Bavarian protection of good friday violates basic law

Bavarian protection of Good Friday violates basic law

The protection of good friday without exception in bavaria violates the basic law. This was stated by the federal constitutional court in a decision published on wednesday. The karlsruher judges granted thereby a constitutional complaint of the federation for mental liberty. Whether and if so, how the state government will proceed in the future with the approval of public entertainment events on the so-called silent holidays after the ruling is, however, an open question.

"We will continue to give priority to the protection of good friday and the silent days", said interior minister joachim herrmann (CSU). Because – according to the state government – the court had also made clear in its ruling the great importance of good friday as a day of silence. "Therefore, the guideline remains for us to maintain the character of the silent days, such as good friday, in bavaria in any case and not to touch them."

The recognized worldview community, bund fur geistesfreiheit, represents the interests of non-denominational people and wants the strict separation of church and state. In order to have the bavarian regulation judicially reviewed, the group had organized an event in a munich theater on good friday 2007. The "heidenspab party" planned for the end of the event was – as was to be expected – prohibited.

Wrongly, said the constitutional court. Good friday may be observed as a "day of silence" in rooms according to the decision, special protection. To exclude any possibility of freedom from the outset is, however, unacceptable (az. 1 bvr 458/10).

For herrmann, this event was a "deliberate provocation". Therefore, the state government will now "examine in peace", how the exceptions required by the federal constitutional court can be arranged. "After all, we are talking about only a few days that are central to religious life in germany." The CSU parliamentary group in the bavarian state parliament made a similar statement.

CSU leader horst seehofer also has no understanding for the decision: "one can only shake one’s head at the sophistry with which judgments are made nowadays", he said on the sidelines of the state parliament session in munich. CSU vice-chairman manfred weber also considers the ruling a mistake: "the court overlooks that it does not always have to be the social majority that has to show tolerance. The social minority could also be tolerant on good friday."

With the exception of german unity day, all holidays in germany are regulated by state law. The so-called silent days enjoyed special protection. In bavaria, for example, this also includes all saints’ day and christmas eve. On "silent days in the free state, "public entertainment events are only allowed if the serious character corresponding to these days is preserved".

The strictest rules apply to good friday. In this case, sporting events and "musical performances of any kind" are also prohibited "in rooms with tavern operation" forbidden. Exemptions are possible for the other days, but not for good friday". This last regulation has now been declared null and void by the federal constitutional court. Thus the law must be changed in this point.

The decision does not mean, however, that in the future any party may take place on good friday. The "heidenspab party but had to be allowed, because the organizers were not only interested in spab or commercial interests. The event has touched the public opinion and ideology.

"Blanket total bans A la CSU do not help us here and are rightly no longer accepted by the people of bavaria", the greens in the state parliament praised the decision. The protection of holidays and respect for religious freedom are very important. "But the exact form must correspond to the reality of life of the people in bavaria." The free voters demanded a "constitutionally sound holiday law" from the state government.

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