Posted on September 26, 2012 at 6:30 AM
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's top administrative court has ruled that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.
The court's verdict Wednesday is a victory for the Catholic Church in Germany, which receives more than €4 billion ($5.14 billion) annually from a surcharge of up to nine percent on income tax bills of registered Catholics.
The judges at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled against retired German theologian Hartmut Zapp, who wanted to leave the church as an institution but remain a member of the Catholic community.
Germany's bishops announced last week that believers who refuse to pay the tax are committing a "grave lapse" and as a result won't be able to receive the sacrament, become godparents or have a religious funeral.
Some of my best friends are Catholic so this isn't about them, it's about the church!
This is all about greed. The Catholic Church isn't the only one that's greedy but this....this is disgraceful. I have a problem with taxing people because of their religion and a much bigger problem with a religious institution turning its back on its members, banishing them from worship and sacriments just because they either can't or won't give nine percent of their income to the church. I can't imagine how anything like this got passed in Germany but then again I don't live there so I can't say.
This is why so many people despise organized religion. Religion is supposed to be about God, faith, and community. It's not supposed to be about money. Yes it takes money for a church to run but guess what...you can run a church out of a plain block building or a thatched roof hut with mud walls if you had to. You don't need fancy churches and cathedrals, you just need a place for people to come together and worship.
I can only imagine what's going on in the heads of the powers that be at the Vatican. Happy their coffers will continue to overflow? Hmm...