by Josh Grossberg

Jan 30, 2002, 12:30 PM PT
Tom Cruise is crusading on behalf of Scientology. The Hollywood hunk, a steadfast devotee of the Church of Scientology, met with the U.S. ambassador in Germany to stick up for the organization's rights in that country, according to Reuters.

Unnamed "diplomatic sources" tell the wire service that Cruise, in Berlin to hype his Vanilla Sky, met with Ambassador Dan Coats for more than an hour last week. During the meeting, which preceded a screening of the film for embassy staffers, the actor reportedly lobbied the former senator to lend his support to a campaign petitioning Germany to recognize Scientology's right to exist, as well as improve the human rights of its more than 30,000-plus members who live there.

It's the latest attempt by Cruise and Scientology pals like John Travolta to have Germany reconsider its views on the church and prevent German members from being treated like second-class citizens. Scientology is not recognized as a formal religion in Germany.

German officials are currently investigating Scientology, accusing the U.S.-based organization of acting less like a church and more like a profit-hungry cult bent on world domination. Some German authorities assert that Scientologists have been plotting to infiltrate government and business elites, a claim the group has vehemently denied.

In fact, in 1997, Cruise and other big time Hollywood entertainers took out an international newspaper ad denouncing Germany for resorting to the same totalitarian tactics against Scientologists that the country used against the Jews under Hitler during the 1930s.

Signed by the likes of Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn, Larry King and 28 other celebrities (most of whom were not Scientologists), the ad protested alleged discriminatory polices of then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Officials in Kohl's ruling Christian Democratic Party had launched a boycott a year earlier against Cruise's Mission: Impossible simply because the thespian was a Scientologist. The party also organized a nationwide awareness campaign against the Church of Scientology.

Kohl's government also came under heavy criticism from the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for banning Scientologists from assuming public jobs such as counseling and teaching.

Although Kohl is no longer in control, the anti-Scientology bias remains, despite the best efforts of Cruise and company.

While embassy reps refused to comment on specifics of Cruise's meeting with Coats, it's likely the former Top Gunner espoused the same points he made in January's issue of Vanity Fair. In that interview, Cruise revealed how Scientology has helped him over the last 13 years overcome a number of personal problems--everything from those pesky gay rumors to his rift with his late father to his dyslexia to his very public divorce last year from Nicole Kidman.

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Related Sites:

Religious Freedom Crusade
1999 Demontration for Human Rights Photo Gallery

Foundation For Religious Tolerance
"Human Rights: Know Them, Demand Them, Defend Them."


This article reposted by Greg Churilov
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