Germany continues payments to churches a century after deciding to stop

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St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Oberammergau, Germany. Maintaining elaborate, Baroque monuments is slightly easier when helped by funding from the German state. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Source: Religion News Service

BY Tom Heneghan

PARIS (RNS) — It’s been 100 years since Germany’s first democratic government decided to stop making generous payments to its Protestant and Roman Catholic churches — and did nothing about it.

The bill now runs to over half a billion euros a year — more than $560 million annually — but neither the current chancellor, Angela Merkel, nor the governors of the states that have to pony up that money show any interest in finally stopping the payments.

This year, as the centenary of that decision nears in August, some opposition members of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, have threatened to introduce bills to cut off the money flow. An atheist group has begun an online clock counting “how long German politics has ignored the dictum of ideological neutrality.”

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Categories: Church, Europe, Germany

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