Some significant stories pertaining to religion came out of Germany this week. On Friday, July 16, Bishop Maria Jepsen, the first woman worldwide ever elected – in 1992 – as a Lutheran bishop, resigned from her post in northern Germany after being accused of mishandling abuse complaints. According to the New York Times, hundreds of Germans have come forward since January with reports of physical and sexual abuse against children by Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy alike. Jepsen, who said in a statement that she no longer feels able “to spread the good word, as I vowed to do at my ordination,” nevertheless maintained she could not remember being informed of the claims against a specific pastor in the northern town of Ahrensburg. To read more, click here.
Then, on Wednesday, July 21, German prosecutor Christoph Hettenbach reported that an investigation into the country’s top Roman Catholic cleric – who allegedly hired a priest known to have sexually abused minors – has been closed due to lack of evidence. According to the New York Times, Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch – who now heads the German Bishops Conference – hired the priest in 1987 despite being aware of said priest’s history of sexually abusing minors. The archdiocese has consistently rejected the allegations. To read more, click here.
Lastly, in other news, on Monday, July 19, Germany’s domestic intelligence service revealed it would begin providing aid – such as assistance finding housing and jobs – for Islamists desiring to quit the extremist movement. According to the New York Times, the agency estimates there are over 36,000 Islamist extremists currently living in Germany and reported that users would be guaranteed help with security measures as well as confidentiality to protect them from potential threats by radicals. To read more, click here.
Religious Decline or Religious Change? Making Sense of Secularization in Europe
By Todd Green , Luther College, Decorah, IA, USA
(Vol. 5, May 2010)
The Justice and Development Party Between Islam and Modernity
By Rasim Özgür Dönmez , Assistant Professor in International Relations Department of Abant İzzet Baysal University-Bolu/Turkey
(Vol. 5, June 2010)