Germany has made no secret of their complete and utter distaste for Scientology in recent years. Last year, government officials dared to ban Tom Cruise from filming on location because of his Scientology affiliation. But that was really only one minor incident in the government’s surveillance and investigation of the organization in an attempt to ban the Church of Scientology from the country altogether. However, the government has now dropped its attempts citing insufficient evidence. But, government insiders say that the organization will continue to be monitored by the government because of concerns that the tenants of the religion go against the constitutional principles of Germany.
The Church of Scientology is celebrating this decision as protection of freedom of religion and as a hopeful end to alleged persecution of its members in Germany. I suppose I should be celebrating along with them– however reluctantly–because governments limiting reasonable religious expression is never a good idea, no matter the religion. But Germany hasn’t attacked the Church on grounds of religious expression as much as it has sought to define the group as a business and to attack its corrupt business practices. I think it would be great if the United States and other countries would try that angle in dealing with Scientology as well.