by Achim Winkel
Karlsruhe/ Leipzig. On Friday in Aachen, U.S. President Clinton will be presented with the Charlemagne Award "for the most worthwhile contribution in the service of the European unification and community work, in the service of humanity and world peace." Another award, however, will be casting long shadows in the forefront of the solemn occasion. On Saturday in Leipzig, the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" will be bestowed - and there is a direct connection to the "original" for Bill Clinton. The recipient of the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" is Robert "Bob" S. Minton, a millionaire banker from the U.S. State of New Hampshire.
For years the 53-year-old man has been dedicating himself to the struggle against the controversial Scientology Organization. The arrangers of the "Alternative Charlemagne Award," which consists of noteworthy sect critics called the "European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA" would also like to give Clinton a sign. That he is regarded as expressly friendly to Scientology: one of the first actions which happened in his term was that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) exempted the organization from taxes because the organization allegedly had "religious character." Rumors that the IRS was coerced cannot be quashed.
Clinton also received prominent U.S. Scientologists (such as the actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise) and promised them that he would urge that the rights of religious minorities be observed, mainly in Germany. By that was meant Scientology, and Clinton's actions even today still have brought diplomatic friction with them. Bob Minton, in comparison, has been attracting a little attention in the USA. Minton is the Chairman of the "Lisa McPherson Trust": he intends to see that Lisa McPherson's mysterious death is cleared up; she died almost five years ago. In December 1995, a 36-year-old woman was delivered to a hospital in the north of Clearwater, the Scientology stronghold in Florida. However the woman, Lisa McPherson, was already dead - died of dehydration. Her autopsy showed that she had not received water for days. In addition her emaciated body exhibited bruises, insect bites and scrapes - indices of an unnatural death.
Circumstances surrounding Lisa McPherson's death are still coming to light - circumstances that indicate considerable complicity on the part of Scientology (Lisa McPherson allegedly wanted out of the organization) and which have cause a rethinking to occur, mainly in the USA. While that is alarming for the organization in Germany, where it is under surveillance by Constitutional Security, over there it is business as usual for them. The "Alternative Charlemagne Award," even if it is being bestowed in Leipzig, can still enliven the discussion about Scientology even in far-off America.