German Evangelicals Weigh Political Values After Angela Merkel

German Evangelicals Weigh Political Values After Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2021. (Annegret Hilse/Pool via AP)

Anna Klein is excited to vote for change. The 27-year-old evangelical German schoolteacher supported Angela Merkel for chancellor in the last two national elections, but this year, as the long-serving Merkel steps off the political stage, Klein is going to support the Green Party’s Annalena Baerbock.

Klein, who lives in the central state of Thuringia, says the September 26 election is historic. And she likes the idea of supporting a woman who could in some ways build on Merkel’s legacy of responsible leadership and in other ways “move in an even more transformational direction.”

Her vote, at its base, is informed by her faith.

“I’m not a conservative person politically, because I am not a conservative person when it comes to religion and its role in my life,” Klein said. “My understanding of faith is always one of a welcoming, yes-saying approach to change.”

Baerbock is seen as an advocate for more dialogue and someone who will provide leadership on environmental issues, refugees, women’s rights, and education. Klein resonates with these priorities because of evangelical teachings about loving your neighbor and welcoming the stranger, Jesus’ respect for women, and the biblical mandates to care for creation.

With the support of younger evangelicals like Klein, the Green Party seems to be pulling ahead in polls. It may garner enough votes to form a coalition government with the conservative bloc, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The idea of progressive Greens and center-right CDU-CSU governing together, hand in hand, might sound strange. But the environmental protest party has shifted to the mainstream, with a focus on being problem solvers, and many Germans like the idea of leaders working together to find practical solutions.

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Source: Christianity Today, Ken Chitwood

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