In countries that collect taxes for the church, such as Germany and Austria, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that, if necessity demands, the church should pay taxes. There is in such countries no separation of church and state as in the US.
The militant atheist/secularist movement is aware of this, and IMO, they wish to destroy the Church’s ability to operate in the public sphere and to have all welfare given by the State.
Wow. I had no idea about how sort of anti-Church the Czechs are! And here I’ve been dreaming of going to the best-preserved walled Medieval city in Europe and visiting the beautiful cathedrals, imagining I would be in a very Catholic culture. :eek: Thanks for the Economist link. (The Reuters link I didn’t quite follow the connection to the topic).
The Greeks have been looking at the Orthodox Church, too, lately, with all their economic problems, as a way of getting more money. The relations between Church and State in European countries are often far more complex than in say the U.S. There have been some recent changes in Greece, as explained in this article. The historical background is interesting (to me, anyway):
You need taxation to speak the truth? Never stopped them during the civil rights movement.
The Church is an obsolete institution, as far as they are concerned. Do your silly rituals in private and leave the care of the poor to the professioals in government.
Europe is in almost complete Apostasy. The falling away spoken of by St. Paul that comes before Jesus returns is here. (In fact virtually all the signs of the return are in place except the conversion of the Jews but that sign won’t happen until just before Jesus returns so nobody should wait for that one before converting.)
Prague is a beautiful city though, worthy of a visit. The area around the Charles Bridge in particular, such as the castle and the Old Town area, are interesting.
God bless you.
I don’t think most people in Europe think this. Even in more secular countries there is still respect for the church and the charity work. Most people recognise the good work and the low level of corruption in the Church (excepting some Italian banks) and handful of bishop targets of the media.
Whether or nor “most people” recognize the good work of the Church (and similar institutions), it seems pretty clear that Europe has been moving for some time away from the Church and toward the State as the primary vehicle for doing good. So it is really unsurprising that people would be more inclined to extracting resources from the Church in order to support those “good works” by the State.
Additionally, we have to take into account that what most people think is less relevant when politicians are not held accountable by democratic institutions. It may well be that there is still a majority of Europeans who value the work by the Church but that politicians don’t care.
No kidding!!. If one truely believes in a seperation of Church and State, the State should have no more right to tax the Church than the Church should have to demand Tithes from the State.
I agree. The tax exemption churches receive binds their ability to preach and speak out about important issues.
Also, church do receive benefits from the government. If one catches fire, the fire department responds to put the fire out even though the church has paid not one cent in local taxes to support the fire department. The same is true for the police department.
The first amendment to the constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. That is, there shall be no establishment of an official religion nor the suppression of any religion. This freedom, however is not absolute. The Supreme Court has ruled that Native Americans cannot use peyote as part of their sacraments. Religious groups are not allowed to perform animal sacrifices.
If the tax were applied to all churches equally. If, for example, they were all taxed at the corporate tax rate, then I think it could be argued that the government is not promoting one church over another, nor prohibiting one while allowing others to flourish. I think that this could, depending on the composition of the Supreme Court, pass constitutional muster.
The benefits: Churches would be freed from restraints on their preaching about important social issues, and, in particular, endorsing specific candidates for elected office. They would also pay for local services from which they receive direct benefits.
The downside: A portion of the collection would go to the government, instead of being used for ministries and church upkeep. Property taxes would have to be paid on sometimes large tracts of land. This benefits the community, but at the expense of sometimes troubled monasteries and downtown churches.
The charitable deduction for donors could be kept or even expanded, so as to encourage giving to churches and to keep the whole thing revenue-neutral.
All-in-all, I think that the freeing of the voice of the bishops and pastors to preach the authentic Word of God without the restraints now imposed by the government would be worth the additional expense.
OR… let pastors say whatever they want and keep their tax exemption. A church is NOT a business. Why accept the premise that a bishop cannot tell his flock which candidate he thinks is best? In parts of Europe, in Orthodox countries anyway, the bishops regularly speak their minds on political questions because political questions are ultimately theological questions. Not that everybody pays attention to them, but that is another story.
Even in the U.S., I believe the law is applied unevenly. Look at this.
Bishop E.W. Jackson Message to Christians: Bishop Jackson makes a compelling case for Christians to leave the Democrat party
The EU is evil. It is no surprise they want to tax churches, they probably want to tax them out of existence.
This has nothing to do with the European Union. The article is primarily about what city governments are doing, although proposals before the national government of Italy and Spain are mentioned as well.
The Czech Republic has a rich Catholic heritage, much as France does. Like France, however, a large percentage of the population are non-believers. Still, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a sizable number of devout Catholics in the country.
The power to tax is the power to destroy.
And trust me, they WILL destroy.
All in favor of raising the tax rate to 105% for the Catholic Church who is too outspoken about abortion, “gay marriage” and other moral issues?
Motion passes. Get the brown shirts out.
There are plenty of countries in Europe like that. Germany and Switzerland come to mind.