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Catholic Day in Erfurt: Christians meet Antichrists

Catholic Day in Erfurt: Christians meet Antichrists

The 103rd Catholic Congress is taking place on Wednesday in the very place where the AfD has an extremely large number of supporters – in Erfurt, Thuringia. Right-wing populists have one thing in common for churches: contempt.

Good heavens, who else is God supposed to catch? Now the heavyweight EU top candidate Maximilian Krah is also relying on the extremity of the Almighty. The tough right-winger of the AfD recently announced his forced withdrawal from the party executive on the short message service “X” with the effeminate opening words: “You can never fall any further than into God’s hands!”

Hallelujah!

Even the use of the quote is presumptuous. It comes from a song by the naval chaplain Arno Pötsch, who in 1941 wrote about the boundless horror of the world wars, both of which he suffered. Snob Krah, better known for his ethnic-nationalist outpourings, is sanctimonious for tactical reasons. He would like to be celebrated as a martyr for his unyielding political credo. But he was thrown out of the party executive because of his odd analysis of history. He had relativized the actions of Hitler’s murderous SS organization, which finally alienated the French right-wing populists around Marine Le Pen.

In Thuringia, only 7.6 percent of the population are Catholic

The AfD leadership is unlikely to care whose hands Krah falls into. This is especially true of the party leadership in Thuringia, in whose capital city Erfurt the 103rd German Catholic Day begins on Wednesday. In this state, just 7.6 percent of the population are Catholic, while 20.8 percent are Protestant. The AfD alone, on the other hand, reaches well over 30 percent of hearts. In the homeland of the Reformation, of all places, it is particularly easy to observe how the right-wing populists feel about church and religion. They count believers among their opponents – unless one or two divine souls can be won over as voters with shrill theories on homosexuality, for example.

Corinna Herold, AfD religious spokesperson in the Thuringian state parliament and a member of the right-wing extremist AfD “wing” around Björn Höcke from the start, expresses her rejection openly and clearly. She dismisses the churches as “politicized”; they are “more and more giving up the Christian-Western heritage” and are now only the “extended arm of federal and state governments”. Krah, on the other hand, even denounced Pope Francis as an “absolute catastrophe”: He has “no authority whatsoever in political and moral questions”.

Brothers and sisters in spirit: AfD religious expert Corinna Herold with her parliamentary group leader Björn Höcke in the Thuringian state parliament

The AfD’s temper is even more agitated when it comes to “political Islam”. According to AfD member Herold, this wants to “reshape our public order in line with Islamic law (Sharia)” and must therefore be consistently fought. The AfD will preserve “the traditions of the Christian West in the secularized world” because they “decisively shape our identity and our sense of freedom.”

The AfD as the savior of the Christian West. Hallelujah!

The opposite is the case. Because of its ethnic-nationalistic convictions and its open racism, the AfD can only be described as the antipode of the Christian faith. Because Christianity – despite all the historical failings of the church leadership – is essentially cosmopolitan and borderless. In the Catholic Church, this DNA is anchored in the name. “Catholic” (Greek) means “encompassing the whole world”. Faith sees images of God in all people, regardless of their origin, their main color, or their faith. Even in AfD members. For Jesus, the founder of the faith, there were no blood communities or ethnic-arrogant constructs. “Germany for the Germans, foreigners out!”, that is the cry of the Antichrist.

The AfD also pursues nationalist goals when it comes to the abortion ban

Unfortunately, there is a risk that some believers will still vote for the AfD. Because some of the issues that are of burning concern to them are presented in a more digestible way by the AfD than by the other parties. This is particularly evident, say pollsters, in the controversial issue of abortion, against which the AfD is relentlessly railing. The right-wing is not at all concerned with God, who, according to Christian thinking, alone can decide over life and death. Here, too, it is concerned with nationalist goals. The party has long been demanding that German women should have more children in order to compensate for the shortage of skilled workers by Germans – and to stop the immigration of foreigners.

This year in Erfurt it will be even more important that the Catholic Church, indeed the entire church community, proclaim loudly and clearly: AfD ideology and Christianity contradict each other. The beginning has been made, the organizers have not invited any AfD members to the podium. Irme Stetter-Karp, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), does not want to provide a platform for racism, anti-Semitism and other misanthropy. That is right and democratically legitimate: There must be no discussion of human dignity, this original Christian, secularized idea that is indelibly anchored in Paragraph 1 of the 75-year-old Basic Law.

At the same time, however, despite all the fight against the inhuman ideologues, no one should deny the human dignity of conspiracy theorists like Krah or Herold with the cross in their hand. Even if this is obviously very difficult for some, especially at church conferences. Christians must never make it as easy for themselves as right-wing populists do. That is their mission. Amen (so be it!)

Source: Stern

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