Bahai News - Religious freedom in Germany
Religious freedom in Germany
At least from a U.S. perspective, religious freedom in Germany has
become a matter of concern in recent years.1 It may well be time to
reconsider the law and the facts of religious life in a country under
scrutiny due to its twentieth-century history. Upholding religious
freedom is a key issue in any community committed to the idea of human
rights. After the end of the devastating rule of national-- socialism,
Germany reestablished its long-standing cultural history in which it had
intensively contributed to the development of human rights. The purpose
of this article is to describe the various normative sources of
religious freedom in Germany and to establish an understanding of
religious freedom as a positive freedom in harmony with the legitimate
culture of the people concerned.
II. THE NORMATIVE SYSTEM
A. Constitutional Provisions
Religious freedom has a prominent place in Germany's constitution.2
Freedom of religion is protected before many other freedoms. Only human
dignity,3 freedom and life,4 and equal protection5 are human rights
placed before religious freedom in Germany's constitution. Religious
freedom under the German constitution means freedom of belief and
freedom to act according to one's beliefs. The constitution secures
religious freedom for both individuals and collective bodies.
The various freedoms guaranteed for religious institutions in Germany
can be found in the German constitution, in the constitutions of the
German Lander and in ordinary laws, and in the various treaties between
the state and specific religions.6 In addition to the central guarantee
of religious freedom, the constitution offers additional religious
rights and institutional guarantees for churches and religious
communities. According to Article 3 of the constitution, no one shall be
prejudiced or favored because of his faith or religion.7 This guarantee
is specified for civil rights, public office, and public service.8
Article 4 provides for the right to refrain from military service in the
name of religion.9 Article 7 guarantees religious instruction in public
schools and includes the right to abstain from that instruction.10
Article 7 also secures the right to establish and to run religiously or
ideologically based private schools.11
Several far-reaching institutional guarantees for churches and other
religious communities referred to in the German constitution12 have been
incorporated from the German Reich's Weimar constitution of
1919("WRV").13 The most important provisions are as follows: there shall
be no state church, i.e., no established church;14 all religious
communities shall enjoy the right to self-- determination,15 the status
of certain religious communities as public corporations,16 equal rights
to associations that foster a non- - religious, philosophical creed,17
the guarantee of Sundays and feast-- days,18 and chaplainry in public
The preamble to the German constitution also describes Germany's
commitment to religious freedom. It states: "Conscious of their
responsibility before God and humankind, animated by the resolve to
serve world peace as an equal part of a united Europe, the German people
have adopted, by virtue of their constituent power, this Basic Law."20
The reference to God and humankind acknowledges responsibility for the
crimes committed during national-- socialism and responsibility to
prevent a repetition of those events in Germany. This reference to God
does not allude to nor establish any specific religious belief.21
Rather, by referring to God, the preamble acknowledges a sphere of
transcendence, indicating a borderline for the state-that is, a field
beyond the reach of the state. It suggests that there is something other
than the political order established by the constitution, that the state
is not all- powerful. The preamble is anti-totalitarian.
B. Other Textual Sources of Religious Freedom
Religious freedom in Germany is rooted as well in texts other than the
constitution, such as the Lander constitutions, agreements between the
government and specific religious organizations, and case law. The
Lander are responsible for most competencies in matters of religion,
churches, and other religious communities. Lander constitutions and
ordinary laws govern the concrete shape of the regime of church-state
relations and religious freedom in Germany. They do so in a variety of
ways, all rich in detail and diversity.22 The basic, and sometimes
controversial, features of this system include the legal status of
churches and other religious communities, the church tax, religious
instruction in public schools, and the right to self-determination. Many
details of the German system of religious freedom are being laid down in
agreements between the state and a considerable number of religious
communities.23 Through these agreements, the specific needs of various
religious communities can be adequately accommodated. As for the
influence of case law, the jurisdiction of the courts regarding
church-state issues is vast.24 Despite a number of questionable
decisions, German courts and the administration are generally favorably
disposed toward religion and religious communities, accepting them as an
integral part of society.
III. THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW ON RELIGION: FREEDOM, STATE
NEUTRALITY, AND EQUAL TREATMENT
The sources of the law on religion as discussed above may be categorized
into three basic ideas: freedom, state neutrality, and equal treatment.
These underlying ideas are undoubtedly interlinked. Additional
principles, such as tolerance, also figure into their implementation. To
state these basic ideas does not amount to structuring a theory, but
merely to identify some of the most predominant leading categories.
Religious freedom is fully understood only as a positive freedom. State
neutrality is in harmony with the special status of religions, as well
as with religious instruction in public schools, and it requires far
reaching self-determination of religious institutions. Equal treatment
requires awareness of the specific needs of different religions. These
principles and their adequate interpretation rest in underlying cultural
convictions rooted in Germany's cultural history.
A. Religious Freedom
The primary idea of freedom means that all religious creeds are
tolerated and free to flourish. In addition to mere toleration, the
German political system supports the idea of positive freedom. While
government must not forbid certain beliefs nor discriminate against
them, it must also go further to create a positive atmosphere of
tolerance within society. In this context, one may mention the problems
there were some time ago with the Church of Scientology, or, on quite a
different level, shameful ongoing attacks on Jewish institutions, even
if not directly rooted in religious prejudice. The legal framework
embodied in the basic idea of positive religious freedom must give ample
room for the exercise of religious beliefs.
Pursuant to this idea of positive religious freedom, the Federal
Constitutional Court decided, for example, that the general association
law of Germany must be interpreted in a manner compatible with the
specific religious needs of the Baha'i.25 The general interpretation of
the law on associations normally requires each registered association to
have a legally independent board of governors. The Court held that the
local associations of the Baha'i, because of religious liberty, are free
to formally affiliate themselves with one national board of
In recognition of the importance of religious freedom, Germany's
constitution mandates that laws that limit religious freedom comply with
special requirements. Other freedoms, like the freedom of association or
the free exercise of one's profession, can be limited by laws protecting
any legitimate public interest and complying with other constitutional
standards like proportionality, certainty, or the protection of
reasonable trust. Religious freedom cannot be limited by just any law
purporting to protect the public interest. It can only be limited by a
law that enforces public interests laid down in the Constitution
itself.26 These limits should be interpreted narrowly, thereby
respecting the importance of religious freedom. Thus, an optimal balance
has to be found respecting both religious freedom and other legitimate
The Federal Administrative Court has recently weighed religious freedoms
against public interests to decide whether students and teachers may
participate in religious traditions that may interfere with public
school regulations. In one instance, the Federal Administrative Court
allowed a female Islamic student in public school to opt out of
otherwise compulsory coeducational sports classes, such as coeducational
swimming. Her religious belief prescribed certain dressing rules for
girls incompatible with the normal level of coeducational sports
involvement.27 In addition, Islamic pupils can obtain leave from school
for certain high Islamic religious holidays.28 Female Islamic pupils are
also permitted to exercise their right to religious freedom by wearing
religious head scarves in school; apparently this creates no legal
problems nor public concern in Germany. How\ever, the issue of whether
an Islamic public school teacher can wear a religious scarf poses the
question of whether or not this interferes with the public schools'
obligation to maintain religious neutrality. There are two cases pending
before courts on the matter. The Administrative Court in Stuttgart
decided that the duty of religious neutrality in school prevails over
the religious rights of the teacher.29 By contrast, the Administrative
Court in Luneburg decided that the teacher's right to religious freedom
prevails.30 Both cases are now pending before higher courts.
The decisive question in both of the above-mentioned cases is probably
not that of religious freedom. It is instead the ability of the
individual teacher to ensure neutrality of public school education and
not to indoctrinate children. If teachers are able to abstain from
indoctrinating the children, the teacher should be allowed to wear her
head scarf, as is known to be the practice in Northrhine-- Westfalia.
The second category of Germany's law on religion is neutrality.
Neutrality embraces the principles of non-identification and non--
intervention. From the principle of non-identification it follows that
there is no established church in Germany.31 Religious communities are
either organized as private associations or as corporations under public
law. There is no special register for religious communities in Germany.
A manifestation of non- intervention is that the government guarantees
far reaching self- determination of religious communities.
1. Public law status
Germany retains neutrality in part by not maintaining an established
state church. The basic elements for legally organizing a church are
outlined in Article 140 of the Constitution. It provides that religious
societies shall remain corporations under public law insofar as they
have enjoyed that status in the past.32 Other religious societies shall
be granted the same rights upon application if their constitution and
the number of their members give assurance of their permanency.
Granting churches and other religious communities legal status as
corporations under public law does not incorporate them into the state
hierarchy.33 On the contrary, it is a status sui generis ("in a class of
its own"). Each religious community that gives some assurance of its
permanency and its loyalty to the law34 can obtain this status as a
public corporation. In fact, many various religious communities are
organized as public law corporations in the various Lander. The two
largest churches in Germany, the Catholic and the Protestant Church,
each of which comprises about twenty-seven million members,35 are both
public law corporations. So are Jewish cult communities, the Seventh-Day
Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the
Baptist Church, the Christ-- Catholics, the New Apostolic Church, the
Anglican Church, a number of Orthodox Churches, Pentecostal Communities,
Christian Science, the Mennonites, the Methodist Church, and the
Salvation Army. A number of philosophical, non-religious communities
such as the Alliance for Spiritual Freedom or the Humanist Community
are also public law corporations.36
Whether Jehovah's Witnesses should obtain the status of public
corporation is now pending again before the Federal Administrative
Court. In its first decision, the Court, contrary to the lower courts,
decided that a religious or philosophical community must be "loyal to
the State" to achieve the status of a public law corporation.37 This
element was somewhat of a surprise addition to the requirements
generally recognized by law and jurisprudence to achieve this status.
Moreover, the Court held that Jehovah's Witnesses did not meet this
requirement because Jehovah's Witnesses, as a compelling precept of
faith, denied the active and passive right of their members to vote in
democratic state elections. Although there is no individual legal duty
in Germany to vote, the denial of participation in public elections
would undermine part of the basic principles of democratic order.
The Federal Constitutional Court vacated the judgment and remanded the
case to the Federal Administrative Court.38 The Federal Constitutional
Court held that loyalty to the state is not requisite to obtaining
public law status for a religious community. A religious community
applying to become a corporation under public law must, however, be
loyal to the law. It must guarantee that it will observe the law and
that it will exercise its rights inaccordance with the constitution and
other laws. Furthermore, it must guarantee that its future conduct will
not endanger the fundamental principles of the constitution contained in
Article 79.(39) These include human dignity, the core principles of
human rights, the rule of law, and state democracy. The religious
organization must not endanger the fundamental rights of third persons.
Finally, it must not infringe upon the fundamental principles of law
concerning religion, based on the idea of freedom and established by the
constitution. The law does not require any loyalty to the state
extending further than that.
Whether Jehovah's Witnesses will obtain status as a public law
corporation is still uncertain. The Federal Administrative Court must
now determine whether this religious community would persistently act
contrary to the law. For example, if Jehovah's Witnesses endanger the
well-being of children by their rules on education or if they coerce
disaffected members into staying in the community, these practices would
be considered contrary to law.
There are some specific rights attached to the status of religious or
philosophical public law corporations. They have the right to employ
civil servants and to create public law things (res sacrae, etc.).40 The
most obvious example of the rights attached to the public law status is
a church's right to tax its members. This tax functions like a
membership fee. Those churches that do tax their members usually levy a
tax of eight or nine percent of what the member pays in state income
taxes. Some of the taxing churches use the state's taxation system,
i.e., the state machinery collects the church tax. For this service, a
churches pays four to five percent of its tax revenue to the state.
Indeed, the church tax system was introduced to de-establish former
state churches in the nineteenth century and to force them to depend on
their own income.41 The institution of church taxes is thus a
consequence of state neutrality.
2. Religious instruction in public schools
The idea of religious instruction42 in public schools in Germany also
follows from state neutrality. Religious instruction in public schools
is offered as an ordinary subject by the state. Its content, however, is
determined by the relevant religious communities, irrespective of their
status as private or public law corporations. Thus Catholic religious
instruction is provided for Catholic pupils, Protestant instruction for
Protestants, Jewish instruction for Jews, and Islamic instruction for
Muslims.43 As soon as a minimum number of pupils aggregate in a public
school,44 the school must provide religious instruction funded by the
state. There is no obligation to attend, for the pupils can opt out, and
no teacher is obliged to teach contrary to his or her own religious
The reasoning behind this system follows from the idea of state
neutrality. Because the state makes schooling compulsory, the government
takes much of the pupils' time and energy. Indeed, the government takes
over the responsibility for the children's education in all aspects. As
such, at least from the view of positive religious freedom, the state
must also accommodate religious needs.
Many say45 this system of providing religious instruction in public
schools is a direct consequence of the idea of separation of church and
state. Public education is based on the idea that the state has some
responsibility to educate the upcoming generation. This responsibility
stands alongside the right of the parents to raise their children
according to their own convictions. An important purpose for religious
education in public schools is the objective of integrating the
population, of unifying the pluralistic and sometimes antagonistic
Education is a process of developing the whole personality of a young
human being. The purpose of education is not only to convey certain
specific knowledge of facts and specific technical abilities, but to
integrate a personality into a culture. This holistic understanding of
education also encompasses religion. To form a personality also means to
open the field of religious convictions and ideas to an individual. The
religious side of a personality cannot be formed by merely confronting a
youth with different ideas, leaving the decision completely to that
person in a later age. Forming a personality within a religious life
means to convey and accept a set of truths and deeply-- rooted
convictions. Embracing religion means to rely on certain truths.
The necessity of teaching religion through religious convictions may be
compared to teaching a language. A child in Spain does not learn how to
speak by comparing all the different major languages in the world in
order to one day be able to choose between all of them whichever one may
best fit his or her convictions. Children in Spain are simply taught
Spanish. Any other method would inhibit children from being able to
speak at all. After the initial language is mastered, additional
languages can be learned and explored.
Teaching a child within one specific religion, however, poses a dilemma
for the neutral state. The neutral state cannot implement religious
truth, but has to be open to different religious ideas. Bearing the
responsibility-along with parents-of forming the personality of the
young person, the state has a duty to cultivate the religious side of
\the personality. Rejecting religion completely by pushing it aside to
the evening hours or to Sundays, or in other ways ignoring the thirst
for truth, would discriminate against religion. This again would lead to
a compromise of state neutrality. Moreover, rejecting religion would
mean to fail in the task of forming the whole personality of the child
and of integrating important aspects of society.
To achieve these goals, the state facilitates religious instruction in
public schools, but allows the relevant religious communities to define
its content. The religious organizations decide on the spiritual
curriculum; they decide on truth. The state is obliged only to make
religious instruction adequately available and to guarantee that no one
is forced to take these courses. If it is truly voluntary, this
cooperationist approach neatly separates church and state.
3. Religious communities and self-determination
a. Principles of religious self-determination. Governmental neutrality
also means nonintervention in the internal affairs of religious
communities. All religious communities, regardless of their
organizational status, enjoy very broad self-determination or autonomy.
All enjoy a number of exemptions or special considerations with regard
to labor laws, data protection laws, etc. The legal treatment of
religious communities is somewhat similar to the treatment of tendency
corporations, whose employees can be legally dismissed by the employer
if they publicly contradict the opinions their employer represents. For
example, a medical doctor was legally dismissed by a Catholic hospital
in Germany when he advocated far- reaching abortion rights in a national
newspaper and on television, while identifying his positionin the
Catholic hospital.46 The religiously based employer is quite free to
define the loyalty obligations of its employees in order to protect the
employer's public image. This latitude must be balanced against the
employee's freedom of expression.
b. Limits to religious self-determination. Limitations to church self
determination are only those prescribed by a "law that applies to
all."47 There is some debate about the correct meaning of that
limitation phrase. The Federal Constitutional Court has offered
The first attempt to elaborate the limitation clause amounts to a theory
of spheres.48 The Court recognizes an inner sphere of church affairs
insulated from matters of the state or secular society. The inner sphere
would, for example, embrace the doctrines of the church. No state law
may limit autonomy within this inner sphere. Outside this core, an outer
sphere of church affairs embraces its interaction with public matters.
Business activities, such as banking or insurance, fall into this
sphere. State laws can limit church activities in this outer sphere in
the same way as for any other purpose.
Charmingly simple at first glance, this theory has provoked intense
criticism. It is very difficult-probably impossible-to clearly
distinguish these two spheres. Filling offices in the church would
generally be regarded as a core question for the church. The question of
women priests, imams, or rabbis, for example, raises important
theological problems. Removing someone from church office- such as a
Catholic priest who converts to Protestantism-- seems to be a matter of
the inner sphere, but it would also clearly implicate state interests in
protecting individuals from undue dismissal.
The second attempt to elaborate the limitation clause is the socalled
"everyone clause." It states that only those limitations on church
autonomy are valid that affect churches or other religious communities
in no other way than anyone else.49 Yet there are numerous laws that
only affect the religious organizations or affect them specifically, and
the constitutionality of these laws is undisputed. These laws concern,
for example, church taxation, church subsidies, or religious instruction
in public schools. Many laws impact churches differently than they
impact other organizations. For instance, regulations on public noise
affect church bell-ringing or imam prayer call.
The third approach is the balancing theory-the prevailing "test" today.
It approves of general laws that limit church autonomy only if they are
necessary to guarantee the "compelling requirements" of peaceful
coexistence in a society that is religiously neutral and respects the
freedom of religious communities. Competing interests of church and
state must be carefully balanced, leading, if possible, to an optimum
C. Equal Treatment
1. The theory of equal treatment
The third category of Germany's law on religion is equal treatment. The
rights of religious organizations do not depend on the state's opinion
of their creed. Indeed, the state is forbidden from judging the
spiritual truth of any creed. All religions have similar rights, whether
the organization is large or small, traditional or newly founded.51
There can be, however, certain variations according to the social
importance of a group. Religious instruction in public schools requires
a certain number of pupils of the same religious community.52 State
collection of church taxes requires a certain number of members-25,000
in Bavaria or 40,000 in Northrhine-- Westfalia.53 In qualifying as a
corporation under public law, the size of membership can indicate the
organization's prospects for permanency.54
This is quite in line with the principle of equal protection. Taken
seriously, the idea of equal rights makes possible a system of adequate
attribution of positions. Equality does not mean identity, but adequacy,
i.e., appropriate rights and positions. From the perspective of equality
differences are possible as long as they are legitimate. Differences
have to be based on legitimate reasons.
2. Putting theory into practice: Islamic immigration and integration
Probably the foremost challenge in German law on religion today is the
need to integrate the large Islamic population. About three million
Muslims live in Germany today. The most recent official statement about
Muslims in Germany is found in an Answer of the Federal Government to
the Parliamentary Question of the Fraction of the CDU/CSU.55 The
experience of integrating Islam on a large scale is new. The
overwhelming majority of Muslims, primarily from Turkey, have immigrated
into the country seeking work within the last four decades. Originally,
immigrants were expected to return to their home country after finishing
their work, but now many have decided to stay in Germany. In response,
Germany's law on religion will have to show its ability to integrate or
will risk losing legitimacy. Christians and Muslims have long--
established and deeply rooted sets of values. In meeting, both must be
open to adaptation to assure peaceful coexistence. Many cultural habits
can result in social tensions. It is remarkable how few incidents of
that kind have occurred. So far, xenophobia has not crystallized on
German law, like all European and North American law, is deeply
influenced by Judeo-Christian ideas. To date, for the law, the most
difficult aspect of handling Islam is its different cultural attitudes
toward representation. Many public institutions must interact with
someone who represents the community of believers in order to provide
religious freedom. A representative is needed to form a public
corporation, to establish the content of religious instruction in public
schools, or to apply for an exception to animal protection laws that
prohibit ritual slaughter.sb Considerable progress has been made as
Muslims have organized themselves in Islamic associations and have
achieved representation before government offices. However, there
remains considerable fluctuation in terms of institutions and
3. Islamic religious instruction in public schools
Following a decision of the Federal Administrative Court, Islamic
religious instruction as a distinct subject can now be offered in public
schools in Berlin." This development will influence the situation in the
other Lander, about 700,000 Islamic pupils attend German schools.
In general, though, Islamic religious instruction is still taught
differently from normal religious instruction in many public schools and
thus deviates from the constitutional requirements. Since the need for
Islamic religious instruction in public schools has become urgent in the
last three decades, no representatives of Islam (who could determine the
Islamic curriculum) have been accepted by the relevant Islamic
population as legitimate. Meanwhile, in order to provide some Islamic
instruction, it is taught as an integral part of the classes in Islamic
culture and language that are offered in many public schools to enable
Muslims, especially Turks, to remain rooted in their mother tongue and
culture. Similar instruction is offered in Farsi and Arabic. In doing
so, some Lander are cooperating with certain local Islamic associations
in Germany to establish the relevant curricula, and others are
cooperating with the Turkish consulates. Yet, this means that state
authorities decide on curricula on religion contrary to the
constitution, though at present it is as near to the constitutional
requirements as possible. For the future one can hope that a number of
Islam associations may prove representative enough to establish Islam
curricula in order to introduce confessional Islamic religion
instruction on a larger scale in complete conformity with the
D. Background Convictions of Religious Freedom in Germany
Three cultural convictions stand behind the current German system: the
necessity of institutions for religious life, freedom of religion as a
positive freedom, and the idea that religion is a positive factor in
public life. These explain the current legal system in Germany regarding
freedom of religion.
First, religious freedom, though highly personal and individual, cannot
do without institutions. Religion as a matter of social fact is a matter
of community, exercised in community with others. Institutions are the
framework, the basis, and the structure in which individual belief
prospers. No legal order disregarding the institutional aspect of
religious freedom can fully guarantee this human right.
Second, religious freedom is adequately guaranteed as a positive
freedom. The law must actively accommodate the religious convictions of
the people. If government supports culture by providing theatres for the
fine arts and supports fitness by providing stadiums and swimming pools,
then the government must not discriminate against human religious needs
just because they are religious.
Third, religion and philosophical creeds are regarded as a positive
factor in public life. They have not only private but public standing,
without being part of the state. German legal culture recognizes a
public sphere, which is distinct from governmental or private
IV. READY LAW AND REAL LIFE: CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
Like a number of other European states and organizations, Germany has
conducted a parliamentary report on smaller and new religious
communities.58 This report became an object of particular concern
especially in the United States. Parliamentary reports were published in
France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Germany, the
European Union, and the Council of Europe.59 The German parliamentary
report, compared to most of the other parliamentary reports, probably
draws the least far reaching conclusions. It found that existing law
was, on the whole, adequate to handle any specific dangers posed by
those communities. Probably the most far reaching suggestion was to
consider introducing criminal liability for legal persons. So far, the
concept of criminal liability for legal persons is alien to German law.
Introducing it would have implications by no means focused on religious
communities. The report states explicitly that problems and dangers for
individual believers (that might result from conflicts in their
individual and social sphere) must be balanced against the individual
and social benefit that people can experience in these religious groups.
The report thus suggests interdisciplinary and independent research in
the field of religious, ideological, and psychological phenomena.60
Certainly one can doubt the necessity and perhaps the legitimacy of
parliamentary reports on religious communities. The dangers are obvious.
Governments could be tempted to make statements about the truth of the
different doctrines contrary to state neutrality. Religious communities
could feel attacked and intimidated by being publicly monitored. The
fact of certain religious communities being the object of parliamentary
scrutiny might deter individuals from joining such communities.
The preliminary, interim report61 was by no means appropriate to ease
such concerns. The final report, though, managed in general to avoided
unduestatements. The report, in order to avoid stigmatization, did not
contain a list of relevant communities.
The report would justify its monitoring of religious communities by the
very duty of government to prevent public danger. The Federal
Constitutional Court has upheld the government's right to warn against
dangers of religious communities.62 Reports of collective suicides or
mass murder,63 and of child misuse in some religious communities had
created widespread concern. The German parliamentary report in fact did
focus somewhat on the psychological status of children in the relevant
Many questions had arisen in German society as to whether certain
smaller, new, unknown religious communities complied with the very basic
requirements of a democratic and peaceful community under the rule of
law. Reports, mostly from former members, alleging totalitarian and
exploitative practices by religious communities had gained public
attention.bs German society, because of its experience with
totalitarian, national-socialist rule, is very sensitive to the threat
of any further totalitarianism. Nazi rule rapidly spread from a very
small group with an intense ideology and belief to grasp hold of the
whole country. A fundamental concern in German society is to ensure
against that ever happening again. Being rightly attentive to this
issue, however, may occasionally lead the government to be somewhat
In the end, the conclusions of the final parliamentary report almost
completely assuaged public concern. The question was off the political
agenda virtually overnight. Ultimately, the parliamentary report
contributed intensively to religious tolerance in Germany.
It may well be regarded as having been unwise of the report to somewhat
single out the Church of Scientology. This report, however, must be
considered in its contemporary context. At that time, intense public
debate and probably undue excitement raged on all sides. In the time
before the report was published, the Church of Scientology had
distributed a pamphlet indicating its situation in Germany to be alike
the persecution of the Jews under national-- socialism.66 This reproach
was felt to be a gross and outrageous misuse of the deep suffering of
millions; the Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom of the United
Nations, Abdelfatthah Amor rejected the comparison as childish.67 It was
felt that the number of debatable decisions regarding the Church of
Scientology and the reaction of the free press in Germany could not
possibly compare in any reasonable way with the mass-murder and
persecution committed under national- socialism. In its latest official
statement about the Church of Scientology, which is under observation
from the Constitution Protection Office (Bundesamt fur Verfassungs--
schutz), the federal government declared it had no information about
criminal activity by the Church of Scientology or its members in Germany
or about the Church's influence on the economy.68
It is estimated that the Church of Scientology has about 8000 adherents
in Germany.69 The whole matter indeed raises central questions about the
structures necessary for religious freedom to flourish in Germany.
Obviously it is not a uniquely German problem. The Church of Scientology
in Germany has not heretofore generally been accepted as a religious
community.70 Since, in general, there is no registration process for
religions in Germany, the question of the Church of Scientology's status
depends on the courts' determination of cases involving religious
matters. A number of court decisions concerning rather different cases71
relate to whether Scientology is a religion at all. Seemingly, lower
courts have been more open to accept Scientology as a religion than have
the higher courts.
In 1984, a member of the Church of Scientology struggled to gain
acknowledgment as a priest of that community. The status of priest would
free him from compulsory military service, an exemption that applies to
priests of all religious communities. The administrative court found him
to be a priest. However, the Federal Administrative Court finally
rejected his claim on the basis that the Church of Scientology was not a
religious community.72 Most cases about the Church of Scientology's
status relate to economics, i.e., whether Scientology is a religion or a
It is because of the comfortable, somewhat privileged situation of
religion and religious communities in German law that some sort of
definition is required as to what a religion would be in terms of the
law. In a way, German law is at a loss to define religion as a legal
term. The superior courts up to now mainly have decided the following
way: Religion as well as ideological creed (Weltanschaung) is a
certainty about specific statements about the whole of the world as well
as about the source and the aim of the life of the human beings.
Religion is based on a reality that is transcendent to the human being,
whereas ideological creeds take to immanent explanations. An association
is a religious or ideological association in the sense of the Basic Law,
when its members or followers confess on the basis of a common religious
or ideological conviction corresponding ideas about the meaning and the
accomplishment of human life.73 The Federal Constitutional Court,
reluctant to give a definition of religion within the last years, has
held the following about the range of the freedom of religion clause: in
order to define what a religion is, the self-perception of the relevant
believer is of major importance for the Court's decision. In a system in
which legal consequences are attributed to the status of religion,
though, the law, and thus the courts and the state, must have the final
V. APPROACHES TO SECURING FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Today, there seem to be two ways to secure human rights: a monitoring
approach and a structural approach. The monitoring approach surveys
various countries to detect any breach of human rights. Findings are
reported to publicly expose misconduct. It can be effective in
individual cases, and, if consequently performed, it might well
contribute to general keeping in line. This approach resembles the
approach of a court or prosecutor. It attempts to effect positive change
quickly, and it is a short term perspective.
Alternatively, the structural approach essays to integrate the human
rights perspective into the legal and social structures of a culture.
This more cooperative approach attempts to work from where the people
concerned are. This opens a more long-term perspective, trying to get to
the roots. It seeks not to threaten, but to convince. Like other
freedoms, religious freedom cannot be adequately described in isolation.
This thread weaves into a fabric of freedoms and interests. Freedom of
internal belief is undisputed and unp\roblematic. Freedom to act
according to one's belief leads to friction. This scope of freedom is
limited by other persons' freedoms, the interests of community and
state, and cultural circumstances. The difficulty in balancing competing
interests within one's own cultural tradition multiplies when one looks
at foreign cultures. Values change, different historical, social, and
cultural requirements evolve. Restrictions that seem incidental or even
illegitimate in one setting may be substantial and legitimate
A. The European Approach to Religious Freedom
There seems to be a deep difference in some contemporary American
approaches to religious freedom and the prevailing German and European
approaches. This difference does have some intense consequences, not so
much in Germany and Western Europe, but in Eastern Europe.
B. The Marketplace Model
The other approach experienced in Europe as a predominantly American one
is somewhat different. It could be called a marketplace approach of
religious freedom. The main question seems to be how to convince as many
people as possible of one's own truths. It is a basically proselytizing
idea of religious freedom, drawn from the idea of competition. It is
clear that the latter approach can be viewed as a threat by the old,
well situated, socially predominant religions. This is especially the
case when the new proselytizing religion can spend a lot of money, when
it can promise not only truth and tradition, but economic forthcoming,
better standard of living, and world travel. That idea of a free
marketplace itself is at stake, and with it the idea of fair
competition, if from the very beginning some of the competitors have all
the money, all the economic resources, and the other competitors have
none. Needless to say, this not only threatens the traditional
religions, but is also an economic and cultural factor of opening
In the marketplace view of religious freedom, the principle of equal
treatment is paramount. Any differences in treatment of religious
groups, any special registering of religious groups, any different
calibration according to size or social influence, any reasoning drawn
from the historical dominance of certain religious denominations are
immediately suspect. Any such distinctions are decried, not merely as
matters of religious discrimination, but as assaults on religious
C. Religious Liberty as a Positive Freedom
The situation becomes more complicated when religious freedom is
understood as a positive freedom. This means that religion is actively
given room by public authorities to flourish. As soon as religion is
actively given a public role it is necessary to distinguish and to ask
for criteria of distribution of means.
For example, when church representatives sit on boards of youth
protection or public broadcasting stations, when they act as advisors in
parliament's lawmaking process, when they shape religious education in
public schools, or when they serve as military chaplains, they cannot do
so in precise demographic proportions. How is exact numerical
representation possible when certain religious groups consist of a
handful of individuals-sincere and religious though they may be?
Enlarging the system of public representation to absolute inclusion
would bloat institutions to an enormous and unworkable size.
Smaller, newer religious groups will tend to view a system not based on
the idea of identical rights as discriminatory, and thus contrary to
religious freedom. The alternative is to sever religion from the public
institutions. This would certainly stunt positive religious freedom.
Moreover, it would undermine the concept of democratic statehood: the
will of the people determines the shape and content of the legal system.
If religious orientation were stripped from the "will of the people,"
this will would cease to represent its constituents.
D. Germany's Experience
In Germany, representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish
constituencies, together with certain civic groups, hold seats on
advisory boards and committees that relate to pluralistic representation
and ethical issues. For example, boards on youth protection censor or
classify pornographic literature; other boards govern public
broadcasting institutions. Their purpose is to interpose a layer of
public, yet not governmental, institutions between the private
individual and the state. Today, up to 150,000 Jewish individuals live
in Germany, a comparatively small number due to the Nazi murder of the
Jewish people. The Jewish faith communities thus are not as much
represented in terms of number, but rather in terms of culture and
history. To offer them participation is a moral duty in Germany today-it
is a thought unthinkable to first kill millions and then deprive the
survivors of their share in representation, arguing they would be too
few. These are different aspects of equality in Germany than those that
exist in other countries in Europe and the world.
To safeguard religious liberty, the correct paradigm is equal rights,
not identical rights. The paradigm of identical rights cannot appreciate
the societal function of a religion, its historical impact, or its
cultural background. Identical rights would preclude a multitude of
manifestations of positive religious freedom. For instance, if an
identical right to sit on youth protection boards was granted to each
and every religious denomination, any utility of these boards would be
crushed by their enormity. The only other way to achieve all inclusive
representation would require trampling another religious right to
achieve proportional representation. It would require compelling all
religious denominations to organize a national board to nominate common
delegates. This outcome-identical, allinclusive representation by
government decree-would establish a civil religion.
Religious freedom is safeguarded by a large number of provisions in
German law that protect individual as well as collective and corporate
freedom. The German idea of religious freedom views this right as a
positive freedom, and the government is obliged to give adequate room to
actively live one's religion. The system thus established is structured
by religious freedom, state neutrality, and equal treatment of
religions. It guarantees far reaching self-- determination of religious
associations. The special status of some religious communities as
corporations under public law, and the ability to engage in religious
instruction in public schools are in full accordance with these
requirements. The most important challenge for Germany's law on religion
is the need to integrate large numbers of Islamic immigrants into the
system. Gratefully, many positive steps have been taken to achieve this
goal. Equal treatment of religion does not require identical, but
adequate and proportional rights for all religions. Freedom of religion
requires more than the mere idea of a free marketplace of religions. It
requires room for actively living one's religion in all its aspects,
with religion being positively integrated in law and society.
Securing human rights requires more than the monitoring of other
countries-it requires an understanding of different cultures.
Monitoring, indeed, is necessary, as it identifies specific problem
areas. There are certainly problems in Germany-indeed, how else could it
be in a community of 82 million people? A fair evaluation requires a
vision of the whole picture. Any concern about specific problems must be
considered a concern about religious freedom in general. Concern about
home politics or about political or economic influence abroad should not
blur the screen. Religious freedom flourishes best in legal and social
structures, in atmospheres, in longer-term implementation.
Religious freedom will grow, but only in community with churches and
other religious communities, and only with respect of regional
experience, traditions, and contemporary and future needs. Protection of
human rights is not a one-sided protection of mere individual interests;
it involves individuals and community, and must balance often
conflicting interests. This balance cannot be modeled in abstracts, and
there are no pre-formulated concepts that could ever work. This balance
to be brought about requires knowledge of the specific traits of the
people concerned, of their aims and needs, of their historical
experiences and emotions, of their values and fears, and it will only
succeed with openness to new developments.
1. See, eg., BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR, U.S. DEP'T OF
STATE, 2000 ANNUAL REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: GERMANY
(Sept. 5, 2000) (visited Mar. 15, 2001) [hereinafter U.S. STATE DEP'T
2. Religious freedom is guaranteed in Article 4 of the German
Constitution, which translates as follows:
I. Freedom of belief and of conscience and freedom of creed, religious
or ideological, are inviolable.
II. The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.
III. No one may be compelled against his conscience into military
service involbing armed combat. Details shall be regulated by federal
law. GRUNDGESETZ [Constitution][GC] art. 4 (F.R.G.).
3. GG art. 1.
4. GG art. 2.
5. GG art. 3.
6. All sixteen Lender (i.e., states) of the Federal \Republic of Germany
have their own constitutions, most of which contain guarantees of
fundamental rights including religious freedom.
7. GG art. 3(III).
8. GG art. 33(III). See also GG art. 140; WEIMARER REICHSVERFASSUNG
[Constitution of the Weimar Republic] [WRV] art. 136.
9. GG art. 4(III), 12a(II), (III).
10. GG art. 7(II), (III).
11. GG art. 7(IV), (V).
12. GG art. 140.
13. WRV arts. 136-36 & 141.
14. WRV art. 137(I).
15. WRV art. 137(III).
16. WRV art. 137(V).
17. Weltanschaungsgemeinschaften [non-religious philosophical
organization]; WRV art. 137(VII).
18. WRV art. 139.
19. WRV art. 141.
20. GG preamble.
21. See Christian Stark, Praamble, No. 36, in 1 DAS BONNER GRUNDGESETZ,
KOMMENTAR [THE BONN CONSTITUTUIN, COMMENTARY] (Hans von Mangoldt et al.
22. See AXEL FREIHERR VON CAMPENHAUSEN, STAATSKIRCHENRECHT: EIN
STUDIENBUCH [CIVIL ECCLESIASTICAL LAW: A HANDBOOK] (3d ed. 1996). See
generally Heiner MarrY, Das kirchliche Besteuerungsrecht [Church
Taxation Law], in 1 HANDBUCH DES STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS DER BUNDESREPUBLIK
DEUTSCHLAND [HANDBOOK OF CIVIL ECCLESIASTICAL LAw IN GERMANY] 1101
(Joseph Listl & Dietrich Pirson eds., 2d ed. 1994); BERND JEAND'HEUR
&STEFAN KoRIOTH, GRUNDZCGE DES STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS [PRINCIPLES OF CIVIL
ECCLESIASTICAL LAW] (2000).
23. See DIE KONKORDATE UND KIRCHENVERTRAGE IN DER BUNDESREPUBLIK
DEUTSCHIAND [CONCORDATS AND CHURCH CONTRACTS IN GERMANY] (Joseph Listl
ed., 1987). 24. For a more complete reference to recent German (and
French) court decisions in matters of religion, see the database at
(visited Feb. 15, 2001).
25. Entscheidungen des Bundesverfassungsgerichts [Decisions of the
Federal Constitutional Court][hereinafter BVerfGE] 83, 341.
26. BVerfGE 32, 98 (107).
27. Entscheidungen des Bundesvcrwaltungsgerichts [Decisions of the
Federal Administrative Court] [hereinafter BVerwGE] 94, 82.
28. See Answer of the Federal Government to the Question of the Fraction
of CDU/CSU, Bundestags-Drucksache [Federal Parliament- Printed Document]
[hereinafter BTDrs.] 14/4530 (08.11.2000) [Nov. 8, 2000].
29. Verwaltungsgericht [Administrative Court] [hereinafter VG]
Stuttgart, NVwZ [NEUE ZEITSCHRIFT FOR VERWALTUNGSRECHT/NEW J. FOR ADMIN.
L.] 959 (2000).
30. VG Luneburg, NJW [NEUE JURISTISCHE WOCHENSCHRIFT/NEw LEGAL WKLY.]
31. WRV art. 137(I); GG art. 140.
32. WRV art. 137(V); GG art. 140.
33. BVerfGE 18, 385 (386); BVerfGE 30, 415 (428); BVerfGE 42, 312 (332);
BVerfGE 66, 1 (19).
34. See WRV art. 137(V); GG art. 140.
35. As of 1997, the population of Germany was estimated at 82 million.
Of this, there are approximately 27.4 million Catholics, 27.4 million
Protestants, 3 million Muslims, 1 million Orthodox, 150,000 Jews,
140,000 Buddhists, 66,000 Hindus, 5000 Bahai'i, 2 million members of
numerous smaller religious communities, and 21 million of no religious
membership. The data for some religious communities is rather uncertain;
in recent years there has been strong Jewish immigration from eastern
countries. See STATISTISCHES JAHRBUCH FOR DIE BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND
[STATISTICAL YEARBOOK FOR GERMANY] 95 (2000); Deutschland, in 2 RELIGION
IN GESCHICHTE UND GEGENWART [RELIGION IN HISTORY AND CURRENT TIMES] 751
(4th ed. 1999).
36. For an updated list of churches and religious communities, as well
as philosophical bodies with public law status, see the website of the
Institute for European Constitutional Law at the University of Trier:
(visited Feb. 15, 2001).
37. BVerwGE 105, 117.
38. BVerfG 19.12.2000 - 2 BvR 1500/97. See .
39. GG art. 79(III).
40. "Public law things" (dffentliche Sachen) is a special institution of
German law meaning the dedication of means such as streets, places,
furniture, books, or the like to public use, irrespective of civil law
ownership. The dedication creates a special status of these things
protecting the public use. For a discussion of the relationship between
public law things and churches, see Dieter SchUtz, Res sacrae, in 2
HANDBUCH DES STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS [HANDBOOK OF CIVIL ECCLESIASTICAL 3
(Joseph Listl & Dietrich Pirson eds., 2d ed. 1995).
41. See Marre, supra note 22, at 1101.
42. See generally Gerhard Robbers, Art. 7, in 1 DAS BONNER GRUNDGESETZ,
KOMMENTAR [THE BONN CONSTITUTION,, supra note 21; Christoph Link,
Religionsunterricht, in 2 HANDBUCH DES STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS DER
BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND [HANDBOOK OF CIVIL ECCLESIASTICAL LAW IN,
supra note 22, at 439.
43. Regarding Islamic religious instruction, see BVerwG, DVBI.
[DEUTSCHES VERWALTUNGSBLATr/GERMAN ADMIN J.] 1001 (2000); Martin Heckel,
Religionsunterricht fair Muslime? [Religious Instruction for Muslims?],
JZ [JURISTENZEITUNG/JURIST'S J.] 74 (1999); see also infraPart
44. Anywhere from five to twelve pupils can constitute a sufficient
45. For references, see generally Link, supra note 42, at 503.
46. BVerfGE 70, 138; European Commission for Human Rights 06.09.1989
[Sept. 6, 1989] BNr. 12242/86; Rommelfanger.
47. WRV art. 137(111); GG art. 140; Konrad Hesse, Das
Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Kirchen and Religionsgemeinschaften [The
Right to Self-Determination of Churches and Religious Communities], in 1
HANDBUCH DES STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS DER BUNDES-REPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND
[HANDBOOK OF CIVIL ECCLESIASTICAL LAW IN GERMANY, supra note 22, at 521;
Alexander Hollerbach, Der verfassungsrechtliche Schutz kirchlicher
Organisation [ The Constitutional Protection of Church Organization], in
6 HANDBUCH DES STAATSRECHTS [HANDBOOK OF STATE LAW] 557 (Joseph Isensee
& Paul Kirchhof eds., 1989).
48. BVerfGE 18, 385 (387); BVerfGE 42, 312 (334); BVerfGE 66, 1 (20);
BVerfGE 72, 278 (289).
49. BVerfGE 42, 312 (334).
50. BVerfGE 53, 366 (401); BVerfGE 66, 1 (22); BVerfGE 70, 138 (167);
BVerfGE 72, 278 (289).
51. Gerhard Robbers, Minority Churches in Germany, in THE LEGAL STATUS
OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN THE COUNTRIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION 153
(European Consortium for Church-State Research ed., 1994); Josef Jurina,
Die Religionsgemeinschaften mit privatrechtlichemRechtsstatus [Religious
Communities with Private-law Status], in 1 HANDBUCH DES
STAATSKIRCHENRECHTS DER BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND [HANDBOOK OF CIVIL
ECCLESIASTICAL LAw IN GERMANY], supra note 22, at 689. 52. See Robbers,
supra note 42, at No. 144 .
53. See VON CAMPENHAUSEN, supra note 22, at 267. 54. WRV art. 137(V); GG
55. BT-Drs.,supra note 28, 14/4530 (08.11.2000) [Nov. 8,2000].
56. BVcrwGE 99, 1; BVcrwG (23.11.2000) [Nov. 23, 2000] - 3 C 40.99.
57. BVcrwG DVBI. [DEUTSCHES VERWALTUNGSBi-ATT/GERMAN ADMIN. J.] 1001
58. BT-Drs. 13/10950, Neue religio/se and ideologische Gemeinschaften
and Psychogruppen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland- Endbericht der
Enquete-Kommission "Sogenannte Sekten and Psychogruppen" [New Religious
and Ideological Communities and Psychological Groups in Germany-Final
Report of the Enquete- Commission "So-Called Sects and Psychological
Groups"] vom 9.6.1998 [from June 9, 1998].
59. France: Rapport no. 2468 de M. Jacques Guyard, fait au nom de la
commission d'enquete sur les sects, President M. Alain Gest, 22.12.1995
[(Parliamentary) Report No. 2468 from Mr. Jacques Guyard, done in the
name of the enquiry commission about the sects, President Mr. Alain
Gest, Dec. 22, 1995]; Belgium: Rapport fait au nom de la commission
d'enquetepar Mm. Duquesne et Willems, Rapport de la Commission
Parlamentaire beige d'enquete sur les Sectes [Report done in the name of
the enquiry commission by Mr. Duquesne and Mr. Willems, Report of the
Belgian parliamentary commission of enquiry into sects] 313/7 - 95/96;
Spain: Sectas en Espana [Sects in Spain], Juan Manuel del Pozo Alvarez,
III Legislatura [III legislation], Madrid 1989; Netherlands: Onderzock
betreffende Sekten, Overheid en nieuwe religieuze bewegingen, Tobias A.
M. Witteveen, Tweede Kamer der Staaten - Generaal, Vergaderjaar [Enquiry
concerning sects, office of new religious movements, Tobias A. M.
Witteveen, Second Chamber of the States-General, session year]
1983-1984, Drucksache [Printed document] 16635, 1984; Italy: Sette
religiose e nuovi movimenti magici in Italia, Ministero dell' Interno,
Dipartimento della Publica Sicurezza, Roma [Religious sects and new
magic movements in Italy, Ministry of the Interior, Department of Public
Security, Rome] 1998; Sweden: In Good Faith, Society and the new
religious movements, Summary. SOU 1998: 113, at (visited Mar. 15, 2001).
European Union; EP EG No. C 078 of 18.3.1996, at 0031; Council of
Europe: AS Jur (1998) 38 - 15.5.1998 06-17, ajdoc 38.98. In the United
Kingdom, there were government- initiated enquiries: Sir John Foster,
Enquiring into the Practice and Effects of Scientology HMSO, 1971;
Eileen Barker, New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction, HMSO,
1989; see also Australia: Report of the Board of Enquiry into
Scientology, Anderson, K. V., Q. C., State of Victoria, Australia 1965;
New Zealand: Hubbard Scientology Organisation in New Zealand and any
Associated Scientology Organizations or Bodies in New Zealand, Report of
the Commission of Inquiry, Wellington 1969.
60. BT-Drs., supra note 57, 13/10950, 6.1/6.2. 61. BT-Drs. 13/ 8170.
62. BT-Drs., supra note 57, 13/10950, 6.1/6.2.
63. For example, the activities of Aum-Shinrikyo in Japan created
widespread concern. Cf. R.J. Kisala, Reactions to Aum: The Revision of
the Religious Corporation Law, in 22 JAPANESE RELIGIONS 60-74 (1997);
Charles Schwarzenegger, Uber das Verhiiltnis von Religion, Sekten and
Kriminalit, Eine Analyse der kriminologischen and strafrechtlichen
Aspekte am Beispiel der japanischen Aum-Shinrikyd- Sekte [On the
Relationship between Religion, Sects, and Crime, An Analysis of the
Criminological and Criminal Law Aspects Based on the Example of the
Japanese Aum-Shinrikyd Sect], in SE\KTEN UND OKKULTISMUS,
KRIMINOLOGISCHE ASPEKTE, REIHE KRIMINOLOGIE [SECTS AND OCCULTISM,
CRIMINOLOGICAL ASPECTS, CRIMINOLOGICAL SERIES] 14 (Pierre- Henri Bolle
et al. cds., 1996).
64. ARBEITSGEMEINSCHAFT KINDERUND JUGENDSCHUTZ HAMBURG E.V.: SATANISMUS
UND RITUELLER MISBRAUCH, AKTUELLE ENTWICKLUNGEN UND KONSEQUENZEN FOR DIE
JUGENDHILFE [COMMITTEE FOR CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PROTECTION IN HAMBURG:
SATANISM AND RITUAL ABUSE, CURRENT DEVELOPMENT AND CONSEQUENCES FOR THE
PROTECTION OF YOUTH] (1996).
65. See ENTKOMMEN [ESCAPED] (1993).
66. HAs UND PROPAGANDA [HATE AND PROPAGANDA] (Church of Scientology
International ed., 1993).
67. Implementation of the Declaration of the Elimination of all Forms of
Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief. Report
submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance
with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/23, Addendum, Visit to
Germany: Commission on Human Rights 54th session E/ CN.4/1998/6/Add.2.
68. BT-Drs. 14/4541 [Answer of the Federal Government to a Question of
the Fraction of the CDU/CSU).
69. See U.S. STATE DEP'T 2000 REPORT, supra note 1.
70. Gregor Thiising, Ist Scientology eine Religionsgemeinscbaff? [Is
Scientology eine Reliionsgemeinschaft??[Is Scientology a Religious
Organization?], 45 ZevKR [ZEITSCHRIFT FLOR EVANGELISCHES KiRCHENRECHT/J.
FOR PROTESTANT ECCLESIASTICAL L.] 592 (2000).
71. A list of court rulings concerning the Church of Scientology can be
found at (visited April 30, 2001).
72. BVerwG NJW 393 (1985).
73. BVerwGE 89,368/370; BVerwGE 90, 112/115 f.; BAG JZ 1995,951/ 952.
74. BVerfGE 83, 341; cf. Gerhard Robbers, Staat and Religion [State and
Religion] in 59 VVDStRL [VEROFFENTLICHUNGEN DER VEREINIGUNG DER
DEUTSCHEN STAATSRECHTSLEHRER/PUBLICATIONS OF ASSN OF GERmAN ST. L.
TCHRS.] 231 (2000).
* Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Trier, Germany. Professor
Robbers is the Director of the Institute for European Constitutional Law
and a judge at the Administrative Court of Appeals Rhineland-Palatine.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Consortium for
Church-State Research and is also a member of the OSCE Board of Experts
on Religious Freedom. He is the managing co- editor of Archiv des
offenslichen Rechts and editor of STATE AND CHURCH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
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