Each year, the US State Department issued its International Religious Freedom Report. This report has a tendency of attacking any restriction on religious organisations – regardless of motivation – as an attack on religious freedom. Reports mentioning Scientology can be found here.

Some excerpts:


Restrictions on Religious Freedom


On several occasions in 2007, a Member of Parliament raised concern about a company having provided computer courses to Belgian ministerial departments and the Flemish regional parliament. He alleged that the company was linked to the Church of Scientology International (CSI). He also expressed concern about Narconon, an organization linked to CSI that seeks to enter schools with an antidrug campaign.

On September 4, 2007, the spokesperson for the Federal Prosecuting Office announced that the Federal Prosecutor would soon forward to the Chamber of Indictments a brief against the Scientology Church of Belgium based on a 10-year investigation of the group. According to the spokesperson, the Federal Prosecutor would seek indictment of 12 persons, the Scientology Church of Belgium, and the Human Rights Office of the Church. Following the announcement by the Federal Prosecuting Office, the local Scientology Church issued a statement saying that the Church was the victim of a climate of intolerance and discrimination created by the courts.

On April 25, 2008, the Federal Prosecutor announced that the country’s branch of the Church was the subject of another judicial investigation. The group was charged with recruiting volunteers under the false pretense of offering work contracts. At the end of the reporting period, legal proceedings continued in the two cases.


Section III. Societal Abuses and Discrimination


On February 10, 2008, approximately 30 persons participated in Brussels in an anti-Scientology rally organized by Anonymous, an Internet-based group.

Because of course, if you criticise a harmful organisation that happens market itself as religious, you’re committing societal abuse and discrimination. Rather than, say, showing some balls.


Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report.

The Ministry of Education and Religion rejected the Church of Scientology’s application for recognition and a house-of-prayer permit in 2000 on the grounds that Scientology “is not a religion.” The Scientologists subsequently registered as a nonprofit organization.

And again – you call it a religion, therefore anyone claiming otherwise is restricting your religious freedom. Clearly.


The Government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was a positive change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report; the Church of Scientology gained legal status as a religion.

I’m curious as to what the State Department regards as positive about this development, and why.

And, of course, there’s Germany; the section in question is best read in its entirety, however, the following may be instructive:

On February 12, 2008, the Higher Administrative Court in Muenster rejected the Church of Scientology appeal of a 2004 Cologne court ruling, which stated that OPC monitoring was justified and could continue. The appellate court in Muenster found that there were “concrete indications” that Scientology aimed to establish a social order contrary to constitutional principles such as human dignity and equality before the law. The court ruled that this decision justified the continued surveillance of Scientology by the OPC, including surveillance via intelligence means. Scientology originally appealed this decision, but abandoned its appeal on April 28, 2008. The decision of the Muenster court thus became final and cannot be appealed. The Church of Scientology remained under observation (as it has been since 1997). In recent years, many state OPCs have opted to stop their observations of Scientology, but the federal OPC and the state OPCs in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, and Lower Saxony continue their observations.

Federal and some state authorities continued to classify Scientology as a potential threat to democratic order, resulting in discrimination against Scientologists in both the public and private sectors. Several states publish pamphlets about Scientology (and other religious groups) that detail the Church’s ideology and practices. States defend the practice by noting their responsibility to respond to citizens’ requests for information about Scientology as well as other subjects. The pamphlets warn of the dangers the Church poses to democracy, the legal system, and human rights.

In response to concerns about Scientology’s ideology and practices, government agencies at the federal and state level and private sector entities established rules or procedures that discriminate against Scientology as an organization and/or against individual members of the Church.

Scientologists continued to report instances of societal and official discrimination. For example, several libraries in Hamburg, upon the urging of the Hamburg Interior Ministry’s Working Group on Scientology, continue to reject donations of books on Scientology from the publishing house New Era, which distributes the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

On February 26, 2008, the city of Munich revoked the permit for a kindergarten operated by Scientologists based on the OPC view that children were being indoctrinated in Scientology. The Bavarian State Youth Office also found that the well-being of the children was at risk due to the school’s educational methods. At the end of the reporting period, the Scientologists indicated they were preparing a challenge to the closure in court.

Could it be, possibly, that the totalitarianism described in the bolded parts of the above could be the reason why libraries refuse to promote, and the state believes children should be protected from, Scientology doctrines?

Oh, wait – it’s a “religion.” Silly me.