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German Chancellor: Common Values Unite Politicians

June 7, 2006
Merkel Promotes Justice, Peace and Solidarity at Berlin Gathering


Berlin, June 7 (idea) ­ German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasized the
importance of sharing common values across party political lines.
Politicians of all persuasions should strive for justice, peace and
solidarity.


Merkel addressed more than 300 political, economic, cultural and religious
leaders from 40 countries, who took part in the International Berlin
Gathering, June 1 ­ 3. The annual conference follows the tradition of the
National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.


The Chancellor pointed out that her party, the Christian Democratic Union,
regards the Christian understanding of humanity as a firm base for political
decisions. Merkel: ³If one believes that every human being is created in
the image of God then no one has the right to interfere with or even destroy
human life ­ neither at the beginning nor at the end.²


Merkel admitted, however, that it is difficult to translate basic values
into political action. Justice and solidarity, for instance, have global
implications, she said. Developing countries, long-time recipients of aid
from the West, are turning into economic competitors.


According to Merkel one of the crucial questions is, whether the West is
prepared to give these countries a fair chance in world trade. ³Does the
realm of the Christian world view end at the borders of the European Union?²
she asked.


Peter Struck, leader of the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, said
justice should be the yardstick for all political decisions. Each
politician had to decide, which gauge to use. He personally finds it in the
roots of the Christian faith, Struck explained. Merkel¹s cabinet is made up
of both Christian and Social Democrats.


The former Kenyan foreign minister Stephen Musyoka addressed the Berlin
Gathering on behalf of the foreign participants. He said that worldwide the
cry for social justice is getting louder.


Poverty and HIV/Aids presented the biggest challenges in Africa. Mounting
religious tensions and terrorism were also threatening many countries.
Christians should take a leading role in advancing moral standards.


The Berlin Gathering brings together Christians and adherents of other
religions in the spirit of Jesus. Samir Kreidie, a Lebanese living in Saudi
Arabia, described himself as a ³Muslim who follows Jesus². He had learnt
about Jesus from the Quran. Followers of Jesus should emphasize the common
ground between Islam and Christianity, he said.


The Berlin Gathering takes its slogan ³In responsibility before God² from
the German constitution. The gathering is based on informal breakfast
meetings in the Bundestag and several state Parliaments, where politicians
from all democratic parties get together to hear words from the Bible, share
spiritual experiences and pray.


END





Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer

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