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September 26, 2012

Pay to Pray Upheld in Germany

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Here in New Jersey, our politicians have had problems with ‘pay to play,’ whereby they donate to a politicians campaign and in return, they receive contracts and other government benefits. In Germany, they have something similar, but it involves the Roman Catholic Church.

A German court has ruled that unless a Roman Catholic congregant pays his or her church taxes, they can be locked out of receiving God’s gifts. Oh, I kid you not.

Germany’s top administrative court agreed with Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday that German believers who refuse to pay a special church tax could be shut out of Catholic worship.

The verdict, based on German corporate law, upheld the system by which the state collects religious taxes from registered Catholics, Protestants and Jews with their monthly returns and distributes them to the religious communities.

Reformist Catholics have decried the tax, introduced in the 19th century to compensate for confiscated church properties, as a “pay to pray” system. Conservative critics have asked why tax opt-outs are shut out but dissenting theologians are not.

One day, they will all see that Martin Luther was right.

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