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Scientologists Take Discrimination Concerns To Congress Condemn German Government For Creating Hostility Toward Church

Associated Press

Taking their concerns to Capitol Hill, actress Anne Archer and smoky-voiced singer Isaac Hayes condemned the government of Germany on Thursday for its treatment of their fellow Scientologists.

“There’s so much rumor, misunderstanding and hostility about Scientologists being spread by the German government that people’s lives are being ruined,” said Archer, who had just returned from what she called a fact-finding mission for Paramount Television’s syndicated “Entertainment Tonight.”

The program with the report by Archer, the star of “Fatal Attraction,” “Clear and Present Danger” and “Patriot Games,” was airing Thursday.

Hayes, best known for the theme song of the movie “Shaft,” said he hasn’t been discriminated against in Germany, but he was warned by a record promoter that he shouldn’t advertise his beliefs.

“It leaves you with the feeling, when is the next shoe going to drop?” Hayes said. “Will I be the next on the list?”

The list of celebrities who claim discrimination in Germany includes John Travolta and Tom Cruise, both of whom faced moves to boycott their recent films because they are members of the Church of Scientology.

Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., introduced a House resolution Thursday condemning the German government for discrimination against Scientologists and the celebrities joined his news conference in support.

Emmy-winning jazz musician Chick Corea said he has been kept out of some festivals in Germany because he’s a Scientologist. “In the ‘60s and ‘70s I used to do my concerts very freely in Germany, and now I can’t.”

When a German reporter asked whether Corea actually lost work, Archer jumped to his defense: “Even if the government is not saying you can’t play, the climate is such that people might be afraid to hire him.”

Businesses are refusing to employ Scientologists, schools are turning away students who practice the religion and music and arts festivals are banning people who profess church membership, Archer said.

The Germany Embassy called the criticism exaggerated and objected to previous attempts by the Hollywood community to compare the discrimination to the Nazi persecution of Jews. “It’s an outrageous comparison,” a position paper said.

The embassy paper also said the German government does not consider the Church of Scientology a religion, but a business that must be regulated.

The State Department in its annual human rights report noted the Church of Scientology had come under increased scrutiny by German federal and state officials, who don’t like the organization’s secrecy and have accused it of brainwashing members and recruiting people simply to make money.

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