Narconon Sect in Germany


NarCONon is Scientology! Forward: For a systematic, detailed, professional exposure of Scientology's "Narconon" front group, visit the Narconon Exposed web site.


Rather Vague

From: "Spiegel" magazine, issue 9, Germany
approx. March 4, 1979

Whether Catholic priest, evangelical pastor or preacher for a sect - that makes no difference for a Hessian court. The court exempted an adherent of the "Scientology ® Church" from his military obligation.

For Hans Loeffelmann, who is a graduate theologian from Munich and sect observer for the Catholic Church, the judges have fallen for a bluff and passed a "comical judgment" which looks to him like a "bad joke."

For his evangelical colleague, Reverend Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, it is clear, after the judgment, that something was rather "amiss" and "undetected." The Lutheran Haack is afraid that from now on, every vendor of courses will be able to "cash in as a church," right down to a soccer club if it states in advance that it kicks as part of its life's goal as a religion!"

The anger of the theologian was aroused by a Darmstadt Administrative Court which acknowledged a sect disciple of the "Scientology Church Germany" as "primarily employed as a clergyman." The preacher in question, who had made a complaint about his conscription into the Defense Forces, is now exempt from military service, which puts him on the same legal ground as evangelical and Catholic ministers.

The legal judgment on spiritual advisors was obtained by petitioner Franz Walter Fiedler, 24, who has been pursuing his studies for four years at the Frankfurt "College for Applied Philosophy, reg." The college is a mission outpost of the "Scientology Church" whose founder, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, in Loeffelmann's opinion, "makes a business of exploiting spiritual necessity and deficiencies in self-awareness of young people under the guise of religion."

The Scientologist's application to be made exempt from military service with National Defense was turned down last September by Defense Area Administration IV in Wiesbaden [Wehrbereichsverwaltung IV]; his objection of being "trained for the clergy" was not accepted. The military adjutant refused to categorize the sect as a "religious congregation."

Fiedler's attorneys were better prepared. They presented the court with two opinions, one from the renowned proponent for church rights, Klaus Obermayer of Erlangen, and one from Axel Freiherr of Campenhausen in Hannover. These opinions had been written for the Scientology Church over three years prior. In the opinions, the authors agreeably gave their employer the appearance of the "character of a religious congregation" (Obermayer) whose pastoral counseling, the so-called "auditing," is supposed to be similar to the "sacraments of Christianity or meditation of Buddhism" (Campenhausen).

Scientology novice Fiedler counts as one of the beginners ("preclears") who, through auditing, a mixture of confession and interrogation, is training himself to be a teacher ("auditor"), and after many expensive seminars in Frankfurt, Munich or Copenhagen will gradually reach the state of "clear," a "clear, radiant, spiritual being." Loeffelmann states, "That can cost 250,000 marks and more, and the people are worse off than they were before."

With a worldwide membership of 5.5 million (12,000 in the Federal Republic [of Germany]), the Church of Scientology, with organizations such as "Narconon" ® or the "Commission for Violations of Psychiatry against Human Rights", belongs to the "multi-nationals" (Haack) of commercial religious business. The life philosophy of "mental health," mixed with elements of eastern religions - introduced by sect founder Hubbard, a former science fiction writer, in his book "Dianetics" - is imparted to the sect members in "integrity courses" (about 4,160 marks), in seminars for "Dianetics Counselor" (for 8,179 marks), or given with an electrometer (price: 700 marks), a type of lie detector.

With its profitable, religious ideas, bizarre mixture of universal philosophy, pseudo-science and religion, the judge from Darmstadt bothered himself little with earlier court decisions which described the Scientology Church as "the world's largest organization of unqualified people" whose practice presents, "medically and socially" a "serious threat to society," and whose adherents have been "pitifully seduced" and are often "mentally ill." Judge Axel Schulz stated, "It was not our assignment to check out their methods to see if they fell under the realm of ordinary criminality."

So far, neither the sect experts of the churches nor the parents of children who have been recruited have been able to convince German federal courts of the destructive character of some sect techniques. "Criminal conditions such as fraud, extortion or duress would tip the scales the other way," said attorney Obermayer.

The administrative judge avoided evaluating the content of the Scientology beliefs, thereby sidestepping a collision with the principle of religious freedom anchored in Basic Law.

The judge need not take into account advanced education or knowledge of ancient languages such as Latin, Greek or Hebrew in his assessment. The "career picture" of a clergyman of the two large Christian denominations, according to a Federal Administrative Court in deciding in favor of a proceeding for the Jehovah's Witnesses, does not have to be used as a "measuring stick" for clergymen. Judge Schulz stated, "They may do what they want."

In the literary excerpts presented by the sect, the legal men discovered, even though they did not have the contribution of a theologian, proof of a "classic religious belief"; the Scientologists attested to an "organized religious community" and assessed Fiedler's office as "that of a clergyman" - a far-reaching comparison which permits those obligated to serve in the military to believe that they can get out of being a soldier if they hire on with a sect at the right time. This bait is already serving Fiedler's brethren, as Loeffelmann observed, in their membership recruitment drive on the street.

The decision of the judge from Darmstadt has doubtlessly strengthened the position of all the obscure associations who have attracted youthful fanatics and the mentally unstable in the past several years. Scientologists are already celebrating the decision as their "most important accomplishment in the German courts." However, the appeal still has to go before the Federal Administrative Court.

The authors of the opinions, Obermayer (Loeffelmann: "rather vague") and of Campenhausen (Haack: "old news"), have since kept their distance. For instance, Obermayer would not like "to come under suspicion of being a sect sympathizer"; he believes recruiting pedestrians on the street for auditing seminars is "very, very controversial" and that the writings of sect founder Hubbard are "unpalatable."

Campenhausen, who has since then become a civil prebend administrator of the Lower Saxon government, would not like his "ecclesiastical-political opinion" to be used so that "unprofessional people can perform some hocus-pocus to be free of military service" - at the same time, he also had the "suspicion" that "Hubbard and his psycho-courses are full of it".



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