German government has “no sense of religion”, says Christian Democrat


Central Europe


Thomas Rachel. Photo Tobias Koch at ThomasRachel.de

The German Christian Democratic MP Thomas Rachel accuses the present government coalition of having a “neo-colonial” foreign and development policy. The so-called Traffic Light coalition ignores religion’s importance in many partner countries.

Thomas Rachel is spokesman on religious policy for the Christian Democratic CDU/CSU in the Bundestag. Within the party, he is chairman of the Protestant working group.

According to Pro, he wrote in an article that the coalition “increasingly misjudges both the cultural and religious characteristics in our own country and in our partner countries around the world”.

This is visible, for example, because several ministers did not refer to God when they were sworn in, or that the cross was taken down in a meeting room in Munster’s town hall for a G7 meeting. Religion is also neglected in political action.

“Neocolonial” politics

For example, Svenja Schulze, as Minister for Development Cooperation, cut money for an international partnership for religion and development that brings together 150 organisations and religious representatives. This network is “of decisive importance” for religious competence in the respective political fields and for dealing with religions professionally overall.

Rachel believes that the role of religion is also being weakened in foreign policy under Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. However, “many” perceive such a policy, which ignores the religious context in partner countries, as “neo-colonial”.

In order to solve problems, it is crucial to involve religious actors, who are often held in higher esteem in countries of the Global South than state representatives. Religious organisations continue to be active even where conflicts have caused state structures to collapse. Where religions are part of the problem, they must be made part of the solution.

Rachel warns that equal rights for women or climate protection cannot be enforced without or against religious actors. The traffic light government should recognise the importance of religion for the people in the partner countries “regardless of ideologically shaped glasses”; otherwise, foreign policy and development cooperation will “always remain piecemeal”.



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