More of Grant’s Rants on Cults
Allow me to choose Scientology to illustrate a principle, while not intending to defend Scientology itself per say. Some years back, word that Tom Cruise would star as Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg in the movie “Valkyrie” caused a small scandal in Germany because of Cruise’s adherence to the religion of Scientology. The German government feared that this might somehow legitimatize Scientology, which had fought and banned it on German soil.
As a side here, developments of this type seem to bode ill not only for the group in question, in this case Scientologists, but also for adherents of other minority religions, again in this case not only in Germany but throughout various other countries which follow suit.
For example, in otherwise-civilized countries, members of The Church of the Latter-day Saints (i.e. Mormons) are painfully aware that governments regularly scrutinize their religion under the rubric of “so-called sects (cults) and psychogroups”. One wonders what German-American relations may have become had Mitt Romney, a well-known Latter Day Saint, won the U.S. Presidency.
One can only guess what the German government might be doing to Mormons in Germany if Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t preoccupying the government agencies charged with watching “new religious movements”. That is to say, it is not unimaginable that the German government would likewise be zeroing in on Mormons, or Latter Day Saints as they prefer to be called.
It’s a sad fact that many groups, including those of Christian origin, are effectively lumped in with the Scientologists as a disfavored religious minority. In a free and democratic society, freedom of religion should be safeguarded, even if one considers some like Scientology as having some bizarre tenets. And I repeat, this is not meant to be a defense of Scientology. I am speaking simply of religious liberty.
If examined closely, most religions, including the state churches of many countries, be they Protestant of Catholic, could likewise be described by some as “anti-democratic organizations” pursuing “totalitarian goals”, charges usually directed toward cults. For example, many Christian denominations believe that in the millennial day after Christ returns to reign on the earth, He will do so “with a rod of iron”. Is this any less of a pursuit of a totalitarian goal than other beliefs peculiar to Scientology?
Lastly, in terms of danger to society, neither small fringe Christian groups or other so-called “cults” ever provoked a war that killed an estimated 25% of Germany’s population — but the large Christian denomination(s) that arose from the Protestant Reformation did.
Grant Montgomery – More of Grant’s Rants on Cults