Scientology to be banned in Germany?

CNN reports that the interior ministers of Germany's 16 states are working to ban Scientology from the country because they consider it to be incompatible with the constitution and it "threatens the democratic peaceful order." Scientology's response focuses on court decisions by Spain and the European Court of Human Rights in favor of Scientology's assertion that it is a religion.

Anyone who has studied religion knows that Scientology has had a controversial history, and this recent story does nothing to change that fact. It does interest me, however, because I recently received an email from Scientology, announcing that they were about to send a set of L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology's founder) basic writings and lectures to me, to other academics and to research libraries. The shipment arrived just a few days ago-- four boxes containing 18 books and somewhere between 100 - 200 audio lectures by Hubbard, with titles such as The Thetan as an Energy Unit. I don't know when I'll have time to explore these materials, but at some point I'll read/listen to some of them. What I am curious about, however, is just how widespread this effort is. If you received a similar shipment, send me an email or leave a comment.

I am not interested in discussing the merits of Scientology; I frankly have better things to do than moderate a discussion on its merits and problems. But if you received a similar correspondence from Scientology, I'd like to compare notes with you.


SAM said...

Prof. Nielsen, it is interesting that in Portugal there is no knowledge of this group.

And in Spain, I only saw one small shop in the middle of a very "strange" street.

So, I don't know if there is anything into it or not, unless, if I read it on the internet.

Don't know if it is good or not, the fact that they are unknown around here, but it is, indeed, a fact!

Michael Nielsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Nielsen said...

In addition to Sam's comments about Portugal, I have heard offline from colleagues in Northern Ireland and Canada. Neither of them has received any correspondence from Scientology. The same is true of a colleague who teaches in a doctoral program in psychology in Virginia-- No correspondence from Scientology, at least at this time.

I also received an impassioned email from an anonymous person by the name of PlowHandle, who warned me about Scientology. She or He recommends I dispose of the materials and view xenu.net, a well-known website that presents an anti-Scientology view. As I mentioned in my post, I don't wish to moderate pro- and anti-Scientology debate. My own perspective on the group is already established, and there are other forums for Scientology debate.

If you have been contacted by Scientology recently, as I described in my post, please let me know. I would like to compare notes with you. Thanks!

-- Note- In editing my earlier comment, I ended up deleting it. This contains that (lost) information, with the addition of the information from my colleague in Virginia.