Ecumenical News International

EKD Council chair Bedford-Strohm warns against polarisation in the refugee debate

January 2016

Tutzing (epd).Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), warns against simplifying the refugee debate. Humanity and realism should not be played off against each other, warned the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria at the New Year reception of the Tutzing Protestant Academy. Certain political positions should not simply be termed realistic and others naïve, he asserted.

"Stop holding symbolic political debates"

"We must stop holding symbolical political debates on the refugee question," Bedford-Strohm urged. Conducting party political power struggles in this debate was out of the question anyway - "because it is literally a matter of life and death for many of those concerned". Nor should politicians propose simple solutions to the population in order to score points in the short term. Anyone making high-profile proposals in the political debate should also indicate how they were supposed to work, he stated.

The political consensus among the major political powers was much greater than the public debate would suggest, the bishop said. For example, no one was talking about Germany having unlimited capacity to take refugees. In addition, everyone agreed on the need to eliminate the root causes of refugee movements in the countries of origin, he claimed. According to Bedford-Strohm, there is also consensus that we can only solve the refugee question in Europe together. However, it does not help when Germans "morally disqualify" other EU countries.



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