October 22, 1996 in Nation/World

German Party Wants To Restrict Scientologists

Associated Press
 

Germany’s governing party demanded Monday that members of the Church of Scientology be banned from public service jobs and that the organization be put under surveillance by a federal law agency.

The resolution, passed without debate during a convention of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democrats, could intensify a battle between Germany and the Los Angeles-based church.

The German government contends that Scientology is a threat to democracy. The church says Germany is using fascist tactics against the organization.

The president of Scientology International, Heber Jentzsch, condemned the party’s resolution and called on German President Roman Herzog to investigate the Christian Democrats and their “Nazi aims.”

“Today marks the return to the Nazi Reich and the intention to destroy religion by political action,” Jentzsch said from Los Angeles.

The resolution calls on Interior Minister Manfred Kanther, who also is a Christian Democrat leader, to bar Scientologists from civil service and to put the group under surveillance. It was unclear whether any laws would have to be changed.

The interior ministers of Germany’s 16 states have made similar appeals, and Bavaria already has announced plans to begin screening civil service job applicants to prevent Scientologists from “infiltrating” the public sector.

The Interior Ministry is in charge of rules for hiring federal public service employees.

The resolution claims that the Church of Scientology “places massive psychic, economic and legal pressures” on people wishing to join.

Scientology is a religion founded 41 years ago. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve human problems, and requires initiates to undergo counseling that can cost thousands of dollars.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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