Ecumenical News International

Bedford-Strohm: Religions must be capable of self-criticism

January 23, 2015

Tutzing (epd). Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), believes that religions must not level accusations at one another. The right approach is one of "mutual encouragement, self-critically coping with our own traditions, to overcome any interpretations inclined to accept violence," he explained on Thursday evening in the Tutzing Protestant Academy. Religions should be self-critical in noting whether they are part of the problem of hate and violence, and discover "the peace-making treasures of their traditions".

At the same time, Bedford-Strohm expressed appreciation of the relationship between religions and the state in Germany. The German constitution provides an excellent foundation for freedom of religion, he declared. The state keeps out of the religious affairs of its citizens and does not take sides with any religion or belief, he continued. Since religious freedom applies to all, Jewish and Muslim faculties were being established at universities alongside the Christian ones. This is a "wise decision", in Bedford-Strohm's view, since all religions have to be able to critically examine their traditions by academic standards, also in view of possible potential violence.

Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and Chair of the EKD Council.




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