Schroeder questions Bush linking politics and God

22nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has questioned whether US President George W Bush should link political decisions to religion.

22 November 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has questioned whether US President George W Bush should link political decisions to religion.

Speaking in a German television interview on Monday, Schroeder said: "It's foreign to me. I have difficulties with it, " after being asked what he made of Bush's growing use of Christianity as a basis for US policy. The text of the ARD talkshow interview was made available in advance to reporters.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat, is a lapsed Protestant who declined to use the formulation "so help me God" at his swearing in ceremonies as chancellor both in 1998 and 2002.

The German leader noted that Europe's 18th century enlightenment had moved the continent away from using religion as a motivation for political decisions.

"That's the way I want to keep things. If politics is based on religion ... then there are insufficient possibilities for discussion," said Schroeder, adding: "Political decisions should be motivated by religion as little as possible."

Schroeder insisted that he now had cordial relations with Bush following sharp disagreements with the U.S. leader over the Iraq war which Berlin opposed.

But he repeated his old vow that Germany would not send troops to Iraq despite providing aid and training for Iraqi police officers.

Schroeder praised Bush's designated secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, as "an intelligent woman who knows a lot about Germany."

"She wrote an interesting book about German unification, she knows eastern Europe very well and there will thus be very good and unproblematic cooperation," Schroeder said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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