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GERMAN EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE : NO RETREAT TO PIOUS CORNER

July 29, 2002

Socio-Political Issues Feature at Annual Faith Conference in East Germany

Bad Blankenburg, July 26 (idea) ­ The German Evangelical Alliance has warned Christians not to retreat to a pious private corner. General Secretary Hartmut Steeb encouraged participants of the Alliance¹s faith conference in Bad Blankenburg (East Germany) to translate God¹s will into socio-political issues.

The German Alliance represents about 1.3 million evangelicals from different denominations. The organization has issued guidelines for the upcoming general elections, September 22. The guidelines confront the political parties with questions about their policies on abortion and genetic engineering.

Each year 135,000 abortions are officially recorded in Germany; some estimates put the total as high as 300,000. Steeb regards this state of affairs as a legal and human disaster. The unborn children had no chance to offer any resistance.

Besides taking part in bible studies the 3,000 or so participants of the 107th Alliance Conference, July 24 ­ 28, also discuss political and ethical issues in small groups. Steeb referred to the introduction of legally recognized same sex partnerships last year.

Small lobby groups of gays and lesbians had managed to fog the issue with "pseudo-scientific arguments", he said. The Alliance would continue to stand up for clear biblical teaching. Homosexuality is, as Steeb put it, a "treatable abnormality". Those affected by it needed counseling and therapy, not legal recognition.

The Lutheran Bishop of Thuringia Christoph Kaehler emphasized that worship, religious instruction and social ministries should remain at the core of the church. He also referred to the school massacre in Erfurt; afterwards masses of students had flocked to the churches in search of consolation, although most of them came from an atheistic or agnostic background.