THE POLITICAL PAGE
Godly Courses in German Current Policy
It is a daring headline, because “who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11,34). A question you may ask yourself in humbility – a question you might even dare to ask God in prayer: In everything that happens nowadays, can't we see some principles which appear in the Bible in connection with people, and which are teaching us what is “pleasant or unpleasant unto God”. Of course, not every avenue of today's policy has a reference to a story of the Bible or to a godly principle, but nevertheless we should try to see the ‘boulders lying under the whirling stream' of current events.
In this context, I follow the timetable of the past, present and the future; and in doing so I am conscious of the fragmentation of my choise. My goal is to try to acknowledge God's actions in every way, and to initiate prayer for our country.
1.1. (I mean the past few months). We have just passed an unexpected, and accelerated election campaign. It was amazing to see how the ‘heavy weights' were shifted within just a few weeks. Intensively we proclaimed the will of God over what happened. And the result? They have all been humiliated, because it is written (1.Cor. 1vs29-30): “He nullifies the things that are, so that no one may boast before him”. Election campaigns always means exposing one's amenities, to make one's position clear. However, “to boast“ is to speak about yourself with strong confidence in your own power and to really belief in what you say. “We will make it“ was the tenor voice of Schröder and Merkel. This is boasting “before God”. How pleasant it would be to hear a politician in the election campaign saying: “we will try it this way" or "with God's help this might be the way out for our country”.
Compared to the SPD the 20% advantage of the CDU almost melted away to only 0,9% in the election evening. The analysis of the election campaign (“the balancing of accounts with Angela Merkel”) was fixed on 5 th December.
The SPD caught up tremendously, but lost the majority; and Gerhard Schröder lost the Chancellorship despite ‘glorious' words on the election evening.
The Greens also lost the Government Mandate, and in addition they lost Joschka Fischer - their leader who disappeared into political obscurity. They are no longer represented in any of the provincial governments.
At first, the FDP was full of self-praise, until they realised that they didn't reach their goal of Government Participation.
The Left-Wing Party , which will be represented with 52 seats in the 16th German Bundestag, was later on also humiliated; whereas Bisky, the chairman of the party, did not reach the necessary majortiy in order to be appointed for the representative office in the parliamentary committee.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble“ (1. Peter 5vs5).
It is not easy to live in a stage-show of politicians with such conditions. Therefore, it is a double joy when we encounter humble attitudes in interviews with top politicians.
Thus, Angela Merkel answered the questions of the SPIEGEL-Editors in the interview (no. 42, 2005, S. 42) when she was asked whether she is excited now. “The predominant feeling in me now is a different one: humbility. Hope at home, and high expectations abroad“. This was no longer the language of the opposition leader speaking from the 20% pedestal; this is the language of a woman faceing a huge challenge. Considering the current situation she is confronted with, she preferred to use the word “humbility” - a meanigful Christian word instead of “meekness” – a more general term.
Wolfgang Schäuble in an interview with the FAZ (23.10.2005): “By the way, I am not the kind of person who is always bussy finding out which position he will get”. And later: “the SPD needed a few days in order to accept our claim on the Chacellorship. However, this is a matter of the past, and now we should treat this issue more gently. This is a premise for the success of a large coalition.” And in addition: “political adversaires never should be denied respect. Anyway, whoever served as Chancellor for a period of seven years, has the right to be addressed with respect despite political adversarity.” Whoever talks like this has left their ‘pride' behind and can become a person of ‘mercy' in the Cabinet.
Lord, you despise all those who glorify themselves and make a show with their own power. But you give grace and favour before God and people to those who are humble in their hearts and thus, true ministers=servants. Give us more of them. Lord, bless Angela Merkel in her difficult tasks and listen to her, when she cries to you and give her counsel.
1.2. Which is the progression for the word "enemy"? Answer: “Fellow party member“.
In the last few weeks, Stoiber, the CSU-Chief and his theater illustrated the words of Jesus (Mt. 10vs36): “A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.“
Scientific studies showed that the CDU/CSU party is a very heterogenous combination. Different from the SPD, this party needs more time to come to a consensus; also the tension among the two parties dates back ages. Everything Edmund Stoiber did during and after the election campaign, beginning with the raising of the 45% hurdle for the CDU-victory (which Merkel had to take until her positioning in the Cabinet by Seehofer even though this was against Angela Merkel's will), had the character of a meticulously and cleverly devised strategy.
We are anxious to see how God will deal with Edmund Stoiber in future.
On the one hand, the German Financial Times says that apart from Stoiber there was no other unsuitable person for the office of Minister of Economic Affaires.
And on the other hand it becomes obvious that Stoiber lost control over things in Munich and the question regarding the successor of his office has become all-dominant before his retirement from office. Anyhow, Bavaria as a power base will no longer be available to him in future, and the economic resort clearly implies the possibility of a break down in the situation; anyhow, there is no way back to Munich.
For some reasons, alongside Stoiber, there are also other fellow party members who have bad intentions for Angela Merkel. She has very difficult starting conditions; the SPD-Ministers are not realy her strongest adversairies but those she should acctualy be able to rely on. The most important thing for them all seems to be, to hinder the Chancelloress in exerting her competency in making guidelines. She seems to be surrounded with enemies.
“Many bulls surround me; strong bulls encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. But you,O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickliy to help me. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen”. Ps. 22,18.104.22.168.
It is good to pray out loud the words of the Bible even when praying for other people.
The two major questions are:
What does God want to give us in Germany? What should be reinforced?
(2) What of does God want to protect us? What should be rejected?
2.1. What should be reinforced?
2.1.1. For 20 years, moral values have been consistently on the decline. More and more people reach out for ‘moral values' again. We welcome this new discussion and believe that God is the initiator of it and that it is an answer to the increase in prayer; for both our peple, and for society.
From God's point of view this means: “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14vs34). God wants to give us back his values (righteousness) as guidelines for our life. This is important to God when he thinks of Germany, because without these we lure ourselves onwards to destruction.
This is why we pay attention when the new president of the Bundestag, Dr. Norbert Lammert – who was discovered by Angela Merkel just as Horst Köhler was – said in his interview with DIE ZEIT (19.10.2005) at the very beginning of his term of office, that he desires a new debate on the theme of a ‘guiding culture' in whole of society, “I consider the theme of the ‘culture guidance' to be one of the most exciting phases under the aspect of illumination of the spiritual constitution of this nation; no political system can sustain its internal legitimation without such common supported convictions.” In December 2004 at the party convention the CDU decided with a large majority the following guidelines: “Whoever rejects or even despises and fights the establishment of values - our free and democratic culture direction - has no place in our country”.
Of course, there are various perceptions of the keyword ‘values': political (democratic) perceptions, Social (German culture guidance) perceptions, but for sure also Christian-religious (spiritual constitution of the nation) perceptions, especially because the question regarding the guiding culture is about the integration of a new religion (Islam).
Lord, give back to our nation the general acknowledged perception of values, and the joy to implement them in our daily lives. We pray especially for the ending of the mass murders of the unborn life which is the root for almost all of our present problems, Lord have mercy on us!
2.1.2 . The most important task of the new government alongside the provision of new jobs is the consolidation of the budget . In this context politicians try to make cutbacks in the state apparatus and this of course, also involves reductions in state services. In addition the cutbacks in tax benefits of all kinds (which is a good point on the part of the lobbyists), in the course of time will lso put a strain on the country's citizens; but more than that, even VAT will be increased. Objective: A budget which will meet the requirements of the EU has to be presented by the year 2007, otherwise we will have to pay a penalty to the sum of billions of dollars.
Nobody rejoices over additional charges and restrictions. But what does God want to say to us?
The following: “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this!”
We need a new lifestyle in our country which is no longer marked by “having, having!” but by being content with what one has.
“Contentness“ as a new lifestyle would be a quantum leap in the old deadlocked mindset of the 2 nd and 3 rd post-war generation. Bearing in mind that we still have a very high standard of living.
“Whoever want's to be rich…” - it is not about bank accounts but about the desire of the heart for material things, the fascination of possession and money and the reassurance of our life. We all have our part at this, and this explains why the fear of being poor is so prevalent and the strong resistance against any kind of reductions.
Thankfulness for present things, which is a gift, and the confidence in God's provision for the future is the only remedy in this situation. This is true both for individuals as well as for the state. Thankfullness and confidence are the premises for the “man of God” in order to lead a life which is free from the affliction of cares and temptations of this material world.
Of course, the readiness to make do without several things has to do with the social justice i.e. the equallity in allocation (see below). But first the matter of making economies and reductions is a very individual matter. The matter addresses my willingness to bear the burden of the ‘sin of wastefullness' in the past, respectively the burden of the future of our children, and to overcome the fear of poverty (because in many cases this fear is not founded).
Policy can only go so far as the citizens are ready to go. Angela Merkel was the first one who - during the election campaign - deared to present the sacrifices people need to make in Germany. Certainly, she should have stressed the importance of social justice at that time. However, she was penalised mercilessly by the people for her frankness even though everybody knew that cutbacks and reforms were absolutely necessarily and that they were about to come, indiferent of who would win the elections. Therefore, Schröder's ‘catch-up vote race' was only possible because of his virtual play on the fear of a ‘social ice age' created by Angela Merkel. At the same time he tried to draw off the attention from his ‘Agenda 2010' in which he was faced the same situation, but finally had to call for re-elections. This shows the immaturity of the citizens of our country regarding restrictions and cutbacks.
Lord, we are no longer used to live without things, and we refuse to fast whenever we can. Lord, mould me and make a man out of me, as someone who is ready to make a small contribuition in responsibility for the whole thing. Lord, I thank you for everything I am granted everyday. Today, I express my deepest confidence in your provision for tomorrow and the day after tommorow.
Lord, give wisdom to the politicians and give them the courage to choose the necessary economic measures and make the people willing to co-operate with them.
2.1.3. God gave Germany a beautiful national anthem after the breakdown of all values in 1945, and he has shown worthwhile, new and better values to the broken souls. These values should be our guidline today in this recommencement of history.
Unity – Justice – Freedom.
In prayer we submit the discussions of the coalition under these values, and we bless our country singing twice:
“Prosper in the brilliance of your happiness; prosper German fatherland,
Prosper in the brilliance of your happiness; prosper German fatherland”.
A large coalition in the framework of a democratic state structure is the most obvious sign of ‘unity'. God led this election campaign in such a way that any other alternative than a large coalition was no longer possible. And despite prior debates, the chairmen of both people parties accepted the challenge of unity then, and now, they are working together for this unity.
Much prayer is needed for this new way, because now it is important to: (a) find the common ground, and to seek the good of the people instead of distinguishing their own party i.e. to break through creatively to new and common solutions in all areas. In this context Angela Merkel loves to call the coalition: ‘the coalition of new possibilities'. God always blesses the unity with new ideas and new dynamics. Regarding individuals, it is important to show respect - as Schäuble already said - and to heal the wounds of the election campaign through friendliness. Politicians are human beings as are you and I; they aren't machines. Therefore, reconciliation is the most important premise for a good cooperation regarding unity.
Lord, we pray for the healing of wounds through new encounters during discussions in Berlin. We ask for a new inspiration and verve in this situation just as it happens in large coalitions which exist in unity.
This is where we can clearly perceive the loving intentions God has for our country. If we had a CDU/CSU/FDP Coalition, the reforms would have been implemented with the speed of an ICE train. Angela Merkel was highly styled to be a super reformer and Guido Westerwelle also wanted to bring things up to speed.
This, however, was stopped completely, because they forgot the poor in their zeal to implement reforms. But the rights of the poor are very important to God; social justice i.e. equale distribution of burdens – a thing which is need for improvements and demanded by everybody - by the employees of the CDU the CSU and the SPD.
It is about running a middle road between reforms which are necessary, and social improvements, especially for Hartz IV. I think this middle course is the way God wants to go with our people. Because any extreme progress causes a regress in ‘peoples backlash' reaction which takes time to be clearified again. Only a restrained progress will bring forth good results. Furthermore, the restrained progress perplexes the extremists on the right and on the left side.
O Lord, give the dialogue partners a keen sense, to find the best way for everybody.
At the moment it is not so much about more political or social freedom, it is mainly about relief for the economy, it is about the release of an entrepreneurial spirit as it was the case after the 2nd World War; it is about the breakup of inventions and innovations, and mainly about the relieving companies from unending adminstrative regulations and ordinances. It is about relieving the labour costs of additional amounts and about the simplification of the taxation laws. It is mainly about the freedom and joy of dearing to do something, to make future investments in companies, as well as in privat households. The famous ‘upswing' which has to touch Germany is nothing other than the joy of freedom.
Only when this freedom of economy is granted, Germany will experience a significant upwards trend. The potential, and gifting, and even the financial resources are already in place in the economy. Only an inspirational and reliable policy is needed in order to release this potential.
“For where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Spirit of God we need your breath even in this respect, in the area of the economy. We pray: Veni Creator Spiritus, come creative spirit of God!
2.2. What should be rejected?
Together with the request of the development of the good, we can also ask God to repel the imminence of evil. God enables us through prayer to stand up as warriors, and to stop the power of evil. This is true both for individuals as well as for the stae.
Again, we will mention only some of the focuses of prayer.
2.2.1. “If you don't believe, you cannot stand“. One of the major necessities - in a way, a national feature of Germans – is their need for safety, and this accrues from fear from a psychoanalytical point of view.
It becomes obvious when we look at the German regulation mania in everything and for everybody; as for example, the triple insurance, that many Germans have. The nuclear power plants in Germany are the safest in the whole world and ‘Made in Germany' means: it works for sure, it's absolutely fool proof.
However, the need for safety hinders reforms, new ventures, innovations and individuals' own initiative: it promotes ‘fallback' on what is sure, and stagnation.
Let us pray in order to release our country from the mindset of obsessive control, and to prevent it from fears of uncertainty. In an era in which the world turns into a ‘village', retreat is fatal. Faith in a God who cares, has always set the people free from the fear of mere existence and has enabled them to take new initiatives.
2.2.2. The Germans are a people culture who are threatened with extintion . Historically, there are plenty of examples which show the characteristics of a dying culture. One of the worst characteristics is the sexual liberalism; and the removal of children as a disturbing factor in the ‘dolce vita' of adults. Today this already starts in the mothers womb – which is the most protected place in the world according to God's order.
People need to stand up in this country. We need a change in the mindset of people, a change from the old saturation mentality, in order to have a curious zest for life which characterises young cultures that want to have and grow up children. We have to stand up in the strength of the Lord who is always ready to restore a ‘new and right spirit' within us, and who ‘will not cast us away from his presence' when we ask him.
Let us turn to God and receive the spirit of ‘pleasure in life'.
2.2.3. The time to supersede the Islam in Europe is over. The time for Christianity to be superseded by Islam in Europe is about to come within one or two generations; at least the Moslems think so.
And we Christians? Today, we lose time by doing nothing and inwardly we anticipate the islamisation of the occident tomorrow.
Even here – God leaves us to our destiny and then it will happen… “as it has to happen“? No, it doesn't ‘have to' at all. God has thousands of possibilities to help. But he wants us to come to him and ask for his advice. In other parts of the world as for example, in Bangladesh thousands of Muslims come to Jesus. And Jesus again and again appears to the Muslims in dreams and visions. And the Lord works magnificent wounders among the Muslims.
In Europe, a continent with a true freedom of religion, protected by the European Rights, it should be possible to organise Muslim mission work. In the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Part II of the European Constitution) it says in article II-70 “Everyone has the right of freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion. These rights include the freedom to change one's religion or world-view and the freedom to confess one's religion”. Just as a Christian can legitimately and inoffensively become a Muslim in Europe, so also a Muslim can become a Christian. We need to do everything within our ability to make this happen in practice.
There are many heart touching testimonies, which show the change in the life of a muslim when he comes to know Jesus as the Sohn of God, and God as a Father who loves his children.
Lord, Father of all people, show your church how to encounter Islam today. Have mercy on the millions of people who by fulfilling the law hope to be righteous in front of you, and don't know that they are already redeemed by Jesus. Lord, it is so difficult to reach the Muslims humanly-speaking. Help us, Lord, and glorify your name in any way among them.
or: What is our task?
Much has been said regarding the tasks of the government, and many of these things have already been mentioned above.
Therefore, the question about the future should be about our part in the new structure of our country.
“Prayer is no alternative for deeds; but it is a deed which cannot be replaced by anything”. Bishop Hans von Keler (retired).
Sources : Stuttgarter Zeitung 25.20.05; FAZ-Sunday release 23.10.; tagesschau.de 19.10.05; Der SPIEGEL no. 42 from 17.10.2005, Rhine. Merkur 27.10.2005
If you are still looking for a suitable present for Christmas on the theme of “Germany” I want to draw your attention to my two books.
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„Deutschland - meine Liebe“ (9,95 EUR) poses the question of the national identity of the Germans, and approches step by step the “German Wound” which all Germans bear as a collective injury. It is about handling and integrating the NS-time – but how? The people's reaction encourages me to believe that we point to a possible way out of shame we carry in Germany.
To be ordered direct from the author:
Ortwin Schweitzer, Erlachstr. 45, 70771 Leinfelden-Echterdingen
Tel: 0711-793882; Fax: 0711-7979915; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org