Scientology means business against city and state
2 Feb 2001
Scientology means business against city and state
February 1, 2001
The Scientology organization, which is under surveillance by Constitutional Security, apparently wants to gain new members with the widespread launch of a new image campaign. The sect is threatening to sue the city because its video advertisements were cancelled and the state is also being vigorously attacked.
by Michael Ohnewald
The best offence is a good defense - disciples of the Scientology movement have adapted this dogma and made it their own. Yesterday the movement announced it would sue the City of Stuttgart because a pre-paid video commercial for Scientology writings was taken out of the program at the municipal Bosch Tower at Pragsattel. Besides that the controversial organization also handed a petition to State Assembly President Peter Straub. In the petition 59 Scientologists demanded the dissolution of a work group which resides in the Ministry of Culture and which is concerned with sects and psycho-groups. The signers used the usual heavy artillery in their list of reasons: they accused the head of the work group and CDU regional assemblyman Hans-Werner Carlhoff not only of wasting taxpayers' money and discrimination, but also of disinformation and misuse of office.
The activism by the Hubbard disciples was triggered by an expert opinion report about sects and psycho-groups from the State administration of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It warned about the Scientologists' activities. The report, fresh from the press, deals critically with the sect founder's writings, which are said to aim for a "cleared" society and to reprogram sect members into robots. "We'd rather have you dead than incapable," sect guru L. Ron Hubbard is quoted as saying.
According to what the sect experts in the state government say, the Scientology organization in Baden-Wuerttemberg has about 1,200 members. Their establishments are said to have not been able to expand their positions, but are able to continue to afford money for costly propaganda campaigns. Two years ago, for instance, 40 million marks were allegedly made available from sect centers overseas for a "crusade." Continued advertising offensives are to be reckoned with in the future. This was verified by Scientology spokeswoman Maja Nueesch. She said the organization will launch a new image campaign, but would not go into details. It is also said that Scientology plans a chain of establishments which allegedly will be concerned with the risks of drug consumption.
What this actually involves is a widespread membership drive. The campaign is supposed to increase the degree of familiarity with Scientology, because in membership figures the sect is way behind its own expectations. As the experts in the state government say, the organization is trying to present itself to the "public as a small, persecuted, religious minority." The state view is shared by Andreas Reissig, SPD city assemblyman and sect expert of his faction, "The fox wants to take care of the chickens."
The political party member, as have other members of his faction, has received mail from Scientology in the past few days. In the letter, Scientology encourages bearers of the political mandate to form a picture of the sect for themselves. For that purpose a copy of Scientology's mass mailing magazine "Freiheit" is enclosed.
The Hubbard disciples have also tried to get a foot in the door at the fair in Stuttgart. The StZ [this newspaper] has received a written response stating that the Scientology publishing company has tried multiple times in Seevetal-Maschen to rent meeting spaces. But in the meantime there is a black list on the Killesberg which has proved itself helpful. Pointing out the lack of capacity, the Scientologists have always been refused. However the early warning system failed on the video-wall at the Pragsattel. The sect was able to win an agency contracted by the fair, and so one of their video-spots was shown for days on the open-air screen. Since then the agency has been reprimanded, but that's not enough for the SPD in the assembly hall. The politicians want the agency dissolved.
With the latest goings-on the state government believes its perspective is being verified, and that publicity has to continue to be given to the practices of the organization. It would a false conclusion to assume "that the fanatics have gone into retreat," said Carlhoff. The sect will continue to be observed by Constitutional Security.
Those concerned may contact the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution. All calls will be handled confidentially.
Advertisement of the undesired kind
The controversial recruitment campaigns by the Scientology organization in Stuttgart have gotten more annoying. A few examples:
The railroad was not paying attention two years ago. Scientology obtained wall space for posters at Wolfram Street. When the break-down became known, the railroad had all signs removed.
A recruitment campaign downtown in March 2000 was cause for an incident. A female student popped an advertisement balloon, whereupon a 44-year-old Scientologist struck her openhandedly. The man was convicted and fined.
The sect's advertising brochures created quite a stir at the Merz School in 1997. Third-graders brought recruitment material home, which they were given by persons unknown.
Stuttgart Streetcar received an unpleasant surprise seven years ago when they found out who had rented one of their properties. It involved a celebrity Scientologist.
The city administration could not prevent an exhibition for the 40th anniversary of the Scientology Church in European in the auditorium at Bad Cannstatt. (see http://members.tripod.com/German_Scn_News/cannstat.htm for on the spot report, includes pictures of the white double-decker Scientology advertising bus.)
A video spot for the writings of the sect founder was beamed on city-owned property at Pragsattel for several days in January.
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