Collaboration in right-wing nationalist editorial group

Collaboration in right-wing nationalist editorial group

Carsten Uwe Rentzing © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

The announcement of the resignation of the Protestant Bishop of Saxony Rentzing surprised church leaders and the public on Friday. The reasons for the move remained unclear. Now there are new accusations against the conservative theologian.

After the announcement of the resignation of the bishop of Saxony, Carsten Rentzing, new accusations against the Protestant theologian have become public. Rentzing had long ago participated in a right-wing nationalist editorial group for the magazine "Fragments," Leipzig pastor Frank Martin told the Evangelischer Pressedienst (epd) on Saturday.

The magazine had existed from 1989 to 1992 and was aimed at a so-called "right-wing intellectual audience". The chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, expressed his shock after the allegations became known.

"I hope for a quick clarification within the regional church, to which Carsten Rentzing himself will certainly contribute," Bedford-Strohm said late Saturday night: "As a Protestant church, we must position ourselves clearly and loudly audibly against right-wing extremist attitudes."At the same time, he emphasized: 'Conservative-minded people and their traditions naturally have a home in our church. What must unite us: Together, we fight against anti-Semitism, racism, ethnic thinking and xenophobia."

The EKD council president had initially said Friday evening that the resignation announcement had caused him "consternation and great regret".

Church spokesman: texts will be examined

Rentzing had written several texts for the magazine "Fragments," said the Leipzig pastor Martin, who is one of the initiators of a petition against the bishop. Church spokesman Matthias Oelke told the epd on Sunday in Dresden that in the meantime some of the contents were known, which made criticism of the texts understandable. The texts would be further examined at present. The bishop, who is currently on vacation, has not yet officially commented on the matter.

The Saxon Protestant Church stated on its website over the weekend, "The last 24 hours have been upsetting for our regional church."The resignation announcement has also sparked debate on the Internet under the hashtag #rentzing.

"Great respect" for resignation

Rentzing had surprisingly announced on Friday evening that he wanted to resign from his post after four years at the helm of the state church "at the earliest possible date" "to prevent damage to my church". Positions he held 30 years ago he no longer shares today. The leading bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (VELKD), Ralf Meister, said he noted the decision with "great respect". Rentzing has so far been his deputy.

Berlin Bishop Markus Droge also expressed "great respect" for Rentzing's decision to resign, "because it has obviously become clear to him that the different theological and political positions in his regional church cannot be unified by his person".

The resignation announcement was preceded by persistent criticism of Rentzing. The 52-year-old theologian, who is considered very conservative, opposes, among other things, the blessing of homosexual couples. Most recently, it had become known that he is a member of a beating student fraternity in the Coburg Convent, in which there is a commitment to fencing duels. He is also criticized for having given a lecture in 2013 at the Berlin "Library of Conservatism," which is associated with the New Right environment.

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Christina Cherry
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