Cruise movie fuels Berlin's war on Scientology
Allan Hall, Berlin
The Age, Melbourne
January 27, 2009
BERLIN authorities, worried that the latest Tom Cruise movie will boost Scientology membership, have begun a propaganda campaign against the cult.
A poster denouncing Scientology, paid for by the city, has been posted outside the Scientology headquarters in the German capital.
Local officials warn that Scientology may be "undemocratic". It comes as the authorities admit they are afraid of people being drawn into the "church" as a result of Cruise's starring role about the German anti-Nazi hero Claus von Stauffenberg in the movie Valkyrie.
a big stop sign
The sign outside the Scientology headquarters is a poster with a big stop sign and a printed message: "The district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf expresses its opposition to the activities of the Scientology sect in this district and in Berlin, and hopes that responsible parties in Berlin will watch the Scientology sect with a critical eye."
Cruise is the world's most prominent Scientologist. Posters advertising his new film, about the 1944 attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, are plastered across Berlin.
Cruise said little about Scientology during his publicity tour through Berlin last week, and the poster doesn't mention him. It only says that local officials see "a possible danger to democratic society" in the "increased activities of Scientology".
The Scientology headquarters in Berlin opened in January 2007 amid national controversy.
The German Government has never considered the US-based Church of Scientology a religion, refuses to exempt it from taxes and spies on it regularly for "anti-constitutional activity" because of aggressive recruitment practices.
During a failed attempt to ban Scientology in late 2007, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble said: "Fundamental basic and human rights like the dignity of man or the right to equal treatment are restricted or abrogated by the organisation."
Many Germans are upset that Cruise is playing a man in Valkyrie who despised the dictatorship of the Nazis while he promotes a "religion" that many see as being equally authoritarian, intolerant and sinister.
Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.