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Evangelical Church in Central Germany: The regional church relieves the pastor from ministry due to the nomination of the AfD party

Evangelical Church in Central Germany: The regional church relieves the pastor from ministry due to the nomination of the AfD party

The Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) has withdrawn its sponsorship of Pastor Martin Michaelis due to his closeness to the AfD party. At the beginning of June, Michaelis wants to run for membership in the city council of Quedlinburg, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, as he does not belong to the Alternative for Germany party. “Although it is in the best interest of the church for pastors to be politically involved, this does not apply to participation in parties that take constitutionally questionable positions,” department head Michael Lehman said.

Lehmann said that, as a pastor of the EKM, he is obligated to be loyal to it and adhere to the principles of its constitution, and added: “The position of the EKM indicates that the nomination of a pastor for the AfD, even if he is not a candidate.” “The party, the loyalty it owes, and the duty of loyalty are incompatible.”

Lehmann told the Catholic News Agency that, legally, Michaelis is a priest who does not currently have a position. “It is the responsibility of the regional church to give him the appropriate mandate.”

Michaelis defends candidacy

“The Diocesan Service Code explicitly states that we are allowed to run for local and other elections,” Michaelis said. There is no indication yet that this is not possible for reasons of disloyalty, so he calls for a “healthy discussion.”

During the pandemic, Michaelis' statements have already drawn criticism because he has taken a public stance against state and church rules to protect against infection. Michaelis had informed the EKM regional church office that he would run for city council in the city council elections in Quedlinburg on June 9 this year as a non-partisan on the AfD party list. As a result, his pastoral mission to the Gatersleben community was withdrawn.

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Constitutional protection offices in the state of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the AfD's three state federations classify it as a “safe far-right effort.”