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Remarks on Heber Jentzsch and Scientology - Reinhart Hummel

To the participants of the Conference on “New Religions and the New Europe” in London, March 1993.


Dear Friends and Colleagues! As you know Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International, has used, or rather misused, the Conference in London to launch an attack against churches, newspapers and the public in Germany and elsewhere. He has charged them with participating in a smear campaign against the Church of Scientology and has drawn a parallel with the persecution of Jews in Nazi-Germany. You will certainly know about the Scientology brochure titled Hatred and Propaganda where this argument is elaborated in detail.

Most of you do not need any help in assessing this type of propaganda. Even some representatives of New Religious Movements showed their uneasiness about the attacks at the conference.

Nevertheless I would like to make two points. First of all this attack was a clear violation of the rule laid down by the conference to abstain from polemics against other groups and organisations. I have not entered a formal protest with those in charge of the conference. But I did express my concern to them that such incidents may strengthen the position of those who may stay away (and advise others to stay away) from conferences that offer a forum for propaganda and polemics of the Scientology type. I would very much appreciate if better precautions could be taken in the future to prevent such misuse of a public forum from being repeated.

As to the substance of the attack it should be pointed out: What Scientology has to face at present in Germany and other countries is not persecution of a religious minority by a suppressive and totalitarian state, but the ordinary, sometimes harsh, way in which a democratic press in a free society is dealing with organisations that have come under public criticism. Nobody can be expected to like this way of being treated. But it is a scandalous abuse of the real victims of Nazi terror when the Scientology Church is posing in the role of a vitim of a new holocaust.

During the conference I had the opportunity to tell Mr. Jentzsch that in my view Scientology itself has spoilt for some more years whatever chances of dialogue might have existed, simply by more or less identifying its critics with Nazi propagandists. Scientology leaders should make up their mind as to what they really want: Dialogue or dealing with critics and “enemies” according to their own Scientology handbooks. They cannot have it both ways at the same time. This is what I wanted to share with you since I did not like to start a dispute at the conference itself.