Angela Merkel urges families to make music together this Christmas

Angela Merkel urges families to make music together this Christmas


norman lebrecht

October 26, 2016

In a passionate call for observance of Christian traditions – ‘we are the party with a C in its name – the German chancellor called on people to sing traditional songs and dust off their recorders during the festive season.

‘If we don’t do this,’ she warned, ‘we will lose a piece of our Heimat.’

Watch video here.




  • John Borstlap says:

    Understandable but problematical. Europe is a secular society defined by Aufklärung values, where religion has been sent-back to the private sphere. Government officials should not describe the self-understanding of a country in religious terms, because that is excluding atheists, bhuddists, muslems, jews, hindi, who also form part of society. Germany is still very Christian in nature, no wonder with all those impressive and eloquent churches, but encouragements to play the block flute at Christmas should come from the Christian religious leaders not from the government.

    This brings-up again the problem of Leitkultur: how to define the overall value framework of Western society, and in particular: Europe, with all its refugee and immigration problems?

    • Mathieu says:

      I have been agreeing more and more frequently with John Borstlap on this blog. What’s happening to me?

    • Bill says:

      Did you ask buddhists, jews and hindi if they are offended by Merkel, or do you again fill your role as a wholehearted SJW – as you always do? 😀

      • John says:

        Really! Haven’t we noticed the word “urges”? One can propose, one must never imposes! Progressives tend to think they are so “enlightened” that they hide behind German words like “Aufklärung” to stop people from even arguing with them, because you know, they imbibe more “word salad” than we do.

        Stop this “faux” narrative already! Sorry, I used a ‘french’ word, hope you get it.

        • John Borstlap says:

          I used ‘Aufklärung’ because I was not sure about the correct spelling of the English equivalent, the dictionary just being used by my PA (she always forgets to put it back) and besides the German form seems anyway more attractive to me. And Mrs Merkel spoke in name of the country that invested a lot in ‘Aufklärung’.

      • Sally says:

        We asked the Syrian refugees here on the estate, most of them being sort of muslems but also 3 that are Christian. The gardener admitted he had a Jewish grandfather but was not sure whether that counted – we asked his opinion nonetheless. And then we had to find a Bhuddist and a Hindi and fortunately in the village we have an ethnic food street so we got LOTS of comments from that area (and some insults as well). All in all, they were a bit irritated that Mrs Merkel implied that non-Christians did not really belong to European society, in spite of many immigrants having been struggling with ‘those crazy local languages’ and in spite of living on almost-brexit soil.

        And yes, Enlightenment is correctly spelled Enlightenment, I see here in this immense tome (have to lay it back some day but it makes such interesting reading).

  • Dennis says:

    Pretty rich coming from Merkel, who has done more than anyone to help Germany lose its “heimat” by importing vast numbers of third-world Muslim immigrants. If she really meant what she says, she would not be at the forefront of the destruction of the German people by untrammeled immigration.

    It is also wrong to claim that governments should not encourage self-understanding in religious terms. It is precisely this agnostic cultural stance that has lead Europe down the path of cultural destruction and degradation (and the US too). Culture and identity are inextricably tied up with religion. A people’s religion – its “cult” – is at the root of its self-understanding and identity, and its government should reflect that. The claim, rooted in Enlightenment thinking, that a governments should be entirely culturally and religiously neutral is untenable (even alleged “neutrality” is not neutral. It is to opt for a form of ideological radicalism opposed to Tradition) and leads inextricably to the denial and destruction of a people’s traditional culture, and to forcibly imposed forms of secular ideological totalitarianism (precisely of the kind suffered in the West today, with the forced judicial imposition of fadish notions such as “gay marriage” and other forms of sexual radicalism – obsessions with homosexual and transexual “rights” for example – the denial of sexual difference and essentialism, abortion-on-demand, etc., including ultimately the restriction of religious freedom in the name of the secular state’s totalizing ideology). A government that does not reflect the core culture and religion of its people is a government that will eventually oppose the very culture and the people it claims to represent, in the name of some abstract secular ideology.

    • NYMike says:

      Word salad! Religion (especially christian) and the realities of the known universe do not belong in the same sentence. All governments need to be secular to accommodate citizens of all beliefs.

      • Bill says:

        Christmas is the ultimate occasion for both religious and non-religious celebrate an religious event and everybody are happy with it. So what’s the fuzz all about – this is so neurotic 😀

        Well, of course some word stackers from the Progressive, oh so progressive! left will always search to drop thousand years of tradition to satisfy a number of non-German speaking newcomers who couldn’t care less about what people are doing on December 24th-25th.

        The progressive left are a dying bunch. However, despite all the humuliations they’ve suffered after the migrant “crisis” put Western Europe into a mess, they’re still quite loud and therefore many people are fooled to believe they have something important to say and many people supporting them. But it’s not. John and Mike are ready to be exhibited at a local museum very soon. The queues will be long. Underneath the quote by Winston Churchill. “The fascists of the future will be the anti-fascists.”

        I even believe people like John and Mike would deny school kids to listen to the Messiah and Christmas Oratorio because it has religious content and Bible texts :-DDD

        • John Borstlap says:

          A comment demonstrating the insufficient integration of supposed Westeners (?) into their own culture. In Dresden there are regular rallies to satisfy these people… wholeheartedly recommended, it ventilates the feelings of angst and aggression against people fleeing death and destruction.

          Such burbs of rightwing populism result from lack of historic understanding and misunderstanding their own culture. If we talk about the European migrant crisis, which is indeed a crisis because of exactly these rightwing populist movements, it should not be forgotten that just now enormous successful attempts are being undertaken in especially Germany to help and integrate fugitives, not only by the authorities – who get head aches of the work to be done – but also formidably by volunteers, and it pays-off, as many programs on German TV demonstrate. When you flee bombing, you don’t worry about the koran but about safety and a normal life and where such chances are offered, you work like hell to get your life on the rails. The conditions on which such life is offered, are peanuts in comparison.

          A main cultural problem with this discussion is the strange fact, that Western culture has developed in such a way that it has become, to a great extent, universal, i.e. adaptable by other cultures without much difficulty. The core of the world cultures are on the same wave length, based as they are upon universal human values. That’s why we see Chinese concert halls with Chinese orchestras led by Chinese conductors performing Tchaikovsky for an entirely Chinese audience in Western bourgeois garb, and Japanese businessmen in black suits, and skyscrapers in Hong Kong, Guala Lumpur and Qatar, and yoga classes in New York, and acapuncture centers in Paris and Amsterdam. Etc. etc. etc.

          All this has nothing to do with leftwing policies or lack of patriotism and the like. The subject is: civilization and humanism.

          • Bill says:

            “A comment demonstrating the insufficient integration of supposed Westeners (?) into their own culture.”

            John, you make me laugh so hard. Listen buddy, if I want to integrate in an Arab culture, I move to an Arab country! Simple as that. (How many Europeans move to the Middle East each year – excluding ISIS? You tell me! 50? 51?)

            And please don’t tell me you compare the influx of ten of millions of people from the world’s most miserable region with the most miserable religion with the performance of a Tchaikovsky symphony in Beijing? I’m dying with laughter :-DDD

            By the way John, what will Germany do to integrate the 550.000 illegal economic refugees who have no right to stay there? Oh, you don’t believe my number? Well, do I care? 😀 But here’s the link:


            Use Google Translate for “Aufklärung” 😀

            “When you flee bombing, you don’t worry about the koran but about safety and a normal life and where such chances are offered, you work like hell to get your life on the rails.”

            Where were they bombed? Turkey? Greece? Macedonia? Serbia? Hungary? Austria? Bavaria? Nordrhein-Westfalen?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Where to begin? let me try a shot. Religious ideas are always filtering into political parties in the West, they inform policy all the time but only as an input into the democratic discussions in parliament, not as prescriptions based upon some holy book. A secular society merely means, that religious organisations as such have no direct power over public space, law making and enforcing, the prerogative of violence, etc. etc. The structures of the state should be neutral, but that does not mean that the ideas which end-up at the end of the democratic process are neutral. In that sense, Germany still is a Christian nation: lots of ideas stemming from Christianity (like the dignity of the human individual), have been filtered through the secular system and found their place in quite a different context than, for instance, in Pakistan. And then, national identity is something else than cultural identity or religious identity. Is religion part of cultural identity or is culture (in the widest sense, how people live and what they find important) part of religious identity? The difference is important because where religion is considered a cultural phenomenon, there is space for dissent, difference of opinion, and inclusion of minorities, all in the context of public space where people compete for their place in the whole.

      “….. to forcibly imposed forms of secular ideological totalitarianism (precisely of the kind suffered in the West today, with the forced judicial imposition of fadish notions such as “gay marriage” and other forms of sexual radicalism…” For the record: gay marriage is not a form of ‘sexual radicalism’ but the common sense acknowledgement that a minority of people have a different orientation. If needed, science has already reached that conclusion long ago. ‘Secular ideological totalitarianism’ is nonsensical, because the Enlightenment insight that ca. 1800 years of religious suppression of a perfectly natural phenomenon for which other cultures and antiquity did not even have a special term, was wrong from the beginning, has reduced a lot of misery resulting from stupidity and ignorance, of which religion was mainly to be blamed. And so on and so on, but it is here not the place to go into that debate.

      Thanks to secularism, you are free to ventilate your point of view, however flawed in the eyes of other people. Voltaire fought fanatically against the authority of the catholic church in public space, and said he would fight as fanatically for the freedom of his opponents to tell nonsense – for the right to do so without the fear of physical repercussions, prison, torture, be burned on the stake. The Western tradition has many superb things but also a couple of deplorable misconceptions, and presering it means filtering it through understanding and knowledge that has been accumulated over time. And later-on, generations who love the achievements of tradition, will filter different things from it, so that it will stay alive.

  • Doug says:

    “Angela Merkel urges families to make music together this Christmas”….because this will be your last. Next year, get ready to officially celebrate Ramadan, or be jailed as an “Islamophobe, racist and thought criminal.”

    • Sally says:

      Just to reassure you: even with mass immigration from muslem countries, the majority will remain cultural-Christian, and celebrate Xmas also when they have no religious interests. The traditional holidays are not threatened by some extra ones here & there, because the people cultivating them will be entirely Western / European. To celebrate ramadan does not say anything about being or not being ‘integrated’ into the west, as NOT celebrating Xmas or Easter says something about people’s Western loyalties, people whose roots go deep into Western soil. Ironically, many fugitives who seek safety in Europe, have a more elevated and idealistic idea about ‘Europe’ than many born-Europeans (according to some documentaries I saw); secularism helps immigrants to become European without having to give-up the few cultural assets which offers inner emotional stability, like religion, cooking recepies, and dress, which is quite beneficial in such a profound cultural transition process from a bombed city to a terrace at Unter den Linden. Identity is the great question mark of these times….

    • Stereo says:

      Many a true word is spoken in jest. Don’t hold your breath.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Hindi is a language. Hinduism is a religion/philosophy whose adherents are Hindus.

    • Sally says:

      You are absolutely right. It was my mistake, reading it wrong from the dictionary when Mr B asked me about it.

      • Ravi Narasimhan says:

        No worries. The broader question of assimilation vs. acculturation under discussion is a very tough one. I’m glad I don’t have to solve it!

  • Marg says:

    We recorder players are delighted someone of her international standing has suggested everyone play recorder at Christmas. Capital idea! She has our strongest support.

  • Stereo says:

    My reply was to Doug

  • John says:

    If religion is to be relegated to the “private space” (as some “enlighteners” suggest), could someone explain why muslims hawkers and workers are now allowed to lay out their mats and pray to Mecca on the streets of New York or at airports while Christians are “discouraged” not to celebrate Christmas (even just making the sign of the cross or simply wishing someone a Merry Christmas) too vigorously because it may make other people feel “uncomfortable”? Isn’t that equivalent to some NFL players having the right of “kneeling” at national anthems while the rest of us shouldn’t feel “uncomfortable” about that display of disloyalty to the flag (and/or the idea of patriotism behind it)?

    Balance, as shown in the yin/yan black/white Asian symbol (you know, the black/white circle symbol), is the ballast (stabilizer) of life!

    • John Borstlap says:

      Of course excesses of ‘political correctness’ are to be avoided…. as the separation between religion and state should be conditional for anybody intending to live in the West. Where Westeners want to give-up their own habits to accomodate non-Western habits of ignorant immigrants, they are themselves insufficiently integrated. For the record: the majority of muslems (of which is spoken here, implied) feel entirely at home in the West and have no problems with enjoying their religion, if they find it important at all, as a private matter. It is the handful of ignorati who get into the news with their offensive gestures.