Foto: David Vogt

Resolution of the Federal Council of the German Baptist Union on “Democracy and Human Dignity”

Englische Übersetzung der Resolution „Demokratie und Menschenwürde“

On May 11, 2024, the Federal Council of the Federal Union of Evangelical Free Churches (German Baptist Union) adopted the “Resolution on Democracy and Human Dignity.” Below is the English translation of the resolution.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. This Constitution enshrines the fundamental principles for our common life, safeguards our freedoms, and upholds human dignity. It forms the bedrock of our democracy. As the Federal Union of Evangelical Free Churches (BEFG), we express concern over the increasing skepticism towards this liberal-democratic order, with a rising number of individuals in our nation embracing right-wing extremist ideologies. Society is witnessing escalating polarisation and a growing propensity for violence in various sectors. Divisions are becoming more pronounced and entrenched. Antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia are widespread and on the rise. These changes are reshaping the political landscape and influencing our democratic processes. The primary obstacle to our democracy lies in right-wing extremism. Political parties like the AfD are exacerbating societal divisions. Given our troubled history, it is particularly crucial for us as Germans to remain vigilant and actively combat these trends.

The multitude of crises in our world result in significant waves of refugees and migrants, stemming from conflicts and terrorism in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as poverty, hunger in the Global South, and the overarching global climate crisis. Reacting to these crises with hatred, animosity, discord, and exclusion has historically proven to be disastrous. Presently, there is a rising number of assaults on Jewish institutions and community members, alongside acts of violence targeting political figures within Germany. This contradicts our Christian faith, which calls us to treat our neighbours with love, and maintains that all people are created in the images of God (Genesis 1:27).

As the German Baptist Union, we stand in a long democratic tradition to which we remain committed. Issues such as justice, human rights, and religious freedom have been our guiding principles since our founding. According to our Account of Faith statement, “Indifference and inertia, fear and arrogant self-assertion are expressions of separation from God” (Account of Faith 1.2). “Since we are reconciled with God, we are tasked with fostering reconciliation among people. With this ethos, Christians should promote mutual understanding, endeavoring to eradicate all forms of human-to-human discrimination and striving for global peace” (2.II.2). Therefore, we urge all churches in our Union and all members and employees to continue to actively support the strengthening of our liberal-democratic order and the respect for the dignity of all people in all areas of our work.

This ethos is expressed through worship services, sermons, group meetings, and other church activities, but above all, its essence is reflected in the personal conduct we exemplify in our daily interactions, local community engagements, interfaith and intercultural dialogues, and our online presence. This attitude is also applicable to our participation in elections. As we approach the upcoming elections for the European Parliament and the state parliaments in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Thuringia in 2024, and all future elections, we reiterate that right-wing extremist parties have no place in the political activism of Christians. For Christians they are not viable options at the ballot box.