The Attack Against the Church Begins
Without delay, Ploog wrote to the Ministry for Youth, Family and Health asking for mutual action in the interest of psychiatry in countering the Church of Scientology. Manger-Koenig and his officials agreed to help. They enlisted the cooperation of other parts of the federal government, including the Bundeskriminalamt. No investigation was conducted, but a secret report was compiled based on specious and old information that had been collecting dust on the shelves. Contrary to administrative law, which prohibits the government from releasing information to private individuals, the report was sent to Ploog in Munich. He promptly leaked it to his media contacts and, all of a sudden, stories critical of the Church based on this false information began to appear.
Psychiatrists dont take criticism lightly. Especially in Germany, the country of its origin, psychiatrists had never been challenged; they had even escaped justice for their war crimes. Therefore, to effectively silence the Church of Scientology, it had to be attacked on as many fronts as possible. To do this, the Ministry, on behalf of the psychiatrists, contacted both the top council of the Evangelical Church in Germany and the Bonn-based representative of the German Bishops Conference and briefed them on the Church of Scientology. Soon thereafter, both Christian Churches created a network of sect commissioners who launched an enlightenment campaign against Scientology and other new religions.
For the churches this campaign offered a welcome diversion from the economic and image problems caused by the ever-increasing decline in membership which began in the mid-1960s. Increasingly, they blamed the new religions for this decline, although statistics do not bear this out: the established churches loss in membership is several hundred thousand annually, yet nowhere near that number join new religions.
Documented evidence shows that psychiatrists, then, were the men who began the attacks on Scientology in Germanydescendants, pupils of and apologists for the psychiatrists who had carried out the death programs of the Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s.
The Church Grows Despite Attacks
Despite the black propaganda and attacks, the Church of Scientology continued to grow by leaps and boundsa true sign of its popularity. It launched Narconon, an internationally renowned drug rehabilitation program which freed a growing number of drug users of their habits at an astoundingly successful rate (see Leading the Fight Against Drugs).
Psychiatry, on the other hand, could obtain no results. In the minds of the psychiatrists lobbying for government funding, the success of Narconon was one more reason to attempt to bring the Church of Scientology to an end, as psychiatrists also wanted to monopolize the field of drug rehabilitation.
In November 1977, psychiatrist Manfred Mueller-Kueppers, head of an association of psychiatrists, was publicly stated that the established churches had failed to deal with the cult problem. The following month, another psychiatric front group was incorporated. Called Action for Mental and Psychic Freedom (AMPF), its chairman was a federal government member of Parliament named Friedrich Vogel, who later also became the deputy head of a lobby group of the Evangelical Church of Germany.
Vogel later, in 1983, became a prominent aide to Chancellor Kohl, while retaining his position as chairman of AMPF. Eventually, in 1991, Vogel became the deputy chairman of the federal Evangelical Working Circle, a major political pressure group working on behalf of the interests of the evangelical churches in Germany.
Mueller-Kueppers and Vogel could continue to rely on the support of the Federal Ministry of Family, Youth and Health in their attacks on new religions. Manger-Koenig had left the Ministry to take on a position with the World Health Organization, but he was replaced by another well-known psychiatrist, Professor Wolters. Both Manger-Koenig and Wolters later became the subject of media scandals when it was uncovered that they had been recipients of a salary from a large pharmaceutical concern. When Wolters, who became the subject of various other scandals, finally left government service, he switched directly to the executive floors of that same company and stayed there until 1986. He had to abandon his executive position when he became the target of an investigation conducted by the public prosecutors office in Frankfurt over the deaths of 19 patients who had been using one of the companys products. The prosecutors 200-page report amply documented Wolters negligence.
Back in 1978, however, Wolters and Mueller-Kueppers, who had been students together, launched a major offensive against new religions, with the Church of Scientology identified as the main target. And even though Germanys Constitution dictates that its officials must remain completely neutral in matters of religion, Wolters, a top official of the federal government, personally appeared at a press conference at which he triggered the propaganda war that ensued.
Documented evidence shows that psychiatrists, then, were the men who began the attacks on Scientology in Germany descendants, pupils of and apologists who had carried out the death programs of the Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s.
Secret Government Funding
For many years, the Action for Mental and Psychic Freedom was covertly funded by the Federal Ministry for Youth, Family and Health. The funds were not relayed to AMPF directly, but the secret conduit was the other major psychiatric front group, Action Mentally Ill. This arrangement made it possible to hide the payments to AMPF, which included a 100,000 DM ($ 70,000) salary for its director.
Despite the deception, the payments were uncovered. A lawsuit was filed which resulted in the highest court of Germany declaring the use of government funding of the private anti-religious hate group illegal. Because AMPF still exists, although it is less active, it is possible that a new way to channel government funds to it was instituted. An investigation to discover any further illegality is under way.
While psychiatrist-turned-official Wolters used his office to support his peers, his friend Mueller-Kueppers organized a series of expert meetings and conferences with the objective of influencing more and more government officials and parliamentarians against the Church of Scientology.
He even invited American psychiatrists including Louis Jolyon West and Marvin Galpers for all-expense-paid trips. It did not matter to him that these experts were in fact notorious deprogrammers, many of whom had already been thoroughly discredited in the United States, even by their own professional organizations. Deprogramming is the illegal method of forcing a person to renounce his chosen belief and involves kidnapping and false imprisonment, brainwashing techniques such as deprivation of food and sleep, mental coercion and often sexual abuse. As a result, in the last 10 years, at least a dozen prominent American deprogrammers have faced criminal charges on kidnapping-related charges. Many have gone to jail. Jolly West, in particular, is also a known racist who, for example, unveiled an Orwellian plan in 1972 which included electronic mind-control implants, chemical castration and psychosurgery to make troublesome minorities more tractable. Wests proposal died amidst a storm of outrage from civil rights groups.
The intent of this anti-Scientology activity was always the same: if the government and its psychiatric masters could repeat the message often enough that the Church of Scientology was not really a religion but a commercial activity, then one would be able to convince the public that Scientology did not deserve the protection of Article Four of the Constitution, the many court decisions to the contrary notwithstanding.
And these efforts to wipe out the Scientology religion in this country have continued to this day.
One of the government officials most active in attacking the Church of Scientology is Federal Minister of Labor Norbert Bluem. Bluem, a Catholic theologian, has issued vitriolic public statements attacking the Church on many occasions. Even though he has never met with a Scientology representative, nor ever offered a shred of evidence for any of his accusations, he had no scruples aimed at decreeing discriminatory measures against Scientologists, which prohibited them from carrying out their chosen professions.
Bluems antagonism towards the Scientology religion at first appears inexplicable. Why would a government minister of the most powerful country in Europe attack a religion practiced by 30,000 of the countrys citizens, even adding his weight to efforts by local officials in small communities to discriminate against individual members of the Church?
Bluems actions against Scientology only become comprehensible if one examines his connections with the vested interests whose opposition to the Church in Germany began with its exposure of the psychiatric model plan in the 1970s.
As long ago as November 1981, Bluem spoke at one of the international conferences on new religions organized by the AMPF. At the time of the conference, Bluem was still Senator for Federal Affairs and chairman of the social committee of the CDU. The year after he made his speech, Bluem was appointed to his present position of Federal Minister of Labor.
In his speech, Bluem expressed his full support of the discriminatory actions proposed against new religions by the German and American psychiatrists with whom he shared a platform. He told the conference, Beyond all ideological discourse, we are in need of psychology and psychiatrys competence in this specific matter [of new religions]... Today, the enemies of freedom are those clamoring for freedom and tolerance.
At the end of his speech, theologian Bluem expressed his intention to solve the sect question when he rhetorically asked, Who else but the Christian Churches and science are more competent [to deal with sects]?
Why the Attacks Have Failed
In spite of all this concerted effort, and despite the hardships imposed on Scientologists, even including the instigation of violence and bodily harm against some of the Churchs members, attacks on Scientology in Germany have failed to prevent its growth. No matter what capricious government act was taken to try and prevent our expansion, we have yet continued to grow. How can this be? Because, Scientology is popular with its tens of thousands of members here in Germany and with anyone who has enough personal integrity to inform himself honestly of the true data about the Church of Scientology. Courts have found Scientology to be what Scientologists, who studied it, have always said it is: a genuine religion.
To have not only survived, but rather thrived in the face of such unjust accusations and assaults is testimony to the true value to people of the Scientology religion to people. Why else would they continue in Scientology? What other group can claim the same?
And anyone with enough personal integrity can easily get the correct information about the Church of Scientology.
If you have ever wondered why a religion whose good works have earned it thousands of commendations and acknowledgments all over the world has sometimes been attacked, you now know the reason. Those involved in the attacks may wear business suits, have nice hair and talk convincingly. But dont be fooled. As Gunter Grass has pointed out, the real danger to our freedom comes not from the thugs on the streets, but from the skins in the government.