Religion no longer in German register of persons


Central Europe


German birth certificate. Photo EPA, Sascha Steinbach

Religious affiliation is removed from the register of persons in Germany. The Bundestag passed a law to do so last week.

The new law means that someone's religion is no longer recorded in the register. This would reduce bureaucratic hurdles, the German Parliament argued, as reported by PRO.

In addition, the new law allows registry offices to exchange data in an automatic retrieval process. Thus, people do not have to submit documentary evidence to the offices when registering a marriage or reporting a death.

Sad indication

A large majority of the Parliament favoured the bill. Only the Christian Democratic CDU voted against the proposal. It submitted an alternative resolution allowing people to register their religion voluntarily. However, this motion was rejected.

CDU politician Thomas Rachel sees the passing of the new proposal as a "sad indication that religion has become a minor matter for some politicians in this country." His CDU colleague, Philipp Amthor, accuses the government coalition of pushing religion more and more into the private sphere and out of public life.

The Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD) already protested against the draft law in July. They then drafted a statement in which they argued the option of voluntarily registering religious affiliation is a matter of self-determination. They asserted that it should be possible for religious people to enter their affiliation "as an essential identifier."

The EKD claims that about 80 per cent of the people that have passed away registered their religious affiliation. Approximately half of the German population has registered their religious affiliation in the birth and marriage register.



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