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I would bet the airing of the documentary failed to note that the camp was promptly shut down because the parents who sent their children there were embarrassed by it so badly they didn't want to send children there any more. The editors of the documentary had made the camp look so horrible--through selective editing to remove context--that even the parents who knew what was going on there felt shamed to be associated with "That Camp".

Do Germans have any clue that the number one hobby of kids is to rebel against the things their parents/teachers taught them?

In Europe, religious affiliation was tied up with affairs of state. A Prince might decide that his territory was going to become Lutheran, for example. Only members of the Church of England could attend Oxford or Cambridge. (Darlington points out in The Evolution of Man and Society that scientific and engineering advances in England came disproportionately from religious dissidents, not from Anglicans.)

People who were not enthusiastic members of the established churches had several options. Many of those who were indifferent to religion joined the established church so that they could obtain the benefits of belonging to the church- going through the motions. Indifference to religion was NOT a motive for immigrating to America.

On the other hand, many Europeans for whom religion was important, but who did not believe in the established church, immigrated to America, where they could practice their religion in greater freedom than they could in Europe, such as my Quaker ancestors.

The US population has thus been self selected for those to whom religion was important. Conversely, because these people left Europe, Europe has been self selected for those who were indifferent to religion.

Because of immigration, the US has a greater proportion of the population for whom religion is important than Europe does. Similarly, Europe has a greater proportion of the population who are indifferent to religion than the US does. Many of those for whom religion was important, left Europe for America.

Many, and perhaps most of us in the US who do not have a religious affiliation, or who are atheists or agnostics, do not feel threatened by those for whom religion is important. While I did not choose to belong to the Buddhist sect that my sister does, nor to join the fundamentalist church that my grandmother belonged to, I respected their choices. With time, they respected my choice.

I find the phobic reaction many Europeans have toward Christianity to be absurd when one realizes the damage done in the last century by non-Christians, such as Adolph and Josef and Mao.

So broadcasting a US-made award-winning documentary is Anti-American?

This is getting pathetic.

You just dislike the political stance of said documentary. So create some die-hard right-wing flag-waving liberal-bashing documentary ridiculing Eurabia and the evil Germans, that is also good enough to get e.g. an Oscar nomination.

It will be broadcasted on German TV. Maybe not by the somewhat liberal WDR but certainly by the quite conservative BR.

But failing to produce high quality documentations You just whine and whine ...

Award-winning? A. Leftist give awards to each other for not drooling in public. B. That aside, who cares? You are making an appeal to authority, a common logical fallacy. And, besides Americans aren't into titles, authorities. It's too ....ah....servile.

Oh yes, they're quite nasty, those conspirating left-wing culture facists, aren't they?

I mean COME ON! what do you EXPECT? do you REALLY think Germans are all that stupid? Because of... some INTERNET POLL (oh, yeah, we know how representative they are, don't we? But, hey, let's ignore that, just for the sake of the argument)? Do you think there's anti-American demonstrations going on every other day, what with all the flag-burning stuff?

come on. This is German bashing, and what makes you think that's any better than bashing America?

Oh and the next time I'm reading 'state owned television' about any station or network in Germany, I'm seriously gonna kill someone... or something or.. whatever.

There is no such thing as state-owned TV in Germany. Period.

@ gringotex

"Because of immigration, the US has a greater proportion of the population for whom religion is important than Europe does. Similarly, Europe has a greater proportion of the population who are indifferent to religion than the US does. Many of those for whom religion was important, left Europe for America."
broadly speaking, this may be true, but it ignores that europe, as well as the us, isn't a monolithic bloc. especially in the southern european countries, ireland and poland many people are still very religious (in poland this is often mixed with an extremely disturbing amount of "old-school"-antisemitism), while many people in scandinavia, the netherlands, germany and france don't care about religion. in the latter mentioned countries the growing number of atheists and agnostics is a recent phenomenon (since the 60's, i would guess).
since you mentioned hitler: imo a part of the secularization, especially in postfascist germany, can be attributed to the fact that many catholics and especially the german protestants (protestant reich church) were deeply involved in nazi crimes.

i, personally, don't have any problems with religious people. i do, however, have a problem with religious fundamentalism. while the threat christian fundamentalism poses can't in any way be compared with militant islamic fundamentalism, recent trends in christian fundamentalism are quite troubling. i support every individuals right to think or believe anything he wants to. however, i'm not willing to tolerate things like this (http://www.seattleweekly.com/2006-02-01/news/the-wedge.php#page1). enforcing one's religious believes onto society and trying to establish a theocracy is something that should be prevented.

There is no such thing as state-owned TV in Germany. Period.
That's bulls**t, and you know it.

No other country in the world has such an extensive grey area between public law and private law than Germany. There are so many 'private' companies operating under public law. The most prominent examples of these corporations are those outfits dealing with social security and, yes, the two big tv broadcasters. They are defined as "private institutions incorporated under public law". That means they are completely funded by government money, a number of executive positions are filled with politians, and, of course, they put their mouth where the money is.

To have private companies operating under public law is a legal trick so that people like you are able to state they are not legally governmentally owned.

@ Lars
broadly speaking, this may be true,but it ignores that europe, as well as the us, isn't a monolithic bloc....

A statement about averages, such as "greater proportion," is just that. When I state that "men are on average taller than women," or "a higher proportion of men than women are taller than 180 cm ," such statements in no way shape or form imply that “no women are taller than 180 cm.” Averages.

Regarding the secularization in Germany as a reaction to WW2, I need to educate myself further on the subject.

in poland this ( religion) is often mixed with an extremely disturbing amount of "old-school"-antisemitism
Perhaps, but the left in Europe- overwhelmingly secular- does pretty well at anti-Semitism without any assistance from devout Poles. It was not a devout Pole who described Israel as a “shitty little country” but a French Ambassador. In the US, while 50 years ago a Christian fundamentalist was more likely to be anti-Semitic than someone of the secular left, today someone of the secular left is more likely to be anti-Semitic than is a Christian fundamentalist.

I appreciated that you saw a great difference between Christian and Muslim fundamentalists.


recent trends in christian fundamentalism are quite troubling
You cited something on Intelligent Design. Ever since Origin of Species was published nearly 150 years ago, there have been attempts by some religious people to discredit the theory of evolution. The Intelligent Design brouhaha is simply another example. Not recent at all. In the American idiom: so what else is new? We have dealt with these clowns before, and we will deal with them now.

I have more religious and cultural affinity with the secular left than with the Christian fundamentalists. However, the evidence so far is that the secular left does not have the backbone to stand up to the Islamofascists, or simply tries to ignore the issue. In the US, again speaking in averages, many of the secular left view Al Qaeda/Islamofascism as an invention of Chimpy/Bush/McHitler/Halliburton. There are some on the left who believe that they can ally themselves with the Muslims. I wonder if they still so believe after what happened to Che’s daughter in Tehran. Regarding the backbone of the secular left, look at Sweden.

I would rather not invite a Christian fundamentalist out to dinner ( I terminated a potential relationship with a woman when I discovered the depth of her commitment to her Southern Baptist church- and she Hispanic!) but I would view one as a more reliable ally against Islamofascism than someone of the secular left.

Regarding the issue of Christian fundamentalists and establishing a theocracy, at least as regards the US, I would make two points. 1) The Christian tradition for 2000 years has had separation between government and church institutions, even when the church was state supported. As my fundamentalist grandmother quoted to me, “Render unto Caesar…” 2) The First Amendment to the US Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Theocracy- it’s a bogeyman. It hasn’t happened in the US, and it ain’t going to. I would not bet against a Muslim Theocracy being established in Europe, however. Backbone and all that. Sweden, please prove me wrong.

lars
enforcing one's religious believes onto society and trying to establish a theocracy is something that should be prevented.

What the hell are you talking about? Because some people view the process of evolution thru a religious prism, we're at risk of a theocracy?

I can't even parse that logically...........

How about because some people view politics thru the prism of their religion and are willing to kill anyone and everything to achieve it, we're at risk of sharia?

@ gringotex
"Perhaps, but the left in Europe- overwhelmingly secular- does pretty well at anti-Semitism without any assistance from devout Poles. It was not a devout Pole who described Israel as a “shitty little country” but a French Ambassador."
and especially this (left-wing-antisemitism that is) is extremely annoying. these people should know better. anyone expects someone from the far right to be an antisemite, and anyone knows that the revanchist german "patriot" doesn't like jews because he/she believes that THE jews are all trying to take advantage of what happened in and was caused by germany between 1933 and 1945.
"In the US, while 50 years ago a Christian fundamentalist was more likely to be anti-Semitic than someone of the secular left, today someone of the secular left is more likely to be anti-Semitic than is a Christian fundamentalist."
while antisemitism in the us is mostly limited to the far right and the far left, the situation in europe is quite different. in germany f.e. antisemitism is something that can be found in all political groups - conservatives (hohmann), free democrats (möllemann, the berlin-incident,...), among social-democrats, the linkspartei and the greens. a common misconception of many american conservatives is(hopefully i'm not sounding too assumptive), that their german counterparts, the christian-democrats, are less antisemitic than, say, someone from the spd or the greens. antisemitism is very popular among german cdu-members, especially if they're just some low-ranking party member.

@ pamela
"What the hell are you talking about? Because some people view the process of evolution thru a religious prism, we're at risk of a theocracy?

I can't even parse that logically..........."
no, that wasn't what i was talking about. they can believe in whatever they want. i don't care.
however, trying to impose their personal believes on others isn't something i'm willing to tolerate. i'm talking about the infamous "wedge-strategy" of discovery institute. thankfully the overwhelming majority rejects these mix-ups of science/politics and religion. any attempts to weaken the seperation of church and state/science should imo be met with suspicion.
How about because some people view politics thru the prism of their religion and are willing to kill anyone and everything to achieve it, we're at risk of sharia?
i already mentioned that i think islamic fundamentalism is a threat, maybe i didn't quite make myself clear enough. i said earlier that "while the threat christian fundamentalism poses can't in any way be compared with militant islamic fundamentalism,...". to clarify that: any attempts to compare people who want genesis to be taught in biology with islamic extremists murdering people because of allah, or whatever they're referring to to justify their crimes, are completely idiotic.

Is this truly what passes for journalism in Europe?
BTW - This quote :
"...anti-democratic radical Evangelists to become members of "god's army" which, one day, will hopefully be led to victory by President Bush."
This is 2007 right? ever hear of Term Limits?

You know that by this time next year the elections will be underway?

Right?


OMMAG, They're experts on our system.

All, I realize that we fundamentalists are 1) a monolithic entity 2) (per Gringotex) an odious bunch of people. Good luck on fighting your battles where ever they may occur. Your characterizations spread the message of your feelings to the folks that you would call ally, but who understand that taqyia isn't only for muslims. Have a good one.

There's a common misbelief that religion has killed more people than secularism.
And maybe the most cited are the crusades and the Inquisition.
Ok, the Inquisition, as terrible as it was, cannot compare -as the number of victims - to communism (40 million+, a conservative figure) or the WWII. Some say they were about a couple of thousands.
Strange enough, furthermore, many consider Nazi Germany in WWII to have been religious. I guess that's quite a thing. Hitler and his regime was never religious. That he had on his side important leaders of the church, that's another story.

Commonsense, could you elaborate on this "grey zone" you were talking about? It is very interesting. Do you have some links? Thx a lot

@lars
however, trying to impose their personal believes on others isn't something i'm willing to tolerate ..i'm talking about the infamous "wedge-strategy" of discovery institute.

First of all, I don't see anything from the link you provided that there is any intent to 'impose'. What I see is an attempt to persuade and the 'wedge strategy' a political tactic in service of the belief system.

And you aren't willing to tolerate it.

So, let me ask you. What are you willing to impose on the rest of us in order to accomodate your lack of toleration?

----------

Pissed off yet? Good.

Your writing - so I assume your thinking - is sloppy.
To point to Intelligent Design advocates and their attempts to influence the political debate as a slippery slope to theocracy is hyperbole in defense of the indefensible.

Theocracy is the political supremacy of a priesthood in power by divine authority. Intelligent Design advocates ask for a voice and attempt to persuade the polity by virtue of argument and political engagement.

This has been the dynamic of the United States from the get go. We have always had tension among the education/religious/political aspects of our society.

The Catholic church, at one point, tried to take over the entire education system.

You may not like the voices that come to the table - I don't either - but the fact of the matter is that there is a table where all ideas are dealt. What you are or are not 'willing to tolerate' had damn well better refer to what you are willing to take on in debate and not what you are eager to suppress.

@lars
enforcing one's religious believes onto society and trying to establish a theocracy is something that should be prevented.

I am an Ex-expat, having recently returned from a nine year stay in Germany.
When I tell people here in the USA about:

1. German church taxes - the government collects money from the people and redistributes it to the states. Not obligatory, but
if you want your child baptized or want a church wedding, you better pay them.

2. No shopping on Sunday - in part due to the church lobby.

3. Religious education in the German public schools.

4. German public holidays such as Pentecost and Ascension Day - yes, Americans, the Germans get Pentecost off from work.

5. Two major political parties are the CHRISTIAN democrats and the CHRISTIAN social union.

When I tell Americans these facts, they say "What?"
is Germany some kind of theocracy?
See? I can distort things as well... the above are all facts that
when falsely interpreted could lead to false conclusions.

Do you think it MIGHT be possible that the German media distorts the facts in order to paint a picture of the USA that they WANT to believe?

Are there fundamentalist wackos in the US? Sure there are. Some people might even call me one. Ever read C.S. Lewis?
I would recommend you read Mere Christianity.
A former atheist who became a holy roller.
Check it out.
BTW are you my ex boss in Cologne?

@ Mike H.
All, I realize that we fundamentalists are 1) a monolithic entity 2) (per Gringotex) an odious bunch of people. Good luck on fighting your battles where ever they may occur. Your characterizations spread the message of your feelings to the folks that you would call ally, but who understand that taqyia isn't only for muslims. Have a good one.

My basic position is that I DO NOT LIKE BEING PROSELYTIZED. My father told my fundamentalist grandmother point blank to NOT proselytize us. She did her best to follow that edict, it still came out, but at a somewhat tolerable level. "I don't know how to save you," is not a message that sounds as if the speaker has much confidence in you: you are not saved, you are damned. Fortunately, my grandmother rarely said that, but once it was said, we knew what she was thinking.The well was poisoned. While I did not agree with my grandmother on politics and religion, we had a good relationship (which also shows her tolerant nature), and I was her favorite grandchild. As she lived until she was 39, I was able to get to know her as multi-dimensioned person, not just as a loving grandmother, and my life is the richer for it. At her request, I gave a short speech at her funeral service- after the minister, of course. (As a matter of being a good guest, I went to church when visiting my grandmother on a Sunday.)
Nor did I appreciate my sister’s repeated attempts to convert me to Buddhism. One year she came down to visit me on my birthday, and on my birthday proceeded to take me to one of her Buddhist meetings. That did not go over very well with me. After years of butting her head against the wall, my sister finally got the message. My poor mother was between a rock and a hard place, with her mother trying to convert her back to the true church, and my sister trying to turn her into a Buddhist.

I can get along fine with fundamentalists/ evangelicals, as long as they do not try to convert me. Unfortunately, fundamentalists/evangelicals often/usually consider themselves duty bound to proselytize.They are good people, as were my grandmother and her friends. Because of my dislike of being proselytized, I do not go out of my way to cultivate relationships with them. So yes, taqyia when you are dealing with me, please. In any event, I am a bit of a curmudgeon, regardless of your religious affiliation.

@ pamela

i'm not willing to tolerate their goal
- "To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies",
- "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"

the goals of their 20 year plan are:
- "To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science"
- "To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts."
- "To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life."

they see it as a success that "Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory" and that at two universities intelligent design became the dominant view.
you see, it's not about dialogue or "sitting at a table", it's about dominating the scientific and political debate and hence it's about the supremacy of the design theory in all aspects of society.

a debate beween creationists and scientists doesn't make much sense. intelligent design is unscientific, it's therefore quite worthless, at least in and for the natural sciences.

do i think that it's likely the usa or germany or sweden might become theocracies, you may ask.
well, simple answer, NO. neither germany, the us or any other western country will become a theocracy.


@ amiexpat
add to your list the fact that in gießen, in the state of hesse, two public schools teach intelligent design in biology class.
the us is, compared to germany concerning the seperation of church and state, definitivly a much more secular country. i bet my a** that this wasn't mentioned in the documentary (well, it's been made in the us and primarily for an american audience, so what's the point of dealing with germany).
i think it's ridiculous if germans criticize christian fundamentalism and a possible destruction of the separation of church and state in the us, while at the same time ignoring the fact that said separation is much more distinctive in the us.
btw. i don't really have a problem with religious education in public schools. if scientific and religious education are clearly separated and these things don't get mixed up there isn't much of a problem, at least for me. same with religious politicians. as long as laws aren't based on the bible or the quran, those folks can do or believe in whatever they want, i just don't want to live in a sharia-state. and that's indeed something i want to "impose" on you, pamela.

in gießen, in the state of hesse, two public schools teach intelligent design in biology class.

Actually, I think it was one public school and one private Christian school...

But thing is: This case was brought to public attention by a documentary shown by "state-owned" (kharmapolizei already pointed out that this term is problematic) television station ARTE a year ago .

So much for the old story that German media always point to America in order to divert from German problems...

Also, since it's obviously totaly anti-American to air Jesus Camp, I wonder whether we now have to label ARTE anti-German for airing this documentary ;-) . I mean, isn't it totally unbalanced and unfair to focus on these two schools instead of mentioning the thousands of other German schools that don't teach Creationism?

@ fuchur,

Airing Jesus Camp is not, by itself, anti-American. It does, however, add to the cumulative environment of anti-Americanism when German public television stations and other media repeatedly bring one-sided "documentaries", articles and reports that essentially serve to reinforce pre-existing anti-American stereotypes - without providing a fuller context or alternative viewpoints on the United States. That is the very essence of the bias that characterizes far too much of German media coverage of the United States - and it is our job to point it out.

If a reporter went to an upscale restaurant and at a table beside him a person accidently farted, I would expect to see the following headline:
DIE AMIS FURZEN IN FEINEN RESTAURANTS UND DENKEN SICH NICHTS DABEI.
UNERHOERTE SITTEN IN EINEM SITTENLOSEN LAND.

Pick and choose only the stories that show the USA in a bad light.
The other day,the media actually had some comments about Russia and everyone was upst about the anti-Russian articles. Even Schroeders wife had to comment.
The "ANTI" articles about the USA outnumber anti-Russian articles by 1000 to 1
Nobody cares.

But next spring PBS is rumoured to be ready to show hundreds of overweight and middleaged Germans, at some Karl May fesival, playing at being Winnetou or Old Shatterhand in a documentary called Noble Savage Camp. ZDF in retaliation has threatened to do a documentary on the various Scottish festivals in the US and has promised to show hundreds of pudgy kneed Americans in kilts talking about Braveheart and Culloden.

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