Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, June 25, 2007

Achtung! New Fronteirs In Religious Bigotry

Let's put these four dislikes of mine in ascending order, starting with the least repulsive: Tom Cruise, who's still plenty repulsive. Then the Church of Scientology, then religious discrimination, and finally, Adolph Hitler. So this story just whips me this way and that:

Germany has barred the makers of a film about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler from filming at German military sites because its star, Tom Cruise, is a Scientologist.

Cruise, also one of the film's producers, is a leading member of the Church of Scientology, which the German government does not recognise as a church. Berlin says it masquerades as a religion in order to make money, a charge Scientology leaders reject.

The US actor has been cast as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, leader of the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the Nazi dictator in July 1944 with a bomb hidden in a briefcase.

A defence ministry spokesman, Harald Kammerbauer, said the film-makers "will not be allowed to film at German military sites if Count Stauffenberg is played by Tom Cruise, who has publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult".

The film, planned for a 2008 release and to be directed by Bryan Singer and co-starring Kenneth Branagh, is called Valkyrie after Operation Valkyrie, the plot's codename.

The main site of interest would be the "Bendlerblock" memorial inside the defence ministry complex in Berlin. (Guardian)

I'm happy to see Cruise and his dangerous and deceitful cult publicly humiliated by nothing less than an entire national government. The publicity generated may just save some vulnerable souls from Proctology ... oh, sorry ... Scientology.

Delightful as I find all this, it doesn't make me smile because it's repulsive for a nation to determine that any religion is a cult and ban it. If they can find a religion guilty of fraud, scams or personal harm, then by all means prosecute -- but it's a huge leap from criminal prosecution to ban a religion entirely.

Put this together with recent decisions in Germany against mainstream conservative Christian beliefs and it's easy to conclude that Germany wouldn't have to go far to declare Christianity a cult, too. And if Christianity is a cult, then all faiths can certainly follow.

So my head's gone this way and that, and then it gets the irony whammy: von Stauffenburg was driven to assassinate Hitler because his early anger at Hitler's betrayal of the Catholics grew as it became evident what Germany was doing to the Jews.

So Germany has used Cruise's religion as an excuse to ban Cruise from making a film about a hero who risked all to try to kill Hitler in order to stop the Reich's persecution of people for their religious faith.

Really, Europe is just too rich.

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