Laudatio for Dr. Norbert Blüm
"Once freedom is attained it must be cherished,
and protected from those who would strip it away"
by Robert S. Minton
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and especially to you, Dr.
Blüm. It is indeed a pleasure to be here in Leipzig today to address
European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious
it is my great honor, as the recipient of last year's award, to give the
speech for you, Dr. Blüm, and to present you with the 2001 Leipzig
This human rights award began only last year. It was initiated
as the "Alternative Charlemagne Award,"
the committee wanted to point out that the European values for which the
Charlemagne Award stood could not be reconciled with former President
support of the totalitarian Scientology organization.
When Leipzig was selected as the location for the presentation
of the award, the experience took on added significance, both for the
Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom and for me.
is the place where freedom was reborn in the former East Germany. We are
in the shadows of the St. Nikolai Church, where the call to freedom in
began with a handful of people, then grew to hundreds and finally to
of thousands in the streets surrounding this Stock Exchange Building, all
freedom. Those events that occurred in Leipzig not so long ago confirm
freedom is always hard work that requires courage and sacrifice. We also
from history that once freedom is attained it must be cherished, nurtured
protected from those who would strip it away.
Dr. Blüm, you have been a visionary politician and leader
who has demonstrated a keen sense of history. It was more than 20 years
almost all the problems with modern sects and cults were regarded as
or psychological in nature, that you stated we were dealing with a
Many people, particularly politicians in the United States, have yet to
your very important message. But it is the duty of all of us here to
example and help our politicians to understand the simple fact that
is an aspiring totalitarian political movement.
In January 2000, I established an organization called the Lisa
McPherson Trust in Clearwater, Florida. As I have walked through the
of downtown Clearwater amongst hundreds of Scientology Sea Org members, I
often been reminded of something that Hitler saw as early as 1929 as being
"great thing" of his movement. What he saw as great was the fact that
men "have outwardly become almost a unit, that actually these members are
not only in ideas, but that even the facial expression is almost the same.
at these laughing eyes, this fanatical enthusiasm and you will discover .
how a hundred thousand men in a movement become a single type." It is at
eerie that the Lisa McPherson Trust is surrounded by the Sea Org in
but it is also a blessing. It is a blessing because our mere presence
the most fundamental element of this totalitarian entity, namely, the
of Scientology's fictitious world from reality.
During the 18 months we have been in Clearwater, we constantly
hear Scientology's cries of religious persecution and demands for freedom
tolerance. We hear those same cries from Scientology in Europe today. And,
you who, in 1981, made the following statement: "The enemy of freedom is
who today is himself calling for freedom and tolerance… Such calls for
are only masks for slavery and terrorism... Even religious groups, or
call themselves such, could be totalitarian; therefore I hear their
world government initiatives and world salvation with suspicion, primarily
they are connected with efforts for commercial power. We want to remain a
society." Yes, I believe we all guessed correctly that it was Dr. Blü
made those remarks.
These comments of yours, Dr. Blüm, gave new clarity and
introduced a political dimension into the phenomenon of destructive cults.
you introduced the concept of totalitarianism early on in the debate about
cults you enabled your contemporaries to understand that the objective of
entities was the transformation and subjugation of human nature itself.
not acceptable in a democratic society, because we can only be equal
society on the strength of our collective decision to guarantee ourselves
equal rights. I applaud you, Dr. Blüm, not only for being a staunch
of human rights, workers rights and democratic ideals, but also for your
in exposing Scientology's new brand of totalitarianism, which is cloaked
sheep's clothing of religion and psychotherapy.
But there is more. Through your example and your protection,
you have enabled others to express themselves openly and critically. The
of the committee and I are also grateful to you for being the patron of
European seminar at the Berlin Dialogue Center in 1996, which played an
role in creating awareness of the new threat of cults in the post-
environments of middle and eastern European countries. You have openly
many times that you believe public office and civic involvement belong
of necessity, and your involvement and patronage of that seminar was
important to many of our friends and partners in Russia and eastern
And finally, Dr. Blüm, back in 1981 you said, "We quite
certainly agree, whatever our value judgment may be about the new cults,
no reduction at all in the guarantee of tolerance in Article 4 of our
(i.e. religious freedom) is permitted. We staunchly insist on that. But
that any organization that invokes this tolerance for itself must also
the dignity of people and the free development of the personality, as
founded in the Basic Law… Basic Law also has a third function, because
rights are not only to protect the citizen against government intrusion,
the state must protect the individual citizen from third parties that can
the individual's rights -- criminals, foreign attacks in the event of war,
by commercial enterprises, and even cults… The freedom to profess religion
part of the basis of our liberal culture. We do not want this free
to turn into a jungle."
Dr. Blüm, you are a protector of freedoms and democratic
ideals who has distinguished yourself by your selfless public service to
country and constituents, by your clarity of thought and your insights
dangers we face, and your courage in speaking openly about the destructive
issue when no one else was doing so. We humbly thank you with this award,
is an expression of our utmost respect for all that you have done to
cause of freedom and to protect the human rights of all citizens.
Thank you Dr. Blüm!