Energy policy and pgd debate

Criticism of the German government's nuclear policy and a debate on the ethical evaluation of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) dominated the first day of the synod of the Protestant Church in Germany. At the start of the annual meeting in Hanover on Sunday, Council President Nikolaus Schneider called for an energy policy that does not rely on nuclear power.

Renewable energy is the future. In view of the Castor transport to Gorleben, Hans-Hermann Jantzen, bishop vicar of Hanover, criticized a pre-commitment to the salt dome in the Wendland region as a final repository for nuclear waste during the opening church service.

Federal President Christian Wulff emphasized the importance of the Christian faith for cohesion in society in a greeting to the church parliament. Catholic Wulff highlighted Germany's Christian roots and stressed the "inner strength of the churches". In particular, he praised the church social work in Catholic Caritas and Protestant Diakonie.

Unresolved question of final disposal
In his report to the synod, the Rhenish president Schneider referred to the unresolved question of the final storage of nuclear waste. "For me, the duration of the radiation of the fuel elements to be stored exceeds the level of responsibility given to man," said Schneider, who will be elected president of the council in Hanover for the next five years. Since the resignation of Margot Kabmann at the end of February, he has held the office on a provisional basis. The church parliament is in session until Wednesday, the election for the presidency is scheduled for Tuesday.

Already on Sunday evening, two candidates presented themselves for a by-election to the Council. After one seat on the governing body was left vacant in the Ulm election a year ago and Kabmann resigned after four months, two seats initially remained vacant. Edeltraud Glanzer (54), main board member of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries Union, and Mainz theology professor Christiane Tietz (43) will stand for election on Tuesday morning to the 126 members of the synod and the church conference, which represents the 22 regional churches.

New debate in the EKD on PGD
President Schneider spoke out in favor of a new debate in the EKD on PGD. In the interest of parents suffering from serious hereditary diseases, the ethical discussion should be reopened. Until now, the EKD Council had been strictly in favor of a ban on PGD. It would be too easy, however, to regard previous decisions as set in stone, said the acting council president.

Schneider said it is too short closed "if it is postulated with absolute certainty: Birth control, prenatal diagnostics, artificial insemination and pre-implantation diagnostics interfere with God and negate the confession of God as the Creator". The Rhenish President emphasized that he feels sympathy for parents who see PGD as a help. In addition to the plight of parents, however, he said, the situation of women in particular must be addressed. He was aware, however, how difficult it would be to set limits and to keep them in practice.

No unanimous opinion on the P
In the ensuing debate, the different positions on embryo diagnostics became clear. The bishop of Bavaria, Johannes Friedrich, underlined his position that PGD should be banned because borders cannot be respected. Synod President Katrin Goring-Eckardt also pointed out how difficult it is to define serious hereditary diseases for which diagnostics could be permitted. Bishop Martin Hein of Kurhessen referred to the range within the Protestant Church in ethical judgments and warned against time prere in the debate on PGD. Wurttemberg synod member Eva Glock warned PGD contributes to sorting out life that doesn't fit the norm. Synod member Joachim Klasse recommended that, in the case of a ban, the consequences should be considered with regard to the prevention of late-term abortions and possible PGD tourism abroad.

In PGD, embryos created in a test tube are genetically tested before they are implanted in the womb. Diagnostics should prevent the selection of embryos and, first and foremost, the transmission of genetic hereditary diseases. But it can also be used to determine the sex and other characteristics of embryos. A new regulation is pending, because the Federal Supreme Court overturned the previous ban in July. The governing coalition is therefore seeking a legislative initiative.

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