THE POLITICAL PAGE

June 2004

 

Europe II  (update)

 

A special report, the 4-page call “Shaping Europe”, was sent to many of my friends at the beginning of May.  This call, which was also part of the Political Page May 2004, remains as part of the Political Page 2004 because of its great current significance.

The prayer points from May are still valid.  The following is just an

 

Update on the reference to God.

 

The European Minister from the state of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Christoph Palmer, said at a political seminar that, at present, 6 east European countries – it is heard – want to again start an initiative for the reference to God.  Let us pray for this initiative

·        that it takes place

·        that they are “stubborn” enough

·        that they also get approval from other countries, the more the better.

What is needed but difficult to become against the pressure of all of Europe, would be one, better yet, several government leaders who would rather thwart the Constitution than give up on the reference to God. The Laists have never encountered such a stand by the Christians.  Let us pray for the courage to place “God” before the “Constitution”.

Minister Palmer said that this position is hard for a politician to hold when the churches, whose job it is, themselves lack the necessary toughness.

Both German denominations were happy when their joint proposal from Spring 2002 to the Convention was accepted and included in § I-51;  and we can rejoice with them and thank God for the achievement.

Church paragraph I-51 reads:

1.      The Union respects the status that churches and religious institutions or fellowships in the member states enjoy according to their legal rights and does not interfere with it.

2.      The Union respects the status of ideological communities in the same way.

3.      The Union, in recognition of the identity and special contribution of the churches and institutions, cultivates transparent and regular dialogue with them.

 

These points show progress:

a.       The German relationship of state and church as partners remains and is not laistish, as the French model, torn apart;

b.      The status of churches as socially important on the European level is written down for the first time;

c.       This relationship will be maintained through regular dialogue, allowing for the church’s influence in current discussions with ethical implications (bioethics, euthanasia, etc.).

 

We can really be thankful for all this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reference in the Constitution to God did not, however, go through.  At this point, though, it must be said that in the letter from the German churches in Spring 2002, the wish for the “reference to God” was not expressed as an ultimatum, but rather as an option.  The last point in the last two sentences state: “ The European Union should profess its religious roots in a preamble.  Europe’s religious inheritance and a refusal to make the political order of the European Union absolute should be reflected in a reference to God in the preamble of the text.

 

For the lawyers in the church, the embodiment of the churches in the new Europe under constitutional law is the natural priority.  For theologians, however, professing  God should be the religious core issue and the prerequisite enabling churches to also exist in freedom in the future.  The wish for a reference to God, although expressed as a separate point, was done so not at the beginning but at the end; and in the whole paragraph asking for a reference to God, the word “God” is not even used.  In their presentation, the churches already assumed this point would not be considered due to the expected laistic resistance.  Such conduct shows they were more convinced their wish would not be fulfilled than of its indispensable necessity.

Naturally, something unpleasant can be tactically cleverly “hidden” at the end; but in the following battle, one must make clear what is most important.  That was: “Paragraph I-51 is more important to us than a reference to God” which is what I was told in my discussions with both churches.

Why should a statesman go further or be more courageous than the churches and threaten his own existence when the churches do not do it?

At this point it is necessary

·        to repent (Haggai 1:5,6,9 – “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little….Why?  Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house”).

·        to ask God to sovereignly find another way to give His holy name the place of honour that HE deserves.  At the moment, only such a miracle could change the situation.

·        On 17th June, let us strongly proclaim the name of the Lord of Lords over the meeting of state leaders and make a landing strip for God’s will to be done here on Earth (compare “Our Father”).

 

Update on June 13th election

 

Because in some states the European election is combined with the communal-and regional elections, in which there are too many candidates, and because in the European election,  only the party can be voted for and many do not know which one to choose, some say: “Tell me who to vote for”; or they do not even vote.  So, help them get a clear picture with information and encourage everyone to vote.  The more Christians that go to the polls, the greater is their voice compared to non-voters;  and the greater are their chances to plant Christian principles in European politics.

 

Since we never want to make publicity for a party, we only wish to appeal to you to use the multiple possibilities that exist in Germany to vote for a party with Christian values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If possible, use the internet address: Wahlomat.de, which can work out, through a 30 point questionnaire, the party that is closest  to  your  ideas.

In every European country there is the so-called “right wing” (values-conservative)  These parties join together in the European Parliament (EP) as “The faction of the European Peoples’ Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats” (EVP) which has 37% in the present Parliament.  The European Social Democratic Party has 28.5%; the other 6 parties even less.

 

The EVP wanted, for example, to include the Polish version of the reference to God in the preamble.  It was not successful, however, because they could not reach an agreement among themselves.  This shows that the delegates to the EP are more committed to their national parties than to their “faction” in the EP, meaning French conservatives vote differently from German ones.  Still, the EVP is the party closest to Christianity and so it receives additional support from some from outside the faction, especially from  France and Italy.

Until now, Germany sent 99 delegates. Although all national contingents were reduced to accommodate the new members, Germany was allowed to keep its 99.  Of those, 53 belong to the EVP (ca. 35%).  In all of Europe, this is by far the best ratio; Europe’s Christian inheritance s politically best represented by Germany.

That is why it is also right that the impulse “Shaping Europe” should go out from us into the other European states – and everyone can help through their circle of friends.

The Political Page – May 2004 is also in English on my Homepage (www.beter-im-aufbruch.de.vu).  The middle part, under the title “Shaping Europe”, is also available in Dutch, French, Polish and other languages.

This is about dedication to a Christian Europe on a political level using all the available democratic means.

 

Of course, through their conduct, individuals can do their part to contribute to Europe becoming “a Christian soul”. 

However, this is about the political level; and it is here that we must act according to the double strategy “ora et labora” / “bete und arbeite” which calls for

·        intensive, constant and authoritative prayer

·        diligence in giving impulses to friends and acquaintances….per email and/or post; and through announcements in church.

 

 

God awaits both from us,

Not one without the other!

 

                                                                                                                  Ortwin Schweitzer

                                                                                                                 (translation:E velyn Souan)