- Congressman (the seat currently held by Mark Souder)
- Senator (the seat currently held by Evan Bayh)
- Ambassador to Germany
Perhaps we should add "friend of Tom Cruise" to the list.
That's what a 2003 letter from Cruise to then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, recently released under the Freedom of Information Act, suggests. In it, Cruise tries to convince Armitage to sit down with him for a meeting while he's in Washington.
Here's how Cam Simpson of the Chicago Tribune described the letter:
Cruise made the pitch for a personal meeting to express his concern about the treatment of Scientologists in Europe after an aide to Armitage apparently tried to pass the actor off to John Hanford, the State Department's ambassador at large for international religious freedom, according to a letter Cruise wrote to Armitage. The letter is dated about two weeks before the scheduled meeting.
Cruise resisted the brush off, telling Armitage that while a meeting with Hanford would be "helpful," in fact, "I am most interested in speaking with you."
He was trying to enlist Armitage and Powell in Scientology's battle for legitimacy in Europe under the banner of religious freedom, an issue that Congress requires the State Department to give close scrutiny each year in nations across the globe.
According to his letter, Cruise's biggest concern seemed to be with Germany, which does not view Scientology as a legitimate faith.
A background paper maintained on the German embassy's Website notes that the government "considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The [German] government is also concerned that the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany's democratic society."
Scientologists, of course, adamantly reject these claims. Cruise said in his letter to Armitage that he believes German officials exhibit "intolerance" to "members of my religion and other minority religions" inside Germany.
Cruise also mentioned that he visited with several US Ambassadors the last time he was in Europe, including Coats, then Ambassador to Germany, and discussed with them "the problems of religious tolerance."
Cruise then noted that:
Ambassador Coats and his staff have continued to be very helpful [...]
One wonders if Mr. Cruise stood or sat on the couch in the Ambassador's office during their meeting.
You can download a PDF of Cruise's full letter to Armitage here.