Germanys Next President: A Religious Nut in Any Case
It’s a nightmare. Germanys last President, Horst Köhler, resigned on May 31st. The reason were some controversial comments he made regarding the deployment of the Bundeswehr troups in Afghanistan that caused a lot of criticism from multiple sides. You can read the full story here.
The question of success is yet unsolved. Elections will be held on June 30. The people don’t have any say as the position is appointed by the current government. The role of the Bundespräsident is mainly ceremonial, as most of the political power lies with the chancellor of the state, currently the conservative Angela Merkel. Yet, the president has a high media profile and thus great influence. He gets to comment on anything he likes, and is always taken pretty seriously. This is why I was shocked to learn about the likely candidates to fill in the position.
The first days after the resignation, the conservative candidate was Ursula von der Leyen, who carries the telling nickname of “Zensursula”, a mix word blending the German word for censorship, “Zensur”, and her given name, “Ursula”. She earned that name: She started off a huge controversy about internet censorship, proposing to block sites that contain child pornography with “virtual stop signs”. And we all know what stop signs mean – you stop, make sure nobody’s around, then you move on. She didn’t propose to take the sites down and to persecute those who run them, she just wanted to empower state forces to monitor traffic and collect data about anybody. Not having to justify suspicions, not actually justifying themselves at all. She also made headlines by stating that child pornography is legal in India.
Another great move she made was screaming for a childrens book to be put on the index, because it was “endangering the youth”, “inciting hatred” and just generally horrible. Probably written by the devil himself. You get the idea.
The book in question was the “Ferkelbuch”. It’s a book written by Philosopher Michael Schmidt-Salomon, and it’s about a piglet and a hedgehog searching for god. They are told that without god, they are lacking something important. Bothered, they talk to a Priest, a Mullah and a Rabbi, and conclude that the people in the funny robes are in the end “like you, just naked apes”, and that he who doesn’t know god, doesn’t need him.
It isn’t offensive, it merely dares to state that a happy life outsiede religion is actually possible, nothing else. Enough for “Zensursula” to scream for the censorship of an respected author. This woman is nothing but a german caricature of Sarah Palin.
Now, the conservatives seem to have changed their minds and proposed candidate: Christian Wulff. Thinking he can’t possibly be worse than “Zenursula”? You might want to reconsider. As the german blog esowatch points out, Wulff is a curator of “ProChrist“, an organisation of fundamentalist evangelical nutjobs that do little but regurgitate the usual clichés: Homosexuality is an abomination, evolution is a lie, abortions are murder.
Wulff himself also keeps saying things that make me suspect that he doesn’t particulary care which religion he promotes but seems to think that they are equally great. He also keeps pretending that the non-religious, which make up over 30% of germanys population, simply do not exist.
Let’s not forget the liberal candidate: Joachim Gauck. He’s an protestant priest and the and chosen cadidate of the social democrats and the green party. I have to admit that I don’t know all that much about him. The notable things about him seem to be pretty much all matters of the past. He’s earned himself a reputation as a “Stasi hunter” in the years following the german reunion in 1989, and was a distinguished anti-communist activist before that. Theologically, he seems to be rather liberal. Although he is a priest, he still is by far the best option. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much of a chance as the green/red candidate, as the blacks have a clear majority and will vote for Wulff.
So there we are. Germany is without a president, and the best I can hope for in the upcoming elections is a protestant priest. What I have to expect is a conservative moron who thinks it’s a great idea to support one of the worst fundamentalist organisations this country has to offer.
I’ll leave this country. Or shoot myself. Or maybe I just keep blogging and handing out flyers and keep pretending that I live in a fantasy world in which stuff like this actually makes a difference.