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Cheap faith at German Protestant churches?

Protestant churches in Germany have been conspicuously reckless with issuing baptismal certificates to migrants.

Published: April 2, 2019, 7:28 am

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    Those who want to convert to the Christian faith and thereby increase their chances for asylum status, have caught the eye of the justice system. An asylum judge has now complained that nine out of ten had lied about their conversion.

    German daily Die Welt reported that Andreas Müller, judge at the Administrative Court of Dusseldorf, noticed the problem after hearing around 100 cases about the so-called “connection to a Christian underground church in Iran”. The escapees in Germany allegedly “fear persecution and prison”.

    After a baptism in Germany, asylum seekers pretend to have become faithful followers of the Protestant official church or one of the free churches, which guarantee them all asylum advantages.

    But Judge Müller”s meticulous research revealed that the German asylum industry never adequately briefed their subjects, and show that the Holy Spirit, despite a lawyer and interpreter provided by the state, has not yet come to them.

    The judge asked the subjects after their religious revival experience, for the reason why they chose the new faith, for which an ex-Muslim could face the a death sentence according to the Quran. Not one of the asylum seekers appeared to know the answer, even after paging through their Persian Bible translations.

    At the Protestant parish in a district of Rheinberg, to which one asylum seeker was sent by the local refugee shelter, the recipient of the faith named Ali is converted. But Ali can not remember the name of his church in court, even though he visited the “Free Evangelical Bible Community” in the East Westphalian Espelkamp.

    Despite that, the new parishioner can however rely on the approximately 170 Christians in his church. They quickly filed a petition with the Düsseldorf Administrative Court for the migrant to be granted refugee status thus preventing his deportation.

    Other church officials have called for “religion-sensitive questioning” in court. But some claim that allegations from the judiciary that the church baptizes too quickly and recklessly are unjustified.

    Every baptized person goes through a three-month course of faith, says the refugee commissioner of the Lippische Landeskirche, Superintendent Dieter Bökemeier. The relatively short duration of the crash course may be a reason why Muslims rarely turn to the Catholic faith. In the latter, the preparation courses last for up to a year.

    In plain English, the president of the Düsseldorf administrative court, Andreas Heusch, has accused the churches of baptizing too often as an asylum ruse.

    Currently, the Düsseldorf Administrative Court has 8 660 asylum cases pending. Almost one in ten plaintiffs comes from Iran. Of these, about 70 percent claim a conversion from Islam to Christianity. According to the court, the success rate for these converts is currently 15 to 20 percent.

    Ali’s asylum application was rejected because the court did not believe his tales of persecution and his sudden desire to become Christian. “He lied to the court,” says Judge Müller.

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