The German Left and Green parties have both criticized plans to set a cross atop the reconstructed Stadtschloss in Berlin, which is to house the Humboldt Forum, a center for art and communication.
The Left’s national parliamentary party’s spokeswoman for cultural affairs, Sigrid Hupach, told Die Welt newspaper that the proposed cross went against the government’s declared intent to erect “a museum of a new kind for the whole world community.”
“It is meant to be a public building in which all feel welcome. But how is such an open dialogue of cultures to succeed when a cross on top of the dome already establishes the direction? I think this kind of hierarchization of cultures and religions is absurd,” she said.
The leader of the Greens parliamentary party in the state of Berlin, Antje Kapek, said “reducing the Humboldt Forum to one religion” was not in keeping with the basic principles of humanism.
“The new Berlin Stadtschloss is intended to serve the exchange between all cultures,” she said, adding that donations made for the building were meant to be used to put up the facades.
‘Need for a secure identity’
The planned cross also has its supporters, however.
“Setting up an open house of the kind that the Humboldt Forum is meant to be is credible only if we are aware of our own roots and show them,” said Monika Grütters, the German commissioner of cultural affairs, who belongs to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
“Only those who are sure of their own identity can give free scope to others without feeling threatened,” she told Welt. “For me, that is what the cross stands for, and that is why I feel it is part of the the palace.”
The Catholic archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, also welcomed the planned cross, saying the symbol was “the sign of the good news of the Christian faith for all people.”