Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dianetics bites Top Gun

I have nothing personal against Tom Cruise. Except that he portrayed the worst of what I have personally witnessed in US Navy fighter pilots. Most simply aren't that self-absorbed.

Anyway, reader Cat sent me this:
Germany has barred the makers of a movie about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler from filming at German military site because its star Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, the defence ministry has said.

Cruise, one of the film's producers, is a well known member of the Church of Scientology, which the German government does not recognise as a church and says is against the country's constitution. Berlin says it masquerades as a religion to make money, a charge Scientologist leaders reject.

Gee. That's too bad.

Not that it matters all that much because I know four-fifths of diddly-squat about Scientology. Apparently the only way I would find out more is if I actually picked up the rags at supermarket checkout.

Germany, it would seem on the face of it, might appear to be behaving in a somewhat intolerant manner, however, my personal inclination, given the history of that country's experience with fraud on a scale we still have difficulty imagining, gives them some latitude in dealing with such matters.

Maybe they're onto something.

The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany's democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization's activities in the United States.

There are three notable American court cases involving Scientology that illustrate why Germany's concerns about this organization are justified. In the early 1980s, American courts convicted 11 top Scientologists for plotting to plant spies in federal agencies, break into government offices and bug at least one IRS meeting. In 1994, in a case involving Lawrence Wollersheim, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a California court's finding of substantial evidence that Scientology practices took place in a coercive environment and rejected Scientology's claims that the practices were protected under religious freedom guaranties. In September 1997, the Illinois Supreme Court found there was evidence enough to allege that Scientology had driven the Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy by filing 21 lawsuits in a 17-month period. The court stated that "such a sustained onslaught of litigation can hardly be deemed 'ordinary', if [the Network] can prove that the actions were brought without probable cause and with malice."

Hmmm... I'm leaning towards the Germans on this one.

Given the fact that Cruise has openly criticized Germany for the past ten years on their position, and the fact that the German government's stance on Scientology appears to be unmovable, one would be compelled to question the mindset of Cruise in even attempting to gain the cooperation of the German government in making a film using German government facilities.


Who knows? But Germany is not alone.

Germany, as well as Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Israel and Mexico, remain unconvinced that Scientology is a religion.

Actually, those countries view L. Ron Hubbards' brainchild as more akin to organized crime than a religion.

So, what looked like a funny story involving a narcissistic celebrity getting a pie in the face is actually a whole lot more. There are actually political issues here. It looks like Germany just got on Top Gun's "six".

Perhaps if we hooked Cruise up to a Mark Super VII Quantum E-meter we could determine what he is really up to.

I know what you're thinking. I'm not going there. Not for now anyway.

No comments: