Marquette Warrior: Secular Intolerance in Europe: Scientology

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Secular Intolerance in Europe: Scientology

It seems that Tom Cruise is not allowed to film in a certain location in Germany because of his religious beliefs.

He is a Scientologist.
Tom Cruise has been banned from making a film in Berlin about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler because the German government says his belief in Scientology is akin to Nazism.

The Hollywood star is set to play Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who almost succeeded in assassinating the Nazi leader in 1944.

The project is due to start production next month but the Germans fear Cruise will use the film, which he is co-producing, as a public relations vehicle for Scientology, which many of the country’s politicians have compared to Nazism.

The German government claims it masquerades as a religion to make money, a charge Scientology leaders reject.

The country has fought against the sect for a decade. It is even under observation by the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution, a body that usually hunts spies, terrorists and neo-Nazis.

One of Germany’s few war heroes, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg had been deeply opposed to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews and planted a briefcase bomb under a table near Hitler in his Wolf’s Lair headquarters on July 20, 1944. The bomb went off but only wounded the Fuehrer.

Two hundred of his conspirators were also arrested and killed.

German Defence Minister Franz-Josef Jung has ruled that Cruise should not be allowed to film in the inner courtyard of his ministry where von Stauffenberg was shot.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said: “The film makers will not be allowed to film at German military sites if Count Stauffenberg is played by Tom Cruise, who has publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult.

“In general, the German military has a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944 and Stauffenberg as a person.”
Of course, he has no evidence that the portrayal will be anything less than serious and authentic.

We have no problem with calling Scientology a cult.

We have a huge problem with any government deciding what is a cult and what isn’t, and discriminating against “cult members.”

While the word “cult” might, in principle, have some objective definition that distinguishes between a cult and a church and a movement, in practice a “cult” is a religious movement one happens to dislike.

We have heard of liberal women who label as “male cult” any religion that doesn’t ordain women as ministers. And any religion that takes its beliefs too seriously (with “too seriously” judged by secular people) is going to be called a cult.

Further, people have every right to join a cult -- a real cult that we and the secularists would agree is a cult.

This is just another example of the secular intolerance of Europe.

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