A typical topic for agitation are statements by church representatives on asylum and refugee policy or homosexuality. Then they receive hate mail, whose senders increasingly appear with clear names.
Not only politicians and administrative staff, but also church representatives are increasingly having to deal with hostility. The Protestant churches in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse are registering a growing number of offensive e-mails, but have so far refrained from pressing charges against the authors.
"The tone has become rougher here, too," said Stephan Krebs, head of the public relations department of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau. Often there is also a larger number of identical mails, which indicates the use of social bots, he says.
Upsetting: statements on asylum and refugee policy
According to the Darmstadt senior church councilor, typical uproar topics include statements by leading church representatives on asylum and refugee policy or homosexuality. However, he said, inappropriate reactions are relatively common at Christmas or confirmation ceremonies, when there are not enough seats in the churches for all the worshipers.
In the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate, church representatives became the focus of anti-refugee agitation following the murder of a schoolgirl in Kandel. Verbal attacks on the church president have been accompanied by threats, said press spokesman Wolfgang Schumacher. "One or two of them we have forwarded to our lawyers."
Those responsible in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland are observing that insulting letters are increasingly also being sent under clear names and are complaining of a "verbal armament". The Rhenish church has not yet pursued legal action against the letters. So far, the leadership of the Church of Kurhessen, where the dialogue with Muslims has also recently given rise to increased hostility, has also refrained from making announcements.