General anti-cult propaganda promoted by
organizations like the old CAN and others organizations and individuals
taking part in the anti-cult movement. They depict groups they consider
as "destructive cults" in the darkest possible way, mainly based on the
fallacious, largely debunked, argument that their members are being
brainwashed and aren't in the groups out of their own free will.
The anti-cult movement has done so for several
groups, among which the CoS. They are one of the main actors in
promoting cult phobia and an hysterical reaction on the part of
parents and authorities, something I believe helped to bring Jonestown
and Waco about.
Apparently, some members of the German government
fell for this propaganda and irresponsibly help to spread the phobia
around, even though the CoS' own actions as in (1) helped to bring
that about as well.
The InSects booklet made and diffused by the
Young Union group of the CDU is a good example.
The cover shows insects being killed by a fly
swatter. The booklet aims at Scientology as well as Mormons, the
Unification Church, Hare Krishnas, the OSHO movement, etc. It contains
a sticker showing a skull surrounded by the words “SCIENTOLOGY - UGLY
- DIANETICS - POISON.”
A picture of the booklet cover can be seen at:
The CoS claims that the booklet represents an
official statement because it was disseminated at the CDU Federal
Party Convention in February 1994 and promoted by CDU General
Secretary Peter Hintze. While I am not sure about this conclusion, it
certainly reflects the kind of influences at play at the government
level, and I hardly consider it an objective information to be
promulgated by a responsible government.
Tilman Hausherr, of course, justifies such
practices, even if their parallel with the anti-Jew propaganda of the
30s is obvious. From the Germany FAQ:
19. Are there similarities between pictures in the
SS magazine "Der Stürmer" and german newspapers?
Yes, for example the Octopus has been used by both.
This has two reasons:
- German newspaper cartoonists do not have a
collection of "Der Stürmer" at home to check for similarities
- The octopus is a picture representing a concept,
in this case the "Threat that is everywhere at the same time".
The question is not whether a german newspaper, or
"Der Stürmer", or scientology itself (e.g. against psychiatry) has
used these pictures, the question is whether its use is according to
the facts. A german court ruled that scientology may be called an
"octopus", based on scientology's own documents.
"The question is not whether the newspaper has
used these pictures", he says, "but whether its use is according to
the facts". That says it all... Of course, the concept of the Jew
being a "threat that is everywhere at the same time" was a "fact" as
well... A "German court ruled" that it's ok, so it's a fact...
I more pragmatically consider such practices as
nothing else than demonization, propaganda and inducement of fear and
paranoia. It is rather well in line with the practices of the
anti-cult movement, notwithstanding point (1) and the role of the CoS
The internet obviously had its role as well.
Initially, the reaction of internators against attempt of the CoS to sue
some of its representative and try to control it the way they try to
control other media, was, I think, an healthy and noble reaction. This,
however, has enthralled many in the illusions of the anti-Scientology
crusade. They still think it's a noble cause, but it's often hardly more
than the classic anti-cult disinformation, of which they often don't
know much and are not historically aware about. That's one of the
reasons why I started to document the anti-cult movement history on my
Altogether, it has spread over the net a mixture
of actual and largely exaggerated information about the CoS which
gives a new dimension to its demonization and helps its opponents to
sustain the "reasons" why it is justified to discriminate against CoS
I certainly don't propose any kind of censorship,
and in fact believe that, in the long run, the same process will help
to bring about a more accurate and balanced picture and maybe even
help to shred light on some important issues that are underlying all
of these questions.