: After all, Scientologists now run over 30 tutoring schools throughout Germany, and the number of unreported cases is likely to be higher. The business is lucrative on the one hand, but it is much more important to prepare children and young people for a possible Scientology career, said Blumenthal.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution is certain: the organization violates human dignity, rejects the existing legal system, strives to control its members and denigrates critics as sick and criminal. In short: it acts on the verge of unconstitutionality. In the last report of the constitutional protectors from 2007 it is therefore stated: From a multitude of sources it emerges that the organization "overrides or overrides essential basic and human rights, such as human dignity, the right to free development of one's personality and the right to equal treatment want to restrict. " Nevertheless, the interior ministers decided against a possible ban. Why?

The protection of the constitution and politics are powerless

The background to the decision is a current audit report from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which sees problems in the implementation of a ban. The paper states that the public appearance of the organization does not indicate any intention to implement the liberal democratic basic order of the Federal Republic in an aggressive and militant way. The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, August Hanning, said at the Conference of the Interior Ministers that the evidence that the organization is hostile to the constitution has so far not been sufficient for a ban procedure.

Blumenthal confirms this assessment: "We know that your theories violate the constitution, but there is a lack of concrete evidence that would stand up in court. You do not fight openly against the basic democratic order," she said. "Outwardly, the organization presents itself as a religious community. They pretend to have no political motivation." Wiefelspütz is also cautious: "The question of prohibition is a critical question in the border area: There are different ideas around the world about what religion can be. In the USA Scientology is not a problem at all. And the United States is certainly a constitutional state," said the SPD -Interior expert.

The sect expert of the CDU is also against a ban on the organization. "If a ban is not achieved now, it still means that observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution will continue. I am against the ban because I believe that open observation is better than a ban." It is the same argument that is used again and again in relation to a renewed ban proceedings against the NPD. If organizations and parties act openly, they can be controlled better than underground. In an interview with tagesspiegel.de, Wiefelspütz also spoke out in favor of the observation: "In any case, we still have reason for the critical observation of Scientology by the protection of the Constitution."

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page