Speech by Robert S. Minton in Leipzig, Germany on June 3rd, 2000. The occasion being the award of the Alternative Charlemagne Award by the European American Citizens' Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom.
Thank you Reverend Gandow, Joe Cisar and Mrs. Caberta for your very kind words. I am deeply honored to receive the Alternative Charlemagne Award this morning from my esteemed colleagues of the European American Citizens' Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom. It is very moving to receive this award in Leipzig, where freedom was reborn in the former East Germany.
In 1984 I crossed from West Berlin into East Germany through Checkpoint Charlie. The vast difference between my democratic freedoms in the United States and the Communist STASI-controlled GDR were extremely striking to me, and that moment has had a lasting impact. I well remember walking through the deserted No-Man's Land on the East Berlin side of Checkpoint Charlie after midnight with a heavy suitcase to a waiting State-owned taxi for the short trip to my State-owned hotel for foreigners only. The GDR viewed me then in very much the same way the Scientologists view me now. I was the equivalent of a Suppressive Person, or SP, to the GDR, and it was important for them to keep my thoughts and information from their citizens.
Today in Leipzig, we are in the shadows of the famous St. Nikolas Church, where the cry for freedom in East Germany began with a handful of people that grew to hundreds and then hundreds of thousands shouting for freedom in the streets surrounding this very building where we are now gathered. Leipzig is now free, East and West Germany are now reunited as one, and the vast majority of citizens are extremely happy with their newfound freedom. However, not everyone in the former East Germany or in other formerly Communist-controlled Eastern European countries are happy with these new freedoms, just as there are people in the United States and every other country in the world who want someone else to make their decisions for them.
The State no longer makes life's major decisions for the citizens in the old Eastern Europe who must now utilize their new freedoms to become self-sufficient and self-determined individuals. It is no accident that in such a vacuum, those individuals who have never been willing to accept the responsibility that freedom brings have allowed themselves to be recruited into organizations like Scientology. Scientology offers a replacement for the former Communist regimes that promises real freedom while in actuality creating an apparatus of coercion that dominates and terrorizes humans from within.
Once again, I must reiterate that Scientology is a monster with two heads. First and foremost, Scientology is an aspiring totalitarian political movement. That is really the End of the Story! The religious face of Scientology is in reality nothing more than an illusion masking its political agenda and ambitions. However, Scientology uses this religious face as a cover to protect it from scrutiny. This is not the kind of political animal that any democratic society has ever had to deal with before. It has co-opted the U.S. State Department under the guise of religious freedom to condemn Germany and France for religious persecution against Scientology.
The American system of government is built on two major counter-balancing principles. The first is the principle of democracy - the notion that the majority should govern most political decisions made on behalf of the country - and this principle is imbedded in the main body of the Constitution. The second great principle, which is set forth in the Bill of Rights, is the idea that the power of any group - even the democratic majority itself - must be limited to insure individual rights and liberties.
Throughout America's short history, there has never been any time in which groups or even the government itself, while egged on by extremists, hasn't tried to expand their authority and control at the expense of individual rights and liberties.
Scientology is just such an extremist group that adamantly refuses to accept the basic principles underlying the Bill of Rights. Their outright attacks on our most fundamental liberties threatens to do permanent damage to the Bill of Rights which is the bedrock of America's traditions of fairness, equality, decency and ultimately justice. We are all in danger from Scientology's success in cloaking themselves in the mantle of religious freedom as a means of focusing government attention away from their human and civil rights abuses as well as their outright manipulation of the legal process.
France and Germany have every bit as much respect for religious freedom as the United States does. Make no mistake that Scientologists have a right, which I would protect, to their truly held religious beliefs. However, we all - including France and Germany - have a right as well as a duty to oppose what the organization of Scientology seeks, because what the Church of Scientology seeks is the destruction of the wall that separates church and state. What they seek is government desecration of our basic liberties through policies and law to advance Scientology's political and social agendas.
In 1975 Scientology established a major headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, and launched a program called Project Normandy to turn Clearwater into the first Scientology-controlled city. Thus, in deciding where to establish the first office of the Lisa McPherson Trust, it seemed fitting that it should be in Clearwater. We opened our Clearwater office in January of this year, and in the nearly six months since we have been there it have become clear just how vital it is to have such an organization in the United States.
Ours is the first organization ever to be established in the United States solely for the purpose of providing education about the abusive and deceptive practices of the Church of Scientology, and we have found that there is a tremendous need amongst Scientology victims and their families for our services. We have also seen that it is vitally important for us to counter the efforts of Scientology in Washington, D.C., and because of this we plan to open another office of the Lisa McPherson Trust in Washington within the next year. The purpose of our D.C. office will be to educate our government about Scientology and get our government working with the governments of Germany, France, and other countries who recognize the danger of Scientology.
We have also seen that it is crucial for us to coordinate our actions with those of other countries, and for this reason we plan to open offices of the Lisa McPherson Trust in Germany, France, and one or two other countries within the next year.
For myself, I was born in the United States, a free country. I was fortunate that during my business career I was able to acquire sizable financial resources. I did this by honest hard work, including the work I did for the Nigerian government. Scientology has tried to turn everything I have ever done into something dirty, but the things they say are lies, and I will not let their lies silence me, just as each one of you in the audience here today will not be silenced by Scientology's tactics of terror.
Never before has Scientology had such an organized resistance. Despite their most vigorous efforts to silence us, we will not be stopped. We have all worked too hard for our freedom. We will never let Scientology take it away.
Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for this great honor you have bestowed on me today. It is truly an award for all of us and I shall keep in trust for everyone who stands up for humans rights and religious freedom.