German federal and state interior ministers declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional on Friday, opening the way for a possible ban on the organization.
They said Germany's domestic intelligence agencies should continue gathering information on the legality of Scientology's activities in Germany so that a decision could be made about a possible ban next year.
But the domestic intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring Scientology's operations for a decade and see little hope of amassing sufficient evidence to justify a ban.
Citing unnamed domestic intelligence agents familiar with the Scientology issue, Der Spiegel magazine reported that German authorities where having little success infiltrating the organization.
The magazine also said Scientology's membership in Germany had stagnated.
Germany does not recognize Scientology as a religion and regard it as a cult masquerading as a church to make money.
To be sure, the Germans are right about Scientology. It is a cult masquerading as a church to make money. It's a racket, plain and simple. The problem is, how much more of a racket than other religions does Scientology have to be before it becomes banworthy? There's a certain amount of racketry to all organized religions, just as there is in any human institution.
If the Germans ever do come up with a formula for determining the outer bounds of racketry-within-religion, I'll be very interested in seeing it. It might prove useful here in America.