Germany's high court orders reconsideration of ban on church leader Moon

Karlsruhe, Germany - Germany's supreme court on Thursday ordered a lower court to re-examine an order banning the founder of the Unification Church from entering the country.

German officials denied visas to Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife when the Korean-born couple wanted to visit followers in 1995 because Berlin views his organization as a dangerous sect.

A state court upheld the ban in 2002. But the Constitutional Court, ruling Thursday in Moon's favor, said the lower court decision violated the right to religious freedom.

It said the state had no right to impose its values on a religious grouping. It also said the lower court failed to show that a visit would threaten public safety in Germany.

The state court must now examine the case anew.

The U.S. government has criticized German efforts to counter Moon's organization, calling it a restriction of religious freedom.