Crosses mandatory in Bavarian government buildings
The government of the Free State of Bavaria in Germany has ordered all government buildings to display a cross at their entrance. This reflects the cultural values of the Germany, Bavaria's new state premier Markus Söder said justifying the decision, and had photos taken of himself hanging a cross on the wall of his office. The decision has drawn fierce criticism from many quarters - and also from certain members of the Church. Rightly so?
Political abuse of a religious symbol
Söder's argument that the cross is not a religious but a universal symbol for Western culture is simply unconvincing, Zeit Online comments:
“Arguing in this way debases the central symbol of Christianity by stripping it of its religious dimension. The cross does not stand for Kant, Voltaire or the great restitution of constitutional order after 1945, but for the most important Christian convictions: God sacrificed his son to rid mankind of its original sin. ... No one need share this conviction to be a good German or Bavarian. But everyone who believes in its message must see the use of the cross as a political weapon as blasphemous, and hence repulsive. God will forgive Söder. But hopefully the Constitutional Court will not.”
A bold affirmation of Germany's core culture
Die Welt takes a positive view of Söder's decision:
“In Bavaria the alarm [over the rise of Islam] and the desire to secure Christianity's traditional status in Germany's core culture are increasingly apparent as people see the achievements of a constitution based on the Christian understanding of humankind under threat. ... If there's one thing that is clearly inherent to the German identity it's the ability to put our tails between our legs when it comes to standing up for our country, our religion and our values. We are not just world champions at football but also at apologising for our existence, beliefs and opinions.”