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Religion and State in Germany: West and East

Jürgen Moltmann
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 483, Religion and the State: The Struggle for Legitimacy and Power (Jan., 1986), pp. 110-117
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1045544
Page Count: 8
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Religion and State in Germany: West and East
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Abstract

The relationship between church and state in Germany is conditioned by the centuries-long history of state Christianity and also by the struggle for the independence of the churches over against the state. The churches won their critical power against the state's power in their opposition to Hitler's dictatorship and the totalitarian Weltanschauung of national socialism. Since the division of the two German states in 1961, a church in socialism has developed in the German Democratic Republic. It is willing both to resist the totalitarian claims of its society and also to join into a critical partnership with the state to develop domestic social politics and peace politics between nations. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Catholic and Evangelical churches are further developing themselves along the lines of a church for the people (Volkskirche). This understanding of the nature of the church has been repeatedly placed into question since the development of the peace movement in 1981. A critical distance between the churches, on the one hand, and the claims and the political religion of the state, on the other, has consequently developed.

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