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Excerpts from the Pamphlet by Gabriel Riesser proposing the Emancipation of the Jews (1831)

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9. This observation leads me to the actual turning point in the whole theory of Dr. P., without which it, together with all of its parts, has to be thrown overboard, namely that he turns conversion to Christianity into a (and, in fact, basically the only) guarantee of German nationality; in other words, he turns a religious act into a political one. It is incomprehensible that a man who has advocated the separation of worldly and religious matters throughout his whole life could go astray like this, that he could so completely forget the meaningful byword: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." How? Should conversion to Christianity mean not the acknowledgment of its teachings, its holiness, its divine origins, but instead the desire to have equal rights with other citizens? I believe it was correct when I earlier characterized such twists and turns under the name "Jesuitism of Enlightenment." Only a profound contempt for religion can want to degrade it to something alien to what it is. Only a high degree of disdain toward the state can guarantee that belonging to it requires not the fulfillment of duties, not the obedience toward its laws owed to it by the citizen, but rather an act that belongs and must belong to a completely different sphere. Religion has its belief, the state has its laws; professing belief leads to religion; obedience towards the laws makes a citizen of the state; but confusing the two leads to misjudging both, to foolishness and lies.* What would Dr. P. say if a Catholic state were to exclude Protestants with the justification that they should be required, by converting to Catholicism, to join the "nation of the state" consisting of Catholics? Would he not raise a mighty cry about intolerance, about mixing up the authority of the state and the church?** But if he regards his church as having permission to do everything, because it seems to him to be the better one, then he should not forget that everyone else is entitled to the same opinion.

[ . . . ]

*It is a strange contradiction that Dr. P. bitterly accuses me of ascribing the conversion of so many to motives other than genuine religious conviction, and yet now he justifies and completely approves these other kinds of motives.
** This is by no means a mere assumption. It is well known that, in France, for as long as one was looking for pretexts to persecute the Huguenots, their isolation, their separation from the mass of the nation, was [an argument] asserted against them, and just a few years ago I read an essay in the Munich [magazine] Eos in which it was supposed to be proven that the Protestants had been beaten to death during [the] St. Bartholomew's Night [Massacre] not as unbelievers, but as anti-nationals!

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