LE SECTICIDE
L'ANTI - SCIENTOLOGIE antisectes.net

transcription complète des débats qui ont eu lieu sur le traitement accordé aux minorités religieuses en Europe occidentale

Il s'agit de la transcription complète des débats qui ont eu lieu sur le traitement accordé aux minorités religieuses en Europe occidentale


Extraordinaire démonstration du fait que les USA sont sous le charme vénéneux des scientologues.


Diverses observations et traductions vont être effectuées sur ces textes et sont déjà en cours.


d'ores et déjà, il s'agit ici d'une extraordinaire démonstration de l'aveuglement VOLONTAIRE du gouvernement américain face aux organisations totalitaires.


Si leur pays a mené une campagne imbécile, honteuse et intolérante (Mc Carthysme) contre le communisme -dont la formule américaine était plutôt socialiste en réalité - voici quelques décennies, on peut d'ores et déjà annoncer qu'il se dirige à grands pas vers une autre forme de Mc Carthysme
inversé, qui revient à tolérer le crime organisé s'il est présenté sous une forme pouvant rappeler de loin la "religion".

N'oublions pas que certains de leurs "meilleurs" universitaires, comme le Pr Gordon Melton, pensent que les groupes ultras racistes "White Suprematists" sont des religions, et que leur appui européen Massimo Introvigne, afin d'asseoir ses points de vues extrémistes, faisait dire au Pape Jean-Paul 2 le contraire de ce que celui-ci avait dit, en déclarant que "le pape considère le nazisme et le communisme comme des religions". Jean-Paul 2 avait exactement dit le contraire, cela va de soi (voir ici).




HEARING OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE SUBJECT: THE
TREATMENT OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN WESTERN EUROPE CHAIRED BY:
REPRESENTATIVE BENJAMIN GILMAN

WITNESSES:

ROBERT A. SEIPLE, AMBASSADOR AT LARGE, INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE;

CATHERINE BELL, ACTRESS;

PHILIP BROMLEY, GENERAL COUNSEL, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES;

T. JEREMY GUNN, GUEST SCHOLAR, U.S. INSTITUTE FOR PEACE;

ROBERT A. HUNT, ENGLISH SPEAKING UNITED METHODIST CHURCH;

CRAIG JENSEN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, EXECUTIVE SOFTWARE; REV. N. J. L'HEUREUX,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, QUEENS FEDERATION OF CHURCHES;

LOCATION: 2172 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

REP. BENJAMIN GILMAN (R-NY): The committee will come to order. The
Committee on International Relations meets in open session today to take
testimony on a topic of the treatment of religious minorities in Western
Europe. We do so as part of the full committee's geographic responsibility
for Europe. Today's hearing allows us to turn our attention to a problem
that has troubled many Americans who respect and value the nations of
Western Europe -- countries who are now friends with the United States and
places where, in general, freedom flourishes.

The blind spot that some of those countries seek to have is their attitude
towards religious minorities. As Ambassador Felix Rohatyn has written,
with respect to France, and I quote, "Recent actions by its government
raise questions about its tolerance towards religious minorities. It
contravenes France's international human rights commitments, although it's
a country with a long tradition of religious freedom and the rule of law."
That was an April 12, 1999 letter to Congressman Smith of New Jersey.

I'd like to point out that the purpose of this hearing is not to support
the religious doctrines or other activities of religious minorities active
in Western Europe. But we're called on not only to protect the rights of
those we like, but of those with whom we may disagree with as well. I've
put on the record repeatedly, for example, my concern over the use of Nazi
imagery by supporters of Scientology in their effort to make their points
about German policy.

But I'm also here to say that I must defend their human rights. Of
course, holding or expressing a religious belief or worshipping in public
and private as one may please is not, as such, forbidden by law in Western
Europe. In practice however, expressing a minority religious belief often
leads to discrimination. The loss of a job, of educational opportunities,
of the right to gain custody of one's own child, or to be a foster parent,
which seriously burdens one's exercise of freedom of religion.

Some European governments discriminate among religions, giving some
favors, such as financial aid, or simply the right of the clergy of that
religion to visit sick parishioners, while withholding those privileges
from others. Moreover, religious discrimination by private parties is far
from universally discouraged. It's encouraged in some cases, for example,
by the compilation of publications, by governments, of lists of sects,
although encouraging religious tolerance in an international human rights
obligation

Such problems are complained of especially, and frequently, and
vociferously with respect to Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany. It's
frankly difficult to understand how our friends in those countries can say
that they have freedom of religion, given the burdens on the free exercise
of religion I've mentioned, which will be described a little later on
today. The committee's attention has been drawn to this issue for several
reasons: the practices to be discussed appear to be in contravention of
internationally accepted human rights standards, and seem to be leading to
an atmosphere of religious intolerance.

Secondly, Americans abroad who wish to evangelize or merely to practice
their religion, professions or businesses face discriminatory treatment on
the basis of their religions. Emerging democracies in Eastern Europe may
copy the bad examples of these set by some Western European countries. And
China uses Western Europe to justify its brutal crackdown on the Falun
Gong. And lastly, the growth of political extremism on the left and on the
right, in some of the nations where religious discrimination appears to be
on the rise, questions whether there are links between such discrimination
and those political trends.

Today our committee will first take testimony from our Ambassador at Large
for Religious Freedom, Robert Seiple. In a second panel, we will hear from
an experienced writer and observer of religious freedom issues who has
worked in government, Mr. Jeremy Gunn; from a Methodist minister in
Queens, New York who has been active in the religious liberties committee
of the National Council of Churches and from members of religious
minorities who work in Europe or who are involved in helping
co-religionists there: Philip Brumley, General Council of Jehovah's
Witnesses and Reverend Robert A. Hunt of the English Speaking Methodist
Congregation in Vienna, Austria.

From an American businessman who is a Scientologist, who will testify that
his business is being threatened by religiously based boycotts. And Ms.
Catherine Bell, star of the television show Jag, also a Scientologist who
will discuss the special problems faced by members of her church in
Europe, particularly in Germany. I regret to announce that Mr. Chick
Corea, who was invited to testify, is unable to be with us today due to a
prior engagement.

This is not a hearing about the merit or lack of merit of one or another
religious group; it's about the practices of certain nations, with respect
to some of those groups. Accordingly, the ambassadors of Austria, Germany,
and France have been invited to appear as well. The German ambassador and
the Austrian ambassador have each submitted a useful and interesting
statement. I've asked that my colleagues pay close attention to those
statements. I regret that the French Embassy has chosen not to participate
in this hearing in any manner.

Without objection, the submissions of the German and Austrian ambassadors,
along with the prepared remarks of today's witnesses, as well as those of
Mr. Chorea, at the discretion of the chair, will be entered into the
record without objection. I now call on the ranking minority member, the
gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson.

REP. SAM GEJDENSON (DD-CT): Thank you Mr. Chairman. You know, one thing
comes to mind as I look at the years that we've had hearings on this
issue, is that maybe part of the solution would be if our European
colleagues followed our model of separation of church and state.

Because what seems to be, if not explicitly discussed, it seems to have,
at least, a strong undercurrent that the populace of these countries are
uneasy about subsidizing, providing economic support and other benefits to
religions that they're simply not accustomed to or that don't represent a
large portion of their population. And that may be an important lesson for
people in this country who have consistently tried to gray and remove the
separation of church and state -- that we would find ourselves in a
similar position. Populations there often find it difficult to accept new
philosophies and new religions, and it becomes particularly problematic
when the general taxpayers then have to subsidize the new religions by
funding religious schools, by funding other activities that direct
payments to these new religions.

So, maybe our European brethren could remove some of their problems with
the various religions that they seem to have a difficulty with if they
look to our model more of establishing a separation between the elected
government and the beliefs that people choose. I think it's important that
we don't simply confuse newer religions and newer philosophies and thereby
put them in a separate category. It should be the standards of behavior
that we judge, not the newness of the religion. And obviously, governments
that take newer religions and newer beliefs and label them as sects and
cults, I think, undermines an attempt to have a society that respects
daring beliefs.

I believe these countries ought to open up a fair dialogue; they need to
announce and enunciate principles of tolerance for their society. And they
could go a long way to do away with some of the problems that they are
faced with; and some of the finest democracies of the world, then, are our
closest allies. For me, it is important to give every belief an
opportunity to express itself, and to make sure that a dominant religion
doesn't in some way try to prevent other religions from competing for
parishioners. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

REP. GILMAN: Any other members seeking recognition? Mr. Salmon.

REP. MATT SALMON (R-AZ): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. It's
interesting, just a couple of weeks ago we had a debate on the House floor
about NCR for China. And numerous members arose to denounce the practices
in China of the impingement on religious freedom. But yet, a lot of their
same members express hesitance about denouncing the suppressing of
religious freedom in some of the allied countries that we've worked
closely with since World War II.

I find that quite interesting; I have a different belief. I think that we
ought to be able to be even more candid with those who are considered to
be our allies. And I, frankly, am very, very concerned, because I see a
pattern. I have been working on the Helsinki Commission for the last six
years that I've been in Congress, that I have been able to go to those
annual OFCE meeting. And every year these issues come up. And I find the
response, particularly from the European union, very, very troubling when
we bring these issues up.

Last year we brought up a resolution to denounce some of the practices in
Europe towards religious minorities. And the creation of these
sect-monitoring offices in several countries in Europe -- we basically got
poured in a bottle. I think that we need to be a little bit more vocal. I
think that the Congress needs to take definitive action to declare that
here in this country we value the right to be able to believe according to
the dictates of one's own conscience.

It is a problem; it's been a problem in Russia. You might recall, just a
couple of years ago, the Duma had a vote honoring and sustaining only
certain religions. I want to remind everybody here on this committee that
every religion started out as a religious minority, even the Christian
religion to which I belong. You might recall, when they started out they
had their bumps in the road. A few of them got fed to lions -- (laughter)
-- and they had problems as well, and problems being understood by those
who believed in a different way.

But this religious intolerance in Europe is very, very troubling. In some
of the countries that are really the worst actors, Germany, France,
Belgium, Austria, we need to take, I think, a definitive stance here in
these halls to tell them that that is not acceptable.And to have a good
and solid relationship with the United States they need to value the same
things that we value, and that is the freedom of religious expression, the
freedom of belief. I'd like to site some examples because this isn't just
a lot of empty rhetoric. The most recent international Helsinki Federation
report mentions that religious minorities in Belgium have been subjected
to various forms of harassment and other human rights violations such as
slander, anonymous threats, loss of jobs, bomb threats, and denial of room
rental for religious ceremonies.

Patrick Valtin (ph), a business man in France, runs a company that offers
training and management advice. When government officials learned that he
was a scientologist, they accused him of transmitting client files to his
church. Consequently, he lost several contracts, with an estimated loss of
several million French francs. In 1999, the U.S. Department of State's
annual report on international religious freedom stated that the
conservative Austrian People's Party formally accepted the decision that
party membership is incompatible with membership in a sect. And they
decide what's a sect and what's a religion.

This policy led to the resignation of a local party official. I really
believe that this hearing is timely. I thank the Chairman for inviting the
various people to testify before us. But after all is said and done and
we hear the testimony, what are we prepared to do? Are we going to just
sit and listen or are we going to stand up and be counted. I think we have
an opportunity to make a difference, and to stand for the most basic value
that we hold dearly in America, and really, the fundamental that began
this country over 200 years ago, and that's the right to believe according
to the dictates of one's conscience without interference from government.
Thank you very much. I yield back the balance of my time.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you. I'd like to note to the audience that we don't
permit demonstrations during the hearings. Thank you Mr. Salmon. Judge
Hastings.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (R-FL): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Mr.
Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing, and my apologies to you, our
colleagues, and to the witnesses for the fact that I, as I'm sure other
members do, have very serious conflicts and will not be able to stay for
the entirety of the proceedings. Toward that end Mr. Chairman, I would
like to associate myself with your remarks, the remarks of Mr. Gejdenson,
and my dear friend and colleague who I will miss when he leaves Congress
and goes back to his religious freedom in Arizona, Mr. Salmon.

Mr. Salmon serves on the Helsinki Commission, and he and I, along with
other members, have traveled to Europe frequently. And I, Mr. Chairman, am
an officer in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. My
point is, what Matt just got through saying, I think, is the proper segue
for me at this point to suggest to the committee that today's hearing,
particularly, is placed in a manner whereby it can be spread widely among
our European colleagues.

And I will take it upon myself to take these proceedings to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at its July meeting.
And Mr. Salmon and I can attest to the fact that the subject of religious
freedom arises frequently. I'll end by saying, Mr. Chairman, there is a
spiritual that says "a charge to keep have I." All of us come from
different faiths in this great country of ours. To promote our religion
and religious freedoms, or to promote religious freedoms, is the charge
that all of us should keep.

And the sooner that our European allies recognize this, the more likely we
are to be able to influence others in the world. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Judge Hastings. Any other members seeking
recognition? Mr. Sherman.

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Just briefly Mr. Chairman. I know that we've had
testimony in prior hearings about the treatment of those who practice
Scientology in Germany. I would hope that Germany would show respect for
that religious minority and others. And it was with great regret that I
noticed Germany pressing for a world bank loan to the government of Iran
at a time when that country has 13 Jews being charged on trumped up
charges.

And so, respect for religious minorities includes not only religious
minorities within a country's borders, but also respect for the importance
of human rights and religious minorities in foreign policy decisions. And
I know that there was one German citizen who was released from Iranian
jails, and I appreciate that decision. But I would have been far more
impressed if the German government had respected the importance of
religious liberty in Iran..

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Mr. Sherman. Any other members seeking recognition?
If not, we'll now proceed with our first witness who's Ambassador Robert
Seiple. Ambassador Seiple's position as Ambassador at Large for
International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious
Freedom Act of 1998, which originated in our committee. Ambassador Seiple
is a highly decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, having flown 300 combat
missions in Vietnam. He has served in administrative and development
positions at his alma mater, Brown - as president of Eastern College and
Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He took up his present position in
May of 1999. We welcome Ambassador Seiple. Your statement had been made
part of the record; you may summarize as you see fit. Please proceed.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT SEIPLE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee. I'm honored to appear before you today to testify on the
treatment of religious minorities in Western Europe. Let me begin by
thanking the Chairman and the committee for their strong and continuing
contributions toward our goal of promoting religious freedom.

Each of us here today shares a commitment to protecting the dignity of all
human beings. We hold in common the belief that at the heart of human
dignity lies the right to pursue the truth about the mystery of faith, the
truth about our place in the universe, about how we ought to order our
lives. Together, we seek to speed the day when every human being is free
to pursue that truth as he or she sees fit, not only unhindered by others,
but protected by the state itself.

Freedom of religion and conscience is also foundational for democracy, as
recognized in the international covenants. A government which fails to
honor religious freedom and freedom of conscience is a government which
does not recognize the priority of the individual over the state, and that
the state exists to serve society, not vice versa. By the same token, a
government which nurtures religious freedom may be more likely to honor
other fundamental human rights.

So Mr. Chairman, the promotion of religious freedom and freedom of
conscience makes sense from the standpoint of freedom in general, but also
from the standpoint of all human rights, and from the standpoint of
promoting healthy, vibrant democracies. Against that background Mr.
Chairman, let me turn to our subject this morning, the treatment of
religious minorities in Western Europe.

Overall, it must be said that religious minorities are treated better
there than in most other regions of the world. Indeed, in relative terms,
the citizens of Western Europe enjoy a measure of freedom that is the envy
of aspiring democracies around the globe. Persecution on the basis of
religion, in the form of brutal activities by governments, such as
prolonged detentions without charge, torture, slavery, simply does not
exist there as it so tragically does elsewhere in the world.

But it also must be said that discrimination on the basis of religion does
exist in the four countries on which we are focusing this morning:
Germany, France, Austria, and Belgium. Let me give you a brief overview
of the problems that we see in each. Before I do however, I want to
emphasize that the standard applied to these countries by the United
States is a standard that they have accepted. All of them embrace the
international instruments that protect freedom of religion and conscience,
including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European
Convention on Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.

In applying these standards, we see ourselves as citizens of the world
community putting our national shoulder to the international wheel. But
our willingness to speak of discrimination elsewhere should not be taken
to imply that we are free of it ourselves. When it comes to religious
minorities, the United States falls far short of a perfect record. One
need only recall discrimination against the Catholic minority or the
Mormons in the 19th Century.

However, we believe that one sign of a mature democracy is the willingness
to accept criticism, so long as it is based on international standards of
human rights. Let me begin with Germany, where our primary disagreement
involves the treatment of the countries, roughly, 8,000 Scientologists.
The problem is that many in the German government believe that Scientology
is more a money making scheme than a religion. This view is shared by
officials in certain states where responsibility for religious questions
are usually handled.

At the same time, German officials say they are concerned that Scientology
has, "anti-democratic tendencies." The Offices for the Protection of the
Constitution at both the state and federal level have been monitoring
Scientology since 1997 for evidence of activities that would constitute a
threat against the state. Although initial reports concluded that it did
not, the monitoring continues to this day.

In 1998, a commission on so-called sects and psycho groups presented a
report to the parliament that criticized Scientology for, "misinformation
and intimidation," of its critics. Accusing it of being a political
extremist group with, "totalitarian tendencies." Following this, the
states of Bavaria and Hamburg published brochures warning the public of
the purported dangers Scientology poses. For their part, many of the
country's Scientologists have reported both governmental and societal
discrimination in their daily lives.

Some employers, for example, use the so-called sect filter, screening
applicants for Scientology membership. The federal government also screens
companies bidding on some consulting and training contracts for
Scientologists, as do some state governments. That these and other forms
of discrimination are occurring was documented in a 1998 UN report.
Although it rejected the outrageous claim that Scientologists treatment
was similar to that suffered by the Jews during the Nazi era.

Scientologists continue to take their grievances to the German court
system. Some who have charged their employers with unfair dismissal, for
example, have won out of court settlements. Mr. Chairman, we have
discussed these issues at some length with German officials, both in
Germany and in the United States. We have stressed in particular the risk
associated with governments deciding what does and does not constitute a
religion. We have made clear our concerns with sect filters.

To prevent an individual from practicing a profession solely on account of
his or her religious beliefs is an abuse of religious freedom, as well as
a discriminatory business practice. We have expressed our concern that the
continued official observation of Scientology by the German government,
without any legal action being initiated as a result, creates an
environment that encourages discrimination. We have urged our German
colleagues to begin a dialogue with the scientologists, and we have raised
our concerns multilaterally at meetings of the Organization of Security
and Cooperation in Europe.

Let me now turn to France. There have been recent reports by the National
Assembly which cast Scientology in a negative light, expressing concern
that they may use excessive or dishonest means to obtain donations.
However, the government has taken no action against them. Indeed, Interior
Minister Chevin Monte (sp) and others, including Foreign Minister Ladrine
(sp), have assumed a very positive and public posture in support of
freedom of conscience and religion, a fact which has helped diffuse
tensions considerably.

But it is also true that France has been at the vanguard of the troubling
practice of creating so-called sect lists. These lists are created by
government agencies. In France, the list was part of a parliamentary
report. It typically contained the names of scores of religious groups
which may not be recognized by the government. Some of the groups are
clearly dangerous, such as the Solar Temple, which led to suicides in
France and Switzerland. But others are merely unfamiliar or unpopular.

By grouping them together under the negative word sect, governments
encourage societal discrimination. Some groups that appear on France's
list continue to report acts of discrimination. One of those groups is the
Institute of Theology in Neimes, a private bible college founded in 1989
by Louis Demeau (sp) who is head pastor at an associated church there.

Others have been subjected to long audits of their finances. For example,
tax claims against the Church of Scientology forced several churches into
bankruptcy in the mid 1990s.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have also been heavily audited. According to the
International Helsinki Federation, this audit, which began in January of
'96, continues to this day, has been done in a manner which suggests
harassment. In France too, the U.S. has been engaged actively in
promoting a dialogue with French authorities. U.S. Embassy representatives
have met several times with the inter- ministerial mission to battle
against sects. President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, the
assistant secretary of state, and myself have each raised these issues of
religious discrimination with French officials during the past year. And
we will continue to do so.

Our goal is to develop a common understanding with the French government
on what actions are and are not in accord with international agreements on
religious freedom.

Mr. Chairman, the pattern in Austria is not unlike that in France. The
government has long waged an information campaign against religious groups
that it considers harmful to the interests of individuals in society. A
brochure issued last September by the Ministry for Social Security and
Generations describes several non- recognized religious groups, including
the Jehovah's Witnesses, in decidedly negative terms that many found
offensive. With the recent arrival of a new minister from the Freedom
Party, it appears that the government may intensify its campaign against
religions that lack official recognition. We have raised these issues
with the Austrian government and will continue to press our view that such
practices contravene Austria's commitments to religious freedom.

Let me conclude with Belgium. In 1998, the Belgium parliament adopted
several recommendations from the Commission Report on Government Policy
towards sects, including the creation of a center for information advice
on harmful sectarian organizations. The commission had also appended a
list of sects in Belgium, divided into those considered harmful and all
others, and recommended a special police unit to deal with the harmful
groups. The government has not yet taken any action on this proposal.

Our concern here, Mr. Chairman, is not when the government attempts to
deal with illegal activities on the part of any religious groups, whether
recognized or unrecognized, new or old. Our fear is that Belgium, like
France and Austria, is painting with too broad a brush. In its very use of
the pejorative term sect to characterize unrecognized religious groups, it
casts dispersions on those groups, creating, even inadvertently, the
suspicion that there is something wrong with them.

But every religion began as something new and unpopular. We have discussed
these issues with Belgian officials and we will continue to urge all of
our European friends to recognize that the religious quest must be
nurtured not discouraged for true religious freedom to exist. Before
concluding, I want to note that Muslims continue to experience some
discrimination in Western Europe, even though Islam is the second largest
religion in France and Belgium, and the third in Austria and Germany.

In some cases, this discrimination has more to do with race culture and
immigrant status than religious beliefs. Indeed, Muslims are free to
worship and form cultural organizations in each of these countries. Islam
is recognized as an established organized religion, thus enabling it to
claim certain tax exemptions, and receive some subsidies from the state.

The most persistent and controversial religious issue facing Muslims in
Western Europe is the question of head scarves and whether girls should be
permitted to wear them in public schools. The question has caused
considerable debate. But Muslim society is well established in these
countries and many organizations have defended the rights of Muslims. If
some jurisdictions remain opposed to students wearing religious clothing,
others are becoming more accepting of the practice.

Our review is that the international covenants are quite clear. Freedom
of religion includes the right to manifest religious beliefs. Surely,
democracies can find the flexibility to tolerate such an expression of
piety as the religious head scarf.

Let me conclude where I began Mr. Chairman. We share a great deal in
common with our allies and friends in Europe, including common religious
traditions. Together we have done much to make the world a safer, more
humane place, a place where human rights like democracy might take root
and flourish. We offer these thoughts about religious freedom to our
friends out of a sense of shared responsibility for what we have done and
what we might do together.

We will continue to discuss these matters with them. Our plea is that they
consider our argument that freedom of religion, while sometimes tragically
exploited by those who would manipulate faith for their own ends, is
inherently good because it supports the dignity of the human person as
well as democracy itself. Thank you again Mr. Chairman for you leadership
and that of this committee on the matter of promoting religious freedom
abroad, and I'd be happy to take any or all of your questions.


HEARING OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE SUBJECT: THE
TREATMENT OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN WESTERN EUROPE CHAIRED BY:
REPRESENTATIVE BENJAMIN GILMAN

WITNESSES:

ROBERT A. SEIPLE, AMBASSADOR AT LARGE, INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE;

CATHERINE BELL, ACTRESS;

PHILIP BROMLEY, GENERAL COUNSEL, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES;

T. JEREMY GUNN, GUEST SCHOLAR, U.S. INSTITUTE FOR PEACE;

ROBERT A. HUNT, ENGLISH SPEAKING UNITED METHODIST CHURCH;

CRAIG JENSEN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, EXECUTIVE SOFTWARE; REV. N. J. L'HEUREUX,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, QUEENS FEDERATION OF CHURCHES;

LOCATION: 2172 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

REP. BENJAMIN GILMAN (R-NY): The committee will come to order. The
Committee on International Relations meets in open session today to take
testimony on a topic of the treatment of religious minorities in Western
Europe. We do so as part of the full committee's geographic responsibility
for Europe. Today's hearing allows us to turn our attention to a problem
that has troubled many Americans who respect and value the nations of
Western Europe -- countries who are now friends with the United States and
places where, in general, freedom flourishes.

The blind spot that some of those countries seek to have is their attitude
towards religious minorities. As Ambassador Felix Rohatyn has written,
with respect to France, and I quote, "Recent actions by its government
raise questions about its tolerance towards religious minorities. It
contravenes France's international human rights commitments, although it's
a country with a long tradition of religious freedom and the rule of law."
That was an April 12, 1999 letter to Congressman Smith of New Jersey.

I'd like to point out that the purpose of this hearing is not to support
the religious doctrines or other activities of religious minorities active
in Western Europe. But we're called on not only to protect the rights of
those we like, but of those with whom we may disagree with as well. I've
put on the record repeatedly, for example, my concern over the use of Nazi
imagery by supporters of Scientology in their effort to make their points
about German policy.

But I'm also here to say that I must defend their human rights. Of
course, holding or expressing a religious belief or worshipping in public
and private as one may please is not, as such, forbidden by law in Western
Europe. In practice however, expressing a minority religious belief often
leads to discrimination. The loss of a job, of educational opportunities,
of the right to gain custody of one's own child, or to be a foster parent,
which seriously burdens one's exercise of freedom of religion.

Some European governments discriminate among religions, giving some
favors, such as financial aid, or simply the right of the clergy of that
religion to visit sick parishioners, while withholding those privileges
from others. Moreover, religious discrimination by private parties is far
from universally discouraged. It's encouraged in some cases, for example,
by the compilation of publications, by governments, of lists of sects,
although encouraging religious tolerance in an international human rights
obligation

Such problems are complained of especially, and frequently, and
vociferously with respect to Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany. It's
frankly difficult to understand how our friends in those countries can say
that they have freedom of religion, given the burdens on the free exercise
of religion I've mentioned, which will be described a little later on
today. The committee's attention has been drawn to this issue for several
reasons: the practices to be discussed appear to be in contravention of
internationally accepted human rights standards, and seem to be leading to
an atmosphere of religious intolerance.

Secondly, Americans abroad who wish to evangelize or merely to practice
their religion, professions or businesses face discriminatory treatment on
the basis of their religions. Emerging democracies in Eastern Europe may
copy the bad examples of these set by some Western European countries. And
China uses Western Europe to justify its brutal crackdown on the Falun
Gong. And lastly, the growth of political extremism on the left and on the
right, in some of the nations where religious discrimination appears to be
on the rise, questions whether there are links between such discrimination
and those political trends.

Today our committee will first take testimony from our Ambassador at Large
for Religious Freedom, Robert Seiple. In a second panel, we will hear from
an experienced writer and observer of religious freedom issues who has
worked in government, Mr. Jeremy Gunn; from a Methodist minister in
Queens, New York who has been active in the religious liberties committee
of the National Council of Churches and from members of religious
minorities who work in Europe or who are involved in helping
co-religionists there: Philip Brumley, General Council of Jehovah's
Witnesses and Reverend Robert A. Hunt of the English Speaking Methodist
Congregation in Vienna, Austria.

From an American businessman who is a Scientologist, who will testify that
his business is being threatened by religiously based boycotts. And Ms.
Catherine Bell, star of the television show Jag, also a Scientologist who
will discuss the special problems faced by members of her church in
Europe, particularly in Germany. I regret to announce that Mr. Chick
Corea, who was invited to testify, is unable to be with us today due to a
prior engagement.

This is not a hearing about the merit or lack of merit of one or another
religious group; it's about the practices of certain nations, with respect
to some of those groups. Accordingly, the ambassadors of Austria, Germany,
and France have been invited to appear as well. The German ambassador and
the Austrian ambassador have each submitted a useful and interesting
statement. I've asked that my colleagues pay close attention to those
statements. I regret that the French Embassy has chosen not to participate
in this hearing in any manner.

Without objection, the submissions of the German and Austrian ambassadors,
along with the prepared remarks of today's witnesses, as well as those of
Mr. Chorea, at the discretion of the chair, will be entered into the
record without objection. I now call on the ranking minority member, the
gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson.

REP. SAM GEJDENSON (DD-CT): Thank you Mr. Chairman. You know, one thing
comes to mind as I look at the years that we've had hearings on this
issue, is that maybe part of the solution would be if our European
colleagues followed our model of separation of church and state.

Because what seems to be, if not explicitly discussed, it seems to have,
at least, a strong undercurrent that the populace of these countries are
uneasy about subsidizing, providing economic support and other benefits to
religions that they're simply not accustomed to or that don't represent a
large portion of their population. And that may be an important lesson for
people in this country who have consistently tried to gray and remove the
separation of church and state -- that we would find ourselves in a
similar position. Populations there often find it difficult to accept new
philosophies and new religions, and it becomes particularly problematic
when the general taxpayers then have to subsidize the new religions by
funding religious schools, by funding other activities that direct
payments to these new religions.

So, maybe our European brethren could remove some of their problems with
the various religions that they seem to have a difficulty with if they
look to our model more of establishing a separation between the elected
government and the beliefs that people choose. I think it's important that
we don't simply confuse newer religions and newer philosophies and thereby
put them in a separate category. It should be the standards of behavior
that we judge, not the newness of the religion. And obviously, governments
that take newer religions and newer beliefs and label them as sects and
cults, I think, undermines an attempt to have a society that respects
daring beliefs.

I believe these countries ought to open up a fair dialogue; they need to
announce and enunciate principles of tolerance for their society. And they
could go a long way to do away with some of the problems that they are
faced with; and some of the finest democracies of the world, then, are our
closest allies. For me, it is important to give every belief an
opportunity to express itself, and to make sure that a dominant religion
doesn't in some way try to prevent other religions from competing for
parishioners. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

REP. GILMAN: Any other members seeking recognition? Mr. Salmon.

REP. MATT SALMON (R-AZ): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. It's
interesting, just a couple of weeks ago we had a debate on the House floor
about NCR for China. And numerous members arose to denounce the practices
in China of the impingement on religious freedom. But yet, a lot of their
same members express hesitance about denouncing the suppressing of
religious freedom in some of the allied countries that we've worked
closely with since World War II.

I find that quite interesting; I have a different belief. I think that we
ought to be able to be even more candid with those who are considered to
be our allies. And I, frankly, am very, very concerned, because I see a
pattern. I have been working on the Helsinki Commission for the last six
years that I've been in Congress, that I have been able to go to those
annual OFCE meeting. And every year these issues come up. And I find the
response, particularly from the European union, very, very troubling when
we bring these issues up.

Last year we brought up a resolution to denounce some of the practices in
Europe towards religious minorities. And the creation of these
sect-monitoring offices in several countries in Europe -- we basically got
poured in a bottle. I think that we need to be a little bit more vocal. I
think that the Congress needs to take definitive action to declare that
here in this country we value the right to be able to believe according to
the dictates of one's own conscience.

It is a problem; it's been a problem in Russia. You might recall, just a
couple of years ago, the Duma had a vote honoring and sustaining only
certain religions. I want to remind everybody here on this committee that
every religion started out as a religious minority, even the Christian
religion to which I belong. You might recall, when they started out they
had their bumps in the road. A few of them got fed to lions -- (laughter)
-- and they had problems as well, and problems being understood by those
who believed in a different way.

But this religious intolerance in Europe is very, very troubling. In some
of the countries that are really the worst actors, Germany, France,
Belgium, Austria, we need to take, I think, a definitive stance here in
these halls to tell them that that is not acceptable.And to have a good
and solid relationship with the United States they need to value the same
things that we value, and that is the freedom of religious expression, the
freedom of belief. I'd like to site some examples because this isn't just
a lot of empty rhetoric. The most recent international Helsinki Federation
report mentions that religious minorities in Belgium have been subjected
to various forms of harassment and other human rights violations such as
slander, anonymous threats, loss of jobs, bomb threats, and denial of room
rental for religious ceremonies.

Patrick Valtin (ph), a business man in France, runs a company that offers
training and management advice. When government officials learned that he
was a scientologist, they accused him of transmitting client files to his
church. Consequently, he lost several contracts, with an estimated loss of
several million French francs. In 1999, the U.S. Department of State's
annual report on international religious freedom stated that the
conservative Austrian People's Party formally accepted the decision that
party membership is incompatible with membership in a sect. And they
decide what's a sect and what's a religion.

This policy led to the resignation of a local party official. I really
believe that this hearing is timely. I thank the Chairman for inviting the
various people to testify before us. But after all is said and done and
we hear the testimony, what are we prepared to do? Are we going to just
sit and listen or are we going to stand up and be counted. I think we have
an opportunity to make a difference, and to stand for the most basic value
that we hold dearly in America, and really, the fundamental that began
this country over 200 years ago, and that's the right to believe according
to the dictates of one's conscience without interference from government.
Thank you very much. I yield back the balance of my time.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you. I'd like to note to the audience that we don't
permit demonstrations during the hearings. Thank you Mr. Salmon. Judge
Hastings.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (R-FL): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Mr.
Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing, and my apologies to you, our
colleagues, and to the witnesses for the fact that I, as I'm sure other
members do, have very serious conflicts and will not be able to stay for
the entirety of the proceedings. Toward that end Mr. Chairman, I would
like to associate myself with your remarks, the remarks of Mr. Gejdenson,
and my dear friend and colleague who I will miss when he leaves Congress
and goes back to his religious freedom in Arizona, Mr. Salmon.

Mr. Salmon serves on the Helsinki Commission, and he and I, along with
other members, have traveled to Europe frequently. And I, Mr. Chairman, am
an officer in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. My
point is, what Matt just got through saying, I think, is the proper segue
for me at this point to suggest to the committee that today's hearing,
particularly, is placed in a manner whereby it can be spread widely among
our European colleagues.

And I will take it upon myself to take these proceedings to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at its July meeting.
And Mr. Salmon and I can attest to the fact that the subject of religious
freedom arises frequently. I'll end by saying, Mr. Chairman, there is a
spiritual that says "a charge to keep have I." All of us come from
different faiths in this great country of ours. To promote our religion
and religious freedoms, or to promote religious freedoms, is the charge
that all of us should keep.

And the sooner that our European allies recognize this, the more likely we
are to be able to influence others in the world. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Judge Hastings. Any other members seeking
recognition? Mr. Sherman.

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Just briefly Mr. Chairman. I know that we've had
testimony in prior hearings about the treatment of those who practice
Scientology in Germany. I would hope that Germany would show respect for
that religious minority and others. And it was with great regret that I
noticed Germany pressing for a world bank loan to the government of Iran
at a time when that country has 13 Jews being charged on trumped up
charges.

And so, respect for religious minorities includes not only religious
minorities within a country's borders, but also respect for the importance
of human rights and religious minorities in foreign policy decisions. And
I know that there was one German citizen who was released from Iranian
jails, and I appreciate that decision. But I would have been far more
impressed if the German government had respected the importance of
religious liberty in Iran..

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Mr. Sherman. Any other members seeking recognition?
If not, we'll now proceed with our first witness who's Ambassador Robert
Seiple. Ambassador Seiple's position as Ambassador at Large for
International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious
Freedom Act of 1998, which originated in our committee. Ambassador Seiple
is a highly decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, having flown 300 combat
missions in Vietnam. He has served in administrative and development
positions at his alma mater, Brown - as president of Eastern College and
Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He took up his present position in
May of 1999. We welcome Ambassador Seiple. Your statement had been made
part of the record; you may summarize as you see fit. Please proceed.

AMBASSADOR ROBERT SEIPLE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee. I'm honored to appear before you today to testify on the
treatment of religious minorities in Western Europe. Let me begin by
thanking the Chairman and the committee for their strong and continuing
contributions toward our goal of promoting religious freedom.

Each of us here today shares a commitment to protecting the dignity of all
human beings. We hold in common the belief that at the heart of human
dignity lies the right to pursue the truth about the mystery of faith, the
truth about our place in the universe, about how we ought to order our
lives. Together, we seek to speed the day when every human being is free
to pursue that truth as he or she sees fit, not only unhindered by others,
but protected by the state itself.

Freedom of religion and conscience is also foundational for democracy, as
recognized in the international covenants. A government which fails to
honor religious freedom and freedom of conscience is a government which
does not recognize the priority of the individual over the state, and that
the state exists to serve society, not vice versa. By the same token, a
government which nurtures religious freedom may be more likely to honor
other fundamental human rights. back


So Mr. Chairman, the promotion of religious freedom and freedom of
conscience makes sense from the standpoint of freedom in general, but also
from the standpoint of all human rights, and from the standpoint of
promoting healthy, vibrant democracies. Against that background Mr.
Chairman, let me turn to our subject this morning, the treatment of
religious minorities in Western Europe.

Overall, it must be said that religious minorities are treated better
there than in most other regions of the world. Indeed, in relative terms,
the citizens of Western Europe enjoy a measure of freedom that is the envy
of aspiring democracies around the globe. Persecution on the basis of
religion, in the form of brutal activities by governments, such as
prolonged detentions without charge, torture, slavery, simply does not
exist there as it so tragically does elsewhere in the world.

But it also must be said that discrimination on the basis of religion does
exist in the four countries on which we are focusing this morning:
Germany, France, Austria, and Belgium. Let me give you a brief overview
of the problems that we see in each. Before I do however, I want to
emphasize that the standard applied to these countries by the United
States is a standard that they have accepted. All of them embrace the
international instruments that protect freedom of religion and conscience,
including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European
Convention on Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.

In applying these standards, we see ourselves as citizens of the world
community putting our national shoulder to the international wheel. But
our willingness to speak of discrimination elsewhere should not be taken
to imply that we are free of it ourselves. When it comes to religious
minorities, the United States falls far short of a perfect record. One
need only recall discrimination against the Catholic minority or the
Mormons in the 19th Century.

However, we believe that one sign of a mature democracy is the willingness
to accept criticism, so long as it is based on international standards of
human rights. Let me begin with Germany, where our primary disagreement
involves the treatment of the countries, roughly, 8,000 Scientologists.
The problem is that many in the German government believe that Scientology
is more a money making scheme than a religion. This view is shared by
officials in certain states where responsibility for religious questions
are usually handled.

At the same time, German officials say they are concerned that Scientology
has, "anti-democratic tendencies." The Offices for the Protection of the
Constitution at both the state and federal level have been monitoring
Scientology since 1997 for evidence of activities that would constitute a
threat against the state. Although initial reports concluded that it did
not, the monitoring continues to this day.

In 1998, a commission on so-called sects and psycho groups presented a
report to the parliament that criticized Scientology for, "misinformation
and intimidation," of its critics. Accusing it of being a political
extremist group with, "totalitarian tendencies." Following this, the
states of Bavaria and Hamburg published brochures warning the public of
the purported dangers Scientology poses. For their part, many of the
country's Scientologists have reported both governmental and societal
discrimination in their daily lives.

Some employers, for example, use the so-called sect filter, screening
applicants for Scientology membership. The federal government also screens
companies bidding on some consulting and training contracts for
Scientologists, as do some state governments. That these and other forms
of discrimination are occurring was documented in a 1998 UN report.
Although it rejected the outrageous claim that Scientologists treatment
was similar to that suffered by the Jews during the Nazi era.

Scientologists continue to take their grievances to the German court
system. Some who have charged their employers with unfair dismissal, for
example, have won out of court settlements. Mr. Chairman, we have
discussed these issues at some length with German officials, both in
Germany and in the United States. We have stressed in particular the risk
associated with governments deciding what does and does not constitute a
religion. We have made clear our concerns with sect filters.

To prevent an individual from practicing a profession solely on account of
his or her religious beliefs is an abuse of religious freedom, as well as
a discriminatory business practice. We have expressed our concern that the
continued official observation of Scientology by the German government,
without any legal action being initiated as a result, creates an
environment that encourages discrimination. We have urged our German
colleagues to begin a dialogue with the scientologists, and we have raised
our concerns multilaterally at meetings of the Organization of Security
and Cooperation in Europe.

Let me now turn to France. There have been recent reports by the National
Assembly which cast Scientology in a negative light, expressing concern
that they may use excessive or dishonest means to obtain donations.
However, the government has taken no action against them. Indeed, Interior
Minister Chevin Monte (sp) and others, including Foreign Minister Ladrine
(sp), have assumed a very positive and public posture in support of
freedom of conscience and religion, a fact which has helped diffuse
tensions considerably.

But it is also true that France has been at the vanguard of the troubling
practice of creating so-called sect lists. These lists are created by
government agencies. In France, the list was part of a parliamentary
report. It typically contained the names of scores of religious groups
which may not be recognized by the government. Some of the groups are
clearly dangerous, such as the Solar Temple, which led to suicides in
France and Switzerland. But others are merely unfamiliar or unpopular.

By grouping them together under the negative word sect, governments
encourage societal discrimination. Some groups that appear on France's
list continue to report acts of discrimination. One of those groups is the
Institute of Theology in Neimes, a private bible college founded in 1989
by Louis Demeau (sp) who is head pastor at an associated church there.

Others have been subjected to long audits of their finances. For example,
tax claims against the Church of Scientology forced several churches into
bankruptcy in the mid 1990s.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have also been heavily audited. According to the
International Helsinki Federation, this audit, which began in January of
'96, continues to this day, has been done in a manner which suggests
harassment. In France too, the U.S. has been engaged actively in
promoting a dialogue with French authorities. U.S. Embassy representatives
have met several times with the inter- ministerial mission to battle
against sects. President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, the
assistant secretary of state, and myself have each raised these issues of
religious discrimination with French officials during the past year. And
we will continue to do so.

Our goal is to develop a common understanding with the French government
on what actions are and are not in accord with international agreements on
religious freedom.

Mr. Chairman, the pattern in Austria is not unlike that in France. The
government has long waged an information campaign against religious groups
that it considers harmful to the interests of individuals in society. A
brochure issued last September by the Ministry for Social Security and
Generations describes several non- recognized religious groups, including
the Jehovah's Witnesses, in decidedly negative terms that many found
offensive. With the recent arrival of a new minister from the Freedom
Party, it appears that the government may intensify its campaign against
religions that lack official recognition. We have raised these issues
with the Austrian government and will continue to press our view that such
practices contravene Austria's commitments to religious freedom.

Let me conclude with Belgium. In 1998, the Belgium parliament adopted
several recommendations from the Commission Report on Government Policy
towards sects, including the creation of a center for information advice
on harmful sectarian organizations. The commission had also appended a
list of sects in Belgium, divided into those considered harmful and all
others, and recommended a special police unit to deal with the harmful
groups. The government has not yet taken any action on this proposal.

Our concern here, Mr. Chairman, is not when the government attempts to
deal with illegal activities on the part of any religious groups, whether
recognized or unrecognized, new or old. Our fear is that Belgium, like
France and Austria, is painting with too broad a brush. In its very use of
the pejorative term sect to characterize unrecognized religious groups, it
casts dispersions on those groups, creating, even inadvertently, the
suspicion that there is something wrong with them.

But every religion began as something new and unpopular. We have discussed
these issues with Belgian officials and we will continue to urge all of
our European friends to recognize that the religious quest must be
nurtured not discouraged for true religious freedom to exist. Before
concluding, I want to note that Muslims continue to experience some
discrimination in Western Europe, even though Islam is the second largest
religion in France and Belgium, and the third in Austria and Germany.

In some cases, this discrimination has more to do with race culture and
immigrant status than religious beliefs. Indeed, Muslims are free to
worship and form cultural organizations in each of these countries. Islam
is recognized as an established organized religion, thus enabling it to
claim certain tax exemptions, and receive some subsidies from the state.

The most persistent and controversial religious issue facing Muslims in
Western Europe is the question of head scarves and whether girls should be
permitted to wear them in public schools. The question has caused
considerable debate. But Muslim society is well established in these
countries and many organizations have defended the rights of Muslims. If
some jurisdictions remain opposed to students wearing religious clothing,
others are becoming more accepting of the practice.

Our review is that the international covenants are quite clear. Freedom
of religion includes the right to manifest religious beliefs. Surely,
democracies can find the flexibility to tolerate such an expression of
piety as the religious head scarf.

Let me conclude where I began Mr. Chairman. We share a great deal in
common with our allies and friends in Europe, including common religious
traditions. Together we have done much to make the world a safer, more
humane place, a place where human rights like democracy might take root
and flourish. We offer these thoughts about religious freedom to our
friends out of a sense of shared responsibility for what we have done and
what we might do together.

We will continue to discuss these matters with them. Our plea is that they
consider our argument that freedom of religion, while sometimes tragically
exploited by those who would manipulate faith for their own ends, is
inherently good because it supports the dignity of the human person as
well as democracy itself. Thank you again Mr. Chairman for you leadership
and that of this committee on the matter of promoting religious freedom
abroad, and I'd be happy to take any or all of your questions.


REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Let me just ask the
Ambassador a general question.

And I know we're concentrating today on focusing on the treatment of
religious minorities in Western Europe. But I was just curious in terms of
your knowledge with regard to any debate or concerns over the treatment of
ethnic minorities in Western Europe. I lived in Great Britain for a couple
of years in the s, and being an ethnic minority during that period was
quite a challenge, to say the least. And I haven't been following very
closely this issue. And since you're here and we're dealing with a very
important issue in terms of religious minorities, I was just wondering, as
you do your work and as you travel, how things are going or is there a
concern or debate, at this point, in Western Europe with regard to ethnic
minorities?

MR. SEIPLE: I've been in many of the capitals on this issue and talked
with the NGO and the human rights faith based communities. I have not
heard; this is not to say it doesn't exist, but I have not heard a concern
in this regard. Whether that's good news or simply people are talking
about other things, I don't' know. We'd be happy to look into it and get
back to you on it. I think it's an appropriate question, but we have not
run into that in Western Europe as it relates to my portfolio and my
position.

REP. LEE: I'd like to get some information on that if you have it.

MR. SEIPLE: We can do that.

REP. LEE: Thank you very much.

REP. COOKSEY: The gentleman from Colorado, Mr.Tancredo, has a question.

REP. THOMAS TANCREDO (R-CO): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Just briefly
Ambassador Seiple, I'm wondering as I sit here and listen to your
discussion and your analysis how we should go about trying to identify
those behaviors on the part of governments that we deem to be
inappropriate, as they relate to the particular religious entities within
their countries. And is it quite difficult because we are continually
addressing them on an individual basis, and we seem to not have a way of
establishing some overall framework in order to analyze the actions of
each government. Therefore, we can't really do anything except go to each
one and say we don't like it when you do this to them.

But I'm wondering if it would not be in our best interest, if it would not
satisfy our mutual goal here, to establish as the prime criteria for our
intervention, something like this -- an established definition for us to
use -- that governments should react only to actions and not thoughts. And
if that is unacceptable, certainly, we would elaborate upon that. But if
that basic understanding is the mutual understanding here, what do you
think the administration should do to implement that worldwide?

MR. SEIPLE: Well, I think if we reacted to actions not to thought and we
demanded certain actions not thought, we would certainly eliminate a lot
of paranoia around these issues. We would get into a much more real
discussion. We do have frameworks in which to look at this. We have the
framework of the legislation; we have the framework of our office; we have
the framework of the embassy system where there is ongoing, daily
discussion of these issues, even as we connect, maybe, in a less frequent
basis.

We've got the report, which is the high court of public opinion because
you folks have agreed to print it. It's not only on the web site, but it's
in hard copy. These are countries that are portrayed in here by region.
And so, you can read the problems --

REP. TANCREDO: -- and I have. And I don't mean to interrupt you, except to
say that I certainly understand the efforts that are ongoing to deal with
the specific problems that are identified in each country. But it just
seems to me that that is a very laborious process that could be, to some
extent, alleviated by a general definition that we could get everybody to
sign onto that isn't there in the legislation. In the legislation at
least, I've seen and that you referenced, talks about this issue in a way
that I still believe is open to some degree of subjectivity. And I'm just
wondering whether or not we can't come up with some language to implement
through the legislation and through EU agreements that would eliminate the
subjectivity. And that's actions not thoughts.

MR. SEIPLE: I think the quick answer, to eliminate subjectivity may not
happen in my lifetime. We do have lots of words written. There are a
series of articles, article 18s, in the universal declaration of the
ICCPR, and things that essentially came out of Europe over the last 50
years. They still have to be interpreted. The issue of national
sovereignty, as it relates to human rights, always has to get interpreted,
especially in some of those that can be most prickly on these issues.

I'm not sure how you short cut that without an ongoing process which
exists at many, many levels. I'm glad that our legislation was cast in the
framework of the international covenants. This is not a heavy-handed
American approach. It's an American feeling, a strong feeling, that we
need to put our considerable shoulder to the wheel of international
instruments that are already out there. But the OSCE does a really fine
job. There are formats, and forums, and conferences, and seminars to
advance this discussion. At the same time, we have to use the embassy
system. I mean it's just too good an infrastructure to bypass when we have
people who know these issues and know the host country and can speak on a
daily basis about them.

And then in terms of the finitude of resources, I think we have to use all
of them that are at our disposal. Having said that, I don't see us
creating dramatic changes, whole scale changes. I mean we wrote a good
law. If we sit back and think that the rest of the 194 countries are
waiting for this law to pass so they can jump in line, it ain't going to
happen. We're going to be taking baby steps, incremental steps, with lots
of countries. And it's going to take a long time, it's going to take a lot
of perseverance. These issues are not going to go away fast whether it's
our ally or our worst enemy.

Our commitment is to continue to pursue upon all of these levels,
simultaneously, in as much as we have resources to do, and people will
begin to see this is a good thing, this is in their best interest. I can't
believe for a second that these four democracies of Western Europe enjoy
being on the short end of a discussion where we have a better
philosophical rationale. It must be hard for them to make this case.

I can only imagine that they're looking for ways that they can change over
time without the sense that the Americans jammed it down their throats.

REP. TANCREDO: Thank you Ambassador, I appreciate those comments.

REP. COOKSEY: Before I introduce this next panel, I looked at your resume,
you have a very impressive resume, and I see that you are a warrior and a
fighter pilot, and our careers overlapped at the same time. Yours is a lot
more illustrious than mine, I was in the Airforce. I personally feel that
warriors make the best peacemakers, and you've been a leader in theology
and the seminary, and I think that makes you a great witness. I appreciate
your comments; I appreciate you being here; the committee appreciates your
being here, and you will be excused and we will have the next panel.

MR. SEIPLE: Thank you very much.

REP. COOKSEY: I will call the witnesses in the following order: Dr. Gunn,
the Reverend L'Heureux, Mr. Brumley, Dr. Hunt, Mr. Jensen, and Ms. Bell.

REP. GEJDENSON: Mr. Chairman, I think Ms. Bell is unaware that there's a
seat for her at the table.

REP. COOKSEY: On our next panel, the first witness is Mr. Jeremy Gunn. Mr.
Gunn has looked at issues of religious liberty from the perspective of the
U.S. Institute of Peace and the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom. He has published widely on this subject. We're happy
that he was recommended to us by the committee of the minority. Dr. Gunn.

DR. JEREMY GUNN: Thank you to the members of the committee; it's an honor
to be here to provide testimony today. During World War II, Philipe
Shepier (ph) arrived in a small French town of Cherbonne for the purpose
of renovating an abandoned chateau to house and school Jewish refugee
children from Eastern Europe.

While Monsieur Shepier and the good people of Cherborne risked their lives
to save the refugee children, the French Vichy government sent police into
the villages of France to arrest Jews.

By October of 1940, the Vichy government issued a law defining Jews and
prohibiting them from holding certain types of employment, including
positions in government, law, police, the army, the press, and teaching.
The law subsequently expanded to prohibit Jews from engaging in most forms
of commerce. Jews were condemned as a group simply because they belonged
to the group. Such is the peculiar logic of prejudice; it does not require
individual culpability, it requires only the accusation that a person is a
member of the condemned class.

The Vichy government ultimately was responsible for arresting,
transporting, and delivering to the Nazis tens of thousands of European
Jews. In stark contrast, all but four of Monsieur Shebrier's 400 Jewish
children survived the war. One of Monsieur Shebrier's colleagues, Dr.
Michaelis (ph), had previously treated children who were housed in French
concentration camps before he came to Cherbonne. In 1942, while the war
raged, he wrote, "to examine the children of Cherbonne after having
examined the children in the concentration camps and to know in our sad
times the two faces of France. The true one is here in Cherbonne where
Monsieur Shebrier is working with such beautiful success to cure the
misdeeds of the other."

Unfortunately France, like all countries of the world, and I include the
United States, has two faces: the face of courage and toleration, and the
face of discrimination. There are several obstacles to the internationally
recognized freedom of religion and belief in France and other Western
European countries. Before criticizing them, it is also important to
recognize that these governments and people in Western Europe generally
believe in the rule of law in human rights. Much to their credit,
virtually all-European states have ratified the European convention on
Human rights, and the people of these countries have the option of taking
complaints to the European Court of Human Rights.

Although I will devote the bulk of my testimony to the problem of new
religious movements, this committee should not be under the impression
that this is the only or necessarily the most important of the obstacles
to freedom of religion and belief in Western Europe. Without attempting to
rank the problems in order, three other salient and interrelated problems
of freedom of religion and belief in Western Europe are; first, the
incorporation of Muslims into society; second, laws that discriminate
among religions; and third, the attitude of intolerance, including
anti-Semitism.

But the one issue that has received increasing notice during the past few
years in Europe is what may be called the anti-sect movement. The most
serious problem regarding the anti-sect movement in Western Europe is in
France. In 1998, the French government established an agency entitled the
Inter-Ministerial Mission to Battle Against Sects. The mission is now
headed by the former French Foreign Minister Monsieur Alain Vivian (ph).
During the past few years, the French National Assembly has also issued
prejudicial reports on so-called sects that are shockingly unscientific.

Widely supported bills currently pending in the French legislature,
including one that was mentioned a few moments ago, call for increasingly
severe measures against sects. I will describe two interrelated problems
of the official anti-sect movement in France to illustrate how a
legitimate concern for human welfare can be diverted towards the taking of
illogical and discriminatory actions.

First, the language of prejudice uses pejorative terms as an appeal to the
listener's bias. The most commonly employed term by the anti-sect movement
is, of course, the term sect, which plays a role similar to that of racial
epithets. One common tactic by some in the anti-sect movement is then to
accuse they're ideological opponent of being members or fellow travelers
of the foreign group. I personally witnessed one telling example of this
tactic by the president of the inter-ministerial himself against a member
of an official U.S. delegation in France.

In April of 1999, a three-person delegation sponsored by the U.S.
Department of State Office of International Religious Freedom went to
France and other European countries. Shortly before the meeting, we were
advised that the president of this new inter-ministerial mission had
declined our request to meet with him. He did so on the grounds that one
of the members of our delegation was affiliated with the Church of
Scientology. Now, I am not a Scientologist and I knew that the other two
participants, Dr. David Little, and Karen Lord, council for religious
freedom at the Congressional Helsinki Commission, were not Scientologists.

The president later decided that he would in fact meet with us. But as we
were introduce to him, he remarked that he, "already knew" who Ms. Ward
was, and that he did not need to be introduced to her. Later in a meeting,
following a question by Ms. Lord, the president said that he would not
respond to her but would give a response to the head of the U.S.
delegation. Subsequently, Monsieur Vivian has repeated publicly, on
several occasions, that a member of this three- person delegation was
affiliated with the Church of Scientology.

Monsieur Vivian's assertion is, in a word, false. I am certain that he
cannot prove his assertion. I challenge him to provide evidence to support
it or to issue an apology to Ms. Lord and the United States. But the most
important issue, however, is not that Monsieur Vivian made a false
statement that was designed to discredit Ms. Lord or the U.S. efforts to
promote religious freedom. The important issue is that his manner of
responding to questions about religious discrimination exemplifies the
tactic of much of the anti- sect campaign: the use of uninformed,
provocative, and false allegations for the purpose of discrediting people
and groups.

His attack was not an aberration; it had unfortunately become a standard
rhetorical device to discredit those who believe that the anti-sect
movement is going too far. I give some additional examples in my prepared
testimony.

The language of prejudice also reveals itself in such terms as
"infiltration" to described the real or imagined employment of a "sect"
member in a business or government office. When Catholics are members of
the reformed church or teach in school they are called employees, but if
they are members of the groups under attack they are called infiltrators.
This is a use of simply pejorative language.

Second, there are illogical methods of prejudice that come to play, and
I'd like to identify four now. One, the methods of prejudice do not
consult scholars familiar with issues related to new religious movements,
but relay instead on anti-sect activists. By failing to consult scholars,
the reports, particularly in France and Belgium, present an a-historical
and caricatured view of new religious movements.

Two, the reports of the anti-sect movements relay on statements made by
accusers and disgruntled former members. But they refuse to accept the
considerable evidence that most, although not all, adherents of the new
religious movement generally report positive and beneficial experiences
with the group. This was in fact the conclusion of both the Swedish and
the German governments' investigation into new religious movements.

In a telling repudiation of this methodology employed by the anti-sect
movement, a French court recently found Jacque Gayal (ph), president of
the 1999 parliamentary investigations, liable himself for defamation
against Anthropostasy (ph). As reported by the newspaper Le Monde, the
courts held back his parliamentary report and his statement, which was not
"a serious investigation." Monsieur Gayal, for making the statement about
Anthroposifists, was fined 20,000 francs and ordered to pay 90,000 francs
in damages.

The French anti-sect movement typically refuses to engage in dialogue with
the group that they are attacking. This refusal to engage in a discussion
with the groups that are under attack is an approach very different from
that recommended by the Swedish government, for example, which strongly
recommends dialogue with groups rather than polarization of the issues.
That is also the recommendation made by the Organization of Security and
Cooperation in Europe.

Three, the principle documentary evidence in the French reports are secret
allegations contained in files at the security division of the French
police. Four, the reports use examples of alleged misdeeds of some people
in some group and then broadly condemn the entire groups or even sects
generally. The fallacy of this type of analysis can be easily illustrated
by reference to the recent criminal conviction of Jacque Gayal himself.
The springs have not been kind to Mr. Gayal since being sentenced for
committing a criminal offense and defamation against religious minorities.

The same year Monsieur Gayal was condemned, in 1999, the fraud committed
by a sect was, ironically, convicted by a French court in May of this year
for influence peddling and was sentenced to one year in prison and fined
100,000 francs. If we were to apply the same analysis to Monsieur Gayal
that he applies to the new religious movements, we would then need to hold
--

REP. GILMAN: -- Dr. Gunn, I dislike interrupting you. You are exceeding
your time and I would hope you could summarize your statement.

DR. GUNN: Yes, thank you. It would be the same as holding the French
inter-ministerial mission responsible for the actions of Monsieur Gayal.
I'd like to make 4 short recommendations. First, the Department of State
should monitor much more closely and vigorously anti-sect movements on
both a bilateral and multilateral basis. Second, based upon my experience
working in the State Department, I must also suggest that Congress take
seriously its responsibility for fully funding the State Department. From
my own observations, personnel in the State Department are overworked and
under supported. There is a need for more time and resources in the State
Department.

Third, Congress could assist the department by promoting genuinely
international approaches to human rights. Fourth, I believe that the
religious community in the United States can be much more helpful in
supporting religious freedom abroad. While all faiths in the United
States can help, those that are widely practiced and respected in Europe,
particularly Catholicism, Lutheranism, Orthodoxy, and the Reform Church
can play a very helpful role in promoting tolerance.

I don't know how long the anti-sect movement is going to continue in
France. The Vichy government continued in France for 4 years, and I hope
the life of the anti-sect movement does not have much longer. Thank you
Mr. Chairman.


REP. GILMAN: Thank you Dr. Gunn. Since time is running and we want to hear
from all of you, and then we want to have a dialogue with our members, I'm
going to ask you if you try to keep within the 5-minute rule that we have.
Your full statements have been made part of the record. We'll now proceed
to our next panelist, Reverend N.J. Skip L'Heureux. Reverend L'Heureux is
Executive Director of the Queens, New York Federation of Churches, is a
moderator of the Religious Liberty Committee, the National Council of
Churches. He's a Methodist pastor with wide experience in ecumenical work
and religious freedom questions. We welcome your proceeding Mr.
L'Heureux.

REVEREND N.J. L'HEUREUX: Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the
committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today about the worsening
problem of religious intolerance in France. I'll present here a short
summary of my testimony.

It was 343 years ago on December the 27, 1657 that residents of Flushing,
Queens began a letter to then Governor Peter Styvesant by declaring, and I
quote, "You have been pleased to send up onto us a certain prohibition or
command that we should not receive or entertain any of those people called
Quakers because they are supposed to be by some, seducers of the people.
For our part, we cannot condemn them." The Flushing remonstrance is the
earliest declaration of religious liberty on these shores, focused on
securing that liberty not just for self but for individuals and groups
other than the ones making the declaration.

France is a signatory to international human rights laws protecting
religious freedom. Unfortunately, the French government policy is so far
in violation of these tenets that its officials have set up an office
called the Interministerial Mission to Fight Against Sects, commonly known
as MILS. MILS has drawn deep from the wells of hostility filled by the
American anti-cult movement and by its long campaign of malicious
vilification of new or religious religions. In France, a 1996
parliamentary commission report stigmatized some
religious movements with the pejorative label of "sect," including the
Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. We note
as well that there is discrimination visited in France upon the Muslim
community.

The U.S. State Department's Annual Report for Religious Freedom published
last September criticized this commission report on the grounds, and I
quote, "It contributed to an atmosphere of intolerance and bias against
minority religions." Earlier this year, as has been noted, the rapporteur
of the parliamentary commission was himself convicted by a Paris court and
denounced for research methods counted by the court as, quote, "not
serious." And yet the blacklist of this 173 movements continues to
circulate and is used to justify discrimination against the groups.

In March, I was a member of an expert panel at a nongovernmental hearing
in Paris which drew more than 300 people from 38 minority religious
movements to describe the discrimination to which they had been subjected.
I and the other members of the panel were shocked at what we heard because
it was evident that these individuals were being targeted solely because
of their religious beliefs. I felt it necessary to bring the situation to
the attention of a wider audience, and then sought to place a series of
paid advertisements in French newspapers in the form of open letters to
senior French officials. The open letters focused attention on the
violations of European and international human rights standards caused by
MILS, and they were in turn signed by some 52 religious and human rights
leaders, mostly American.

Four major national newspapers in France refused to publish them. Only
the national paper (Francois ?) agreed to run them and, on April the 20th,
published our open letter to the president, Jacques Chirac. American
signatories of these ads included Lee Boothby (sp) of the International
Commission for Human Conscience; Dr. Derrick (sp) Davis, director of the
J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Relations at Baylor University; the
Board of the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston; Dr. Franklin H.
Littell (sp), professor of holocaust and genocide studies at Richard
Stockton College in New Jersey; Dr. David Little (sp) of the Harvard
Divinity School; Melissa Rogers (sp), general counsel of the Baptist Joint
Committee on Public Affairs; and representatives of many Christian, Muslim
and Jewish faith communities.

Such was the furor following publication of this open letter that although
Francois had agreed to run the third letter a week later, the paper not
only reneged, but the chief editor publicly stated that he had published
this letter on April 20 by mistake.

It is against this background that we come to a recent and most disturbing
development in France to date, the proposed bill pending now before the
National Assembly, about which much has been said. That bill is the
subject of a letter, an open letter, published today in the International
Herald Tribune, a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, saying
it is a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights standards in that
it singles out and targets members of minority religions even as a special
category of citizens. The bill's title proclaims its discriminatory
intent, "Law Proposal Aimed at Reinforcing the Prevention and the
Repression of Groups with Sectarian Character."

The proposed law is essentially the product of the hysteria about minority
faiths brought about by MILS and its president, Alain Vivien.

Mr. Chairman, I would urge you and the members of the committee to make
the strongest possible representations to the French government that
should this law pass, it will place in question France's commitment to the
Helsinki Accords. Such a law would be a cancer on French democracy. Only
by sending a strong and unmistakable signal of Congress's intent to take
firm measures against violations of international human rights codes will
we be able to succeed in halting these reverses for religious freedom in
Europe.

I thank you very much for hearing my testimony, and I'll be happy in the
dialogue to respond to your questions.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you very much, Reverend L'Heureux. We appreciate your
reference to the work of our New York ancestors, as well.

We'll now move on to our next panelist, Philip Brumley, general counsel of
Jehovah's Witnesses. Mr. Brumley has traveled all over the world in
support of religious liberty. We thank you, Mr. Brumley, for being here
today, and you may now proceed.

MR. BRUMLEY: Good morning, Chairman Gilman and Congressman Gejdenson and
to all of you on the House Committee of International Relations.

Today happens to be a very special day. Most of you will know that it's
Flag Day. It's also a special day for all lovers of religious freedom
because it marks the 57th anniversary of an historic Supreme Court
decision, West Virginia v. Barnette. In that case, the Supreme Court held
that it was unconstitutional to force children of Jehovah's Witnesses to
salute the flag. Most do not understand, nor necessarily agree, with our
position that, while we owe respect to the flag, we may not salute it; but
that decision stands as irrefutable proof that this country does stand up
and grant religious freedom to all, including those of minority faiths.

One would expect that the situation would be similar in Western Europe,
but sadly, this is not the case, as has been testified. Witness
communities have been active in Western Europe since over 100 years. There
are approximately 1 million active Jehovah's Witnesses in Western Europe,
approximately 1,600,000 who also attend our services. During World War II,
hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses paid the ultimate price for not
compromising their faith.

With this backdrop, it's surprising to see the treatment that Jehovah's
Witnesses are receiving in Western Europe. I begin with France because it
is the epicenter of religious intolerance of Jehovah's Witnesses. Two
years ago, France imposed a 60 percent tax on all donations made to our
administrative center in France. They assert that we owe as much as $50
million in unpaid taxes. Here we see the level of sophistication of
religious intolerance. The French authorities will assert that Jehovah's
Witnesses are free to believe whatever we will, but their anti-sect
commission labeled us "a dangerous religion," and this had the effect of
declaring open season on Jehovah's Witnesses.

Let me give you one example of what happens now to Jehovah's Witnesses in
France. One of our ministers, Renee Snerberger (sp), for decades has sent
religious literature to inmates in prisons throughout France. Recently
those inmates informed him that they were no longer receiving the
literature. When he inquired as to the reason, he was given the following
answer by the Valpan (sp) prisons officials: Quote, "Receipt of these
magazines is being suspended because of the sectarian nature of Jehovah's
Witnesses, as recognized by the parliamentary commission."

Regarding Belgium, let me inform you of the situation that children of
Jehovah's Witnesses routinely face in Belgium with regard to religious
intolerance. A teacher in the Ecole Pageau (sp) issued a paper for class
discussions and said this: Quoting, "In Belgium, there are 189 dangerous
sects, and 37 are hard-core ones, such as Jehovah's Witnesses." Now, how
would you have felt if your children and their faith was subjected to such
scrutiny and intolerance in their classrooms?

Some who are Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgium have lost custody of their
children just because they happened to be Jehovah's Witnesses. In one case
the judge states, quote, "It constitutes a grave danger for the children,
taking into account the influence of the Jehovah's sect of which the
mother seems to be a member." Another judge was even more openly bigoted.
He said, "Jehovah's Witnesses are not to be viewed as a religion but as a
movement of fanatics."

What about Germany? As the fall of Communism drew near, the East German
officials granted Jehovah's Witnesses full religious status, a status
superior to the mere not-for-profit status we enjoy in Western Germany.
When unification took place, we moved to have complete religious freedom
throughout Germany, like the other majority religions. A trial court and
an appellate court ruled that we were entitled to this status. It's called
corporation of public law status. But the high administrative court ruled
against us. For the first time, it said that we lacked the degree of
loyalty necessary for any religion seeking corporation of public benefits
status. They said that we lacked this loyalty because we are neutral in
political matters. This case is now pending before the German
Constitutional Court, and we hope for a favorable victory there.

Once again let me show you the effect on local Jehovah's Witnesses. For
decades, one couple had been used to care for foster children. When the
local youth office of the German government was informed by an anti-cult
chairman that the couple happened to be Jehovah's Witnesses, they moved to
have the children removed from this couple. This led to a two-year court
battle that the couple ultimately won, but the local youth office has now
refused to assign any new children in their care.

Next let me summarize briefly the situation in Austria. For decades, we
were moving through the political and the legal court systems to obtain
the same religious status as other religions in Austria. And Chairman,
just as we were getting to the point of obtaining this religious status,
the National Legislature of Austria convened and passed a new law. The new
law, for the first time, imposes a 10-year waiting period for any
organization seeking full religious recognition. The law applies to nobody
but Jehovah's Witnesses. No one else is seeking this status at present. It
was clearly passed with us in view.

Again let me move to the individual level of what is happening to
Jehovah's Witnesses. One of our brothers was applying for a job, for which
he was well-qualified and for which he was going to be accepted. But when
they found out he was one of Jehovah's Witnesses, he received the
following letter. Quote: "We thank you for your application, but we are
sorry to have to tell you that we do not employ persons belonging to any
kind of sect."

To just summarize a final matter, Sweden is complicating our operations
there because of not recognizing the concept of voluntary work on behalf
of religious endeavors. Although Sweden has a much better record than the
other four countries I just mentioned, it is hampering our volunteer work
to build new kingdom halls because those who would serve as volunteers to
do this have to pay a tax on their labors, as though it is a taxable
event.

Well, clearly something is wrong in Western Europe. What is the solution?
Well, Jehovah's Witnesses turn to the scriptures first, and Isaiah
foretold this: "In the wilderness, justice will certainly reside, and in
the orchard, righteousness will dwell. My people must dwell in a peaceful
abiding place and in residences of full confidence." Jehovah's Witnesses
recognize the complete fulfillment of that lies ahead in the future, but
in the meantime, we call upon this committee and all governments to
recognize our God-given right to religious freedom that currently Western
Europe only extends to majority faiths.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you, Dr. Brumley. Your reference to the Supreme Court's
decision in Barnette, which not only came on Flag Day but came in the
midst of war, reminds us how strong the impulse is to provide for
religious freedom in our own nation. After all, that's why many of our
ancestors first came here to begin with, is to look for freedom of
religion.

MR. BRUMLEY: Well said.

REP. GILMAN: We'll now avail ourselves of the digital video conference
facilities of our committee and the facilities of our American Embassy in
Vienna to hear our next witness. We thank the public affairs staff of our
embassy in Vienna for their assistance in this endeavor.

We'll now call upon, in Vienna, Dr. Robert A. Hunt. Dr. Hunt has since
1977 been the pastor of the English-speaking United Methodist Church of
Vienna. He is a Texan by birth and a graduate of the University of Texas,
Southern Methodist University and the University of Malaysia, where he
earned his Ph.D. Dr. Hunt has served congregations in Texas, in Malaysia
and in Vienna, and has worked in New York and in Singapore. He is a
specialist in Christian-Muslim relations.

We know how happy you are in your own ministry, Dr. Hunt; nevertheless,
we're grateful that you're willing to share your concerns about the
present environment in which you're working in Vienna. Dr. Hunt, please
proceed.

PASTOR HUNT: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the
committee, as well, for inviting me to give this testimony and to share
some of the experiences that I've had in Vienna.

According to a statement of the Austrian Information Service dated January
20th, 1998, the laws which regulate the legal status of religious belief
communities, especially the law of , while making distinctions among them,
in no way infringe on the rights of individuals or groups to practice it
in public and private. I would like to suggest that the right of religious
freedom cannot, however -- (inaudible due to static interference on the
line from Vienna).

REP. GILMAN: We pause for technical difficulties. Dr. Hunt, we're having
some problem. You seem to be disconnected. We'll try to come back to you
as quickly as we can.

In the interim, we're going to call on Congressman Rogan from California,
who is here today to introduce the next witnesses. And if we are able to
get Dr. Hunt? back on the line, we'll interrupt you.

Congressman Rogan.

REP. JAMES ROGAN (R-CA): Being interrupted goes with the turf. But I
especially thank you for calling this hearing and giving me the privilege
to take a moment to introduce two witnesses to this committee who are both
friends.

The first witness literally needs no introduction. I'm sure she's familiar
to all the members of this committee. Catherine Bell is the star of the
hit CBS show, "JAG." On that show, she plays a military attorney. I teased
her yesterday. I said, "You have the best of both worlds; you get paid for
pretending you're an attorney, but you don't have to go through the
disgrace in life of actually being one." (Laughter.) So I want to thank
Catherine for coming out. She is a member of the Church of Scientology.
She lives near me in Los Angeles. And in her presentation she will be
reading prepared testimony of another great actress, Ann Archer, who could
not be here today.

The second witness that I wanted to introduce is an old friend of mine.
He's also a constituent. Craig Jensen from Glendale, California. Craig is
the CEO of Executive Software. His company produces key software that
enables disk operating systems to run more efficiently. It's a core
component of most computer software operating systems. His company has
contributed much to our national economic expansion in the last couple of
decades.

Currently, Microsoft plans to include Craig's software in their Windows
2000 operating system. However, the Microsoft product launch, while
heralded around the world, is being severely disadvantaged in Western
Europe, and in particular in the Federal Republic of Germany. The origins
of this imposition relate to the fact that Craig Jensen is a member of the
Church of Scientology.

Mr. Chairman, this committee has a long history of acting on behalf of
religious freedom. Its work has carried the torch of liberty to many new
lands. It's in this spirit that I thank you for inviting Craig, Catherine
and the other witnesses before this committee and for giving me the
privilege of making this brief introduction of both of them.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you, Congressman Rogan. We thank you for being here
with us.


We'll now call upon Mr. Craig Jensen, the entrepreneur who founded, and
president and CEO of Executive Software. Mr. Jensen.

MR. JENSEN: Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, thank
you for giving me the opportunity to tell you about an embargo of American
products by the government of Germany. I will be presenting a brief
summary of my views.

I am the CEO of Executive Software, a company I founded in 1981 in
California. My company's products are in use in every sector of the
American economy, including right here on Capitol Hill, and are sold
extensively abroad, as well.

I would like to point out that no other country on Earth can produce
software of the quality and usefulness that American software companies
produce. In view of this, a foreign embargo of American software products
must be viewed as a hostile act. Purchase of my products is restricted in
Germany by government edict. And now, the fact that Microsoft's new
Windows 2000 operating system includes a component developed by my company
is being used to justify a ban on the sale of Windows 2000 in Germany.

Why? The official reason given is that my company is headed by a member of
the Church of Scientology. But what does my religion have to do with
selling software? Nothing. The German government makes no attempt to hide
the fact that their embargo is based on religious discrimination. In fact,
the government officials see nothing wrong with religious discrimination.
Simply put, I come here today to alert your attention to a trade embargo
justified on the grounds of government-mandated religious discrimination.

Let me give you the background. In December, a German magazine article
proposed a ban on Windows 2000 on the grounds that I, as CEO of a
Microsoft supplier, am a Scientologist. The official German news agency,
DPA, sent out an international wire story saying that my involvement in
Windows 2000, quote, "is of interest to the Catholic Church, the other
German states, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and
German industry," unquote. A government official from the Hamburg Ministry
of the Interior fanned the flames by boasting in the press that in Bavaria
and Hamburg, the government does not use the services or products from
companies owned by Scientologists.

While such a blatantly discriminatory admission would be condemned
immediately in this country, in the climate of intolerance created by
German government, it is allowed to pass. That official heads an office
called Working Group Against Scientology, which created the so-called
"sect filter" which forbids employment or contractual relations with
individuals participating in the Church of Scientology. In the end, the
German Security Technology Office informed Microsoft that they would not
certify Windows 2000 for sale in Germany because part of the program was
produced by a company owned by a a Scientologist.

Although the U.S. State Department has repeatedly condemned the German
government for its use of sect filters, the discrimination has not
lessened. In fact, it has gotten worse. Official German discrimination
has broadened from individuals to corporations and now to corporations
whose suppliers employ or are owned by members of minority religions.
Official statements from the German government have confirmed that public
bodies expressly ban purchases from companies owned by or associated with
Scientologists, effectively prohibiting the purchase of U.S. products.

This year, for the first time, the U.S. Trade Representative placed
Germany on the Watch List over its abuse of Scientologists' rights. The
inclusion of Germany in her report shows that in the view of the U.S.
government, Germany's discriminatory practices are not only a blatant
violation of human rights, but a threat to American trade, as well.

Mr. Chairman, I come to you today not just on my own behalf but on behalf
of my friends, partners and business associates who are suffering at the
hands of official German bigots who can't stand the thought of anyone
participating in a sect or free church. I also come before you on behalf
of all members of the Church of Scientology, who are forbidden employment,
political party affiliation and even schooling for their children because
of their religious beliefs.

I ask you to send a message to the German government that the Congress and
the people of the United States will not tolerate either human rights
violations of a religious nature or discrimination against American trade.
Perhaps the most effective action that you can take at this time is to
give your full support to the resolutions on Germany, H.R. 388 and S. ,
which call upon Congress and the president to demand that Germany abide by
international human rights law.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this
committee. And I'll be happy to respond to any questions.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you, Mr. Jensen.

We will now proceed with our final witness, Ms. Catherine Bell, known for
the television series of JAG. As a former Marine Corps attorney, I'm sure
you don't hesitate to give us straight testimony today. Thank you for
being here, Ms. Bell.

MS. BELL: Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, thank you
very much for holding today's hearing and for the opportunity to testify.

In fact, I'm here at the request of my friend and fellow actress, Ann
Archer, whose professional commitments unfortunately prevent her
attendance at this hearing to speak on her behalf. With your permission,
Mr. Chairman, I would like to present the testimony she would have given
had she been here today.

First, a word about my interest in this issue. Having been born in London
to an English father and a Persian mother, then becoming an American
citizen at a young age and spending most of my life in the United States,
I have learned that difference is best celebrated, and never made a reason
for division or discrimination. Therefore, when I first heard that
government officials in Germany were canceling the exhibitions and
concerts of artist friends of mine solely because of their religion, I was
shocked that such intolerance could be enacted by a Western government
which loudly proclaims its commitment to democracy.

Ms. Archer has undertaken two fact-finding missions and has been committed
to combating religious discrimination against members of minority
religions in Germany for several years. In addition to her fact-finding
visits to Germany, she has addressed large rallies for religious freedom
and human rights in Berlin, Frankfort and Hamburg. In October 1998, she
raised the problem before the plenary session of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe, and she's also taken up the issue with
various members of the European Parliament.

Last October she visited Congress again to welcome the introduction of
House Resolution 388 and Senate Resolution 230, resolutions which now have
a combined total of more than 50 sponsors in the House and Senate. The
resolutions call upon the German government to comply with its obligations
under international human rights laws and to respect the rights of
minority religions.

On behalf of Ann Archer, I would like to thank you, sir, as committee
chairman, as well as Congressmen Salmon and Payne, for introducing the
resolution in the House, and Senator Enzi, the principal sponsor in the
state.

Our thanks go also to the many members of this committee who have
co-sponsored the resolution. I trust that after today's hearing, those
members who have not yet signed on to House Resolution 388 will be
motivated to do so.

Present in this room today are nearly two dozen German citizens who have
come here to witness the fact that an official body would care enough to
hear their personal grievances and provide an open forum to air the facts
about governmental religious discrimination in Germany. I'd like to
introduce some of them to you and briefly recount their personal stories
of discrimination.

Mr. Karl Rorig (sp) is a very talented graphic artist whose work has been
exhibited internationally and has appeared on the covers of leading
international magazines. He's here today with his daughter, Marlene (sp).
Because of his religious beliefs, Mr. Rorig (sp) has been blacklisted and
has had exhibits boycotted or cancelled. His bank accounts were closed
with explanation, and his family threatened. He was compelled to send his
family abroad to rescue them from the discrimination and intolerance they
faced in Germany, and his children are now being schooled in Denmark, not
in their native country.

In addition to the disruption of Karl's (sp) pursuit of happiness, he has
suffered economic damage totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a
recent example, in early January of this year, Mr. Rorig (sp) held an
exhibition of his works in Newburg, Bavaria. The town's cultural director
learned that Mr. Rorig (sp) is a scientologist and demanded that the
gallery director cancel the exhibition. When the director refused, the
city government publicly called for a boycott of Mr. Rorig's (sp)
exhibition, resulting in a financial loss to him of more than $20,000
because several clients cancelled their purchases of his paintings and
prints.

Mr. Hans Bajor (sp), another Scientologist who is here today with his
family, worked for 20 years as a journalist, producing highly regarded
reports for Bavarian and national Germany television on the central issues
of the day. After his religious affiliation became known, all work
suddenly dried up. In the end, he had no choice but to leave Germany, and
he and his family now live here in the United States.

Finally, I would like to introduce Ms. Antia Viktor (sp). In 1997 she
became the first German Scientologist to be granted asylum by a U.S.
immigration court on the grounds that she faced ruinous religious
persecution if she had to return to Germany.

I understand that on behalf of all those experiencing discrimination in
Germany, the members of my religion who are here today wish to present a
petition to you, Mr. Chairman, asking for the full support of your
committee behind House Resolution 388.

In addition, Mr. Chick Corea, who had hoped to be here today but is
prevented from attending by a physical impairment, has requested that his
written testimony and evidence regarding German officials' continuing
denials of his right to perform in Germany be included in the record.

Hearing these accounts of discrimination, you may well ask what remedies
are available through the courts. Though the German courts do act to some
degree as guardians of the constitution, Germany's want of
anti-discrimination legislation leaves them poorly armed to remedy a
pattern and practice of religious intolerance that has soaked into the
bureaucratic culture. By contrast, due to the efforts of Congress, we are
fortunate in the United States to enjoy strong anti- discrimination laws.
When Deutsche Bank in New York fired an employee solely because of her
membership in the Scientology religion, she was able to obtain not only
financial compensation but to extract an apology from the bank. In
Germany, no comparable remedy would have been possible against Deutsche
Bank In German schools today, children are taught, by order of the
government, that members of certain religions are evil. I have seen some
of the so-called "teaching materials" they use, and they are highly
offensive and calculated to breed intolerance and hate.

On a personal note, I receive a lot of letters from people in Germany who
watch "JAG," the TV series in which I play a U.S. Marine Corps attorney.
I would hate to think that due to reading such hateful propaganda, that
they might be made to think less of the program or of me.

Nor is discrimination in Germany a problem only for Scientologists.
Mormons, charismatic Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, orthodox Jews and
others also suffer a climate of religious intolerance in Germany.
Officials of both state and federal governments there continue to
discriminate against thousands of law- abiding members of minority
religions, many of them American in origin.

It's unfortunate that the German ambassador has chosen not to appear
today. It's my understanding, Mr. Chairman, that the ambassadors of
Germany, France and Austria were all invited. I further understand that
the German government also refused to appear before the Commission for
Security and Cooperation in Europe when it held a hearing into religious
intolerance in September 1997. However, the ambassador has not hesitated
to discuss his government's position on Scientology with members of the
press and with certain members of this committee in private. It is my
view, and that of Ann Archer, that the ambassador's repeated refusal
betrays the fact that there is neither defense nor justification for his
government's position.

Following a hearing on German official discrimination conducted by the
Helsinki Commission in September 1997, the German government said that it
would deploy its foreign intelligence agency on US soil to inform
Americans about my religion. We have, of course, no way of knowing yet if
this legally impermissible plan was carried out, but we hope not.

Our point is that if German officials had a clean human rights record
vis-a-vis minority religions such as mine, they would not shy away from
the scrutiny of the public forum. As I have looked deeper into these
issues and have studied the extent of the discrimination, I've become
alarmed to learn that intolerance has been carried across the border from
Germany into some other countries of Europe, notably France. French
officials have stigmatized members of 173 religious minorities, including
the Baptists, as sects. back


The French government has set up a special unit to fight against minority
faiths headed by an individual with a long history of intolerance who has
described our precious First Amendment as crazy. His self-professed goal
is to legislate which religions a person may and may not believe. Today's
growing religious discrimination in Central Europe was spawned several
years ago in Germany by the Kohl administration. Unfortunately, the
government of Chancellor Schroeder has taken no steps to reverse those
divisive policies and propagate religious freedom and pluralism.

Forums such as today's are essential to drive home that we will not only
speak out against these governmental abuses, but take firm action against
them. The resolutions in Congress, House resolution 388 and Senate
resolution 230, deserve the full support of this committee. And given the
spread of religious intolerance to other European countries, I believe a
resolution is needed calling upon countries such as France, Austria and
Belgium to respect international human rights laws, especially as regards
to religious freedom. I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to give serious
consideration to a resolution of this kind in the near future.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Ms. Bell for your testimony.

MS. BELL: Okay, I have a little bit more.

REP. GILMAN: Yes, please sum up.

MS. BELL: While we continue to speak out, of course we must keep open the
doors to a dialogue. Anne Archer and I share the desire of many here to
bring the governments of Germany and France to the discussion table and
persuade them to open a genuine dialogue with the minority religions whose
members worship in those lands. In the end, only dialogue can resolve this
problem. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Ms. Bell for being here and for your testimony and
for your request, which we will honor and take a good hard look at. Dr.
Hunt, you're back with us again. We apologize for the interruption, which
was something that was beyond our control, but we hope that you can give
us your testimony now. Dr. Hunt please proceed.

DR. HUNT: Thank you, I will continue where I left off. It's my experience
that even though Methodists are a state-recognized religion, they do not
live free from official and unofficial bias. I have encountered this in
trying to book hotel rooms for church retreats, notably being told by the
private owners of certain (pincion ?) small hotels that they would not
engage having a sect in their hotel. In a more official and larger hotel,
it was possible to book rooms for our church retreat, but only after
demonstrating that we were a state recognized religion. And I cannot say
that the same hotel would have rented rooms to a non-recognized religion.

I've also encountered problems, as I say in my statement, in making visits
to different prisons. In one case I was simply turned down and told that I
must be part of the Catholic group (Caritas ?). In another case I had to
get permission from the Roman Catholic chaplain first. I would not
generalize here, I have been given access to other prisons.

Another type of bias has been reported by one of my members. In one case a
member of our church felt the judge in a child custody case, as well as
the court appointed psychologist, showed prejudice against him by
referring to him as a fundamentalist and a member of a sect, because he
was a Methodist. Apparently they were not aware that ours is a
state-recognized religion. In another case a member was surprised to find
that if as a divorcee he married a Roman Catholic religious instruction
teacher, she would lose her job. All of their education salaries are paid
by the state. If she wishes to remain employed, her right to marry and
thus his, hinges on a Roman Catholic marriage tribunal; and presumably a
priests approval of her future spouse.

Such a situation can hardly fail to be coercive. It puts the resources of
the state at the disposal of a religious group purely for the enforcement
of its own idiosyncratic beliefs. The problem of bias is unfortunately
rooted in Austrian law. At a symbolic level it's telling that the Austrian
courts still display prominently a crucifix, a symbol hardly calculated to
inspire confidence by non-Catholics in an unbiased judicial system.

The Austrian government distributes a document entitled, in English
translation, "Sects: Knowledge Protects," which attempts to define
religion and then distinguished between three types of religious groups.
Some are able to obtain legal entity status, others are given legal
recognition as churches whose activities are in the public interest, and
thus receive public support. And then there are groups regarded as
dangerous sects.

One cannot escape the effects of this official bias by simply keeping ones
religious identity secret. Every resident of Austria must declare their
religion on a (melda zetle ?), or required residency registration with the
police. And you must present a copy of this for every activity from
signing a housing lease to opening a bank account to even purchasing a
mobile telephone. But you cannot keep your religion private and you cannot
keep it in private in a biased environment. I would just add quickly here
that the United Methodists Church of Austria, in its annual conference
last week, adopted a short statement on the book "Sects: Knowledge
Protects," and I will just read it for you in English translation.

"We strongly disagree with the law and office being set up by the Austrian
government for documentation of sects and their activities.

We do not see any need to do this. If illegal actions are taking place
existing criminal law, civil law and consumer rights should be called on
to correct it. We challenge the majority churches to clarify their
position on these matters."

And if I can add just one other thing, Congressman Lee was interested in
whether there was a relationship between religious freedom and
discrimination against ethnic and racial minorities. I would just have to
say my congregation is one-third African and one- third Asian, one-third
European and American. And several times, privately, people have
characterized us as a sect based on the large number of African members of
the church. In one case, again in trying to rent rooms for our church, we
were told "We know that all those Africans must be sect members." So there
is a link here in Austria between these two things.

In closing, let me just say I'm not unhappy to live and minister in
Austria. As an American and a Methodist the majority of my relationships
with Austrian society are happy and positive. And yet I don't think there
can be any apathy on this issue. No country is so far along in its social
evolution that it cannot, given the right circumstances, revert to
religious bigotry and intolerance. And our commitment to freedom requires
of us a continual and disciplined self examination and honest appraisal of
our friends. I want to thank the committee members and I want to thank
you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity. Thank you.

REP. GILMAN: Well thank you Dr. Hunt, and again, we apologize for the
interruption. We hope you can stand by for questions by the panelists, and
possibly questions of yourself. Will you be able to do that?

MR. HUNT: I'll be happy to.


REP. GILMAN: Thank you. We will now proceed with questions by our
colleagues of our panelists, and we'll start with Mr. Salmon.

REP. MATT SALMON (R-AZ): Thank you Mr. Chairman. I'm going to start my
first question with Mr. Jensen. I'm just curious, have you considered a
law suit?

MR. JENSEN: Congressman Salmon the answer is yes I have considered a law
suit. I would prefer to use communication, diplomacy, seeking out here at
Congress, rather than going to court. That's my personal view. If these
methods don't work, then I would pursue that course of action.

REP. SALMON: It's really interesting, about three years ago we were able
to get this same resolution that you've alluded to, Ms. Bell, the
resolution that I've co-sponsored with Representative Payne, and we were
able to actually get it out of this committee, got it to the floor, and
there was so much confusion and misunderstanding about what exactly we
were trying to accomplish. And there was a lot of really anti, I think,
very discriminatory rhetoric that came from members on the House floor, as
I listened to them talk about the Church of Scientology in particular. And
one of the concerns that's been raised, and Mr. Jensen I privately talked
to you about this the other day, is information that has been sent to
virtually every member of this committee from the Lisa McPherson Trust.

And I mentioned to you I was going to ask that question. You're familiar
with what this trust is all about. Do you have any thoughts on some of the
allegations that have been raised by this group, and if so, what are they?

MR. JENSEN: Congressman contrary to its characterization as a foundation,
it's a profit-making body and all the charges brought in their case were
dismissed recently.

That's been covered in the newspapers in the last few days.

REP. SALMON: All of the charges that - or all of the allegations that
they've made have been dropped?

MR. JENSEN: That's correct. They've been dismissed by the court.

REP. SALMON: Okay, I think the other point that I'd like to make is that
my personal feeling when people within religions do things that are
unseemly or even illegal, to me the recourse that we have in this country
is not to stomp on the religion, it is to prosecute the bad actors within
the religion. And virtually every religion that I know of has had
problems. Ecclesiastical leaders in virtually every religion have done
things that have offended people, and some have done things that we
consider to be illegal in this country. And our course of action in this
country has always been, when people do things that violate the law, they
are prosecuted. And there is justice within our court system.

But the answer has never been, and should never be, in a free society that
respects freedom of religion, to paint with a broad brush and then use
that as a reason for discrimination. I'm just curious, do you have any
thoughts?

MR. JENSEN: I agree completely Congressman, and I particularly agree with
the comment made earlier by one of your colleagues that people should be
judged on their actions and not on their thoughts. In this country we
cherish the freedom to believe as we choose. And whether someone disagrees
with my particular beliefs or not, a good American will die for your right
to believe in what you choose. The Germans don't share that view. They're
a very young democracy and the stench of religious intolerance there is at
a high point today. I believe that the problem, in part, stems from the
collapse of church and state in Germany, something that we're not familiar
with and have never experienced in this country. When you put a member of
one religion or one belief system in a position of power within the
government, an abuse is bound to occur. So I don't think it's really a
problem of one religion versus another, or anybody actually doing anything
wrong, but rather a conflict of beliefs that is backed up with the power
of government.

REP. SALMON: Thank you. Dr. Gunn, you've spoken about some of the problems
that you've seen first hand throughout various countries in Europe. I'm
just interested in your thoughts on - as a United States government - what
do you see as recourses that we could possibly pursue?

MR. GUNN: I think that one of the important problems that the United
States has in Europe is that there is often an immediate reaction to
statements, recommendations by the US government. So sometimes that harsh
statement actually plays into the rhetoric of those who support the
anti-sect movements. So I would urge strong diplomacy but also clear words
to make clear what's happening. I think with the case that you mentioned
earlier, with the United Stated Trade Representative, I believe that's one
that should be pursued vigorously and the United States should be prepared
to say that the action taken against Scientologists in Germany is a
barrier to trade and in violation of the WTO.

REP. SALMON: I agree Dr. Gunn. One last point, do you share the optimism
that things are getting better, that was given to us by Ambassador Seiple?

MR. GUNN: I think it's a mixed story. I would have said it differently. I
believe there are some signs for optimism. I don't think that it's right
over the horizon. Let me say something positive about Germany. I think
that in many regards the kind of problem that we're talking about now has
diminished significantly in Germany.

A wide range of groups were subject to the same type of discrimination
that Scientologists have been going through during the last year. That has
been moderated to some extent in Germany partially through the release of
the (Onket ?) Commission report which backtracks significantly over what
it had said before. And the German parliamentary commission concluded that
new religions - that first that the word sect should not be used to
describe them, which is an advance, and they also said that these groups
are not per se dangerous and they should be treated on a case-by-case
basis. That is an extremely positive step. That said, there continues to
be the kinds of problems that we've heard described today.

REP. SALMON: This list of 176, I'm not sure if that's the correct number,
but this list that was created, what's the status of that? Is it something
the government uses to constantly monitor or is it something that pretty
much has gone by the wayside?

MR. GUNN: In France there's a list of 100 - sometimes it's called and
sometimes it's 173 - and that has to do with how the list was prepared.
But that is from France. The government as an official institution does
not necessarily use that. The Inter-Ministerial Mission Against Sects
constantly refers to that list. They also say that that list is not an
exhaustive list, so that there are other groups that could be pursued as
well. French courts, when there have been cases where prosecutors have
used that list, French courts have, as far as I know, consistently said
that list does not constitute the basis for any governmental action. So it
was in a parliamentary report, it's not a legal document in that way in
France.

MR. GILMAN: The gentleman's time has expired, Mr. Ackerman.

REP. ACKERMAN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. First just for clarification, I'm
sure that my dear friend Congressman Salmon, when he said that churches
should get rid of their bad actors, that was not an artistic reference in
any way, shape or form. Let me welcome the panel and thank you all for
your testimony. If I could be parochial for just one minute Mr. Chairman,
I'd like to personally welcome Reverend L'Heureux from my home town of
Queens, New York City, and thank him for the great work that he does year
round for all people, and the inclusiveness and moral leadership that he
exerts.

And especially for referencing the birth place of religious freedom, where
I grew up, in Flushings, New York, and the work of John Bound (ph) and the
Bound House on that one block, it should be noted not only do we still
have that active Quaker meeting house, but we have an African church, we
have two churches of different Christian denominations, one Orthodox
synagogue, one Islamic mosque and three Buddhist temples. And that's
within a very short, maybe three- quarters of a mile, all on that one
street.

I called to the Chairman's attention that when we were on a codel, and we
were in Germany, that the Chairman did forcefully bring this issue up with
various members of the government in Germany, and was very forceful about
the opinion of most of us on this committee I believe, and what we thought
was in America's best interest and the interest of fairness and religious
freedom and tolerance in America. We made our points, I don't know that we
scored any victory at all, but they know that some of us at least have
spoken on it.

I think the testimony that we've heard here has to be highlighted and
profiled. I'm not sure what you do besides being here today, which is very
important, maybe you have to try to garner the attention and support of
the labor movements in these countries, which seems recently to have a
powerful interest in religious freedom in other countries. Maybe we can
condition our trade relationship with other countries on this, whether we
give them permanent, normal trade status or maybe you can just get
yourself in more trouble in China. That seems to get a lot of attention.

One of the things that the officials in Germany were using to make
whatever points they thought they were making, was that this particular
religion of which we speak today, Scientology, in their view was not a
religion and was just basically a ponzi scheme to take money from
unsuspecting people. We argued that, but how do you respond to that?
Anybody on the panel, maybe Mr. Jensen.

MR. JENSEN: Congressman, I think mylady doeth protest too much when the
Germans say it's a ponzi scheme or something like that. In Germany, they
don't have religious freedom, they don't have separation of church and
state, they have combined certain religions and declared certain religions
to be official state religions. And all others are referred to as sects or
free-churches. And my understanding is that free means a religion or
church that's not controlled by the government.

So I'm not surprised that they would use such derogatory terms to refer to
my church. Personally I'm offended by it. It's nothing new, this sort of
thing has been going on in Germany for a long time. I've been losing sales
on contracts and things in Germany for ten or eleven years, simply because
I'm a member of a minority religion.

And no one makes any bones about it. They boast of the fact. They use sect
filters. I've got a whole binder full of documents here and there's a
sample of one over on the board there -- to declare that you are not only
not a member of the Church of Scientology but you have never even read a
book by L. Ron Hubbard. Now I can't see anything so offensive about
reading a book, why should that be a disqualification for employment or
participation in the electoral process?

REP. ACKERMAN: I thought we were past the time where in Germany we had
problems with books. But nonetheless, I strongly agree with you and recall
that this country was founded by people who seemed strange to other people
no matter from whence they came. We were really founded by the weirdos
and wackos of the world, in the view of the majority in other places.

In my district, I guess, they still have a tendency to elect those people
to public office. But it becomes a very dangerous game when we try to
define, on any particular basis, where people by virtue of their free
will, want to associate and consider themselves as a religion, who's to
judge that they're not. I mean there are some pretty strange practices. I
mean, you know, there are some groups that wear bees and won't turn the
lights on on Friday night when it gets dark. That does not mean that my
religion is not a legitimate religion, no matter how strange that might
seem to others.

So I just want to thank the panel for your persistence and know that you
have many friends here.

REV. L'HEUREUX: Congressman, may I comment on your question? The question
initially was, in terms of the accusation of financial improprieties and
the ponzi scheme for wealth acquisition. In different forms, but with
equal virulence, these same accusations have been in history made against
almost every major religious group. In my own lifetime, I can remember
hearing that kind of bigotry espoused against the Roman Catholic church.
The slanderous and anti-Semitic remarks concerning Jewish wealth, for
example, fall within that category. It is an easy way to hook bigotry in a
way that will target it against some other group and marginalize them.

I wish that our celebration of American religious freedom were so complete
and universal, but alas it is not. Because we have had difficulties here,
many of them historic occasionally present. One of the tragedies that I
see in this current environment is that much of the anti-sect movement in
Europe, France and Germany that I'm familiar with personally, in
particular, arises because of the work for the last four decades here of
the American anti-cult movement. It has been rendered economically
deficient in this country by legal judgments that have bankrupted the cult
awareness network and one of their leading kidnapper/deprogrammers.

And now I believe, much like the tobacco industry, they are taking their
product and exporting it elsewhere for their own benefit. And the
relationship between (Alat ?) and (Vivien ?) in particular, with American
anti-cult groups is rather interesting considering that he along with
other officials will denounce what the American government might say about
France, but welcome what this group of anti-cultists would say.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you very much Mr. L'Heureux and thank you Mr.
Ackerman. The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Manzullo.

REP. MANZULLO: Thank you very much, I'd like to center on the trade
aspects of this situation because unfortunately there's not much that can
be done legally when a country is discriminating against a member of a
certain religion because of the sovereignty issue. But when it becomes a
trade issue that results in harm to American companies, it does become our
legal obligation to get involved. Mr. Jensen, you stated in the last eight
to ten years that you were losing sales and contracts as a result of
discrimination against you because of your beliefs. And you will recall
the testimony of Ambassador Seiple who said that commerce has not been
able to quantify the harm or injury, if any, and therefore elevate this
complaint to a panel.

I note with great total disbelief the official statement from the German
government, who was invited to appear here but declined and sent a
communiqui, it said, "Recent assertions about German governmental measures
concerning small area of public procurement, specifically the awarding of
government contracts for staff and management training, they are not
focused on membership in Scientology, but are instead designed to ensure
that techniques that seek to psychologically manipulate or oppress
individuals are not used for training or consulting purposes. The measures
are limited to government contracts. There are no regulations affecting
bidding for private sector contracts."

I guess therefore, if you're a Scientologist in Germany, and you follow
the reasoning of this letter, you can psychologically manipulate or
oppress, as long as it doesn't involve governmental contracts. I just find
this - this was written by a diplomat and I was just discussing with
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, she is the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on
Trade and International Economic Policy of this committee, and we're very
much interested in seeing if you can quantify? Can you tell us if you can
document loss of contracts based upon this present policy in Germany?

MR. JENSEN: Yes Congressman.

REP. MANZULLO: Or other companies as well, based upon your religious
beliefs?

MR. JENSEN: Yes Congressman Manzullo, I can definitely document that. I'd
be happy to provide such documentation to the committee afterwards.

REP. MANZULLO: If you would provide that to the committee, we'll make it
part of the record.

MR. JENSEN: Thank you.

REP. MANZULLO: I presume it would be proprietary for you to go into detail
as to each contract and each loss, or is there something that you wish to
share generally?

MR. JENSEN: In some cases it's not difficult at all, a communications from
Volkswagen, for instance, saying that they not only will refuse to honor a
contract, but demand a refund for all purchases of software they had ever
made, because of the fact that I am a Scientologist. I told them I would
be happy to comply if they would put that in writing, at which point they
settled for a cessation of business and forgot about demanding a refund.
There are other cases where -

REP. MANZULLO: Were there any American-based companies that were there, or
branches rather?

MR. JENSEN: Daimler-Chrysler is one. We have a copy of their specs up on
the wall over there. There have been - the Ford Motor Company, GE Capital,
and another company here in the United States that do business in Europe
have ordered their German subsidiaries to stop using the spec filters and
have written to us that they have stopped doing that. So when it comes to
my own personal situation, the discrimination that I referred to earlier
was just on my own product. And that might come to millions of dollars
worth of lawsuits. I'm not sure exactly what I could document in Germany.

But today, with this Microsoft situation, the German government is
threatening to boycott or a ban on Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating
system because of my involvement as a Scientologist. Now that, according
to studies on the benefits of migrating to Windows 2000, would be a $50
billion hit on the German economy, simply because of the inefficiency of
the systems they would have to use instead. So yes I can supply numbers.
Yes I can supply documentation, but you have to also look beyond a
specific transaction towards the chilling effect upon business as well as
ones personal life. What will happen the next time Microsoft needs a
component in their operating system and

I've been a terrific supplier for them for seven years now, we've done
business well together, but someone sitting around that table is going to
say remember we had this problem with the Scientology issue.

REP. MANZULLO: We look forward to meeting with you. I know there are
several members on this panel that would like to meet personally with you
to go into great depth as to the harm that done to your company.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Mr. Manzullo. I now call on our distinguished
sub-committee chairman on economic policy and trade, the Congresswoman
from Florida, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen.

REP. ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. And following up on
Mr. Manzullo's remarks, in our trade subcommittee we would look forward to
the opportunity of discussing this issue about sect filters and what has
been happening with discriminatory trade practices in Germany, France or
other countries. And so we look forward to getting that information from
you Mr. Jensen. I had the opportunity to meet with you and some of the
others on the panel yesterday afternoon, and we look forward to following
up on that to see if our trade subcommittee could help you in any way, at
least to highlight this issue of discrimination against those who hold
religious views that are not popular or in accordance with the
majority-held beliefs.

And certainly in this country, that was founded upon religious freedom, we
would frown on such practices, but especially when they interfere with
commerce and something that is, on the face of it, very discriminatory. So
we look forward to getting that information from you. And I know that as
the other panelists were talking, Ms. Bell was writing some notes, so I
don't know if she wanted the opportunity to say something. I think when
Mr. Ackerman was asking a question of the other panelists you had - it
looked like you had wanted to say something.

MS. BELL: I did, and most of it was actually said by Congressman Ackerman,
but the one thing that I wanted to point out is he was talking about the
Germans saying that they didn't think Scientology was a religion. But I
wanted to point out the fact that Scientology has been recognized as a
religion by all of the world: by the United States government, by
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, recently Sweden. So it has been
recognized as a religion.

And again, it goes back to what Congressman Ackerman was saying, that it's
really not the place of the state or the government to decide whether or
not it's a religion. And again, the bottom line is the freedom to practice
your own belief, whether or not they agree with it or think it's a
religion or whatever. You should have the freedom and the ability to
practice what you believe, especially by a country that claims to be
democratic.

REP. ROS-LEHTINEN: It's interesting that many of those statements were not
echoed during the South Carolina primaries, as some candidates visited Bob
Jones University. It's like Animal Farm. All animals are equal, just some
are more equal than others. But I do not espouse those beliefs of Bob
Jones University, but perhaps some of those folks who made those
statements about religious freedom could apply it overall. But Mr.
Chairman thank you for the opportunity and thank you for an excellent
presentation. We look forward to working with them in our trade
subcommittee to see how we can be of help.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Chairman Ros-Lehtinen. Mr. Rohrabacher, the
gentleman from California.

REP. ROHRABACHER: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Let me just say that
I'm sorry that I've missed your hearing, and I'm also running out of a
hearing about human rights in Afghanistan. Let me just say for the record
we expect more of Western Europe than we do of Afghanistan. We expect more
of Western Europe than we do of totalitarian societies. And the fact that
there are still some of the issues that you have raised today, and I know
about the issues that you're talking about and will read your testimony,
it is outrageous that countries as educated and as industrialized and as
democratic - supposedly democratic - are participating in the kinds of
discrimination that we find in these countries, is outrageous and the
United States should be the squeaky wheel when it comes to the violation
of these peoples rights; because we're talking to other countries that
supposedly stand for this higher standard.

And I appreciate your leadership Mr. Chairman in calling this hearing and
thank you very much.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you Mr. Rohrabacher for joining us. I have just a few
brief questions. Dr. Hunt, you've been so patient, allow me to ask you a
question. Do you see a linkage between the anti-sect movements and the
rise of political extremism in Austria, in France, Germany and Belgium?
And I address that to the panel, any panelist that may want to respond.
Dr. Hunt.

MR. HUNT: I am not certain about the other countries. I think in Austria
there is certainly a link. The recent political campaign, which featured
prominently images of real Austrians, as opposed to apparently not real
Austrians, is certainly based on a climate that tries to characterize a
kind of Germanic-Catholic personality as being truly Austrian - all others
being not really quite Austrian. And I think that kind of political
extremism and nationalism is certainly related to the rise of actions
against sects.

REP. GILMAN: Any of our other panelists, Mr. Brumley.

MR. BRUMLEY: I would concur with the thought that there is a linkage. The
situation in Europe reminds me of a sad chapter in our country, the
McCarthy era, where when one was accused of being a communist without any
facts, he had to go through infinite detail to prove a negative, that he
was, in fact, not a communist. Well, the sects commission has done
essentially the very same thing. Based on unsubstantiated reports,
unfounded prejudices, they stigmatize someone.

Jehovah's Witnesses has found that, for example, during the audit of our
operations in France, we came out squeaky clean. They found no impropriety
whatsoever, even though they were certainly looking for it. But we feel
subjected to that same type of scrutiny, that we have to prove that we are
not a dangerous sect, instead of assuming that we're doing something
correct. We found, and I know you understand this as well, our recourse
has been through the courts.

As we go through the court system in France and in Germany, we've
typically won the decisions but in this court of public opinion, in the
press, this stigmatization continues.

REP. GILMAN: Any other panelist wish to comment? Reverend L'Heureux.

REV. L'HEUREUX: Just a brief comment to say that - to echo what was said
just a second ago in terms of the roll of government not to be the definer
of what is orthodox or correct in belief. Moments before this committee
hearing convened this morning I understand that the government in Paris
conducted yet another raid on the offices of the Church of Scientology
there, in a series of raids that have removed computer disk drives and
records, and appear some weeks later to return them with no particular
charges being filed, no reason given as to why the raids occur. And this
kind of pattern of brutal harassment is really evidence of a kind of
totalitarian aggression against religious movements.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you. Any other panelist wish to comment? If not, let me
ask Reverend L'Heureux and Dr. Gunn, what should our government do to deal
with this situation in France? Any suggestions Reverend L'Heureux?

REV. L'HEUREUX: Well, to speak out loudly and a little bit more loudly
than we've been doing. I recognize the problem that has been stated many
times here, that sometimes the official statement of the government is not
well received in Europe and in France and Germany in particular as an
intrusion into their sovereignty. But the issue needs to be raised.
Silence often gives consent to the kinds of mis-conduct that we've
chronicled this morning. There is no way for us to avoid the
responsibility of being forthright.

The other is to avoid in every way possible participating in a division
that the anti-sect, anti-cult people would want us to do to sort of throw
away certain groups and allow them to be trampled, because somehow they
have been stigmatized or demonized as not religions. Again, the test is
that government is simply not qualified to make a determination of
orthodoxy. The behavior standards that were mentioned is correct. If
there are crimes committed, if there are mis- deeds done by individuals,
they need to be called to account. If in fact there is some kind of a
criminal conspiracy in a way that's detrimental to the society and in
violation of the laws, certainly that ought to be prosecuted. That's not
what we're dealing with here.

What we're dealing with is the vague innuendo that leads to blacklisting,
that leads to loss of employment, that leads to loss of schooling, that
leads to loss of child custody, and these acts are intolerable and we must
denounce them.

REP. GILMAN: Dr. Gunn did you want to add - thank you Reverend L'Heureux -
did you want to add some comment?

MR. GUNN: It's very difficult in France. The Inter-ministerial Mission
Against Sects frequently employs anti-American rhetoric in order to
justify its position, thinking that that plays well in France. So
sometimes strong statements by the United States can backfire. France has
a lively tradition of intellectual dissent and it has a lively tradition
of trying to bring down people who promote intolerance. I believe that
there has been, during the last year, a rise in those particular groups.
And I assume those are the people to whom Ambassador Seiple was referring.

Two very famous French historians have taken positions on this, the
leading French constitutional scholar has now taken a position. Some of
the important French journalists have taken a position on this. They are
still voices in the wilderness. The kind of thing that the United States
could do, I think to help, would be to encourage those sorts of voices to
be more pronounced in what they're doing; whether it's including American
academics to deal with their colleagues abroad or American religions to
deal with their co- religions abroad to let them know what the
consequences are of the discrimination.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you very much. Would any of the other panelists care to
add any thoughts before we conclude? Mr. Brumley.

MR. BRUMLEY: Just to say that this fall is pivotal for Jehovah's
Witnesses. We have a case pending before the council of state in France
and another case pending before the High Constitutional court in Germany.
Both decisions should be handed down this fall. This is certainly a time
to be watchful to see what France and Germany will do. If they hand down
favorable decisions then the optimism espoused by Ambassador Seiple would
be well justified. An adverse decision certainly brings down a black
curtain.

REP. GILMAN: Thank you very much. Did you wish to say something Mr.
Jensen?

MR. JENSEN: Yes, I'd just like to urge the committee and all the members
of Congress to support HR-388 and S-230.

REP. GILMAN: It certainly gets a lot of attention. I can't thank the
panelists enough; Reverend Hunt, for your being with us in Vienna. We wish
we were there with you at the moment. I hope your mother is good. And
thank you all for taking part: Catherine, Mr. Jensen, Mr. Brumley,
Reverend L'Heureux and Dr. Gunn. Thank you for joining us. The committee
stand adjourned.back

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