Scientology v. Germany: 50 years of legal battles

Section:
Berlin Scientology Church

HRWF (05.10.2020) — As Scientologists celebrate the 50th anniversary of the settlement of their Church in Germany, Ivan Arjona, their European representative, requested a UN investigation into discrimination against Scientologists in Germany during a statement at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Arjona reminded Germany’s representative to the UN that “over the past three decades, dozens of German courts have condemned the actions of the government against Scientologists at different levels and recognized their rights as per Article 4 of [the German] Constitution.” Article 4 decrees that: “Freedom of faith and conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed shall be inviolable.”

He also stressed that the German executive powers have ignored the decisions of the German courts for almost 50 years now.

“Sect filters” and discrimination

Last year, at the OSCE/ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw, some NGOs criticised Germany for stigmatising and discriminating against people who believe in the teachings of Scientology.

In Bavaria and a few other German Länder, the authorities use what they call “sect filters” when someone applies for a public job, a public service contract or a government bid. These “sect filters” contain questions exclusively targeting the possible affiliation or relationship of the candidate with Scientology. If so, the candidate is disqualified. If the applicant refuses to fill in the questionnaire, they are also disqualified.

“This is not only intrusive and discriminatory, but this gravely violates the international human rights standards and stigmatises the followers of Ron Hubbard’s teachings as sub-citizens,” one of the NGOs said. The teachings of Scientology are not banned in Germany and spreading them is not a criminal activity. Therefore, their followers should not be treated differently from the followers of the Bible, the Coran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist or any other teachings.

The German delegation to the OSCE replied to these challenges by stating that in their country Scientology is not recognized as a religious community.

However, this answer was irrelevant for two main reasons. Firstly, according to the OSCE/ODIHR standards, a non-recognition of a religious or belief system by the state does not justify discrimination against its followers. Secondly, German courts have already ruled that Scientology was entitled to the protection of Article 4 of the Basic Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

German court decisions finding Scientologists and their Church to be protected under Article 4 of the German Constitution

  1. Church of Scientology of Berlin v. City of Berlin, 27 February 2009, Berlin Administrative Court.
  2. B. v. City of Hamburg, 27 June 2008, Hamburg Administrative Court.
  3. Church of Scientology of Germany, Church of Scientology of Hamburg v. City of Hamburg, 7 March 2008, Hamburg Civil Court of Appeal.
  4. B. v. City of Hamburg, 19 December 2007, Hamburg State Administrative Court of Appeal (referred to in #2 above at page 5).
  5. Church of Scientology of Berlin v. City of Berlin, 29 June 2006, Administrative Court Berlin.
  6. B. v. City of Hamburg, 15 June 2006, Administrative Court Hamburg.
  7. K. v. City of Hamburg, 15 December 2005, Federal Administrative Supreme Court.
  8. Winkler v. State of Bavaria, Federal Supreme Administrative Court, March 2005.
  9. Celebrity Centre Church of Scientology Munich v. County of Upper Bavaria, 2 November 2005, Bavarian State Administrative Court of Appeal.
  10. K. v. City of Hamburg, 17 June 2004, Hamburg State Administrative Court of Appeal.
  11. Church of Scientology of Dusseldorf v. City of Dusseldorf, District Court Dusseldorf, March 2004.
  12. Church of Scientology Stuttgart v. State of Baden-Württemberg, 12 December 2003, State Administrative Court of Appeal Baden-Württemberg.
  13. Church of Scientology International v. City of Hamburg, 22 April 2003, State Administrative Court of Appeal Hamburg.
  14. Church of Scientology International v. City of Munich, 26 March 2003, Munich Administrative Court.
  15. Z. v. Church of Scientology Berlin, 26 September 2002, Federal Supreme Labor Court.
  16. Church of Scientology International v. City of Hamburg, July 2002, State Administrative Court of Appeal Hamburg.
  17. Scientology Mission Ulm v. City of Kempten/Allgäu, 25 November 1996, Administrative Court Augsburg.
  18. Church of Scientology Bavaria v. Federal Labor Office, 19 January 2000, Social Court Nuremburg.
  19. Church of Scientology Stuttgart v. City of Stuttgart, 17 November 1999, Administrative Court Stuttgart.
  20. H. v. Church of Scientology Hamburg, 5 January 1998, District Civil Court of Hamburg.
  21. Scientology Mission Neue Brücke v. State of Baden-Württemberg, 6 November 1997, Federal Supreme Administrative Court.
  22. City of Freiburg v. E., 6 February 1996, District Court Freiburg.
  23. Scientology Mission Neue Brücke v. State of Baden-Württemberg, 2 August 1995, State Administrative Court of Appeal Baden-Württemberg.
  24. Church of Scientology Hamburg v. City of Hamburg, 16 February 1995, Federal Supreme Administrative Court.
  25. Church of Scientology Hamburg v. City of Hamburg, 24 August 1994, State Administrative Court of Appeal Hamburg.
  26. S. v. Scientology Mission Nymphenburg, 30 March 1993, Superior Civil Court Munich.
  27. Church of Scientology Germany v. State Baden-Württemberg/ABI, 26 August 1992, Administrative Court Stuttgart.
  28. G. v. Church of Scientology Frankfurt, 27 May 1992, Superior Civil Court of Frankfurt.
  29. Scientologist v. Newspaper Publishing House, June 1992, Civil Court of Appeal Stuttgart.
  30. State Attorney with Superior Court Berlin v. Church of Scientology of Berlin, 22 January 1991.
  31. City of Hannover v. H., 19 September 1990, District Court Hannover.
  32. Church of Scientology Frankfurt v. City of Frankfurt, 4 September 1990, Administrative Court Frankfurt.
  33. P. v. Church of Scientology Frankfurt, 7 June 1989, Superior Civil Court Frankfurt.
  34. Church of Scientology Berlin v. State of Berlin, 12 October 1988, Administrative Court Berlin.
  35. Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre Hamburg v. City of Hamburg, 17 February 1988, Superior Civil Court Hamburg.
  36. Church of Scientology of Frankfurt v. City of Frankfurt, 7 October 1987, State Attorney with the Superior Court of Frankfurt.
  37. Scientology Mission Ulm v. State of Baden-Württemberg, 3 September 1986, Administrative Court Sigmaringen.
  38. Church of Scientology Germany v. City of Munich, 10 December 1985, Bavarian State Administrative Court of Appeal.
  39. Church of Scientology Hamburg v. City of Hamburg, 14 October 1985, Administrative Court Hamburg.
  40. Church of Scientology Germany v. City of Munich, 25 June 1985, Bavarian State Administrative Court of Appeal.
  41. In re City of Stuttgart v. K., 20 May 1985, District Court Stuttgart.
  42. In re City of Stuttgart v. M., 30 January 1985, District Court Stuttgart.
  43. Church of Scientology Germany v. City of Munich, 25 July 1984, Administrative Court Munich.
  44. X. v. City of Berlin, 11 February 1981, Administrative Court Berlin.
  45. Church of Scientology Germany v. Federal Republic of Germany, 25 September 1980, Federal Supreme Court.
  46. S. v. Federal Republic of Germany, 27 August 1980, Administrative Court Frankfurt.
  47. X. v. Federal Republic of Germany, 14 December 1978, Administrative Court Darmstadt (and appeal of 14 November 1980).
  48. F. v. Church of Scientology Stuttgart, 8 December 1976, District Court Stuttgart.

Source: https://hrwf.eu/scientology-v-germany-50-years-of-legal-battles/

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