Germany's Political Correctness Losing Grip on Culture

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COLOGNE, Germany -- America has plenty of political correctness, but nothing like Germany, where political correctness has ruled the culture.

But there are signs things are changing.

Eva Herman was once Germany's face on the nightly news. She was voted Germany's favorite television news anchor in 2003.

But her life and her career took a dramatic turn with the birth of her first child, when she discovered the joy of motherhood.

"I was a typical career woman," Herman said. "I had a baby pretty late in my 30s, and it really changed my perspective on life and turned my world upside down."

She decided to write about the importance of motherhood. With her books "The Eva Principle" and "The Noah's Ark Principle," she became a champion of family values and stay-at-home moms.

That made her a target of Germany's feminists and politically correct media, which began attacking Herman mercilessly.

"A journalist reported that I had praised the Nazis. It wasn't true. I have denounced the Nazis," she told CBN News.

"But the German papers were happy to publish this false accusation, because they didn't like me," she said. "And I was fired from my job."

Virtually all of the Western nations have to deal with some political correctness, but it has been a powerful force in Germany. Publicly expressing the wrong opinion about sex, gender, climate change, or Muslim immigration could get you in trouble.

Substitute Religion?

When it comes to climate change, the German government has jumped on the band wagon, even telling Germans to eat less meat to save the planet.

"When Climategate started, the media actually didn't write anything about it. I mean, if you didn't read English, you didn't know about it," Wolfgang Müller, an economist at the Institute for Free Enterprise in Berlin, said.

Müller said the environment has acted as a substitute religion.

"The Germans are not very religious. And it is a serious statement if you say that our environmentalism is a substitute for religion. I think one can support this in academic study. I'm serious," Müller told CBN News.

Muslim Immigration

Publicly criticizing Islamic immigration has also been risky.  When Thilo Sarrazin of Germany's central bank, wrote a book last year about the dangers of unchecked Muslim immigration, the book became a bestseller, but Sarrazin lost his job.

As is the case across Europe, opponents of Islamic immigration are often labeled "racists" and "fascists" by the German Left, especially those who are bold enough to say that Christian civilization is superior to Islam.

In September, the German government began debating whether to put opponents of Islamization, which they label "Islamophobes," under police surveillance.

When American Islamic expert Robert Spencer and others tried to hold a rally this year in Stuttgart for human rights and against the spread of Muslim Sharia law in Germany, he and others on stage were physically threatened by the left.

Their photos were also posted on a website that encouraged Germans to attack them.

The '68ers'

Germany today is ruled by baby boomers, a generation they call the "68ers." These former hippies initiated a cultural revolution in Germany in the name of more freedom.

But it also brought intolerance.

Monika Ebeling was an equal rights officer who decided men's rights were as important as women's rights. She started working to help men in divorce cases.

Because of it, she was removed from her job.

"I did nothing wrong. But it is not politically correct in Germany to help men as well as women," she explained.

"And this was the reason I was fired. They said they did not want a man's rights officer, but a women's rights officer," she said.

Ebeling became a lightning rod for Germany's feminists, who believe men are a problem. In her next job, she became a kindergarten principal, and they tried to get her fired again.

"The feminists try to tell us that men have more rights. But its not true. We've reversed the situation where woman now have more rights than men," she said.

Changing Debate

But the casualties of political correctness - the Germans who have seen their careers ruined - have helped gradually change the debate in Germany.

Polls show fewer and fewer Germans now believe climate change is a serious problem.

And topics like Muslim immigration and feminism are being vigorously debated. The 68ers are aging and passing from the scene.

Herman said Germany is already changing

"The 68ers are gradually leaving their positions. Those succeeding them are more ambivalent," she explained.

"Many of the young people oppose them and, above all, the people in this country for whom faith is important, are raising their voices again," she said.

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.