Scientology has faced several legal tussles in the US and Europe, with a fraud ruling against the church in France merely the latest.
The opening of a Foreign Ministry office for religion signals a rising awareness of the political clout of the world's faiths.
In criminal case, the Church of Scientology says it is being scapegoated in a wider campaign against freedom of religion.
French politicians don't talk about faith openly. But President Sarkozy wants a more open discussion of the role of religion.
Using the Internet to hide, groups like Anonymous spread sensitive materials.