The new chairwoman of the Council of Protestant Christians in Germany, Margot Käßmann, has recently gone public with her strict anti-war stance and her criticism of the war in Afghanistan: Head of the German Protestants, Margot Käßmann Quote: Statements about Afghanistan made by the head of Germany's powerful Protestant Church, with 25 million members, have created a stir in the past two weeks. On Monday, Bishop Margot Kässmann held talks with the country's defense minister. German commentators welcome the debate she has sparked. As the London summit on Afghanistan approaches, the debate in Germany over the Afghanistan conflict continues to heat up. And the latest high-profile argument has centered on the head of Germany's Protestant Church, Bishop Margot Kässmann, whose sharp criticism of the German military effort in Afghanistan has made headlines around the country in recent days. Reinhold Robbe, the German parliament's military commissioner, described Kässmann's statements as irresponsible and said that she had an obligation to provide spiritual guidance not only for pacifists, but also for Bundeswehr soldiers in uniform. Robbe also took Kässmann to task for making "populist" statements without ever having visited Afghanistan to assess the situation herself. He said it was naive to think one could solve the problems in Afghanistan with "prayers and candles." And no one, he said, "is stopping Ms. Kässmann from traveling to the Hindu Kush to sit in a tent with the Taliban and discuss her fantasies of developing common prayers and rituals." Aside from Robbe's jabs, however, the political brawl between the government and the Protestant Church, which has around 25 million members in Germany, seemed to come to a more conciliatory point this week. On Monday, Kässmann made a trip to Berlin on Monday to meet with German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. According to Guttenberg, the meeting went relatively well. He said talks were "a good start to a necessary discussion" and that he had invited the bishop to come to Afghanistan with him so she could observe the situation firsthand. Guttenberg later told reporters he had explained to the bishop that he disagreed with her statements that all was bad in Afghanistan -- even if a number of things hadn't improved there yet. Guttenberg had also told the bishop that the German soldiers serving in Afghanistan needed the backing of German society. And a military bishop, Martin Dutzmann, who also attended the meeting told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the two parties were united in believing there was potential for Afghanistan policies to change for the better. Still, Kässmann is maintaining her critical stance. In an interview with German public broadcaster ARD on Monday night, Kässmann said the differences of opinion between herself and zu Guttenberg, who is a Catholic, were small. She said he understood that civilian reconstruction efforts must take precedence over armed conflict. Still, she warned, "I have the impression that at the moment things are mainly being seen from a military perspective and that other, more creative, solutions are not." As examples, Kässmann mentioned the fight against drug-trafficking and also developmental aid for small businesses. 'We Do Not See Civilian Development Taking Precedence' In a separate interview with German public radio station WDR, Kässmann concluded, "As a church we have been clear: We do not see civilian development taking precedence." The bishop also said that she didn't understand why she had come in for such harsh criticism and that there was nothing wrong with a church calling for peace and reiterated that her comments were not aimed at the Bundeswehr soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Despite Defense Minister Guttenberg's best efforts to defuse the situation, the debate between the church and the state on the issue of Afghanistan looks likely to continue. Over the weekend, two more high-ranking churchmen spoke out against the presence of German troops in Afghanistan; and on Tuesday Green Party members sent an open letter to the church voicing their support for the church leaders' statements. link I assume this positioning of Protestants in Germany is a surprise for you guys here, because Protestants in the US are usually not the strongest anti-war people, aren't they? So consider this another news from socialist pinkoland, where black is white, and top is bottom. When I first learnt of these opinions held by many Protestants in the US years ago, it appeared to me as news from a parallel universe. Especially the weird melding of nationalism and religiosity is frightening. (no comment, it speaks for itself) That's completely different in Germany, where the Protestants are usually the much less extreme, partly even very progressive types of Christian, while Catholics are considered hardliners. Back in the 80s, many Protestants sided with the peace movement against re-armament against the Soviets and environmentalist groups which became the Green Party eventually. The Catholics are probably (necessarily) more or less the same in Germany as in the US, yet the Catholics are considered less extreme than the mainstream Protestant churches in the US -- so obviously, Protestants differ very much in both countries. A few years ago, I met several engaged young Protestants on a party and talked with them, and they were maybe among the most extreme pacifists I've ever met. When I asked them about American churches, they became really angry and more or less said "those are not real Christians, they don't have the slightest respect for human life and God's creation" ("respect for God's creation" is a common slogan among German Protestants for environmentalist concerns). What do you think?