News from Europe

German Catholic politician publicly mocked for his religious beliefs

Armin Laschet, the CDU's candidate for the next federal elections, has been attacked in an anti-Catholic video shown at a political election event in early August.


In the video, Laschet is seen as a Russian Matryoshka doll that ‘hides’ several other dolls inside. A voiceover says “whoever votes for Armin Laschet and the CDU, votes for ultra-Catholic Laschet confidants for whom sex before marriage is taboo”. Bishops and politicians fear for a wider erosion of freedom of religion in an increasingly secular Europe.

Liminski, who is a devoted Catholic, defended the Church’s view on premarital sex and homosexuality on a television programme in 2010. The German Bishops’ Conference asked in response to the video for a fair election campaign stating: “We consider the way in which the election commercial treats the expression of a religious conviction to be inappropriate”.

Herman Gröhe, Catholic and also in the video is accusing the Social Democratic Party of stoking anti-Catholic sentiment, for they were the one’s to publish the video. Constitutional law expert and Catholic canon lawyer, Professor Hans Michael Heinig, see’s this video as a threat to a possible break with the Christian tradition in Germany, calling this video a “paradigm shift” that intends to identify the minority of practising Catholics as a problem for society. 

He furthermore warned that this shift “may undermine religious freedom and be a clear distinction between religion and politics”. It is especially threatening since attacking political opponents for their faith has, until now, been considered taboo in modern German elections. Election campaigns – as socially understood – should be focusing on policies and issues, not polemics and populist claims. 


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