Volker Kauder

MP, chairman of the CDU/CSU-faction in the German Bundestag

For your conference this year in Munich I am sending you a warm welcome, both personally and in the name of the CDU/CSU-faction in the Bundestag.

As you engage the topic of „truth“, your conference is dealing with a subject that is of great importance, be it philosophically, legally, or theologically. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that the theological certainty, which is expressed in the Gospel of John through the words of Jesus „I am the way, and the truth, and the life“ (John 14:6), hence the certainty of the one true way, does not exist in politics. It is self-evident that politicians are obliged to their voters to be truthful. Through making the political mandates temporary, democratic systems have a mechanism of self-regulation. For untruthful assertions would sooner or later lead to the end of a political career.

However, if one is looking for insight into or implementation of absolute truth, politics is the not the right place. For politics always begins with perceiving reality, and often times, reality is far more complex than it seems at first glance. Rarely there is only the one true way. Often there is already contradiction in how the reality is perceived, looking differently when seen from different perspectives. And the consequences of political decisions cannot always be foreseen with certainty. Additionally, there is the necessity of making political compromises.

Politics needs more than truth: it needs authenticity. Voters rightfully demand that politicians stick to their convictions and fight for them. For the Christian Democratic Party, this means that the Christian anthropology is and remains the guideline for political decisions. In it, belief in the freedom of man is combined with scepticism towards large-scale ideological projections. Authenticity also means stating uncomfortable facts, even when this is politically inopportune. For truth is always correct. For me, this includes stating repeatedly that abortion is injustice, and not accepting the status quo. Or another example: when I am traveling to other nations, it is my concern to point out the situation of persecuted Christians, even though the hosts may not want to hear about it.

Finally, as Christians we know that „truth“ has a further dimension – namely that we have been set free through Jesus Christ, the God become man. Through faith in him we have access to the true God, he is the Truth. With this confidence we can tackle the challenges in our lives, our work, and in politics.

I wish you interesting and fruitful discussions, and a good and successful conference.