What are the political opinions of God

Church lobbyingInfluence in God's name

The Hanoverian regional bishop Ralf Meister does not want to be lumped together with lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry or the gaming industry. The church doesn't want to sell a product:

"In return, I would say, the great commission that Jesus Christ gave us is a different matter. You can't sell that as lobbyism. It's about the kingdom of God, it's about another world. You can't represented with lobbying strategies, which has a different spirit. "

"Clear position for the speechless"

Meister refers to his role in the federal repository commission. Here the bishop worked as a representative of the Protestant Church for two years in order to work out recommendations for the storage of the highly radioactive nuclear waste with various stakeholders, scientists and politicians. Opponents and supporters of nuclear energy certified the bishop to have moderated and balanced. Especially when it came to ethical questions, Ralf Meister saw his competence in demand in the political advisory body:

"I think that in some places it was more like the question: How can one answer questions that we cannot clarify when we are talking about a repository that should still be safe in a few 100,000 years, how can one answer unsolvable questions deal appropriately? These are questions the Church always deals with without falling into fantasy, but also doing it rationally. "

Ralf Meister held back with a political position in the repository commission; However, one hears again and again from conservative circles the accusation that the church interferes too much in political discussions - for example in the refugee debate or in ecological questions. Master rejects this criticism. He also defends himself against a distinction between more conservative responsibility and more progressive ethics of opinion; because even the ethics of responsibility cannot function without an ethics of convictions. What the bishop rejects, however, is the church's interference in small-scale issues:

"The church does not have to make a suggestion about the run-off zones for free-range husbandry or does not have to give the exact measurements for antibiotic medication in factory farming, that is not, but the churches have a clear position for the speechless," says Ralf Meister.

At the conference in the Evangelical Academy, the impression could easily arise that the churches acted primarily as selfless experts and prophets in the political arena. The Munich historian Jonathan Spanos counters this:

"I would say that every actor who appears somehow in the political arena also has a certain interest in self-preservation."

The Munich theology professor Reiner Anselm is the chairman of the EKD Chamber for Public Responsibility.

The separation is limping

He says: "The churches are not acting very skilfully there either. The great rhetoric that one would act selflessly out of the Christian ethos may be true for the actors, but one must not overlook the fact that the state is paying the rent through the back door It is taken into account that it is, of course, also about securing jobs so that the expansion of the welfare state benefits the church. One should be a little more sensitive and careful not to overpower.

Indeed, one encounters a widespread attitude in the churches to sweep one's own economic interests under the rug. But the two churches and their charities generate a turnover of around 140 billion euros a year. According to calculations by the political scientist Carsten Frerk, you have almost 90,000 properties in Germany and over 830,000 hectares of real estate. From the cradle to the grave, from the church children's clinic to the cemetery, it's not just about ethical, but also about very mundane, financial interests. So far, these interests have been largely protected by excellent cooperation between the churches and politics. The political scientist Oliver Hidalgo refers to the historical proximity in Germany.

"The limping separation of church and state, which Rudolf Smend once spoke of, is our tradition, and I think we have to dock with it. Ultimately, that is a point that has come under strong pressure to justify itself today."

Despite this pressure to justify it, the large number of church-affine politicians in the centers of power is striking. At the beginning of this legislative period, all members of the federal government were also members of the two major churches. The then Federal President Joachim Gauck a pastor, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel a pastor's daughter, and Bundestag President Norbert Lammert a committed Catholic.

"In the Arab world, people joke that Germany is a theocracy. (..) If you just look at the facts, how the intermingling is, that would seem suspicious. In fact, I don't see that that is the real problem "says the political scientist Oliver Hidalgo. Especially since the church's influence on political decisions will decline in the medium term. At least regional bishop Ralf Meister sees it this way:

"The voice becomes weaker in perception because there are many more voices. There are many more actors who come forward, and the church remains only one of them. That was different in the past. There was the state and the church and almost no one else. "