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State and Religion
Should religious symbols be displayed in buildings of the public administration?



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State and religion
 

Baviera will hang a cross in every state building

The Minister President of the biggest German state defends his decision: “It is a fundamental symbol of the Christian Western identity”.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus BERLIN 25 APRIL 2018 13:51 h GMT+1
The Minister President of Bavaria, Markus Söder, announces his decision to hang crosses in state buildings. / Twitter @Markus_Söder

Every state administration building in the federal 'Land' of Bayern (Bavaria) will have a cross hanging in the entrance of the building.



This is the decision the Minister President of the biggest of the eighteen states of Germany announced on Tuesday April 24 .



Markus Söder of the Christian Social Union (CSU) said the measure will be implemented in June.



The Christian cross is a “fundamental symbol of the Christian and Western identity”, he said.



As an “expression of the spiritual and cultural character of Bavaria”, the cross hanging in public buildings is just a “visible acknowledgement to the basic values of the social and legislative order”, Söder tweeted.



The measure does not include public buildings of municipalities or regional districts, but the Bavarian government encouraged these administrations to follow the example of the state administration.





In January, Söder criticised the decision of a judge to remove a cross from a court room during a trial against an Afhgan Muslim. The Bavarian politician said that anyone coming to Germany “has to adapt to our values, and costums and traditions, and not the other way around”.



 



OPPOSITION: “INSTRUMENTALISATION OF RELIGION”



All of the opposition political  parties in Bavaria criticised the decision. The FDP leader in the region said Söder reminded him of Turkish President Erdogan, because of his “continuous instrumentalisation of religion for party politics”.



Other parties criticised the move as political propaganda. The Green party went further by defining Söder as a “missionary”, and expressed their belief that “religion is for the private sphere” of citizens.



Social media users said the separation of church and state had not been respected with the Bavarian government’s initiative.



 



PROTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS



The Catholic Church welcomed the initiative of the Bavarian government.



The President of the Protestant Church (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, commented that “is it not enough to hang crosses on walls, these crosses need to be in our hearts as well. The cross will be expressed in what we do and we say”.


 


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