The Providence Journal Bulletin
1.6.2000 Your vicious assault on our religion[sic]!
Philip Terzian's column ("Germany talks back," Commentary, May 7) is not just blatantly un-American. He seems proud to be a lone voice defending a policy of religious discrimination against Scientologists and other religious minorities in Germany. I guess there are those who endorse the KKK too, but one normally expects to read them in The Spotlight, not in the mainstream media.
But I suppose nobody should be surprised that the Journal would print this piece of right-wing propaganda. After all, it is anti- Scientology, and it appears that the Journal has an agenda. While you ignore recent wire stories concerning the full religious recognition of Scientology by the Swedish government (and the same applies in South Africa) and the official press statements from the State Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative condemning discrimination against Scientologists, you pick Terzian's extremism and give him undeserved prominence.
For the record, the depths of German paranoia reached new lows of late when some right-wing wacko decided that because a Scientologist owns a company that supplies software to Microsoft (which, of course, provides Windows to the world), Windows is really a plot to infiltrate the computers of loyal Germans. And this in turn justifies a boycott of Microsoft and a heightened state of alert to be on the lookout for Scientologists' schemes.
Thus the so-called sect filters" so they can screen out those undesirables who dare to say they have read a book by L. Ron Hubbard.
And Terzian supports this? On the basis that Germans have such a good history in this arena and are better equipped to judge how best to nurture their free society than the bureaucrats in the U.S.
government, including Rhode Island Senators Lincoln Chafee and Jack Reed and Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Robert Weygand? Not to mention the more than 30 official reports from governments and international human-rights bodies, including the United Nations, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the International Helsinki Federation?
Imagine Terzian's words being written 60 years ago. Would the Journal have given him the opportunity to vent this spleen in support of the Germans' proven excellent record of dealing with that other nasty cult problem they had back then? If he likes the Germans' attitude so much, why doesn't he move there? I'm sure they would be happy to have him.
Your omission of anything positive by the Church of Scientology or its members displays a callous disregard of people. While spreading negative views by your reporters, apparently, free speech isn't a luxury within your own offices.
Boston The writer is public-affairs director for New England of the Church of Scientology.
Editor's note: The government of Germany is run by the center-left Social Democrats, not by right-wingers. Mr. Terzian is the Journal's associate editor and a Washington columnist, not a "reporter."
> Wacky letter by Frank Ofman:
this letter has already appeared in the san francisco examiner on 18 may signed by jeff quiros; and in the st. petersburg times on 22 May signed by Mike Rinder.