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Scientology loses court battle with Kohl’s party

July 9, 1997 GMT

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s ruling party did not violate the rights of three Scientology members by kicking them out of the party, a state court ruled today.

The three sued in December, arguing their constitutional guarantees of free speech and religion had been violated.

But a state court in Bonn ruled that Scientology principles do not conform with those of the Christian Democrats, and Kohl’s party therefore had the right to remove them.

In its explanation, the court used many of the same arguments that have been used by German politicians in a long-running battle with the Los Angeles-based church, which is perceived in Germany as a threat to democracy.

While the Christian Democrats ``strive for tolerance and for individuals’ right to freely develop,″ the court said, there is evidence Scientology ``demands total discipline″ from its members.

The court contended Scientology views the ``socially weak″ as ``useless″ people who deserve to be ``pushed to the edges of society.″

The ruling also said Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s writings use ``language that is very aggressive and indicates a readiness for violence.″

Sabine Weber, a Scientology spokeswoman, said the three church members may appeal the decision to a higher court.

Scientology has long contended its members are discriminated against in Germany, including excluding them from political parties.