Immediately after the Protestant Church Congress with its much-noticed discussion with an AfD representative, leading representatives of the party again sharply attacked the churches. The accusation is now "refusal to engage in dialogue".
The churches did not deal with the actual program of the AfD, but defamed the party on the basis of false media reports, said federal spokesman Jorg Meuthen to journalists in Berlin on Monday: "They talk to everyone in the world, only with the evil AfDlern do not talk, that is absurd."
Criticism of Cardinals Marx and Woelki
Although the party permanently emphasizes its willingness to talk, the church leaders did not face up to the dialogue, Meuthen continued. He mentioned the Catholic Cardinals Reinhard Marx and Rainer Maria Woelki by name. Here, he said, there had only recently been inquiries "about a ZDF journalist" after a conversation with AfD politicians, but she had "immediately picked up a rejection from both". Meuthen also mentioned the Protestant bishop Markus Droge: "He claims that we are not willing to talk, although he should know better."However, there have been no official requests for talks from the AfD itself to the church leaders so far.
Verbal attack on Kabmann
He also attacked the Reformation ambassador of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Margot Kabmann, for her remarks about the AfD at the Kirchentag, about which there had previously been a lot of fuss due to a misrepresentation on social networks.
Kabmann had sharply criticized the AfD's call for a higher birth rate and placed it in the context of the Aryan paragraph. Meuthen referred to the demographic development in Germany and said that Kabmann is certainly not a "sincere Christian and smart". Her comparison with the program of the National Socialists lacks any basis. "You could almost call that sick," he said.
When asked, federal board member Armin Paul Hampel added that he had received an offer of talks from the Protestant church after the party conference in Cologne. There Hampel had called for leaving the church with the words "In the association none of us should be a member more". This was a reaction to the slogan "Our cross has no hooks", under which the churches had also called for demonstrations against the party conference. In order for a conversation to be possible in a reasonable framework, however, the church would first have to take back this formulation, Hampel emphasized.
Accusation: Politicization of the churches
Overall, there is currently a strong politicization of the churches, Hampel and Meuthen also criticized. This divides the country and also the community of believing Christians. Church leaders in particular should focus on questions of faith and not on politics.
The federal spokeswoman for "Christians in the AfD," Anette Schultner, referring to her participation on a panel at the Protestant Church Congress last week, said she did not get the impression that they were really interested in dialogue. The positions of the AfD had been deliberately abbreviated, and also Bishop Droge "has spoken to me like a political opponent and not like a churchman".
Church president: AfD positions not compatible with Christianity
Meanwhile, the Protestant Reformed Church President Martin Heimbucher considers it dangerous and problematic when Christians support the AfD or AfD members apply for tasks in the church. "From the tendency, I think the basic orientations of the AfD are not compatible with the orientations of the church," Heimbucher told the "Rheiderlandzeitung" (Monday), which is published in East Frisia.
The AfD fails to recognize how important a united Europe is for peace. It promotes a general distrust of refugees and immigrants, he said. Furthermore, it contributes to making the ideas of neo-Nazis hopeful, Heimbucher explained: "In my opinion, Christians must resolutely reject all of this."
Christians should seek dialogue with AfD sympathizers and confront their positions, the church president demanded.
However, there are also limits: "Whoever plays down the Holocaust, spreads anti-Semitic prejudices or spreads half-truths and rumors, I would not sit down for a conversation with him."A member of the right-wing populist party who wants to take on a task in the church must "at least be asked very clearly whether his political positions are compatible with the mission of the church".
The Evangelical Reformed Church, headquartered in Leer, East Frisia, comprises 145 congregations between East Frisia and the Allgau region with almost 177 congregations.000 members. Most parishes are in northwestern Lower Saxony.