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Bavaria is the latest place where the church and Christian politicians are at odds

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It is interesting that the men, Stalin and Hitler, who led the two 20th century substitutes for a weakening Christian faith were both drawn to the priesthood.

ashbird in reply to guest-theritz

True. Both observations are FACTUAL.
Something, went awry, obviously.
BUT in terms of an a priori template extracting inviolable submission to an ABSOLUTE ideology touted by a human who tells you he is the absolute, infallible authority figure representing that ideology, there is no difference between them and whatever human person who sees himself as the same. In other words, the schemas are identical.
Incidentally, there are quite a few religions that teach the same precept of charity and compassion ["love thy neighbor"] as taught by Jesus Christ. They existed 5th Century to 6th Century B.C. .

ashbird in reply to ashbird

In other words, Jesus - no doubt a great religious figure, there is no question about that - did NOT discover or invent LOVE THY NEIGHBOR!!!
But some - only some, not all, in fact, if you ask Pope Francis, he would not be one of these some !! - of his followers seem to believe Jesus did. Very strange folks. Nobody knows anything about LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, only they did. Really weird folks. And if you are not Christian, you are a "Progressive Hedonist"!

Jiang Tai Gong

I'm very very much, even more now after reading some of the deluding comments below, a disciple of Jesus Christ.
John 13:34-35 “I (Jesus) give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


It is a peculiarly human thing to ascribe deep meanings to our symbols—both religious and secular. The hammer and sickle, the confederate flag, the star and crescent, the yin yang, the cross. These symbols are freighted with emotional baggage. Consider the very different fallout were Bavaria to rehabilitate the swastika as a symbol worthy of honour by emphasizing only those aspects which might be spun as positives: the once-beaten German nation reasserting its self-confidence, boldness, daring, vitality, guts and determination. This is the ploy that neo-nazis and skinheads use. Cherry pick the good stuff; pretend the bad never happened: that it's a lie perpetrated by race traitors and a conspiracy of subhumans.

The cross carries similar baggage. Only in its case, that emotional freight is more muddled. Indeed it can symbolize self-sacrifice, community, steadfastness, commitment, culture and a shared history. But it can and does also stand for oppression, forced conversion, the inquisition, the crusades, religious wars, book burnings, irrationality and superstition.

The separation between church and state is a secular Enlightenment ideal that fewer and fewer bother to understand, much less appreciate. It is based on the further principle that it is fatal to give worldly power to the church because this inevitably leads to the tyranny of the faithful. History has confirmed the truth of this principle so often and so ruthlessly that to know this history is to despair of the human condition.

People like Söder are not interested in the whole cross. He wants to treat the cross as a buffet—one in which only the tasty morsels are chosen and the nasty stuff is ignored, glossed over or summarily dismissed as having never even happened. And lest we overestimate the Cardinal, I very much doubt that his motives arise from a commitment to Enlightenment ideals either. Medieval ones perhaps: the idea that the cross must never be "sullied" by mixing it up with the worldly. To think that way, he, too, must first cherry-pick his symbolism.

Therefore, the dispute between the right wing and the church is not one of principle. It is more properly a contest of power. Söder wishes to usurp the symbolism of the cross in a cynical attempt to parasitically cover his political movement in borrowed holiness. The Cardinal objects to this because once the church loses control of the brand, the bad parts of its symbolism can no longer be managed, spun and suppressed.

Forlana in reply to Duck_Hook

Hello Duck_Hook,
I have read your comments with great interest.
What you wrote in the last paragraph about Markus Soeder much more fits the present authorities of my country - Poland, though I may be overcrtical here being totally fed-up with them :) And of course it much more fits the non-Western countries which did not implement the separation of state and the church, which are in fact officially religious or officially atheist. All these countries use "the nuclear button" of religion, or atheism on the daily basis. While Markus Soeder seems to simply fill (awkwardly) certain empty space, a void, created in the liberal western, secular countries.
I like the saying natura vacuum abhorret as it seems to work beyond physics and biology, it seems to work in human mind and its collective emmanation -social life in all its expressions.
Thus a question I have. I ask this question of all the professionals in the studies of religion or psychology of religion I have an occassion to talk to. You have introduced yourself as one. A great pleasure!
What is your opinion about the classic's statement "there is no known human society without something which modern social scientists would classify as religion". What do you think of the so called religious instinct. As you are surely aware there are papers/works which go as far as to propose that faith is hardwired into human genes (cf. "The God gene" by Dean Hamer), where a set of the so called "God genes" has evolved due to the beneficial state of happiness such belief is likely to incite - a per se promoter of evolutionary advantage.
If these notions are correct, total eradication/separation of religion (or non-religion understood as an opposition to any set of religious beliefs. Not as totally neutral agnosticsm) and its specific cultural background would be impossible. It may be filled by other religion and its cultural entourage only.
If the above is true Markus Soeder's act/proposition - no matter if consciously or otherwise - is an attempt to re-fill a certain space with a locally traditional symbol. Not an attempt to cover his political movement in the holiness borrowed from what the cross represents.

Duck_Hook in reply to Forlana


It is indeed a pleasure to engage in considered and reasoned dialogue. It is a refreshing tonic to the unsupported declarative ejaculations that comprise so much of online commentary.

Your reply raises many good and interesting points. Perhaps I should start my own response with some rather free-form thoughts on the following:

"And of course it much more fits the non-Western countries which did not implement the separation of state and the church, which are in fact officially religious or officially atheist. All these countries use "the nuclear button" of religion, or atheism on the daily basis."

It is a now common slander foisted on us by religious apologists, that the Communist regimes must be contrasted with liberal democracies only on the basis of the former's purported atheism. This is a con, but a comforting one to the religiously minded, so it is repeated by rote without the least regard to its superficiality. The deeper reality was that Communist regimes had a religion—an especially virulent and pernicious one—called "Communism".

In style, substance and flavour, it was identical to any church. The Communist party was held to be infallible and the sole arbiter of the ultimate, unquestionable truth. Its version of the rapture was historical determinism. Its church hierarchy: the commissariat. Its priests and church elders: the apparatchiks. Its holy books: Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. Its inquisition: the gulag, the re-education camp, the killing fields. Its saviour: the Dear Leader, the Great Helmsman, the Father of the Nation. Giant statues and building-sized paintings of Mao and Stalin served as its iconography. Even today, lineups to the tomb of Mao are blocks long, resembling nothing so much as a holy pilgrimage, its pilgrims conducting themselves in a manner that can only be described as ecstatic worship. As a Pole you might remember the time in your history, not so long ago, when the Polish communist state was, in its ideological essentials and practices, indistinguishable from Inquisitional Spain.

Therefore, "the nuclear button" in totalitarian regimes has always been religion. It is simply a matter of whether that religion is of the old school fire-and-brimstone variety or the new age gulag variety. Given this context, one of the noblest moments in our civic evolution was the development of the Enlightenment ideal separating church and state. This is a secular ideal, formulated by secular thinkers like Hume, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Paine, Franklin and Jefferson, who liberated humanity from government by divine dispensation and gave us government by consent of the governed. This noble movement reached its zenith in the later half of the 20th century and has been fighting a rearguard action since. It is under increasing attack these days by religionists in both the east and the west. Do not take false comfort in the understanding that this ideal has "won" in the enlightened west. The forces of fundamentalism are strong and ever eager to drag us back into the dark ages, as the current gambit by Herr Söder so depressingly demonstrates.

On the face of it, this would seem to support your surmise that humans have a built in predisposition for religion. Whether this predisposition is an actual gene or an instinct is not material to your larger point, so I will not risk a digression by addressing those controversial assertions. For our purposes, it suffices to consider it a predisposition.

Duck_Hook in reply to Forlana

I freely concede that what follows is conjecture. I have not put in the research needed to dignify it with the word "theory". It's a working hypothesis that seems to me to fit the facts. Now, with that caveat out of the way…

I do not think that humans have a built-in predisposition to religion. It just looks that way. I think that we have predispositions to a number of more primitive feelings, urges and tropes. Let's just call them "primitives". Religion is a byproduct of those primitives—a derived construct. These are:

1. Tribalism (fear of the other)
2. Deference/submission to the alpha male (patriarchy)
3. Reflexive attribution of agency (the supernatural)
4. Highly malleable formative minds

Touching briefly on each…

I think that we are highly predisposed to tribalism. We evolved in a very violent environment where survival meant one of two things: either defending our own tribe against outsiders, or conquering, assimilating or exterminating other tribes to eliminate their latent threat. This predisposition is what, throughout history, leads to war, conquest and genocide. It also leads to our hunger for shared values, beliefs, customs and social conventions because these serve to reinforce each individual's sense of belonging and therefore, the tribe's group identity. Over time, it also has the power to lessen egotism and self-centredness and subsume individuality to a larger commonality. In fact, these qualities were so advantageous to the tribe that they evolved into a secondary predisposition for groupthink.

Related to tribalism is deference to the alpha male. To be most successful whether in defence or conquest, tribes must stratify into a warrior hierarchy with the most effective at the top, enjoying the most power, prestige and authority, and the least effective at the bottom, often as servants or slaves to those above. This order cannot be reversed, because such a tribe could not survive the aggression of its rivals. As tribes evolve in sophistication, this deference to the alpha male becomes ritualized, elevated and exaggerated to the point where deference turns into submission, servitude and even worship.

Back when we were roaming the Savannah, it was fatal to assume that the rustling grass was due simply to the wind. Those who did so were more prone to get eaten by the tiger hiding within, whereas those who assumed the worst could live to produce progeny. Over time, we became predisposed to associate all natural phenomena with a conscious agent. Lightning was caused by an angry god. Disease was caused by evil spirits. The patterns of the stars and the circuits of the planets must surely contain some deep and hidden meaning. We invented the supernatural to fill in our ignorance of the natural.

Humans are not born fully functional. A horse may be able to run within hours of its birth, but among all mammals, we are the most pathetically weak and incapacitated when we take our first breath. We evolved this way for a reason: it is because we are born so undeveloped that we also have the most capacity for adaptation. Parents can teach children so many things only because we are born so teachable. Our undeveloped minds serve as a blank slate upon which the society that we are born into can inscribe its collected learning, wisdom, errors and superstitions. We get the bad with the good, and it is very difficult to erase the teachings of our youth whether they be truths or errors.

It is by combining all of these primitives that we get religion. Taking them in order: tribalism gives religion its group identity, shared beliefs, proselytizing and groupthink impulses. Deference to the alpha male gives religion its male-centric, patriarchical, authoritarian, hierarchical, subservience impulses. Attribution of agency gives religion its superstitious, supernatural, fantastical impulses. And it is the malleability of our formative minds that gives religion its tenacious stranglehold over the uncritical thinking of so many billions.

Therefore, to ascribe a god gene to humanity is not only unnecessary but unlikely. The likely reasons are far more prosaic: we evolved in circumstances that led us to develop predispositions that are a muddle of irrational, incoherent urges and impulses. Religion is merely a byproduct of these predispositions.

Obviously, it is impossible to properly flesh out thoughts on such a complex topic within the confines of a magazine's commentary section. This discussion is of necessity only a brief summary. Nor do I wish to turn out a treatise. But you asked me for my thoughts and this is a rough outline. I hope you find them interesting.


Maybe Reinhard should take a breath, and contemplate what the alternative was offering.
A 'spoonful of sugar' can help:

Philippians 1:15-19
It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.

Consider that the alternative were the fitters of Paul's chains, then reconsider?

blue asgard in reply to Fabelhaft

So, what are you saying here? That Paul's take on Christianity (by about 75 CE the only one still on offer, the Jerusalem church being wiped out in the Jewish Revolt and the original and arguably true Christians scattered to the four winds) was in fact an empathy bomb intended to destroy the Fascist heart of the Roman Empire? Arguably that succeeded in 327 CE and it was 'mission accomplished' in 1452 CE. So why are we still running around like headless chickens, waving around crucifixes like magic wands, pursuing an agenda which was completed 500 or so years ago?
Maybe it's because the fascist beast, like the hydra, has risen up again and again, so needs to be slain, again and again. But let's recognise what we are really dealing, with rather than invoking incantations without comprehension from the book of magic spells.

Fabelhaft in reply to blue asgard

I was making a reference to essence of the gospel being spread; whether by 1st century teacher or opportunistic 21st century politicians. "Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice." When considering the alternative to such opportunism, like today's Western Progressive philosophers of hedonism, the choice for a Christian is an easy one.

By Jerusalem church you mean the then Temple? If so, the Temple was not destroyed by evil opposed to righteousness; it was destroyed because of rebellion against then authority. Such rebellion was something early Christian and earlier teachers warned against. Such authority, they had no vote in choosing; unlike in today's democracies.

ashbird in reply to Fabelhaft

Would you be kind enough to give some specific examples by way of specific names of " Western Progressive philosophers of hedonism"? And, for my thick head, define "Progressive" and "Hedonism"? Thanks.

ashbird in reply to Fabelhaft

In the event I don't hear from you re my 2 honest Q's, may I assume, as to the Q on definition, "Progressive" means anyone who reads too much? And "Hedonist" means anyone who is NOT a "Christian"?
But I still need specific names for "Western Progressive philosophers of hedonism" . Much obliged if I do hear from you.

blue asgard in reply to Fabelhaft

The Jerusalem Church is shorthand for the followers of Yeshua, for example Chaim, twin of Yehud (sometimes known as Didymus), Shimon, also known as Petros, etc. and Ha Migdal, of course. All survivors of Teshua's followers at the time of his crucifixion. They regarded themselves as a Jewish sect and believed that Yeshua's message was for the Jews alone. They were strongly opposed to the later teachings of Paulus (as he came to style himself) on this and many other points (Acts is full of their quarrels). So this is nothing to do with the Great Temple and its high priests. But, willy-nilly, Jerusalem was sacked in 68 CE and the followers of Yeshua scattered to the four winds. The only sect left calling themselves Christian were the Paulines. They provided all the texts we call the 'New Testament' although not by any manner of means the apocrypha. The texts found at Nag Hammadi, for example, are all assigned to the Apocrypha but they are all also flavoured with Gnosticism, and none date to earlier than the third century. But they aren't part of the Canon anyway.
So whose Christianity is it anyway? Yeshua's or Paulus's? Arguably only Yeshua's is/was authentic, but who promotes it to-day? Nieman, no-one. These are major questions about ultimate authority.


Strange that Erasmus remains silent on religious symbols that are forced on visitors to Muslim countries, say being wakened in the predawn by a call to prayer in Instambul.
Possibly ""right-of-centre politicians are sounding a clarion call of Muslim nativism while progressive Imams are pulling in the other direction."

It would be understandable, if the Imams believed that the 'clarion call' is Allah working in hearts -- even though the recipients don't recognize it as such. Any minister of faith would believe Deity is doing so. They would, perhaps quietly, advantage the situation to go into position, e.g., society, business, politics. Then become more overt about theology. Always believing that they are following their faith; that Allah has warmed opened hearts.


This only confirms that Germany is far away from the secular Western idea of laicity. I guess that it wouldn't be surprising to many if it happened in Poland but many also believe that Germany is almost a standard Western country. How naive! Religious tolerance may be found in the constitution but not in majority of German heads.


It seems to me a faith resides ultimately in the heart, whether there is a concrete object to state it, stage it, or display it.
I am reminded of the story of a dying Roman Catholic priest, tortured beyond physical recognition in a Nazi prisoner camp in Rome. He was an underground figure in the resistance movement. Another priest, also an underground figure but was more adept in covering up his clandestine work, visited his colleague. Both knew that was to be their last meeting. The visiting priest removed the crucifix from himself and put it in the hand of the dying priest.
I cannot imagine any act of humanity more touching. After all, if God does not represent Humanity, what is God good for?
Selling cereals?
A dying man needs to know or be reminded of what he has fought for. A tactile caress with his ideal is a moment of divine beauty. What might be the objection of any spiritual brute to this final act of mercy? I guess people are harder to fathom than God.

umghhh in reply to ashbird

I do not want to discuss Mr Söder he is playing christian card possibly because of elections later this year or for whatever other reason. What I think however Christianity is much more than a faith. As with all big enough faiths it influenced things well beyond faith or even such that it stood against at the time - enlightenment grew in opposition but on the ground firmly soaked in Christianity. For certain newcomers to Europe I am representing Christianity too although I am not member of the church and my faith is long gone. Similarly the church at which some drunks thrown fireworks at last end of year celebrations could have lost its original function it was however through its shape and geographical location a representation of an opposing faith (a but strange for a drunk in y view as alcohol is not allowed for them, they still indulge, being humans after all).
You can see a cross as a sign of cultural tradition or an identity that German society misses - there is nothing here that binds people in any way except 'Schuld' and football once in 2 years (European and World events).
Seen this way an act by some simpleton from CSU may be less of a poison to minds and rather hapless attempt to spawn some sort of cultural identity that Germans utterly lack. That is urgently needed - not the cross as symbol of faith but something that Germans can adhere to as common heritage and identity. How else are you going to integrate (1.5 over last 2y) mass waves of immigrants? The current migration policies in Germany are based on wishful thinking and avoiding reality to the point that federal commissioner for integration claimed there is nothing to integrate to in Germany but language - she failed at that too: most immigrants to Germany fail to learn local language - I can hear that almost every day in my village - from 4 Turkish neighbour families (all German citizens) half of them cannot communicate in any other language than from their old country.
So religion as a source of compassion as you described is one thing. I appreciate that in any religion. The problems we have right now are caused by lack of it. Or how else to explain the statistics about so called common Western values and sharia that are being done from time to time in Europe - most of followers of this other big faith do not see Western system as superior or, worse even, as something that they should adhere to.

You are probably right about Mr Söder but cross has some place in our cultural heritage independently of our faith. It is indeed a sign of times that cross is put in the open by alikes of Mr Söder while German Bishops are ashamed of them and do not display them although it is their job to do so.

At my work, in a big international corporation, there is an empty space where once in a week a group of employees meet and pray (during working hours). I do not mind. I ask myself however if I were to demand a place where I could practice yoga which besides health aspects has quite some spiritual value to me - what would have happened? What about a demand to have a place to pray to the guy on the cross?
I do not think there is a balance there and comeback of cross to officialdom in Europe is maybe an attempt of some to restore it. I do not believe this will work but something will have to be shown as a sign of what we, as divided as we are in the West, stand for. The others proudly present signs of their faith and their belief of superiority (strangely mixed with inferiority complex) and present demands. If the space is empty it will just belong to them and with this I disagree.
The world is complicated and simple symbols of faith are often more than that.

ashbird in reply to umghhh

Suffice it to say my sentiments and thoughts on the issue you raised are fully on the side of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and chairman of Germany’s Catholic bishops and DW, both explicated in detail by Erasmus.
“'Instrumentalizing'” a Christian symbol for political purposes and exacerbating social divisions, I quote the Archbishop - religion at its worst and most evil.
I suppose the schmuck's idea is to replace the Swastika* with "his" cross. Nothing new.

* If you study trace evidence of Hitler’s early psychological development, the man was raised Catholic. Christened "Adolphus Hitler”, his family moved to Passau when he was three (Passau was where he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect which marked his speech throughout his life). Eight-year-old Hitler sang in the church choir, and considered becoming a priest. [ Shirer, 1960, pp. 10–11].
I have said all I have to contribute. Thank you for your thoughts.

ashbird in reply to ashbird

Missing punctuation - there should be a "," between "... bishops" and "DW" in paragraph 1.
[DW is acronym for Deutsche Welle, a news source I consider "excellent" which I follow in America].


Among the many failings of representative democracy is the curious fact that anyone can get elected, and very often the less qualified and adequate they are, the more likely they are to secure votes. And so public offices are filled with incumbents who are, to be generous, often challenged by the matters presented to them.

So, if you happen to be a not-particularly-intelligent and not-particularly adequate politician, what do you do? Invest heavily in dog-whistle politics. Because nothing can be more sure to get the howling drooling mob firmly behind you than an appeal to humanity's worst instincts. Religion, being a primal thing for a great many less-educated people, is an easy button to press.

The problem is, of course, that religion is a button akin to the nuclear button of folk-lore sitting on the desks of certain presidents: once pressed, it unleashes an irreversible calamity that cannot be undone.

Let's think of Pakistan for a moment, shall we? Some not-too-bright politicians and soldiers thought it would be a jolly good idea to harness Islamic fundamentalism in order to bash the Indians. And what happened? Those very same ungrateful fundamentalists ended up undermining what little was left of Pakistan's social moeurs, leaving blood and horror in their wake.

The list of dim-witted politicians who think that it's a jolly good ruse to use religion as a means to stir the baleful mob is not short, nor is it distinguished. But the outcome is always and everywhere the same: a rising tide of intolerance, repression, violence, and extremism.

Germany enjoyed a great many years of peace and civilization after 1945. Morons like Soder are now dooming Germany to the same sort of outcome we're seeing unfold in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Poland and the USA.

ashbird in reply to CA-Oxonian

"Religion, being a primal thing for a great many less-educated people, is an easy button to press."
On the face of that assertion, in isolation, I note 2 problems:
(1) Many extremely educated people are extremely religious. Not all religious people are "less-educated". By the same token, many extremely educated people can be very stupid, and "less educated" people can be very wise.
(2) The "button to press" is not a button extant in ALL religions. Some religions IN FACT tell a person to learn to have no button, let alone push any.

Duck_Hook in reply to ashbird

I do not understand the point you are trying to make in your replies to CA-Oxonian:

"Many extremely educated people are extremely religious."

Yes. But CA-Oxonian never said otherwise. Accepting your statement as true, how does it negate his observation? He never claimed that: "educated people are not religious."

"Not all religious people are 'less-educated'."

Again, he never claimed this to be the case. What bearing does this have on his observation?

"By the same token, many extremely educated people can be very stupid, and 'less educated' people can be very wise."

Once again, I agree. Once again, I do not see how this falsifies CA-Oxonian's observation. He did not say: "only stupid people are religious." Nor did he say: "all nonreligious people are smart." He did not even say: "all educated people (whether religious or nonreligious) are too smart to have their buttons pressed." What he did say was:
1. religion is a primal thing for a great many less-educated people, and
2. being a primal thing, it is an easy button to press.

To be frank, my observations force me to go one step further than CA-Oxonian. The less educated a person is, the more likely such a person is to approach religious belief in an absolutist, literal, unyielding, fundamentalist way. To forestall any misunderstanding (or any attempt to straw man what I said), my claim does not preclude the existence of less educated people who are nonetheless wise, or less educated religious people filled with nuance, subtlety and complexity, or less educated people who are indeed athiests. It is simply the assertion that education tends (but is not guaranteed) to enhance tolerance, respect for diversity and open-mindedness. If education does not enhance these things, why do we value it at all?

"The 'button to press' is not a button extant in ALL religions. Some religions IN FACT tell a person to learn to have no button, let alone push any."

Now you have completely lost me. I cannot for the life of me think of any religion for which your statement is true. I'm not trying to be argumentative. I'm genuinely curious. Which religion(s) did you have in mind?

I have travelled extensively over the world for four decades. Moreover, I have good friends who, between them, cover all of the world's major faiths in their religious practices. Not least, I specialized in philosophy, history and literature in my university studies and have read the texts that 95% of the world's religious people worship. I have yet to come across the holy tome (much less an actual practising religion) that does not claim its dogmas to be revealed truth. I have yet to encounter the religion that does not invoke the spectre of authority and demand some form of obedience. Every religion I have studied calls for the submission, subjugation or supplication of oneself to some form of higher power. I have yet to see the religion that has not at some point succumbed to being hijacked by a charismatic demagogue who has convinced large numbers of the faithful that he—and only he—knows the one true path to salvation/nirvana/heaven. Those are all pretty big buttons to me.

ashbird in reply to Duck_Hook

Thank you for your Q's. I have not a great deal of time today, it being Mother's Day and I have more than a couple of obligations on my calendar.
My comment to colleague commenter CA-Ox addressed both in-context material as well as drew from the thoughts and ideas he has articulated over the years on the subject of religion and public policy (for many of us "old-timers, we are familiar with each other's posting profile)
Sounds like I have not made my points clearly enough. Yet as I read them again, I don't know how to make them more clear. So I must apologize for not being able to clarify further.
Re religious texts you have read, have you read DaoTeChing, or DaoDeJing (roughly 6 century BC), not in its translation, but the original Classical Chinese ? There is no salvation or nirvana or heaven in the entire text, no matter how a Western reader strains to insert those concepts or precepts in there. It is a grave error to superimpose the template of western religious thinking in the interpretation of Dao, let alone read the text with comprehension as the text is written. You stated that "Every religion I have studied calls for the submission, subjugation or supplication of oneself to some form of higher power".
Think about it for a minute - if there exist a a way of seeing things that contains none of those elements you mentioned, chances are you would not have known about it at all since the the template you use to begin with per force rules out the existence of anything different.
As I said, I have no time, nor the desire, to engage in a long thesis or dissertation or argumentation with you - I truly don't . I am not a proselytizer. Nor an apologist . I write often on Erasmus because I am intrigued and interested by the impact of religious beliefs on the developmental trajectory of a single human being from cradle to birth. And the collective impact on society by individuals.
Hope this is helpful. If not, that is all I have to offer.
BACK TO TOPIC, I agree with the Archbishop (I trust we can all trust that Archbishop Marx is Catholic too, knows his stuff , not a mis-interpreter of Jesus' teachings, as some commenters seem to imply, or the Catholic Church is in real trouble - nobody in that institution is right except its lay and ad hoc critics who treats Erasmus as their personal pulpit, and see themselves as God Himself).
Mr. Söder is a first class schmuck. I am done and out of there.

ashbird in reply to Duck_Hook

Subsequent to my above reply to you, I read you post above @May 13th, 06:25 where you said:
"Therefore, the dispute between the right wing and the church is not one of principle. It is more properly a contest of power. Söder wishes to usurp the symbolism of the cross in a cynical attempt to parasitically cover his political movement in borrowed holiness. The Cardinal objects to this because once the church loses control of the brand, the bad parts of its symbolism can no longer be managed, spun and suppressed. " - Italics and bold both mine for emphasis
Could not agree more. Thanks for that insight.
All said, to me personally, the Cardinal's message is 100% more palatable. The Crucifix ought not now be used as a Swastika. There is something abominable in that act.

Jiang Tai Gong

Regarding the Crucifix...
"Today’s Gospel invites us to turn our gaze to the Crucifix which is not an ornamental object or a clothing accessory — abused at times! Rather, it is a religious symbol to contemplate and to understand. Within the image of Jesus crucified is revealed the mystery of the death of the Son as a supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all ages. We have been healed in his wounds." Pope Francis 18th March 2018