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Clinton Offered Help on Scientology

February 12, 1998 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Actor John Travolta, who stars in an upcoming movie about a candidate bearing a strong resemblance to President Clinton, says the president took an interest last year in a favorite cause of his: the treatment by Germany of members of the Church of Scientology.

Travolta, a Scientologist, is quoted in the March issue of the magazine George from an interview while promoting the movie ``Primary Colors.″ He says Clinton told him, ``I’d really love to help you with your issue in Germany with Scientology.″

Travolta said the White House later arranged for him to discuss the issue with National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, whom the magazine described as the administration’s ``Scientology point person.″ The article does not contend Clinton took any more specific action than that.

The Travolta movie is based on the novel by the same name. The lead character is widely accepted as a thinly veiled portrayal of Clinton himself.

But the actor told the magazine the president never mentioned his ``Primary Colors″ role or the fact that he had ``adjusted his weight, hair color and personality to match Clinton’s.″

White House press secretary Mike McCurry said that the administration has criticized Germany’s position on Scientologists for more than a year and that the State Department’s 1997 human rights report raised the issue. He said Berger and the NSC have looked at the issue of German constraints on Scientologists.

The State Department report said German businesses whose owners or executives are Scientologists can face government-approved discrimination and boycotts.

The German government contends the church is a moneymaking organization with some traits of organized crime, and as such represents a threat to democracy. In newspaper advertisements and other media, Scientologists have denounced government moves to keep them from public jobs as reminiscent of the persecution of Jews in Germany’s Nazi era.