Are there right-wing atheists

Non-denominational in the SPD: Klingbeil preaches against atheists

The SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil does not want to allow a working group "Secular in the SPD". The Hamburg spokesman is disappointed.

Lars Klingbeil: no friend of atheists and non-denominationalists Photo: Montage / dpa

HAMBURGtaz | The Federal SPD does not want a working group "Secular in the SPD". That emerges from a letter from SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil to the Hamburg parliamentarian Gerhard Lein. Lein is one of the speakers for the group from "Secular Social Democrats".

Lein and his colleagues stand for the strict separation of church and state and want to abolish the privileges of the churches. They cite statistics that the number of believers in all three Abrahamic religions is declining. In Hamburg, the majority of people are already non-denominational.

For this reason, Lein would have liked to set up a separate working group of secular and non-denominational people in the SPD in order to give them a stronger voice. With official recognition by the party executive committee, the group would also have the opportunity to finance its work with party money.

Klingbeil, however, has now rejected the request - the reason for this is not yet known. As the FAZ reports, Klingbeil even wants to forbid the group “Secular Social Democrats” from appearing as an advocacy group with a name that publicly associates them with the SPD.

Differed is in the organizational statute of the SPD between working groups and working groups.

money are available for both the working groups and the working groups. The amount of money depends on the needs of the respective working groups and communities.

Working groups must be founded in the federal government. Only then may regional associations be founded. Examples are the Jusos, the young organization of the SPD, or the “women in the SPD”.

Working groups are for example the networks of religious communities. The party executive sets up the circles and decides whether and which new ones should be added.

Already in the 1970s the "Christians in the SPD" were formed, in 2007 the "Jews in the SPD" were founded. Both working groups have been recognized in the SPD since 2008.

A spokeswoman for the Secretary General informed the taz on request that the name of the party was protected and therefore should not be associated with this unauthorized working group. The spokeswoman said that the group was always allowed to say that they were social democrats. "Only as a secular group that is not officially recognized by the party as a working group, they are not allowed to use the designation SPD or social democrats."

About Klingbeil's rejection, Lein first wants to coordinate with his group. A nationwide meeting will take place in Hanover on Saturday.

That they should even be banned from referring to the SPD in the group name, however, until now, Lein knew nothing. "Personally, nobody has legally forbidden me to call myself a secular social democrat." Loud FAZ Klingbeil also banned the group from doing so, citing his party lawyer.

For several years now, the loose network of secular social democrats has been trying to be officially recognized as a working group. But this already refused Klingbeil's predecessor and current party chairman Andrea Nahles.

In 2011, Nahles rejected the founding for reasons of content: bringing about a strict separation of state and church does not correspond to the goals of the SPD's basic program or the goals of the Basic Law, it said in a statement.

Maurice Mäschig from Bremen is not surprised by the SPD's strict anti-secular stance towards the secular. As a social democrat, he has campaigned for the concerns of the non-denominational for years. He has since left the SPD. “The SPD has an unhealthy closeness to the church,” says the 33-year-old. The SPD takes religious communities seriously, but does not take the concerns of the secular and laicists in its own party. "The SPD is just not as plural as it would like to portray it," said Mäschig.