Onward, German Christian Soldiers

The German Interior Minister was recently interviewed by Spiegel. It begins with a nice example of the “authenticity” error (i.e., my understanding of the tradition is correct and any other is false):

Interior Minister: But we also have to realize that the abuse of Islam by Islamist extremists has contributed to this.

Spiegel: Anders Breivik claims to have acted in the name of Christendom. In doing so, is he misusing Christianity in a way that’s similar to how Osama bin Laden misused Islam?

Interior Minister: Someone who disregards individuals’ life and limb, and their dignity as human beings, cannot invoke Christianity.

Islamists “abusing Islam”? Breivek “misusing Christianity”? Islamists can and do invoke Islam to support their views and actions, just as Breivek invoked Christianity to support his views and actions. It is textual and historical nonsense to assert there is only one way (i.e., the Minister’s neutered and progressive one) to understand Islam and Christianity.

While the Minister’s authenticity error is common enough and mildly risible, the interview shortly takes a turn for the bizarre:

Spiegel: On your first day in office as German interior minister, you famously said that the idea that Islam is part of Germany is something “that cannot be proved by history.”

Minister: I was talking about the issue of Germany’s identity. This identity is shaped by Christianity and the Enlightenment, not by Islam. I don’t have to qualify that.

Is he talking about the identity that resulted in the horrors of a world war and genocide? Onward, Enlightened German Christian soldiers.

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4 thoughts on “Onward, German Christian Soldiers

  1. Toiletman

    Uhm, kind of not really coherent reaction. Yes, obviously Islam has not made a big impact on Germany until recently in history. And yes the mix of pre-christian mythology, christian mythology and renaissance thinking that shaped the German people is also the one that produced a worldwar and a genocide although the initiators of the genocide were not really in favour of Christianity (but undoubtedly influenced by the back then still mainly Christian society and for example it’s long tradition of anti-jewish sentiments). That the german culture did something like a genocide does not really falsify any statement about Islam’s historical role on Germany.

  2. admin Post author

    This post revolves around irony (and its closely related cousin, hypocrisy) and it is dissonance — not coherence — which makes the ironic and hypocritical world go round. I was juxtaposing the German foreign minister’s claim that German identity has been formed by Christianity and the Enlightenment (in his estimation, “good”) with his claim that German identity has nothing to do with Islam (which is of course so obvious it need not even be mentioned, but he does so because this is “bad”). He suggested that Germans are “good” because they are Christian/Enlightened, and are not “bad” because they are not Muslim.

    Do you see the irony? The hypocrisy or even the humor?

  3. Hans Müller

    Well, You don’t seem to know the context. As you may or may not know there was a lot of discussion about German identity, IQ, educational achievement, fertility, immigration (and thus Islam) and a bunch of other controversial topics following the publication of a book by Thilo Sarrazin (“Deutschland schafft sich ab” – Germany does away with itself). A book that can be compared to The bell curve both in content and in the resulting heated debate.

    The German president Wulff then asserted in a speech on the German unity day that “Islam belongs to Germany”. Friedrich made the statement referenced in the interview in response to this.

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