Elections: Church calls to vote against the AfD become “clearer”

Elections: Church calls to vote against the AfD become “clearer”

Before the European elections, there are clear calls from church institutions not to vote for the AfD. An expert explains the reasons.

Whether bishops, synods or associations – in the run-up to the European elections next Sunday, the two major churches have clearly warned against voting for the AfD. This is a first, as an expert has now emphasized: “In comparison to previous elections, in which it was mostly individuals who spoke out, the calls this time are clearer and more organized,” said Sabrina Mayer, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bamberg. On the one hand, this has to do with the emergence and strengthening of the AfD, but also with the fact that it is becoming increasingly clear which positions the AfD represents.

Distancing oneself from the AfD is generally seen as a sensible means of long-term contact, Mayer continued. “At the same time, we see in surveys that denominational ties and religiosity no longer protect against voting preference for the AfD.” In the past, a kind of protective effect of religion could often be observed in right-wing extremist parties, especially for Catholic believers – due to the strong ties to the CDU/CSU. According to Mayer, this has changed today due to the individualization of voting behavior.

Demarcation as a societal issue

Appeals related to the election usually have several addressees, the scientist explained. On the one hand, they are of course aimed at the church’s own members or believers and serve the function of demarcation. “One could argue that, given the small number of people who still feel a strong connection to the respective churches, the impact is small,” said Mayer. “However, it should not be forgotten that public perception through media coverage is another important point.”

Especially when various civil society institutions such as clubs, associations, foundations and companies take a clear position, the impression is created that the demarcation from the AfD is not only driven by party politics, but is supported by a broad alliance of organizations. The demarcation thus becomes a question for society as a whole.

In February, at their spring meeting in Augsburg, the Catholic bishops of Germany clearly distanced themselves from the AfD: “After several waves of radicalization, a nationalistic attitude now dominates, especially in the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party,” the bishops wrote. “We appeal to our fellow citizens, including those who do not share our faith, to reject and reject the political offers of the far right. Anyone who wants to live in a free and democratic society cannot find a home in this ideology.”

“AfD candidates not eligible”

The highest lay body of Catholics in Bavaria called for a “voting decision for a democratic party” for the European elections and clearly opposed the AfD. “The AfD’s attitudes are not compatible with the values ​​and the mission of Jesus to humanity, and AfD candidates are therefore not electable,” said the state committee in a call for the election.

At the regional synod of the Protestant Church in the Free State in April, regional bishop Christian Kopp also made it clear: “Parties that represent nationalist, right-wing extremist and xenophobic positions cannot be voted for by Christians.”

Source: Stern

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