In the context of the renewal and awakening discussion among the Christian Unionists, there are now voices that believe that the title “Christian” should be abolished in the view of the secularization tendencies in society. In a guest comment in the FAZ from 4.2. In 2022, Thomas Rachel (CDU) spokesman for churches and religions of the Union faction in the Bundestag.critizises this idea. Christian was inclusive, unites conservative, liberal and social groups as a center and middle of society and demarcates to the right. From a political point of view, doing without the C would be an ideological and dogmatic narrowing:
„If the CDU abolishes the C, it abolishes itself
The C makes the CDU and CSU more attractive than ever – precisely because we live in times of a decline in values and a lack of social orientation.
After 1945, the C in the party name of the Christian Democratic Union stood for the deep longing for a new political beginning in the name of peace, human dignity and humanity, inspired by the universal spirit of the biblical message and its testimony of being made in the image of God of the human. But what about the validity of the C these days? Our society is more heterogeneous, the ideological and religious spectrum is broader and more pluralistic and the influence of the two major churches has steadily weakened. Some now want to deduce from this that the Union should also reconsider the C in the party name. Most recently, the Mainz historian Andreas Rödder, himself a CDU member. He claims that the C „in an increasingly de-Christianized society“ is increasingly perceived „as a barrier for non-Christians“ and that a „land clearing up of the name question“ can therefore be undertaken. However, such an idea must be fundamentally contradicted. When Andreas Rödder speaks of the C as a „barrier for non-Christians“, he is subject to a fundamental misunderstanding: Due to its universal message, the C is not exclusive in terms of ideology, but plural connectable, inclusive and integrative. Especially in times of a decline in values and a lack of social orientation, it is more attractive than ever before, not least for non-denominational people and those of other faiths. The C forms the central brand core and the unique selling point of the Union parties and not just a „name suffix“. Only the bridge-building and pragmatic consensus-seeking basic orientation through the C creates the true balance of the most diverse interests and positions. The C was and is never an expression of a political-ideological doctrine, but of a living set of values and mentality, which is permanently attractive due to its unifying image of man and its binding concept of freedom (freedom with responsibility). This Christian image of man, to which the Union parties are committed, is a self-commitment and a „thorn in the flesh“ (Richard von Weizsäcker). The C inspires measure and mean The C ensures that the finitude, provisional nature and imperfections of our human nature are not forgotten in politics either. The basic program of the CDU from 2007 therefore rightly describes: „Every person is exposed to error and guilt“. That is why the well-understood C still today inspires an understanding of politics that is not based on utopian ideals of a perfect world with morally perfect people, but instead searches in a responsible manner for the best possible solutions in each case, realistic and humane as well as with measure and middle. The social market economy is also an outgrowth of the Christian image of man, because it neither exalts people in a market-liberal way nor humiliates them in a collectivistic-socialist manner. With it, the reconciliation of capital and labor has succeeded. Today it is important to link the promise of “prosperity for all” with the preservation of creation and consistent climate protection. The C also sets clear impulses in all socio-political, bioethical and human rights issues: How do we protect human dignity at the beginning and end of life? How do we define a society of freedom in the 21st century, which also knows about its social commitment, solidarity and responsibility for the marginalized, the poor and the weak?(…)“ https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/cdu-und-csu-das-c-ist-identitaetskern-der-union-17776728/thomas-rachel-cdu-ist-17777475.html
Good question: Should the CDU rename itself and delete it as Christian in view of the tendencies toward secularization in society and the proximity to the Christian churches that are eroding and losing members as a result of the sexual abuse scandals? Feel atheists, agnostics, non-denominational, esoteric, Buddhist ; Muslims, neo-pagans, excluded by the C? My gut feeling tells me that the aboliition of the C would not benefit the CDU and CSU, since continuity is a certain conservative core value in itself and everything else would be perceived as opportunistic offers to the zeitgeist and not necessarily as modernization. Especially since the unionists don’t just stand for the C and there are more than enough non-denominational people who also vote for the CDU and CSU, if only because of their economic policy. The question would also be which new name the Democratic Union would then create and whether it would be better received. A lot also depends on this, especially since the desired renewal is still result-open and whether the name and party program will fit together and what should be changed. Conversely, there were only 2 conservative parties in the world that called themselves Christian. The CDU/CSU and the Democracia Christiana in Italy, which is already history and was inherited from newly founded parties such as Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Lega (Nord) and Fratelli Italia, albeit with partly different, especially right-wing populist and partly fascist content. But could a name change have halted DC’s decline? Probably not. Apparently the same is feared for the Christian Union. But Thomas Rachel is probably right that the abolition of the Christian title alone would not represent a renewal. Especially since one would then also have to discuss the necessity of a Christian image of man, which would lead to an endless debate about the Kulturkampf. But maybe it would also be refreshing.