The debate on the CDU's core values initiated by Erwin Teufel is not dying down. On our site interview, the CDU's interior affairs expert Wolfgang Bosbach now expresses his views. In terms of content, he could endorse Teufel's statements. A unified position on ethical ies is becoming increasingly difficult to answer. Bosbach sees limits, however, in the equality of homosexual partnerships with marriage.
Interviewer: In your view, has Erwin Teufel initiated a debate worth considering??
Wolfgang Bosbach: A debate worth considering and also an important one. Of course there is also a lasting social change in our country and not only since the reunification. That means the political decisions must be questioned again and again. For example, compulsory military service. That, which we decided at that time, it is also still necessary? Does it still make sense in 2011 or do we have to make other decisions now?? But the basis on which the Union stands, politics against the background of the Christian image of man, must not be shaken; this basis must be firm.
Interviewer: What does the C in the name of your party mean to you?? And where has it shown up again and again in the recent daily-political controversy?
Bosbach: Generally this means for me a concrete action order. Christians have a special responsibility, also towards the general public. This is a responsibility they must ame. There are always decisions where you have to ask yourself – at least if you are a member of a C-party – is your decision-making consistent with ethical principles. Years ago, there was the debate about research with embryonic stem cells; recently, there was the debate and the decision about pre-implantation diagnostics, i.e. the approval of PGD. If you had asked me five or ten years ago where the CDU/CSU stood on these ies, I would have been able to answer you immediately, but today it has become much more difficult, because there is hardly a position that cannot be found on these ies in my party. That's why the question has become increasingly difficult to answer, where does the Union stand on this ie?.
Interviewer: A very clear Christian profile was always the family picture, a traditional Christian family picture. Is it possible, for example, to achieve something like complete equality for homosexual partnerships with the CDU?. Do you think this is a viable path for you, or are there limits based on the Christian foundation of your party??
Bosbach: There are limits, not only because of our Christian foundation, but also because our constitution protects marriage in a special way and gives it a prominent position in state and society. Not because of the love of man and woman, but because marriage, and indeed the marriage of man and woman, is the nucleus of society. We sometimes act as if children born in a marriage of a man and a woman are the exception, but that is still the rule and that will still be the rule in the future. Because the family is the nucleus of society, and marriage has special protection under constitutional law, especially from the point of view of protecting and caring for children. That is still the traditional marriage of man and woman. Whoever says this, as I do now, carries a high risk, because immediately the accusation comes that this is discrimination against lesbians and gays. That is of course nonsense! Our society has become much, much more tolerant in recent years and the special protection of marriage between a man and a woman has nothing to do with discrimination against lesbian and gay cohabiting couples and partnerships. A lot has already happened in recent years in terms of equality. Discrimination may still exist here and there, but that has nothing to do with the attitude of the vast majority of the population. Complete equality is therefore also out of the question for me.
Interviewer: The Schleswig-Holstein CDU leader Christian von Boetticher did not agree directly with Erwin Teufel. In view of the challenges, however, he said it would be good to listen to the advice of the older generation, because they reminded the CDU of its roots. Do you also see it that way? That now "a few old hands" have opened this debate in order to deal with the basic values and the profile of the CDU in the party?
Bosbach: That is completely correct. However, I see this with mixed feelings. I can endorse the content of most of what Erwin Teufel has said and written, but I would add that if prominent CDU politicians publicly complain once a week that the CDU no longer has a profile, that it no longer has good personnel, then we will not become any more attractive to voters. I would prefer these debates to be conducted in the relevant bodies. Courage before royal thrones! Then you also have to have this debate when the chancellor is there, when the party leader is there. If you shout into the party from the outside, I fear that at the end of the day everything will remain the same. The right places are the federal executive committee, the federal party conference, the CDU-CSU parliamentary group in the local and district associations, that's where we have to have this substantive debate and not just via the media.