German Finance Minister criticised after marrying in church


Central Europe


Christian Lindner and his wife Franca Lehfeldt. Photo YouTube, BILD

The German Finance Minister Christian Lindner married in church on Saturday, although he and his wife both never attend church services. The German clergy think this is a shame.

Lindner and his bride Franca Lehfeldt, a journalist for the German broadcaster Welt, consider themselves “liberal free spirits”. This reports the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Lindner left the Catholic Church at 18, while Lefeldt left the Protestant Church. Yet, the newly-wed couple decided to get married in a local Protestant church in Northern Germany.

In a column in the German daily Bild, the well-known German theologian Margot Käßmann calls the wedding service “outrageous”, because it has a “celebrity bonus flavour”.

Käßmann wonders why two people would want a church wedding if they have consciously left the church and publicly declared that they do not see themselves as Christians. Besides, there was a speech by philosopher Peter Sloterdijk instead of a sermon. Sloterdijk earlier called Christianity “a failed project”, according to Käßmann. She states that the church service “was not about Christian content, but about a setting”.

Beyond marriage

Getting married in church points to something that goes beyond us and our life together, the Minister of Finance said about his wedding in church. That is reported by Domradio. He added that it was important for him to think about that deeper dimension "in a church service and to receive the blessing."

Although officially, at least one person needs to be a church member to have a church service during their wedding, it seemed to be possible for Lindner and his wife. According to the news website Der Westen, the Evangelical North Church allows a so-called “casual service” to be celebrated on request even if people are not church members. This also includes a wedding.

Also Annette Kurschus, the chairwoman of the council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) confirmed that there are individual cases in which a pastor deviates from the regulations of marriage. They are allowed to do so, she said, according to Domradio. However, Kurschus added that she herself would not marry a couple who consciously decided against church membership. "I see myself as bound by the order of our church."

Margo Käßmann states that if there is a legal gap like that, it should be closed as soon as possible. “Otherwise, we will degrade our traditional spaces, in which Christians give glory to God, to cheap event locations.”



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