The Political Page

June 2003

 

 

Radical Changes in Germany

 

1. Information

One bad news report after another: 140,000 training positions are lacking; 4,46 million without jobs - that is 10.8% (last year 9.7%).  Another year of bankruptcies is ahead with 40,000 insolvency declarations which could cost up to 650,00 work places. The Ministry of Employment needs an increased subsidy of 6.5 - 7.5 billion and the Minister of Finance must present a revised household budget for 2003 which contains quite a lot more debt than the proposed 19 billion. Official tax appraisers predict a shortage of 126 billion euros in revenues over the next three years for the federal, state and city level household budgets; and that is based on a much too optimistic 0.75% growth index.

The real break in the dam: on 11.05. Hans Eichel declared “bankruptcy”, that is, he admitted that his economy plan had failed: he can neither present a household budget till 2006 without new debts nor can he hold to the 3% limit of the European stability agreement.  Thus the consolidation politics of the Red/Green government have failed.

However, it is all too clear that the Union also has no conclusive concept; only a catalogue of demands and wishes.  And it is probably as one speaker by “Sabine Christiansen” stated, that at the moment, we need to simultaneously turn several wheels without knowing the outcome, and none of the proposals can guarantee success.

 

Anyone who has experienced a personal upheaval knows how it is: the old way is no longer viable but the new is not yet visible; and so feelings of chaos and insecurity are great along with fear.  That this phase was very productive is only realized later on.

Our country is at the beginning of such a phase.  The politicians admit they had closed their eyes up till now:  In Germany, it is not primarily about rejuvenating the economy or an economical shot-in-the-arm, and then all is well; rather, it is about restructuring our political system in the face of the changing age-structure of our citizens - a problem that is becoming more critical from year to year.  We are an “imploding society”, that is each future generation will be smaller than the previous parent generation.

The old social system can not continue this way, but a new one is not or only the beginnings are vaguely visible. This produces fear for the future in individuals. Accordingly, reactions such as defending our own rights to the bitter end and grim allocation battles are the result.

Germany is in upheaval, in a crisis.

 

Hartz Commission, Rürup Commission, Special SPD Party Day, also the Greens, Union Party Exam Day, Union strikes! The whole country is busy!  Some call it “Restructuring society”, others “Reduction of the social state”, one does not go far enough, the other too far.

They are testing their strength for the final consequence: the Chancellor’s political fate is tied to the success of his Agenda 2010 and the unions also realize that their future role in society is at stake.  In the meantime, it is about more than jobs: it is about the form and shape of tomorrow’s society.

Professor Rürup, Director of the commission named after him said: “Basically, the whole problem is not a question of social politics but of a new family politic.”  He is right! But that will not happen so quickly.

 

 

 

 

2. Background

 

If, as Christians, we believe that God loves our country, then we also know that when we repeatedly bring our people before Him, He surely hears our prayer and will give good things  and hope and a future for our country.

Of course, this does not mean a cushy life, consumer society, welfare state and being well-served mentality. It means rather reviving our hearts to joy in taking the initiative, responsible independence, and hope and solidarity with the truly weaker.

Germany has become an "old" society, not only according to the age-pyramid but also even more because of its all-round-care mentality.  We have become fat, lazy and unwilling to take risks.  We are a "socially spoiled society", even our young.  This generation lacks any "sports ambition", says Roman Herzog (24.11.02 ZDF).

The jolt that will go through our society will be caused by shock, pain and cries.  For this reason, when we pray for spiritual or economical revival in our land, we must realize that it will be painful at first, and we must be willing to personally carry this.  However, whoever prays will receive a vision and who has a vision, knows what the sacrifice is for.

 

What the whole country, even every individual, needs in the coming years is the vision of a Germany that has awakened from its being-cared-for mentality and is on its way, with a new

enterprising spirit, into a future that God wants to give us, if we ask Him.  Whoever has a vision for tomorrow is also willing to sacrifice today. Germany needs prayer now and the example of Christians who, out of prayer like Paul during the storm off Malta, can say with calm assurance: "The ship may break apart but you will be rescued to new shores!"

 

In a recent talk-group, it was said that we need "social patriotism" in this country, where everyone stands together because everyone is effected, in which we encourage ("win-win-mentality) instead of bad-mouthing one another and where leaders take the lead and demonstrate that they are also willing to sacrifice.

Why should Christians not be these leaders in their area, who see a Germany full of initiative, helping people to break out of their being-cared-for-mentality.  To trust God for a future is what is required of Christians now, a future in which everything cannot be planned and secured.  The Holy Spirit has the most problems with Germans in this area!

 

3. Prayer

§         God, You love our land and you see the difficult phase we are going through; let       this time of upheavals bring blessings.

§         God, open the eyes of the people in our land for the vision of a Germany of tomorrow, fill their hearts with hope and trust and make especially Your children bearers of this hope, particularly those in higher places.

§         God, we ask You for a new child-like mentality for our people and for laws that support families with children.

§         God, give Chancellor Schröder and his government the courage to make decisions so that citizens can know what counts and

§         Can regain trust in the economy and plan accordingly.  Lord, we ask You for work places and apprenticeships, especially in the East.  We also ask that  all the businesses that are nearly bankrupt receive money, e.g from debtors.

§         God, we ask You for constructive cooperation of all parties to rebuild our society.                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Europe Falling Apart?

 

1.      Information (keywords)

§         The Iraqi war and the attitude to the USA in the past months have caused deep, if not irreparable, damage among the European states. This has continued with four states that opposed the war attempting to create a combined European military force, or when America declared Poland a post-war victor in Iraq.  Is Europe falling apart because of America?

§         The question has still not been settled whether a reference to God will be made in the new European constitution.  The influence of the Christian history of Europe, in contrast to the classical-humanistic tradition of Enlightenment, is being totally denied by some powers.  Is the future Europe already falling apart spiritually because it has forgotten God in the present?

§         The influence of Islam and its portion of the population is growing noticeably in central European nations from year to year.  According to Islam, Europe belongs to the "House of Dschihad".  Is the former Christian Europe falling apart because of Islam?

 

2.      Background

What is the greatest difference between the churches in Europe and those in Asia and Africa?  Above all, it is their self-image of living in Europe in a "post-Christian" culture. This short phrase expresses all the frustration of 400 years of "western Christianity", the resignation of today's Christians and the feelings that the Church - just the opposite of before - is socially almost without influence.  Furthermore, it  denotes the unbelief of a Church which still obediently preaches the Gospel but does not in the least have any faith in its power to raise the dead.

To "give Europe a soul" is not a question of reviving old church traditions; rather it is a matter of re-evangelizing the masses in blessed unity with all churches - and to do this under the sign of a radical renunciation  and repentance of the phrase "post-Christian Europe, a whining, faithless mourning for the past.  Instead, lift your eyes to receive the vision of a new Europe in which the risen Christ leads you, His Church.  In faith, we proclaim : "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and in eternity", over the old and the new Europe.

(We treated "Europe" in depth in the July Political Page).

 

Prayer

§         God, Lord of all nations, we bow before you because of the godlessness of our and other nations of our continent.

§         In place of faith in Jesus Christ, we have often merely taught social virtues and morals and instead of life in the Spirit, we have  conveyed living in the spirit of human reason.

§         O God, as a church we have been so occupied with our differences that we lost sight of the masses that are so far from You. Now, they are ignoring the "tasteless salt" in dealing with the European agenda.  O God, forgive us - all of us.

§         God, we ask You, Lord of the world, to watch over the building of the "European House".  We pray for the realization of "Your will on Earth as in Heaven" in politics.

Lord, create clear and permanent room for your name and church in our new "European House"

§         Show Europe's politicians renewed paths to each other

§         Show us how we should respond to Islam on personal, political and spiritual levels.

 

 

 

 

BIG BROTHER WATCHES

 

1.      Information

 

This well-known phrase from the science-fiction novel, "1984" by George Orwell, which portrays a depressing and frightening view of a totally state-controlled society, appears to have become partially real.  It happens, of course, always under the pretext as a necessity for the good of society.

Thus, chips are now being developed that can be implanted under the skin to help locate a person at any given time.  This is useful in searching for missing or disoriented persons and escaped criminals; at the same time it is the first step toward total control.

 

Another similar bit of information: it seems Microsoft is working on a new software program that would allow for constant control of all - including private - computers. TCPA  moves the decoding function to the hardware; Microsoft supplies the necessary support through the operating system under the name of "Palladium".  Should this catch on, it would be the end of the so-called "personal computers" (PC) and the beginning of a (even anonymous) control system of all operations.

 

2.      Background

 

It is not only in dictatorships but also in the Motherland of modern democracy, the USA, civil rights are so strongly limited and such detailed control has been introduced under the banner of anti-terrorism, that the movements for data-protection and civil rights are sounding the alarm.  It is quite possible to imagine situations in which even constitutional states would use

These situations are always justified to be for the good and protection of society and are mostly aimed at unpopular minorities that have been accused of various things through propaganda and who cannot defend themselves.  Why not do the same to bothersome Christians?  Revelation points to this.

 

3.      Prayer

 

§         God, our world is becoming more complex, confusing and sometimes we are afraid because we wonder: where is it all leading?

§         We know, however: You are in control.  Anything we can invent is nothing compared to the complexity of the processes and laws of Your creation.  Yes, God the Creator, everything You do and make is very good.

§         However, we humans are evil and that is why every great invention is dangerous.  That is why we pray: prevent the abuse of any invention through effective legal regulation.

§         Help us as Christians in this country to be aware!  And give those in responsible positions a keen conscience.

 

 

Ortwin Schweitzer

           (Translation - Evelyn Souan)