In the wording

Dear Cardinal Sterzinsky,Dear representatives of the Academy,Dear friends of the Academy,Dear colleagues from the German Bundestag,Ladies and gentlemen,Thank you very much for your welcome. Most of the time I'm here to listen to lectures. Today I may give one myself. I have gladly come here again today – you have just made it clear that it is not the first time – because this Catholic Academy is a firm place of dialogue on the basis of our Christian understanding of man – in Berlin, but also known nationwide, a place where comprehensible answers to very fundamental questions of our common coexistence are sought. Of course, the question that you might want me to answer also arises today: According to which criteria do I make – these questions are asked by all who are in politics – politics?? What is important to us? What principles, values and guiding principles can give me and others in politics support and orientation?? I believe that this year, 2009, is truly one in which there is enough reason to reflect, to look back and to look ahead. 90 years ago the first German republic was founded. We were just thinking the other day that universal and secret suffrage is not that old; women's suffrage was also introduced at that time. 70 years ago – on 1. September we will remember – the Second World War began with the invasion of our Polish neighbors. In May we celebrate the 60th birthday of the. Birthday of our Federal Republic of Germany. In November – on 9. November – we remember 20 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the border. This is really a year of German anniversaries and commemorations, and this gives us pause. I believe it should also lead us to realize once again how much gratitude we should have and what an immeasurable and also anything but self-evident gift it is that today, and for decades, we have been able to live in peace, freedom and prosperity – some for longer, others for less time. Nevertheless, it is sometimes not so easy to simply pause in such a year, as events rush by in the maelstrom of everyday life. Uncertainties have now come to us and to most of the world in a very special way this year, the uncertainties that have arisen from the failure of the international financial system, which have plunged the world, and indeed in all parts of the world, into an international economic crisis, the consequences of which are now manifesting themselves more and more tangibly through daily events for more and more people in our country. I only need to mention the names Opel, Marklin, Schiesser, as well as many small medium-sized companies, only need to mention the surveys that provide information about how many people are afraid, worried, to point out that there is a large degree of uncertainty at this time. For years, we have been experiencing changes that are profound and long-lasting. I would like to mention three of these. On the one hand, there is the demographic change in our country. We will have fewer and fewer people in work – and this will be particularly noticeable in the next decade – because we will have fewer and fewer children. On the other hand, we have the very pleasant fact that the elderly are getting older due to the possibilities of medicine, due to healthier lifestyles. This means that the pyramid of our population will change massively, and we will thus certainly be a country in Europe that is comparable with other European countries. Worldwide, however, something else is happening on many continents, namely that the number of young people – with all their hopes and expectations – is much greater. A second can be mentioned: That is that Germany has also become more diverse, more culturally diverse, in its population makeup. Almost one fifth of the inhabitants of our country were not born in Germany or have ancestors who were not born in Germany. If you look around in the urban areas of the Federal Republic of Germany, which support the industrial structure of our country, you will see that this percentage is already 40 to 50 percent among those under 25 years of age. This means that apart from Christianity, apart from Judaism, we also have other religions. For example, Muslims are the second-largest religious community in Germany. Thirdly, we have rapid globalization, which is now also finding expression in the international financial and economic crisis. Globalization has of course changed many aspects of what made Germany, the old Federal Republic, strong, namely the social market economy. Decades ago, it was almost a feeling of security to work in a company that was doing well, because you knew that your job would be safe, but today, in the age of globalization, that is no longer the case. It can be that a company is doing wonderfully well, but the workers who are employed in Germany are not doing well at all or are threatened by redundancy.This means that here, too, old securities have been lost due to the external prere of stronger competition, but basically also due to the demands of others to also live successfully. This has changed the world. Of course, this raises a host of questions: How can we continue to make our social security systems fit for the future?? How do we create new forms of employment?? What forms of employment have a chance, measured against the competition in other parts of the world? How do we help young parents and families reconcile work and family life?? How do we move forward so that we really become an educational republic, so that we really live up to the claim that we have to produce new things, creative things, innovative things?? In view of a rapidly growing world population, how can we manage our resources in such a way that not only we can shape our lives, but that this also applies to future generations?? As different as the challenges are and as different as the approaches are – I think it is clear that in each case a prerequisite must be found. It says that anyone who wants to act politically needs fundamental convictions and guidelines for their own actions in view of the large number of questions that arise every day. I think that for any form of these beliefs, whichever one you arrive at, the question is very crucial: what understanding do I have of human beings? Is it an understanding that radiates trust? Is it an understanding characterized by distrust? Is it an understanding that has the individual in mind? It is an understanding that does not consider the individual to be so important? I want to make it clear: My understanding, from which I do politics, is the understanding of the Christian image of the human being. Now, of course, the question arises: What does this mean?? For me, I would like to express this in the form that I say: Man is created by God in his own image. Every human being is a unique creature, a unique creature of God. His dignity – that follows directly from this – is inviolable, and it is also indivisible. Man as a creature of God is, according to my firm view, called to freedom, namely to a freedom that gives him the possibility of something, a freedom turned towards other people and not of an understanding of freedom that we increasingly encounter today, namely a freedom from something, from commitment, from duties, from being turned towards other people. From this being born to freedom, to freedom in responsibility, naturally also results the desire, the meaningful desire, that people want to develop their abilities and skills. This is a desire that is also visible in every human being. In the former GDR, you could easily observe how, when the conditions for freedom were not sufficiently available, people tried again and again on a small scale to go to their limits, to realize themselves, even if it was in an allotment garden, growing radishes in a race. It is the urge in man to prove himself and also to realize himself. God's order to us is, after all, to subdue the world! In this approach, which people have also taken up, it always quickly becomes clear that we have many abilities and skills in what we want, but that we are also somewhat imperfect, that we are, to use biblical language, sinners. We commit sins, and the good thing about Christianity is that there is something like forgiveness. There is forgiveness because every person is accepted by God. Therefore, for me, this results in an understanding of politics that is finite in the abilities and skills that every human being has, and that we are embraced by the love of God, but embraced and even – with all our skills – not perfect. I believe that two things result from this. One is that we have reverence for God, and the other is that we may have confidence in God. I once had to deal with a question-and-answer session in a discussion with Bishop Kabmann in Hanover, as I still do today. I then got more and more into the predicament: How do you know that it will turn out well and that it will be right and that what you do will really turn out that way, etc.?.? – I have become more and more entangled in proving that everything will have a good end. And then the bishop said: Sometimes it is also like this: You need a bit of trust in God. – There I was redeemed. And it was completely clear to me where the level of the political and predictable and of human design ends and where a piece of faith can be, if one believes, and where this can also be like a redemption, something very confident. I believe that Christians can approach even very difficult things very confidently, very optimistically, very cheerfully, because they can believe. Now it is the case that in the past centuries – also quite strongly due to our political and state orders of the separation of church and state – the permanent presence of faith has declined. Rituals have become quieter, so to speak, boundaries between daily earthly life and the life of a Christian have also become visible, and from this perhaps public perception – what actually guides us, what are our values, from where do we take our strength? – not as visible as it used to be. But it also follows from this that faith is more than just imparting knowledge. Faith is always something that is of course also related to knowledge. If I have never read the Bible, if I don't know the biblical stories, if I don't know a single song, then it is difficult to exchange ideas among Christians. But this alone is not enough, of course, but must be accompanied by an inner confession. This, by the way, is also the deeper reason why signatures were collected in Berlin for a certain kind of teaching, not for the simple transmission of facts, but out of the conviction that a confession is needed. Because our world has become more diverse, it is so important that we – I and all those sitting here and many more – have something that we ourselves confess in order to be able to speak in tolerance with others about their confession. That is exactly the difference, where tolerance is just not wrongly understood arbitrariness, but tolerance is inner recognition of another, but always includes confession of my conviction. I have spoken about this: 60 years of the Federal Republic of Germany means nothing other than 60 years of the Basic Law, a Basic Law that begins with the words: Conscious of its responsibility before God and man… Fortunately, the Basic Law was written a long time ago. I hope, we would write it today also in such a way. In any case, the fathers and mothers of the Basic Law considered this to be right and important and – as Verfang says – constitutive for our country.. This is a commitment to the fact that politics is not omnipotent, but politics is the attempt, the effort, the commitment, the passion for people, but always in the responsibility before God. Therefore, it is right and important, and for me as chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union also constitutive, that we say in our program: Our understanding of man in the Christian Democratic Union, expressed by the "C", is expressed by this "C" and refers, as it says in the program, to the Christian image of man in the sense that I have just tried to present it in my explanation and interpretation. Now it is like this: The world would be simple if from this Christian image of man automatically and without any discussion the same instructions for action would arise for all who feel committed to it. Now it is also the case that God created us differently. Rarely do two or three come to exactly the same conclusion in all matters of life, although they have the same point of confession. This, of course, accounts for the diversity of earthly affairs, if I may put it that way, and of convictions and opinions. That is why it is so important that we repeatedly talk about the principle, about the starting point of our orientation and agree that the Christian image of man preserves room for shaping and realization and protects it from arbitrariness as well as from misanthropic ideology. I would like to explain this with some examples. The first example is economic and social policy in times of globalization. I have spoken about what is going on in the world at the moment: market excesses have overridden market forces as we know them from the social market economy in an orderly form. We can only bring the whole back into balance by not only considering the individual interests of individuals, but at the same time learning to think and act in the interest of the whole. That exactly has been violated. Individual interests have been set for absolute, without, what should be our liberal understanding, to realize freedom to do something in relation to other people. That is, the common good has partially fallen by the wayside. The Federal President described this once again in an impressive speech today and also made it clear that our society can only be a humane society if the common good and cohesion have a firm place in society, because every person is unique, but they can only develop in the community. Every person who alone and singularly believes to seek his salvation in realizing himself will in any case fail miserably in the sense of the Christian conception of mankind. This has also found its way into our Basic Law, namely in Art. 14, where it is clearly stated: "Property is an obligation. Its use should at the same time serve the common good."Again an article, from which most varied political discussions follow, what that means now in the concrete exactly. But that it means extreme self-realization, that it excludes any look into the past and future and means maximum profit optimization only in the now and today, may be excluded. Therefore, Art. 14 an important article in our Basic Law. This thought comes from the Catholic social teachings and the Protestant social ethics. This idea is born out of a Christian understanding of man, out of a time in which industrialization – first in the nineteenth century – was a major factor in the development of the social market economy. The social systems of the twentieth century have brought massive injustices to light. We all certainly have in mind the uprising of the Silesian weavers, where, so to speak, the invention of the steam engine and the operation of looms with it were exploited excessively, which ultimately made people so desperate that they rose up against this inhumane form of economic activity. From this, in a long way of learning and bridging contradictions, the social systems have emerged. It has then in the 20. Century the heavy world economic crisis gave. Important ideas of today's social market economy, as they were then implemented by Ludwig Erhard and Konrad Adenauer, originate precisely from the teachings of those 1930s, in which it was also said, for example, that self-healing powers of the markets sometimes do not work and then the state has the task of intervening. Incidentally, it is very interesting – as you know, I am a physicist rather than an economist – that the intellectual debate about the effects of the world economic crisis at that time basically took two paths, the path that we have today as the model of the social market economy, which said very clearly and very early on: It is important to make the state the guardian of order, and the path which at that time, rather in the American area – Keynes – relied very strongly on countermeasures against the crisis, i.e., the use of money and resources. I think in our crisis management today we realize that we are doing exactly a mixture of these two things. We in Germany, with our social market economy as a heritage of experience from Catholic social teaching and Protestant social ethics, are very strongly influenced as far as the regulatory powers of the state are concerned. I believe that this has also made success possible over many years. The social market economy is basically a good work of ecumenism. For many years, when I became an active citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany, so to speak, I was always a little bit ashamed that today in the churches – both in the Catholic Church and in the Protestant Church – a lot of thought is given to the social market economy outside of Europe, outside of Germany, to questions of justice in developing countries, but in my opinion too little thought is given to how technological change and globalization make values liveable for us today as well. The first approaches to this are now visible with powerful titles; I don't need to repeat this here, I'm not doing any advertising – except for my own. But: We need a broad discussion here; I mean this quite honestly. The social market economy is not just any economic order, but is a social way of life. That's why politics, and certainly not the economy, can succeed on its own in making this an accepted order in a society. That is why I would like the churches to continue to intervene here, as they have increasingly done in recent years, and perhaps even more loudly in view of the crisis. We can say that, from the perspective of the Christian understanding of human beings, every model of society must be rejected that describes freedom as a lack of commitment and as boundless. That means we have to live responsibility again and again. This results, for example, in something that finds expression in practical politics, something that we have done once again in this legislative period, namely that the Christian image of man becomes the source of voluntary commitment. The state as guardian of order, so to speak. But if only this order imposed by the state were to define our human coexistence and nothing more, then that would be a terrible society. In other words, the source of voluntary commitment must be strengthened, not weakened, by those who see themselves as guardians of order. That's why it's so important that volunteerism has a place and is promoted, because it brings a country to life, makes it human, whether that's in cultural associations, in sports, in youth work, in charitable work or in many other forms of people being together. That is precisely the source, that we are not a cold and bureaucratic society, but a society that has a human face. The important thing is that we give free space for it, that we do not prescribe it, that we do not say from some imaginary source: so and so we would like to have it! – I experienced what that was like in the former East Germany. Sport was only allowed when you were good and on the way to becoming an Olympic champion. Otherwise the devices and possibilities were quickly exhausted. One had to behave in such and such a way, and whoever did not fit into the scheme was excluded and somehow pushed aside. This must never happen. This has also led us to represent a social structure that says: What can be regulated locally, what can be regulated close to the people, should be regulated there and does not have to be pushed onto a central level. This has led to the fact that we have the order of co-determination, for example, that collective bargaining parties have a great possibility of shaping it. This led to the political dispute: What should be able to be agreed upon extra in the company?? Or does everything have to be done centrally between unions and employers? This means that we value communal responsibility highly, always from the understanding: the closer to the people, the more opportunity for the individual to shape things, the more manageable – and only if necessary, as far as Berlin or Brussels. I think we have done well with it in Germany and also in much of Europe. It is also said: If the individual can create his life for himself, then the possibilities for it should be opened to him. Only then, when he can't, the solidarity and the help to help people who are in need naturally takes effect. But if we are once so far that we lead discussions whether it is worthwhile then in view of Hartz IV achievements for example still to go to work, and whether one could not be perhaps just as happy with a little moonlighting in addition, then we have forgotten exactly this basic idea of the development and the desire of each humans for own development. This is a discussion that I had a lot in my younger years, even back in the GDR, because we knew that the state itself was a state in which the law had no proper place. Therefore one did not want to work actually, in order to perpetuate the existence of this state ever further. On the other side one had only one life. I was a physicist, my neighbors were doctors. For the doctors it was clear that they had to work well, because it was about my life and the lives of other people. The question of whether the physicist had to work as well as he could seemed a little more complicated. I then talked myself out of it with the ECG and with some apparatus and said, I also have to work properly, but it was not quite so obvious. After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion for myself – also in view of the many people who had lost courage and strength over time – that I essentially work well for myself to continue to be alive, active and creative. But that was a very personal decision. That's why, given the choice of getting the same income with work or without work, I would never choose to take it from the state. But we have to stand up for it. We have to convey to people the desire and joy that achievement is something that is intrinsic to human beings and that also spurs them on to new and higher things and that, above all, always pushes them to their own limits. In the GDR it was easy again. People have always said that because the state is like this, we can't perform well either. – That was partly true. The computers were miserable. But of course one becomes luschig, if one has a state, with which one can apologize.. With German unity and freedom, the excuse fell away. Suddenly we had to see that not everyone, even if you were a physicist in the GDR, suddenly got the Nobel Prize, although we were all better than we could be. For me, this pushing the limits is one of the most beautiful things that comes from the Christian image of people: proving oneself, getting involved, making an effort, striving for something that also takes me to my limits. Of course – and this is my firm conviction – we must uphold these principles not only out of individual conviction, but they are the basic principles of a lasting cohesion of a society in freedom, justice and solidarity. If these basic principles are abandoned, then the cohesion of society is called into question. That's why it's not about anything, but about society as a whole. Where do we learn solidarity?? Where do we experience affection? Of course in the family. That's why it's not called by chance: The family is the nucleus of society. This brings me to my second field, which is related to the topicality of the Christian image of man, namely family policy. It was and is the point of many arguments, debates, sometimes a bit of suspicion, I think, in our society. The number of marriages is declining. The number of single parents is increasing. The birth rate in Germany – although we have some glimmers of hope – is among the lowest in Europe. This is the finding about our society. Now, of course, the question arises: How should one react to this situation from the Christian view of man?? We say – and I say this with full conviction – that marriage and the family have a special status, precisely the status that is enshrined in the Basic Law. As long as I am politically active, I will resist with all my might against starting at exactly this point and putting this up for discussion. The CDU has defined it this way in its basic program: Family is where parents take on lasting responsibility for children and children take on lasting responsibility for parents. – This is a very different sentence from the sentence: family is where children are. – Taking on lasting responsibility, resulting from bonds that are not up for grabs. My parents will always be my parents, my children will always be my children. This in turn, this bond that simply exists, naturally also leads to the fact that values can be lived in families, can be conveyed, can be passed on, that no state or society can pass on so well. Despite this mission statement, of course, we have the very difficult question to discuss with each other: How do we do with lived communities that do not conform to the principle of marriage and resulting families? I would speak of respect. This is also what we do in our basic program. Respect is not equality; this also has to be said. There are sometimes difficult discussions here. But I also speak of respect because I ame – this is again my conviction from the Christian image of man – that people do not wantonly destroy lasting relationships that they have entered into, but that behind relationships or situations of z. B. There is a lot in single parents that is experienced as unhappiness, dissatisfaction and imperfection. I sometimes find it very hard how people judge, because, as I said at the beginning, part of life can also be the failure of what I imagined as a dream, as an ideal. I think it's important that we stick to our model of marriage and family despite this situation, despite the many who have perhaps not achieved what they dreamed of and wanted, because otherwise, if this model no longer exists, the aspiration will no longer exist and the effort will no longer be made. Now we have asked: What does free development of one's own personality, including children, mean in the family?? Incidentally, the CDU has been saying this since the mid-1980s: We trust people to be able to decide how they want to live in a family, and that is why we introduced freedom of choice as a concept. Everyone should be able to choose how they live their lives. That is a noble claim. I think we all agree that freedom of choice also requires choice. That is precisely what this legislative period has been very much about: Do we actually have the choices? I say, no. Do we actually want freedom of choice? Was the word "freedom of choice" always based on real freedom of choice or on the hope that a certain decision would be made in such and such a way?? Who is allowed to say what is right and what is not right?? At the beginning of my political career, I was Minister for Women's Affairs from 1990 to 1994. I have never heard such bitter discussions between women with different life models about who is the better mother or who is the worse mother, who doesn't care, who can afford to stay at home and who can't afford to, as I did back then. In the end, I came to the conclusion for myself: The main thing is that the children have happy parents. Since I trust people to somehow manage to decide in such a way that they are happy, we have now decided that we need more childcare places for children under the age of three, because the options do not exist. But at the same time we have said that because we want freedom of choice: When we have achieved this, there should also be a childcare allowance for parents who decide that one parent should stay at home for a few years. My heartfelt request at this point is just that we don't make life more difficult for ourselves than it is, but that we say out of our trust also in the decision-making ability of parents: You will try to find out what is right for you. Now I don't know how I'll be received in this circle here if I say that fathers should be given a bit more incentive to look after their little children as well. I think that is also a beautiful experience.. Past generations have experienced essentially in being a grandfather how much fun it is with babies. Today's generations already experience this in being a father. I don't think it has hurt our society, especially since male caregivers are relatively scarce in early childhood anyway. Some people don't meet their first teacher until they are in physics class at high school, and until then they have essentially grown up with women, so to speak. We must beware of one thing, and this is also one of the most difficult political discussions, regarding the material recognition of families – I am also in favor of giving families this material recognition directly, and I believe that we could manage everything better through benefits in kind – never to succumb to the danger of thinking that family policy could be exhausted with material benefits. We can introduce a minimum wage and say: Parenting is 24 hours times the minimum wage, and that must now somehow be paid to families. – It will not result in what we expect from parents in terms of love, affection and bonding power. That's why I view such attempts, which try to offset, so to speak, with extreme skepticism. I don't believe that this is the reason for the decision to have children, but rather that the decision to have children arises from a positive, optimistic view of the future and from a society that sees children as something worth loving, something that can be taken for granted, and not as something that has to be pushed to the margins if possible. Therefore, family policy is much more than just a policy of material conditions for families, which of course also have to exist, but family policy is also permanent work with all groups in this society, that you have to have a bad conscience if children are not in a good living situation. The rampant "perversion" of lawsuits against children's playgrounds and the like, which are compared to noise emission sources such as construction sites, must be brought to an end in our society. Since I was also the Federal Minister for the Environment and therefore know the Noise Abatement Ordinance very well, I would like to say that children's noise and the Noise Abatement Ordinance have nothing to do with each other, ladies and gentlemen. We also have to say that a lot of sad things happen to children. Tomorrow we will discuss in cabinet – and the Federal Minister for Family Affairs will speak on this – how to block Internet sites with child pornography. She told us about it today. We will discuss this tomorrow. What is happening in our society, sometimes in secret and difficult to detect, can only upset us all. We must try to fight against it. Nevertheless: prevention is always the best advisor. There is much we will not achieve with laws alone. We must therefore see ourselves as a responsible community. The cohesion of our society and a society-friendly climate are important for the common good. That is why I would like to say a few words about integration policy: For various reasons, we have neglected this policy for a long time in our country. If we think back to the immigration to the Ruhr region in the 19th century, we can say that we have a responsibility. If we think back to the 21st century, if we think about what we have achieved with those who came to us as Germans, but also as expellees, as refugees, then we realize that we have achieved enormous achievements in integration.. If you think about it – more than 15 million people in a destroyed post-war Germany with allocations for apartments that were too small, in which families already lived, living together for years, resentment, as an old resident not to marry a displaced person – then you can no longer imagine it today. But we have managed to do all that; it has been a huge achievement for the integration of the many ethnic German repatriates and late repatriates. The task now is to integrate those who have come to us over many years as asylum seekers, and those who came as guest workers of the first hour. Some people have said: Cultural diversity is great, here some, there others, that's actually chic. – The CDU has said: guest workers? – As the word implies, it's funny that they're still here. – In other words, we have been lying to ourselves for years and decades. Integration requires the willingness of those who want to live here permanently. We have always been very quick to say that. I say from my Christian view of humanity: integration also requires the openness of those who have lived here for a long time. If you have ever lived in a foreign country, you know that it is not always easy. This is the path we have taken during this legislative period. It's still easy to understand that you need language skills to better understand your teacher, to be able to learn in school. Everyone has realized that by now. We are also working on this. However, if you look at how big the differences are already in the third year of life, then the question of early childhood care arises in some places quite differently and quite anew. On my educational trip, kindergarten teachers told me: Well, when a child in the third year of life from a family of Turkish origin, in which the parents don't speak Turkish very well and don't speak German very well, comes to the daycare center, then every German child who has spent the first three years of life desperately trying to learn the German language properly, turns away quite confidently and says: I won't learn anything from you – the child with the migrant background.. – This means that we already have considerable difficulties in integrating children in their third year, and if integration only begins in school, many things are much, much more difficult. We offer language courses for parents, advertise them and are very happy that women, mothers in particular, take advantage of these language courses – I have seen something like this myself – so that they can go out into the public, into society, accompany their children and thus also grow into our society. We know that integration plays a central role for girls and young women, so that they too can participate in all that our education system has to offer. In this respect, the integration ie is an essential one. Of course, we are engaged in a social dialogue with immigrant Muslims. I have said that it is the second strongest religious community next to Christians, if I presuppose that Protestant and Catholic churches were added together. – I do not know if I am allowed to do that. Here we have to conduct a social dialogue, which we have not yet faced to a sufficient extent. We know of churches that have entered into this dialogue: It's not easy. You can speak with great respect and tolerance, but you will always come to points that you cannot brush aside. That is why Wolfgang Schauble, as "Minister of the Church", has made this dialogue with Islam his task and set up a German Islam Conference, which has drawn up many recommendations for action. I have seen through observation and, to some extent, through participation in this process that a lot of emotions quickly rise up and that a table is quickly half empty again, because some participants have more emotions to offer than a desire to discuss. But I do say that it is indispensable as a prerequisite for integration that we at least in our country give it a serious try with each other if we want to shape the coexistence of religions and give great lectures about how it should work in the world. When we ask ourselves how we can do this, our weaknesses immediately come to light. I have said that the Christian view of man is more than just rational knowledge. It is an inner commitment. One of our disadvantages in many discussions is that we often stand up for our convictions far less passionately. This can be concealed by saying that compromises can only be found if we are all rational with each other. – It is clear that we are not behaving in an Old Testament way, turning the other cheek to be struck again. Without inner conviction this is not easy. It is true that we are quick with human rights, indivisibility and the inviolability of dignity, but when it becomes concrete, the social discussion, as with all questions, immediately starts again: Should we receive the Dalai Lama in the Federal Chancellery or not?? – There were different answers to this question. I am pleased about the yes from this room. What about the relationship of economic success to economic cooperation, saving jobs in our country and the commitment to human rights? What is it like when we need oil and gas? Do we then look the other way a little bit or not? What about our trading partners?? – I say: Especially now, in the crisis and in the next few years, we will be put to the test when it comes to whether we uphold human rights so that we are all well and care for everyone equally. Incidentally, the Christian image of man was not created for the borders of Germany or the European Union, but applies to every person in the world. I think that we will be a little irritated when the Chinese and Indians also develop splendidly, suddenly buy copper and crude oil, the prices rise due to the high demand and we are affected by it. Respect for human rights is our desire, our duty and our conviction. We have to stand up for that. Therefore we must take note that if others are more skillful, more intelligent, more industrious and different, then it can be that they live a little better. If they are more cheerful, they might get by even better. If they quarrel less, they also waste less time. We will encounter all this in globalization. This is also important in the crisis. Together, we in the coalition decided to spend 50 billion euros on our economy and 100 million euros on the World Bank. The question has been discussed whether it is necessary to give money to the World Bank in such a situation, when we already have such high debts, which is difficult and bad, because it also does not correspond to the requirement of sustainability. I believe that in these times we have to set signs that not only our own shirt is important to us, but also other people in this world who have it at least as hard. With regard to respect for one's own values, which interfere with individual life – perhaps we'll get to that in the discussion -, with regard to the beginning of life: My group has been fighting for many months in this legislative period to decide something about late-term abortions, to introduce an obligation for counseling, so that these untenable conditions can be eliminated here. It is difficult; we have not yet been successful in. What does "dying with dignity" mean?? This question will become more and more central in view of the medical possibilities. We are against active euthanasia. But already with questions like: What does a living will look like??, What can be done?, How much can be determined?, How court-proof that has to be?, it becomes clear that the answers can be very different. We have not made it easy for ourselves with embryonic stem cell research. This is also a topic that has been very controversial with the churches. It is always characterized by the will – at least in the Christian Democratic Union – to find a responsible answer based on the image of humanity. I see some skeptical looks, but not from the Cardinal. We observe the separation of church and state in Germany. Nevertheless, we have – and I think this is very, very good – a very close discussion – I don't want to say interference, but opinion-forming, also always in relation to the churches – about all essential ethical questions. This is not the case in every country. There are as very catholic or. very Christian countries, where such discussions are completely separate. Here a law and there the statements in the church area. I think it's good that, starting with the question of war and peace and ending with asylum seekers and how we deal with them, we have never made it so easy for ourselves not to discuss this with each other, but to see that it has sometimes made our lives a little more exciting as well. We can see the magnitude of the task in these three areas – economic and social policy, the family as a community of responsibility, and cooperation in our society. I have talked about the whole global realm and sustainability, the scarcity of resources, how the "subdue the world" can certainly not be meant to apply only to one generation, but to many after us. We see the greatness of the task. It does not become easier, and the task certainly does not become smaller, if one tries to cope with the answers on the basis of the Christian conception of man or understanding of the human being. From my point of view, however, it is becoming more worthwhile. What could be more rewarding than to stand up for every single human being, to respect the differences between people and to recognize their unique dignity in them?? What can be more rewarding than to struggle again and again to give every person his or her chances to develop? What can be more rewarding – often certainly not perfect – to stand up for the dignity of unborn life as well as born life, the beginning and the end of life?? That's why I say: politics in responsibility before God and man is something that is very worthwhile to work for, which I also understand as the extraordinary thing about my work. The fact that I mentioned at the beginning, that we have a bit of reverence for God and also trust in God, makes things easier for me. But that doesn't mean that you don't have to make an effort and make an effort every day. I hope this is not only Protestant. Thank you very much for your attention!

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