Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first suffering of Christ we must experience is the call sundering our ties to this world. This is the death of the old human being in the encounter with Jesus Christ. Whoever enters discipleship enters Jesus' death, and puts his or her own life into death; this has been so from the beginning. The cross is not the horrible end of a pious, happy life, but stands rather at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death. Whether with the first disciples we leave home and occupation in order to follow him, or whether with Luther we leave the monastery to enter a secular profession, in either case the one death awaits us, namely death in Jesus Christ, the dying away of our old form of being human in Jesus' call.

….Those who are not prepared to take up the cross, those who are not prepared to give their life to suffering and rejection by others, lose community with Christ and are not disciples. But those who lose their life in discipleship, in bearing the cross, will find it again in discipleship itself, in the community of the cross with Christ. The opposite of discipleship is to be ashamed of Christ, of the cross, and to take offense at the cross. Discipleship is commitment to the suffering Christ.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Meditations on the Cross (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1998 [trans Douglas Stott]), pp. 14,16

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Recently we celebrated] Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s birthday. Since my book on him was published...[in 2010], fascination with the young German pastor continues to grow. The interest is so great I’ve recently been asked to do a ten-city Bonhoeffer tour.

I have to ask myself: Why are so many people intrigued by Bonhoeffer? The answer, I believe, is that the message of Bonhoeffer's life is hugely relevant today—especially when it comes to the growing threats against religious freedom.

...were he alive today and living in America, costly grace for him would likely mean preaching what the Word of God teaches about human sexuality--even when activists and their allies in government try to suppress his work and attack his church. Costly grace would mean standing against churches that mix radical new doctrines about marriage with Christian truth. Costly grace would mean standing up to a government attempting to force him to buy health insurance that violates his beliefs—even if it led to his arrest.

And costly grace would, I believe, lead him to sign the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious liberty, just as he signed the Barmen Declaration, which I quote at length in my book.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bonheoffer’s life and death belong to the annals of Christian martyrdom…his life and death have given us great hope for the future. He has set a model for a new type of true leadership inspired by the gospel, daily ready for martyrdom and imbued by a new spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty. The victory which he has won for us all, a conquest never to be undone, of love, light and liberty.

--Gerhard Leibholz (1901-1982), Bonhoeffer’s brother in law

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Precisely because of our attitude to the state, the conversation here must be completely honest, for the sake of Jesus Christ and the ecumenical cause. We must make it clear—fearful as it is—that the time is very near when we shall have to decide between National Socialism and Christianity. It may be fearfully hard and difficult for us all, but we must get right to the root of things, with open Christian speaking and no diplomacy. And in prayer together we will find the way. I feel that a resolution ought to be framed—all evasion is useless. And if the World Alliance in Germany is then dissolved—well and good, at least we will have borne witness that we were at fault. Better that than to go on vegetating in this untruthful way. Only complete truth and truthfulness will help us now.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer as quoted in No Rusty Swords, my emphasis

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

PRESENTER: Should Bonhoeffer be regarded as a Protestant Saint?

ARCHBISHOP: What makes it an interesting question is that he himself says in one of his very last letters to survive, that he doesn't want to be a saint; he wants to be a believer. In other words he doesn't want to be some kind of, as he might put it, detached holy person. He wants to show what faith means in every day life. So I think in the wider sense, yes he's a saint; he's a person who seeks to lead an integrated life, loyal to God, showing God's life in the world. A saint in the conventional sense? Well, he wouldn't have wanted to be seen in that way.

--Archbishop Rowan Williams on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speaking in 2006

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a final letter to Rienhold Niebuhr before departing America for Germany in 1939

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany* Theology

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, who gavest grace to thy servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive thy word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A true story: This chimney, planted like a limbless live oak on a residential street, was built by imprisoned German soldiers during the final year of World War II.

City officials and preservationists want to protect the chimney as a piece of a forgotten America. But the property’s owners, members of a prominent Charleston family, see it as more than just an obstacle to their development plans.

They are Jewish, and they want it gone.

“Every time I see the structure, it makes me think about the ovens,” says Mary Ann Pearlstine Aberman, 79, who co-owns the land. “I don’t see any reason to make a shrine to Nazis.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Confess your faults one to another" (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!

But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted March 5, 2014 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time, German public schools are offering classes in Islam to primary school students using state-trained teachers and specially written textbooks, as officials try to better integrate the nation’s large Muslim minority and counter the growing influence of radical religious thinking.

The classes offered in Hesse State are part of a growing consensus that Germany, after decades of neglect, should do more to acknowledge and serve its Muslim population if it is to foster social harmony, overcome its aging demographics and head off a potential domestic security threat.

The need, many here say, is ever more urgent. According to German security officials and widespread reports in the German news media, this past semester at least two young Germans in Hesse — one thought to be just 16 — were killed in Syria after heeding the call for jihad and apparently being recruited by hard-line Salafist preachers in Frankfurt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted January 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Berliner and longtime member of St. Mary's church choir, Christian Beier attempts to explain the mystique and tradition behind this piece of music....

"It makes Christmas Christmas," he adds with a chuckle.

But as gorgeous as the music is for Beier, the core of this yearly event is something deeper.

"It is getting into some dialogue with God. It is being moved by whatever is around us," he says.

Read or listen to it all (audio for this highly encouraged).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison Ministry* International News & CommentaryEuropeAustriaGermany

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Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Sunday 1 December, St George's Anglican Church in Berlin celebrated the 10th anniversary of the restoration of regular services in central Berlin (Mitte).

The first St George’s in the city was built in 1885 under the patronage of the Crown Princess of Germany, Victoria (eldest daughter of Queen Victoria) who was married to the future Kaiser Friedrich III. It was the only Anglican Church in Germany to remain open during World War I, as the Kaiser was the Church’s Patron. It was closed in the Second World War and hit by allied bombing 24 Nov 1943 and the remains were pulled down by the East Berlin authorities. After World War II, new St George's, a garrison Church, was built in the British sector. In 1994 the new St George’s became a civilian congregation of the Diocese.

Read it all and check out the pictures as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted December 11, 2013 at 11:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive… He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near… On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners–the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”
I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryMusicReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sir Nicholas Winton organized the rescue and passage to Britain of about 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps before World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport.

After the war, Nicholas Winton didn’t tell anyone, not even his wife Grete about his wartime rescue efforts. In 1988, a half century later, Grete found a scrapbook from 1939 in their attic, with all the children’s photos, a complete list of names, a few letters from parents of the children to Winton and other documents. She finally learned the whole story.

In the video [at the link] the survivors gathered to give him a wonderful surprise. Watch it all (Hat tip DR).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeCzech RepublicGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted November 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Angela Merkel won a landslide personal victory in Germany's general election on Sunday, but her conservatives appeared just short of the votes needed to rule on their own and may have to convince leftist rivals to join a coalition government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ever since the euro crisis broke in late 2009 this newspaper has criticised the world’s most powerful woman. We disagreed with Angela Merkel’s needlessly austere medicine: the continent’s recession has been unnecessarily long and brutal as a result. We wanted the chancellor to shrug off her cautious incrementalism and the mantle of her country’s history—and to lead Europe more forcefully. She is largely to blame for the failure to create a full banking union for the euro zone, the first of many institutional changes it still needs. She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs). We also worry that she has not done enough at home: in recent years no country in the European Union has made fewer structural reforms, and her energy policies have landed Germany with high subsidies for renewables and high electricity prices.

And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the world’s most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents. It is also partly because of what we believe she could still become—the great leader Germany and Europe so desperately needs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

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Posted September 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the euro crisis began, many governments across Europe have been swept from power. France last year saw a presidential campaign heavily focused on Europe, and calls for alternatives to austerity have grown ever louder. So why is it that Germany, the country key to solving the euro crisis, seems immune to this polarization of views on the future of economic and monetary union?

Partly it has to do with the Greens and the Social Democrats, two opposition parties struggling to differentiate their euro policies from Merkel's government, a coalition of her conservatives and the business friendly Free Democrats (FDP). Both the Greens and the SPD have supported all major euro rescue measures thus far. Even the Left Party, a stronger critic of the government, recently confirmed its overall commitment to the common currency. There is currently no anti-euro party in Germany parliament, with newcomers such as the euro-skeptic Alternative for Germany, media attention notwithstanding, yet to demonstrate their potential at the ballot box.

One reason is that Germans are still not feeling the pinch of the crisis. On the contrary, they continue to hear good news about strong exports, lower unemployment and economic growth. With the election looming, it is no surprise that the Merkel administration is wary of spoiling this mood of complacency by addressing the downsides of the "German model" for fellow euro-zone member states.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

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Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans and Catholics alike, said Pope Francis, should give "a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers."

This well-intentioned statement could have also come from his counterpart, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, since March the head of the Church of England and supreme spiritual leader of about 80 million Anglicans worldwide. Welby, 57, has addressed issues of justice in capitalism ever since he was a theology student, and he rewrote his doctoral thesis into a treatise that poses the question: "Can Companies Sin?"

Of course they can. Unlike his predecessors, Welby can draw on his own experience to answer such questions. Before beginning his church career, Welby worked for 11 years as a financial manager in the oil industry: five years at Elf Aquitaine in France, followed by six years in London and, most recently, with Enterprise Oil, a production company that is now part of the Shell conglomerate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Irena Schauk learned that her 14-month-old son would not be receiving a place in a daycare center in Berlin's central Mitte district, the news disappointed the mother, but came as little surprise. The struggle to find slots at the Kita -- short for Kindertagesstätte, the German word for a nursery -- can be Sisyphean for working parents in some parts of the country. Schauk, 29, says she'd been hearing Kita war stories for years.

"I had heard about parents outbidding one another and offering extravagant gifts to nursery managers," Schauk says. She adds that several other acquaintances also received rejection letters -- with one family finding a slot in an inconveniently located daycare center and another mother instead opting to stay home to care for her child.

A new law in Germany that went into effect on Thursday seeks to improve the situation for working parents like Schauk. Under the new rules, all parents with a child aged 12 months or older have the right to a slot in a daycare center. Previously, the rule applied only to parents with children aged three or older. It also provides any parent whose child is denied a slot with a legal provision to challenge the decision, though some have warned the option could prove expensive and might not make a difference anyway -- especially if there literally is no daycare option available in a community.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted August 4, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

even as unemployed workers in Germany lose income, energy, and vitality -- not to mention social connections, emotional support, and hope -- they're actually better off than employed Germans who have bad managers. That's right: In Germany, where 71% would keep working even if they didn't have to, disengagement at work is worse than unemployment.

Only about 30% of actively disengaged employees and unemployed workers are thriving

In 2012, Gallup administered its Q12 employee engagement survey to employed workers in Germany and its wellbeing assessment to employed and unemployed workers. Gallup asked both groups to rate their current lives and predict their lives five years in the future, then categorized them as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" based on their responses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted July 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Who brought down the Berlin Wall? It was Polish trade unionists, Mikhail Gorbachev and his perestroika, Ronald Reagan and his Star Wars program, ordinary East Germans demonstrating in the streets and piling into the West German embassy in Prague, and of course Günter Schabowski, the Politburo member who read out that legendary note lifting travel restrictions -- "effective immediately" -- on the night of Nov. 9, 1989.

A new book published this week ventures to add another name to that list -- rock star Bruce Springsteen, who held the biggest concert in the history of East Germany on July 19, 1988, and whose rousing, passionate performance that night lit a spark in the hundreds of thousands of young people who saw him.

Springsteen attracted an estimated 300,000 people from all over the German Democratic Republic -- the largest crowd he had ever played to. They were hungry for change and freedom, and seeing one of the West's top stars made them even hungrier, argues veteran journalist Erik Kirschbaum in his book "Rocking the Wall,"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMusic* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany

1 Comments
Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted June 5, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was a terrific final at Wembley which Elizabeth and I enjoyed watching.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeGermany

1 Comments
Posted May 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of life made new in Christ, who dost call thy Church to keep on rising from the dead: We remember before thee the bold witness of thy servant Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, through whom thy Spirit moved to draw many in Europe and the American colonies to faith and conversion of life; and we pray that we, like him, may rejoice to sing thy praise, live thy love and rest secure in the safekeeping of the Lord; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leopold Engleitner, the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, has died at the age of 107, his biographer said.

Engleitner, a conscientious objector whose life was documented in the book and film “Unbroken Will”, was imprisoned in the Buchenwald, Niederhagen and Ravensbrueck camps between 1939 and 1943.

He refused to renounce his Jehovah’s Witness faith to win his freedom but was eventually released, weighing just 28 kilograms (62 pounds), on condition that he agree to spend the rest of his life working as a slave agricultural labourer.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeAustriaGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the thirty or so years that I have been following EU affairs – or is it nearer 35 years now since I studied in French literature in Paris, and German philosophy in Mainz – I have never seen ties between Europe’s two great land states reduced so low.

The French Socialist Party crossed a line by lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel in person. It is one thing to protest “German austerity”, it is quite another to rebuke the “selfish intransigence of Mrs Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future”.

There is no justification for such an ad hominem attack. German policy is indeed destructive, but that is structural. It is built into the mechanisms of EMU and the anthropological make-up of the enterprise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceGermany

1 Comments
Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Congratulations to Borussia Dortmund for making the Champions League Final.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanySpain

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Posted April 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This blew my mind--watch it all (in case of any trouble, there is another link there). Wow.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravel* General Interest* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

1 Comments
Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

PRESENTER: Should Bonhoeffer be regarded as a Protestant Saint?

ARCHBISHOP: What makes it an interesting question is that he himself says in one of his very last letters to survive, that he doesn't want to be a saint; he wants to be a believer. In other words he doesn't want to be some kind of, as he might put it, detached holy person. He wants to show what faith means in every day life. So I think in the wider sense, yes he's a saint; he's a person who seeks to lead an integrated life, loyal to God, showing God's life in the world. A saint in the conventional sense? Well, he wouldn't have wanted to be seen in that way.

--Archbishop Rowan Williams on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speaking in 2006

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2013 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a final letter to Rienhold Niebuhr before departing America for Germany in 1939

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2013 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 9, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, who gavest grace to thy servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive thy word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2013 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Monday was]...Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s birthday. Since my book on him was published three years ago, fascination with the young German pastor continues to grow. The interest is so great I’ve recently been asked to do a ten-city Bonhoeffer tour.

I have to ask myself: Why are so many people intrigued by Bonhoeffer? The answer, I believe, is that the message of Bonhoeffer's life is hugely relevant today—especially when it comes to the growing threats against religious freedom.

were he alive today and living in America, costly grace for him would likely mean preaching what the Word of God teaches about human sexuality--even when activists and their allies in government try to suppress his work and attack his church. Costly grace would mean standing against churches that mix radical new doctrines about marriage with Christian truth. Costly grace would mean standing up to a government attempting to force him to buy health insurance that violates his beliefs—even if it led to his arrest.
And costly grace would, I believe, lead him to sign the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious liberty, just as he signed the Barmen Declaration, which I quote at length in my book.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is available to listen to or download, you may find it here (currently at the top of the page and dated January 27, 2013).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Theology

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Posted February 5, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.

Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.

By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.

You can read it but it is a must-listen-to it all entry. Stunningly powerful.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusicPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out and see if you can handle the Gen-X Bible Quiz.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted January 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But see, how unkindly he turns away the humble request of his mother who addresses him with such great confidence. Now observe the nature of faith. What has it to rely on? Absolutely nothing, all is darkness. It feels its need and sees help nowhere; in addition, God turns against it like a stranger and does not recognize it, so that absolutely nothing is left. It is the same way with our conscience when we feel our sin and the lack of righteousness; or in the agony of death when we feel the lack of life; or in the dread of hell when eternal salvation seems to have left us. Then indeed there is humble longing and knocking, prayer and search, in order to be rid of sin, death and dread. And then he acts as if he had only begun to show us our sins, as if death were to continue, and hell never to cease. Just as he here treats his mother, by his refusal making the need greater and more distressing than it was before she came to him with her request; for now it seems everything is lost, since the one support on which she relied in her need is also gone.

This is where faith stands in the heat of battle. Now observe how his mother acts and here becomes our teacher. However harsh his words sound, however unkind he appears, she does not in her heart interpret this as anger, or as the opposite of kindness, but adheres firmly to the conviction that he is kind, refusing to give up this opinion because of the thrust she received, and unwilling to dishonor him in her heart by thinking him to be otherwise than kind and gracious--as they do who are without faith, who fall back at the first shock and think of God merely according to what they feel, like the horse and the mule, Ps 32, 9. For if Christ's mother had allowed those harsh words to frighten her she would have gone away silently and displeased; but in ordering the servants to do what he might tell them she proves that she has overcome the rebuff and still expects of him nothing but kindness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prosecutors are investigating an organ donor scandal in the east German city of Leipzig in which doctors allegedly manipulated an organ waiting list.

Three doctors have been suspended at the Leipzig University Clinic's organ transplant centre.

German media report that 38 patients with liver problems were falsely listed as dialysis cases in order to shorten their wait for a transplant.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 3, 2013 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Berliner and longtime member of St. Mary's church choir, Christian Beier attempts to explain the mystique and tradition behind this piece of music....

"It makes Christmas Christmas," he adds with a chuckle.

But as gorgeous as the music is for Beier, the core of this yearly event is something deeper.

"It is getting into some dialogue with God. It is being moved by whatever is around us," he says.

Read or listen to it all (audio for this highly encouraged).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and please do not miss the picture.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventLiturgy, Music, Worship* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new law passed by an overwhelming majority in Bundestag lower house said the operation could be carried out, as long as parents were informed about the risks.

Jewish groups welcomed the move.

"This vote and the strong commitment shown ... to protect this most integral practice of the Jewish religion is a strong message to our community for the continuation and flourishing of Jewish life in Germany," said Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamJudaism

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Posted December 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive… He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near… On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners–the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”
I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The eurozone's return to recession is particularly bad news because it is now hitting once strong economies like Germany. This means the recession will last longer and have a bigger impact on U.S. consumers and companies.

Figures released today showed that collectively the economies of the 17-country eurozone contracted by 0.1 percent between July and September. While this is a slight improvement over the second quarter of the year when it shrank by 0.2 percent, the definition of a recession is two straight quarters of contraction. Most analysts believe that the recession will continue at least until the end of 2012.

"The recession in southern Europe is slowly creeping to other countries," says Martin Van Vliet, an analyst with ING. "If you look at the indicators for the fourth quarter you see that even Germany many not grow again and that shows that the economy has an enormous need for a new impulse."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

1 Comments
Posted November 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has asked a panel of advisers to look into reform proposals for France, concerned that weakness in the euro zone's second largest economy could come back to haunt Germany and the broader currency bloc.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters this week that Schaeuble asked the council of economic advisers to the German government, known as the "wise men", to consider drafting a report on what France should do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermany

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Posted November 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The financial markets have been notably calm of late. Stock indexes have ticked upwards and interest rates on sovereign bonds have drifted downwards. The euro has also remained relatively stable against the dollar. And investor panic seems to have dissipated.

But appearances can be deceiving, said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Tuesday. "I'm not so sure that the worst of the crisis is behind us," he said at a mechanical engineering conference in Berlin, warning that reform efforts needed to be re-doubled to ensure that trust in the euro returns.

His comments were echoed by Yves Mersch, a member of the European Central Bank Governing Council who was also present at the event. He warned that even if calm had returned to the markets, it could be deceptive. "The bleeding has been stopped, but the patient is not yet in the clear," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

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Posted October 25, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

n official says the oldest known former prisoner of the Auschwitz death camp has died in Poland at the age of 108.

Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum, says Antoni Dobrowolski died Sunday in the northwestern town of Debno.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyPoland

1 Comments
Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 23, Good Friday, Hans wrote to Dietrich—not knowing, of course, whether the letter would be delivered. His message was one of soul-searing regret:

That I am responsible for you, Christel, the children, and the parents having to bear this pain, that my beloved wife and you are robbed of freedom—you won’t believe how this depresses me…. If I knew that you all—and you personally—don’t think of me with reproaches, a weight would be lifted from my soul.
Dietrich quickly reassured him:

There is not a grain of reproach or bitterness in me regarding what has happened to you and me. Such things come from God, and only Him. And I know that you and Christel are at one with me, that before Him there is only submission, endurance, patience—and gratitude.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several recent incidents in Berlin have escalated tensions between Muslims, Jews, and the city's secular majority. Over a month ago, a rabbi wearing a kippa, or yarmulke, was beaten by four "Arab-looking" youths after being asked if he and his daughter were Jewish. Public outcry led to a large demonstration in support of Berlin's Jews, including a flash mob of Jews and non-Jews wearing kippot. Tensions escalated days later when a second incident, in which Jewish school girls were harassed by a group of youths that included a girl wearing a head scarf, led to an exchange of harsh words between Jewish and Muslim leaders, though in neither case were the attackers caught or identified definitively. After being advised to urge greater religious tolerance, Muslim leaders denied responsibility for the attacks and pointed out their own experiences of intolerance in the city.

Then on Yom Kippur, two more anti-Semitic incidents took place—the first when a young white man threatened a local Jewish leader and told him to go back where he came from, and the second when a mother and her daughter were forced out of a taxi after telling the "German" driver they were going to synagogue. Diedre Berger of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee has now intervened, asking the German government to develop an action plan to combat anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, a contrasting alliance between Jews and Muslims has formed in the aftermath of a regional court ruling against circumcision.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamJudaismSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is a paradox of modern Germany that church and state remain so intimately tied. That bond persists more and more awkwardly, it seems, as the church’s relationship with followers continues to fray amid growing secularization.

Last week one of Germany’s highest courts rankled Catholic bishops by ruling that the state recognized the right of Catholics to leave the church — and therefore avoid paying a tax that is used to support religious institutions. The court ruled it was a matter of religious freedom, while religious leaders saw the decision as yet another threat to their influence on modern German society.

With its ruling the court also dodged the thorny issue of what happens when a parishioner formally quits the church, stops paying taxes, but then wants to attend services anyway. The court said that, too, was a matter of religious freedom, a decision that so rankled religious leaders fearful of losing a lucrative revenue stream that they made clear, right away, that taxes are the price for participation in the church’s most sacred rituals: no payments, no sacraments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

4 Comments
Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shopkeeper Nevzat Cavan is rushing to meet orders for the white, fur-trimmed costumes worn by Muslim boys for their circumcision, relieved that Berlin's city government has allowed the operations to resume.

For three months, the elaborate suits, capes and oriental slippers languished unsold due to a shock court ruling that raised the possibility of criminal charges being brought against families who had their sons circumcised.

"There were days when we didn't even open the till, but now the phone never stops ringing," Turkish-born Cavan said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Spanish were a bit hesitant but now they are ready to request aid," a senior European source said. Three other euro zone senior euro zone sources confirmed the shift in the Spanish position, all speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said Spain is taking all the right steps to overcome its fiscal problems and does not need a bailout, arguing that investors will recognise and reward Spanish reforms in due course.

Privately, several European diplomats and a senior German source said Chancellor Angela Merkel preferred to avoid putting more individual bailouts for distressed euro zone countries to her increasingly reluctant parliament.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanySpain

1 Comments
Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe's sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.

The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if a problem is detected.

The new rules, which also grant the regulator the power to compel firms to detail their trading practices, will apply to anyone trading in Germany, no matter where they are based. If it is approved in cabinet, the bill will move to the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament. The bill is widely expected to pass later this year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2012 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...Rajoy is the victim of his electoral success: his majority government, ironically, is weaker for not including regionalist partners. The Catalan government sees the dissatisfaction with Madrid’s handling of the crisis as an opportunity: it may give the regionalists enough of a boost at the polls to force Madrid to hand them more autonomy, in other words, control of taxes. If Catalonia had control over its own taxes, the argument goes, the region would not have needed a bailout.

Rajoy’s choices are limited: he either refuses Catalan demands for more autonomy and risks enflaming Catalan nationalist sentiment, or agrees to increased autonomy, and risks enflaming Spanish nationalist sentiment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreeceSpain

0 Comments
Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Ludwig ] Guttmann was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Born into an orthodox Jewish family, by 1933 he was Germany’s leading brain surgeon. Then Hitler came to power and in 1939 he came to Britain where his skill in neurology led to his being asked by the government to set up the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital, which he did in 1943.

At that time it was assumed that paraplegics would never be able to live any kind of normal life. The best that could be done for them was to keep them sedated by high doses of drugs, and left hospitalized and bed-ridden until they died.

Guttmann was appalled. He believed that they each had a life ahead of them, not just behind them. With faith and determination, they could leave their beds, go out into the world, have jobs, marry,find happiness and the dignity of achievement. The film tells how, by sheer will and unshakable obstinacy, he gave paraplegics back their life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

1 Comments
Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Germany should leave the euro zone if it is not prepared to take a more decisive lead in helping the euro zone's weaker nations escape a spiral of increasing indebtedness and economic decline, veteran financier George Soros said on Saturday.

Soros said Europe faced a prolonged depression and an acrimonious end to the European unification project if steps were not taken to help its southern nations grow their way out of the debt crisis by collectively assuming some of their debt and relaxing its German-led insistence on austerity.

"Germany should either lead in developing a growth policy, political union and burden-sharing, accept the cost of leadership, or leave through an amicable arrangement," Soros said in an interview with Reuters television in Vienna.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

3 Comments
Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Greeted with initial fanfare by investors and economic officials, the unlimited bond-buying plan that the European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, announced Thursday ran into immediate political problems in the crucial countries of Germany, Spain and Italy.

In Germany, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for Mr. Draghi and the independence of the Central Bank, political and news media reaction was scathing, with accusations that the bank, in seeking to stabilize the euro currency union, was subverting its mandate to fight inflation and forcing debt upon euro zone members.

“A Black Day for the Euro,” “Over the Red Line” and “Pandora’s Box Opened Forever” were some of the German headlines, with the normally sympathetic Süddeutsche Zeitung headlining an editorial: “The E.C.B. Rewards Mismanagement.” Even the German Bundesbank, officially part of the European Central Bank, put out a statement commenting acidly that the plan was “financing governments by printing bank notes.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyItalySpain

0 Comments
Posted September 9, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Berlin's senate said doctors could legally circumcise infant boys for religious reasons in its region, given certain conditions, ending months of legal uncertainty after a court banned the practice this year.

The ruling in June by a district court in Cologne outraged Muslims and Jews and sparked an emotional debate in the country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamJudaism

3 Comments
Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was a head-spinning moment in Germany last week: News emerged that a rabbi had been criminally charged for performing his religious duties. Rabbi David Goldberg of northern Bavaria, who shepherds a 400-member community, is the first person to run afoul of a ruling by a Cologne judge earlier this year that criminalized circumcision, a basic religious rite.

There is some precedent outside of Germany for such a ruling. In 2001, a Swedish law sparked a protest from Jews and Muslims by requiring that a medical doctor or anesthesia nurse accompany registered circumcisers, and that anesthesia be applied before the procedure. The law is still in effect....

The ban by the court in Cologne, however, is the most troubling. For decades Germany has been an example of how a nation can take responsibility for its previous crimes. It is very moving to see Germany's Holocaust memorial in Berlin, just two blocks from the country's parliament. But the circumcision ban deserves universal scorn.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

1 Comments
Posted August 31, 2012 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian Berntsen is nothing if not enthusiastic. An activist with Bunt statt Braun, a group dedicated to combating right-wing extremism in the northern German city of Rostock, Berntsen has been instrumental in helping plan and stage events dedicated to commemorating the xenophobic, 1992 assault on an asylum-seekers home in the city quarter of Lichtenhagen. The list of activities is long: films, podium discussions, international cooking courses in local schools and presentations by local and regional politicians of all stripes.

"The city is working hand-in-hand with us when it comes to the remembrance program," Berntsen says ardently. "And the events have been extremely well received and well attended."
The effort in Rostock is indeed impressive. The city has gone out of its way to ensure that the kind of hateful violence that flared up two decades ago does not make a reappearance. But elsewhere in Germany, particularly in the east, the situation offers decidedly less cause for optimism. There are, to be sure, myriad groups pursuing goals similar to Bunt statt Braun, but entire regions remain where foreigners are afraid to venture, towns dominated by neo-Nazi thugs and repeated attacks against those who look different. Twenty years after the despicable Rostock violence, Germany's xenophobia problem remains daunting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropology

3 Comments
Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces one of the toughest choices of her career in the coming weeks: whether to risk the unraveling of the euro zone, or her government.

After a summer lull, Greece is again Ms. Merkel's biggest headache.

The Greek government, struggling with depression-like conditions that have pushed the economy to the brink, is likely to need many billions of euros of additional aid to avoid bankruptcy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyGreece

0 Comments
Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....rather than scour tarnished Weimar, we should read much deeper into Germany’s incomparably rich history, and in particular the indelible mark left by Martin Luther and the “mighty fortress” he built with his strain of Protestantism. Even today Germany, though religiously diverse and politically secular, defines itself and its mission through the writings and actions of the 16th century reformer, who left a succinct definition of Lutheran society in his treatise “The Freedom of a Christian,” which he summarized in two sentences: “A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, subject to none, and a Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all.”

Consider Luther’s view on charity and the poor. He made the care of the poor an organized, civic obligation by proposing that a common chest be put in every German town; rather than skimp along with the traditional practice of almsgiving to the needy and deserving native poor, Luther proposed that they receive grants, or loans, from the chest. Each recipient would pledge to repay the borrowed amount after a timely recovery and return to self-sufficiency, thereby taking responsibility for both his neighbors and himself. This was love of one’s neighbor through shared civic responsibility, what the Lutherans still call “faith begetting charity.”

How little has changed in 500 years. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, a born-and-baptized daughter of an East German Lutheran pastor, clearly believes the age-old moral virtues and remedies are the best medicine for the euro crisis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....for this very practical woman there is also a practical reason to start contingency planning for a break-up: it is looking ever more likely. Greece is buckling (see article). Much of southern Europe is also in pain, while the northern creditor countries are becoming ever less forgiving: in a recent poll a narrow majority of Germans favoured bringing back the Deutschmark. A chaotic disintegration would be a calamity. Even as Mrs Merkel struggles to find a solution, her aides are surely also sensibly drawing up a plan to prepare for the worst.

This week our briefing imagines what such a “Merkel memorandum” might say (see article). It takes a German point of view, but its logic would apply to the other creditor countries. Its conclusions are stark—not least in terms of which euro member it makes sense to keep or drop. But the main message is one of urgency. For the moment, breaking up the euro would be more expensive than trying to hold it together. But if Europe just keeps on arguing, that calculation will change....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyGreece

1 Comments
Posted August 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world must “never forget” the terrorist attacks that killed Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, David Cameron has said.

On the 40th anniversary of the attack, the Prime Minister led tributes to the 11 men who lost their lives on “one of the darkest days in the history of the Olympic Games”.

He said Britain understands the terrible impact of terrorism as the London 2012 Olympics were announced the day before the bombings on July 7, 2005.

Read it all and then please take the time to read the whole speech.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistorySportsViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeGermanyMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The anger within the three parties of the ruling coalition is understandable. These are the parties of the German taxpayer, after all, and ever since the sovereign debt crisis began they have been reciting the mantra that the eurozone is not and will not become a “transfer union”; that there will be no mutualisation of debt; that Mediterranean sloth and tax evasion will not be rewarded by payments from hardworking, honest Nordic Germany.

If this sounds racist, it’s because the debate is tinged on all sides by nationalist stereotypes. The German middle class feels it has been had and the country is digesting Moody’s downgrading of its credit rating. “Is this what we get for saving the Greeks?” asks the tabloid Bild. Good question....

It is impossible to explain to a German who has had her retirement age upped to 67, or an unemployed German whose benefits have been cut to balance the budget, why billions of euros should go south to support governments that didn’t have the guts to slash social spending or who let their citizens retire to the beach at 55.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--IrelandEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyGreeceItalyPortugalSpain

0 Comments
Posted July 31, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Cologne court has decreed that a child's circumcision is "bodily harm" and thus verboten. Unless the German Bundestag intervenes, which it has pledged to do, about four million Muslims and 100,000-plus Jews will have to practice a central part of their religion in the catacombs of Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

It is all God's fault. "This is my covenant," He ordered in Genesis 17:10, "which ye shall keep, and thy seed after thee. Every man child among you shall be circumcised." The original criminal was Abraham, who laid hand on himself—without sterile equipment, let alone novocaine. Then he inflicted the same on his son Isaac on the eighth day after his birth, circa 4,000 years ago....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamJudaism

5 Comments
Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While several governments around the world have set up commissions to study Scientology in order to determine whether it qualifies as a religion, Germany broke new ground when, in 1992, the city of Hamburg set up a “Scientology Task Force” to monitor the group, assist members who have left the Church and are thus cut off from their families, and discourage citizens from joining it in the first place. (That office, which maintained a vast and extensive archive of official Scientology documents, many of them classified by the Church, was closed due to government budget cuts in 2010.)

The former head of the Task Force, Ursula Caberta, has labeled Cruise “an enemy of [the German] constitution” and has not so subtly likened the Church to the Third Reich, calling it a “totalitarian organization that seeks to control everybody else, a dictatorship.” Hers is a view that an overwhelming number of Germans seem to share: A 2007 poll found that 74 percent favor banning Scientology. The German equivalent of the FBI, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the Bundesamt für Verfassungshutz, or BfV), has been monitoring Scientology since 1997. On the BfV’s homepage, Scientology is listed alongside “Right-wing extremism,” “Islamism,” and “Espionage” as one of its focus areas. (The Hamburg government has even printed pamphlets warning about the dangers of Scientology in Turkish for the country’s sizable Turkish minority.)

Contrast this response to the attitude toward Scientology in the United States, where the Church, though largely seen as a celebrity curiosity, is a tax-exempt, legally recognized religious faith....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

1 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Discussion among eurozone leaders about the future of their single currency has become an increasingly divisive affair. On the surface, religion has nothing to do with it - but could Protestant and Catholic leaders have deep-seated instincts that lead them to pull the eurozone in different directions, until it breaks?

Following the last European summit in Brussels there was much talk of defeat for Chancellor Merkel by what was described as a "new Latin Alliance" of Italy and Spain backed by France.

Many Germans protested that too much had been conceded by their government - and it might not be too far-fetched to see this as just the latest Protestant criticism of the Latin approach to matters monetary, which has deep roots in German culture, shaped by religious belief.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranRoman Catholic* Theology

7 Comments
Posted July 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A controversial German court ruling on circumcision has outraged Muslim and Jewish groups in Germany and abroad. German commentators say the decision was misguided and could have devastating consequences.

The ruling came nearly two weeks ago, but the reaction is getting increasingly vocal. At a meeting of the orthodox Conference of European Rabbis in Berlin on Thursday, the group's head warned that a June 26 court decision making a case of circumcision a crime had been the "worst attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust". Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt also threatened that Jews might leave Germany if the country doesn't move to provide legal certainty that the tradition of circumcision can continue.

In a case involving a Muslim boy, the Cologne regional court ruled that the doctor performing the circumcision had committed bodily injury to a child, thus criminalizing the act. The ruling has no legal bearing on other cases, but some fear it could be used as a precedent by other courts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamJudaism

0 Comments
Posted July 16, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Congratulations to them they played well; Buffon is quite the goalie.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyItaly

0 Comments
Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Chancellor Angela Merkel cheering every step of the way, Germany dominated Greece — on the soccer field.

The Germans reached the European Championship semifinals for a record seventh time by beating Greece 4-2 Friday in a match played amid the contentious political backdrop between the countries.

But just as in the real world, where Germany has been a major contributor to economic bailouts for Greece, the three-time champions were in control at the Arena Gdansk. And after the match, Merkel visited the players in the changing room.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyGreece

0 Comments
Posted June 23, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As financial markets slide toward disaster, scarcely pausing to celebrate the “success” of the Greek election or the deal to recapitalize Spanish banks, the euro project is finally revealing its fatal flaw. One country poses an existential threat to Europe – and it is not Greece, Italy or Spain. Every serious proposal to resolve the euro crisis since 2009 – haircuts for bank bondholders, more realistic fiscal consolidation targets, jointly guaranteed eurobonds, a pan-European bailout fund, quantitative easing by the European Central Bank – has been vetoed by Germany, and this pattern looks likely to be repeated next week.

Nobody should be surprised that Germany has become the greatest threat to Europe. After all, this has happened twice before since 1914. To state this unmentionable fact is not to impugn Germans with original sin, but merely to note Germany’s unusual geopolitical situation....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankG20 The Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I tried to watch both at the same time (which was a challenge). These two teams deserved to go through; nice to see Ronaldo have a good game.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyPortugal

3 Comments
Posted June 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After spending yesterday in Berlin, I can tell you the German government is mightily fed up with all this speculation - and fed up with getting blamed for everything bad happening in the global economy (last week's cover of the Economist, for example).

I interviewed the Deputy Finance Minister - Secretary of State Steffen Kampeter - after the German chancellor's strident speech to the Reichstag.

He made clear that on one major point - eurobonds - the speculation about what Germany might be willing to accept in time for the summit was simply wrong.

Read it all (emphasis hers).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

0 Comments
Posted June 17, 2012 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For one thing, such a bailout is illegal under the Maastricht Treaty, which governs the euro zone. Because the treaty is law in each member state, a bailout would be rejected by Germany’s Constitutional Court.

Moreover, a bailout doesn’t make economic sense, and would likely make the situation worse. Such schemes violate the liability principle, one of the constituting principles of a market economy, which holds that it is the creditors’ responsibility to choose their debtors. If debtors cannot repay, creditors should bear the losses.

If we give up the liability principle, the European market economy will lose its most important allocative virtue: the careful selection of investment opportunities by creditors. We would then waste part of the capital generated by the arduous savings of earlier generations. I am surprised that the president of the world’s most successful capitalist nation would overlook this.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Europe--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

1 Comments
Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Germany should reflect quickly but deeply, and act," Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said late last week.

Few Germans, however, share that sense of urgency. With German unemployment at a 20-year low and falling, and the country's economy continuing to grow despite the debt crisis, not many Germans see the crisis as a threat to their way of life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

4 Comments
Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On consecutive days last week, two of the most powerful figures in Europe — Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Olli Rehn, the most senior economic official in Brussels — warned that the future of the euro zone was in doubt. In the words of Mr. Rehn, the union might well disintegrate unless policy makers took steps to bind the euro’s 17 nations closer together.

Coming as they did from two men at the very soul of the European project, the reprimands were a stark reminder of just how much the Spanish financial meltdown had shaken the confidence of the European brain trust, to say nothing of investors from New York to Beijing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreecePortugalSpain

0 Comments
Posted June 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What will become of the European Union? One road leads to the full break-up of the euro, with all its economic and political repercussions. The other involves an unprecedented transfer of wealth across Europe’s borders and, in return, a corresponding surrender of sovereignty. Separate or superstate: those seem to be the alternatives now.

For two crisis-plagued years Europe’s leaders have run away from this choice. They say that they want to keep the euro intact—except, perhaps, for Greece. But northern European creditors, led by Germany, will not pay out enough to assure the euro’s survival, and southern European debtors increasingly resent foreigners telling them how to run their lives.

This has become a test of over 60 years of European integration....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreeceItalyPortugalSpain

1 Comments
Posted May 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermany

5 Comments
Posted May 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The basic problem is that many people won’t keep their euros in a Greek bank, and perhaps not in a Spanish bank, either, when those euros can be moved to Germany or some other haven.

Yet German citizens do not appear ready to guarantee Spanish banks or, by extension, the whole credit system of Spain and the other periphery nations. Guarantees of that scope are probably impossible and may also require constitutional changes in some nations.

We thus face the danger that the euro, the world’s No. 2 reserve currency, could implode. Such an event wouldn’t be just another depreciation or collapse of a currency peg; instead, it would mean that one of the world’s major economic units doesn’t work as currently constituted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

4 Comments
Posted May 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Greece’s membership in the euro zone teetering, fears of bank insolvency rising and Europe’s leaders bickering about what to do, the euro crisis is once again intensifying and threatening to undermine fragile growth globally.

At a summit meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, regional leaders failed to signal any significant new steps to stimulate the sputtering regional economy or resolve the competing agendas of President François Hollande of France, who favors stronger action to spur growth, and his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has opposed aggressive moves to ease the pressure on Europe’s weakest economies.

Yet, the urgency for a solution to the region’s debt crisis, now in its third year, may never have been greater.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreece

1 Comments
Posted May 24, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...I do think that it would ultimately be better if the eurozone broke up. This might not involve a complete reversion to national currencies. A hard core of euro-users, centred on Germany, might survive. But the current euro will have to go.
It is true that the transition from here to there will be painful and dangerous. My colleague Martin Wolf laid out an updated version of the full horror scenario in Friday’s FT – involving a breakdown of law and order in Greece, and financial collapse across Europe. How could anyone responsibly run that risk?

The answer is that the alternatives to eurozone break-up are inherently implausible and deeply unattractive.At the weekend G8 leaders called for Greece to stay in the eurozone. Their present plan seems to involve some magical mix of stimulus and austerity that restores both budgetary balance and growth. But even if they can agree a real plan and even if it works – and neither outcome is likely – the eurozone’s structural problems would remain.....

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreece

1 Comments
Posted May 22, 2012 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The immediate future of the global economy, including Australia, now depends on Europe, and whether it can restore confidence to markets. If European leaders can resolve their tangle of problems, growth is ahead of us. If they can't, all bets are off.

Pessimism comes more naturally than optimism. It is now five years since we first heard the phrase ''the sub-prime crisis'', which rang the end of a golden era of debt-financed growth. Since then, we've had years of recurring crises, summits and resolutions that promised to solve the problems, but haven't.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreece

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regular time, then extra time, then penalty kicks. What a razor-thin margin they won by--but they did, overcoming huge obstacles again and again.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeGermany

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like the single market before, ...[the Euro] was conceived primarily as glue to bind Europe more closely together, tie Germany’s prosperity to that of its neighbors and prevent a third world war from the Continent, which had brought us two. A few engineering flaws wouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of such an important project.

A little over a decade since the first euro bills hit the shops in Madrid and Berlin, the euro’s design flaws have pushed much of the European Union into a deep economic pit. And political imperative is again being deployed as a major reason to stick to the common currency. “This enormously important motivation is often underestimated by outsiders,” argued the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf, the most sober analyst of Europe’s economic maelstrom....

The main problem is that while leaders eagerly embraced the monetary bond, they rejected its necessary complement: a central budget that would transfer money from successful regions to underperforming ones, as the United States government sends tax dollars collected in Massachusetts to pay for unemployment benefits in Nevada.

The euro fed the illusion that Greece, Spain and Italy were as creditworthy as Germany or the Netherlands, propelling a decade-long credit boom in Europe’s less-developed periphery. And it was spectacularly ill-designed to deal with the shock when capital flows to those nations suddenly stopped. Weak countries not only had to rely on their own devices; they had to do so without a currency or a monetary policy of their own to absorb the blow....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreeceItalyPortugalSpain

2 Comments
Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who held their first meeting yesterday, might want to consider that they have been attacking the problems of Greece, the euro, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and even France backwards.

All the talk and all the effort has been aimed at keeping Greece and the others in the euro. But the real, ideal solution is to get Germany out.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermany

0 Comments
Posted May 18, 2012 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There would be massive global pressure on Europe to handle the exit in a grown-up fashion, with backstops in place to stabilize Greece. The IMF would step in.

The German finance ministry is already drawing up such plans, and quite correctly so (unfortunately roping in the British too to spread the losses, which is a thorny subject).

Needless to say, the real danger is contagion to Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, and the deadly linkages between €15 trillion in public and private debt in these countries and the €27 trillion European banking nexus.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreece

4 Comments
Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Greece may be forced to leave the euro if the country refuses to implement spending cuts agreed with the European Union, Angela Merkel warned.

Raising the spectre of a Greek exit, the German chancellor said “solidarity for the euro” was threatened by the ongoing political crisis in Athens.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyGreece

1 Comments
Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The euro crisis is entering its final stages. Economic pain is now interacting with political resistance to produce intense financial pressure. I expect Greece to leave the euro – and perhaps very soon.

It could happen voluntarily, but both the Greek people and Greek politicians are still clinging to the idea that they can put an end to austerity yet still stay in the euro. In order to try to achieve that, a new government may call the eurozone's bluff.

At that point, the other eurozone members would face an awkward choice. Doubtless there would be voices in favour of providing the money, willy nilly. That might well be the French position. But if the eurozone gives way on this, what chance would there be of painful austerity being continued, not just in Greece but also in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland? The northern countries would face the prospect of pouring money into a bottomless pit.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreeceItalyPortugalSpain

3 Comments
Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The chief danger is not for Greece. It is for the rest of the eurozone. If the German political establishment is unwise enough to force Greece out of EMU on the assumption that the country is a special case, it will be disabused of this illusion very quickly.

Total debt levels are 100pc of GDP higher in Portugal, and the country has roughly the same current account deficit. The only difference is that Portugal began its austerity death cure later and has not yet had time to enter into the full vortex of debt-deflation and collapse. Give it a few more months.

Spain and Italy are 20pc overvalued against northern Europe....

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010GermanyGreece

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Posted May 12, 2012 at 10:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of life made new in Christ, who dost call thy Church to keep on rising from the dead: We remember before thee the bold witness of thy servant Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, through whom thy Spirit moved to draw many in Europe and the American colonies to faith and conversion of life; and we pray that we, like him, may rejoice to sing thy praise, live thy love and rest secure in the safekeeping of the Lord; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted May 10, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can't be pleased about François Hollande's election victory, but it will at least be bearable for her. The newfound self-confidence of her junior coalition partner, the FDP, which scored a surprise success in the state election of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, poses a greater threat to the chancellor.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Much depends on the reaction of investors in debt issued by European nations, said Dimitri Papadimitriou, president of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. If they fear that the crisis response is losing momentum, they will likely demand higher interest rates — not just from Greece, but from other nations seen as carrying too much debt.

The result would be rising borrowing costs for Greece as well as countries that haven't received bailouts, like Italy and Spain. Rising borrowing costs sent global stock markets diving last year. Uncertainty about the path forward in Europe may mean a return to extreme market volatility after several months of relative calm.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreece

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Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The French-led counter-attack and rumblings of revolt through every branch of the EU institutions last week have brought this aberrant phase of the eurozone crisis to an abrupt end.

"It’s not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe," said François Hollande, soon to be French leader, unless he trips horribly next week. Strong words even for the hustings.

"If I am elected president, there will be a change in Europe's construction. We’re not just any country: we can change the situation," he said.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermany

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Posted April 30, 2012 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rupture between France and Germany would come at a dangerous time. Until recently, voters in the euro zone seemed to have accepted the idea of austerity and reform. Technocratic prime ministers in Greece and Italy have been popular; voters in Spain, Portugal and Ireland have elected reforming governments. But nearly one in three French voters cast their first-round ballots for Ms Le Pen and Mr Mélenchon, running on anti-euro and anti-globalisation platforms. And now Geert Wilders, a far-right populist, has brought down the Dutch government over budget cuts. Although in principle the Dutch still favour austerity, in practice they have not yet been able to agree on how to do it.... And these revolts are now being echoed in Spain and Italy.

It is conceivable that President Hollande might tip the balance in favour of a little less austerity now. Equally, he may scare the Germans in the opposite direction. Either way one thing seems certain: a French president so hostile to change would undermine Europe’s willingness to pursue the painful reforms it must eventually embrace for the euro to survive. That makes him a rather dangerous man.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermany

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Posted April 27, 2012 at 5:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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