German Interior Minister: Christianity, Not Islam, Shapes Germany
Days after Germany’s government was sworn in, the new interior, construction and homeland minister has sparked a new dispute. Horst Seehofer, told Bild in an interview published on March 16 that “Islam does not belong to Germany.” Other members of the newly formed government have criticized Seehofer’s remark, but many Germans agree with him.
Due in large part to refugee crises in the Middle East and the government’s permissive immigration policies, the number of Muslims living in Germany has grown to approximately 5 million. Many German voters punished mainstream parties in September’s federal election, casting their ballots instead for populist parties like the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). Seehofer, who is chairman of one of Germany’s mainstream parties, the Christian Social Union (csu), hopes to win those voters back.
In the interview, Seehofer explained that although the Muslims belong to Germany, their religion does not. “Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany is shaped by Christianity,” he told Bild. “That includes the Sunday rest, religious holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. Of course, the Muslims living with us belong to Germany. But of course that does not mean that we give our country-specific traditions and customs up out of false consideration” (Trumpet translation throughout).
A survey conducted by the firm Civey for Die Welt found that most Germans agree with Seehofer’s statement (76 percent). In Seehofer’s sister party, the Christian Democratic Union (cdu), an even larger majority agree (88 percent). Seehofer’s statement has even more support from opposition parties, such as the Free Democrats (91 percent) and AfD (95 percent).
However, only 51 percent of Social Democrats agree. This shows that a much higher proportion of Social Democrats, compared to the ratio in other parties, oppose Seehofer’s view. And it is the Social Democrats who have just entered a coalition government with Seehofer’s csu and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cdu.
Soon after Seehofer’s statement was published, Chancellor Merkel voiced her disagreement. She said that Muslims and Islam are undeniably a part of Germany.
Seehofer has been one of the strongest critics of Merkel’s refugee policies. After her party and other mainstream parties lost huge amounts of support in last year’s election, she struggled to secure a coalition. In order to bring the necessary parties to the table, Merkel had to compromise more than she has in the past and her Christian Democrats had to relinquish key ministries. Now perhaps her foremost critic on refugee policy is in charge of the Interior Ministry, the government department that deals most closely with the crisis. In addition, Seehofer also leads the newly formed Heimat Ministry. Deutsche Welle explained:
“Heimat” will be a challenge for official translators when the government gets round to changing the ministry’s English website. The closest equivalent, “homeland,” is unsatisfying as it lacks the emotive connotations. Heimat is a word that is meant to do more than just denote territorial integrity—it evokes a sense of place and homeliness. Certain landscapes, certain foods or certain traditional clothing might be associations for nationalistically minded Germans when they hear Heimat. It is a word that is supposed to swell the German heart. …
The word used to have darker connotations, and it was likely to make Germans of the postwar generations roll their eyes. The Nazi regime linked Heimat to the nation state, which meant that many politicians avoided the word—along with its adjective derivation, “heimisch”—after World War ii.
Joining the Heimat Ministry and the Interior Ministry is about preserving German culture against multiculturalism. At the beginning of the migrant crisis, Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald wrote:
Tolerance is being replaced by prejudice, multiculturalism by patriotism, the community spirit with a greater determination for self-preservation and self-advancement.
The demons of the past are returning, and they are provoking the most significant transformation in Europe since the Second World War.
Catholic and Protestant Christianity, not Islam, have shaped Europe. “Our country Germany has been for centuries shaped by Christianity,” Seehofer said in Munich. “And that’s why the statement that Islam belongs to Germany is wrong.”
Germany’s Catholic roots extend back to the a.d. 800s, when Charlemagne waged 45 years of wars to conquer and unite the Germanic peoples into one kingdom, imposing Christianity as the religion of the realm. He put to death any who refused to convert to his religion. Subsequent kings of the Holy Roman Empire endeavored to follow in his footsteps, and that empire went on to destroy millions of lives. The Bible prophesies that a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is now rising (Revelation 13 and 17). Read more about this fascinating prophecy in our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.