Volker Beck

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Beck 2010

Volker Beck (born 12 December 1960 in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, Germany) is a German politician (Greens). From 1994 to 2017, he was Member of the German Bundestag, lastly being the religion policy spokesman of the Greens Bundestag group. Previously, he was Chief Whip of his party, spokesperson for human rights policy and a member of the Council of elders of the Bundestag (17th Legislature).[1]

Religious Circumcision

After a judgment[2] of the Cologne Court in 2012 which defined the male circumcision for religious reasons illegal and punishable by law, Beck claimed legal rules to strengthen freedom of religion. Substance of the decision was the balance between freedom of religion of parents and a child's right to physical integrity. The court ruled that the decisive factor is not the parents' right to freedom of religion and freedom of education; decisive is nothing but the child's right to physical integrity. In this context, Beck said: "We need time to think about whether we need to protect the religious freedom of Jewish and Muslim community better."[3]

Conflicting Explanations

Beck has been working for decades for the legal equality of homosexuals. In relation to the persecution and killing of homosexuals in other countries he spoke out clearly against the encroachments of religions in the rights of others from (while the ban on the killing of another human being in a state of law needs no constraint "in the name of religion"):

Die Tötung eines anderen Menschen im Namen der Religion ist im Rechts­staat ein Verbrechen. Religion rechtfertigt keine Übergriffe in die Rechte anderer.
Translation: "The killing of another human being in the name of religion is a crime in the state of law. Religion does not justify attacks on the rights of others."
– Volker Beck[4]

In the Circumcision Debate he still denies, however, that religions engage here in the rights of others and that children are at all bearers of human rights:

Die Religionsfreiheit rechtfertigt keine Eingriffe in die Rechte Dritter. Dies ist auch bei der Be­schneidung nicht der Fall.
Translation: "Freedom of religion does not justify interference with the rights of third parties. This is not the case with circumcision at all."
– Volker Beck[5]

Also in 2015, he recruited vehemently for the opening of marriage for all. On June 12, 2015, he stated on Facebook, little self-critical:

Wer gleiche Rechte verweigert, der verweigert auch gleiche Würde.
Translation: "They who deny equal rights, also deny equal dignity."
– Volker Beck[6]