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Would you opt out of your 'religion' if you had to pay extra 2.5% tax

(97 Posts)
granjura Fri 11-Dec-15 22:30:44

Would you?

Ana Fri 11-Dec-15 22:38:12

Perhaps you could give a little more information, granjura. On another thread you indicated that if someone chooses to opt out of paying the tax, you opt out of the Church and all its services.

What is the purpose of the tax? Where does the money go to?

Anniebach Fri 11-Dec-15 22:43:19

Sorry to be difficult but do you mean leaving a church or giving up one's faith? I don't think the latter can be done , kne can lose it but not give it up

M0nica Sat 12-Dec-15 08:10:21


Anniebach Sat 12-Dec-15 08:18:02

Asked on another thread but two on the same is confusing.

Which denomination and which countries in Europe please , I have never heard of this practice

Alea Sat 12-Dec-15 08:31:07

Many practising churchgoers tithe their giving I.e. One tenth of taxed disposable income after essentials . That would work out at more than a flat 2.5% tax increase, I think. I suppose it depends on the individual's circumstances.
I believe that in Germany you can opt out of the Kirchensteuer (church tax) but not knowing what the rate is, I couldn't comment further.

thatbags Sat 12-Dec-15 08:31:15

gj has asked this before (a while ago) and gave some examples of people in Germany/switzerland (? Correct me if I've misremembered, gj) who did not want to pay taxes for the upkeep of their religion (priests/ministers/churches? can't remember details), essentially a tithe only not 10% of one's income.

So the basic question is, if your tax bill went up because of your religion, would you stop calling yourself a Christian (or whatever)? You could still be a Christian in your beliefs of course, but you wouldn't be public about it.

Mormons pay (or are supposed to pay; the ones I know do) a tithe of their income into their church funds.

thatbags Sat 12-Dec-15 08:31:58

Ah, thanks, alea. I think it was the opt out option that gj spoke about before.

Alea Sat 12-Dec-15 08:33:48

Being picky, thatbags, surely "tithe" means "one tenth"?? tchsmile

thatbags Sat 12-Dec-15 08:35:25

Yes, it does.

thatbags Sat 12-Dec-15 08:36:25

"essentially a tithe, only not 10% of one's income"

By that I meant it's the same principle as tithing, not the same amount.

Alea Sat 12-Dec-15 08:47:07


Anniebach Sat 12-Dec-15 08:53:27

But which denomination ?

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 09:15:35

Thanks thatbags- you got it.

Of course people who have faith would not give it up- as said, it can't just be given up. What I am talking about, is exactly what happened here where I live. Church tax has been an integral and compulsory tax from time immemorial here. But in a couple of Cantons (Counties/States) people asked for it to be voted on, and the result was that the compulsory Church tax has become optional. Previously it was simple, as there were few official Churches here, mainly Catholic and Protestant. So you stated on the electoral register which of the two you belonged to, and then money was automatically deducted and be paid to your Church, to pay for Vicars, staff, heating, buildings, minibus and social works they do, etc, etc.

Nowdays, the religious 'palette' is so much more complicated, and of course a significant % of the population are not believers- but a signficant number of those still called themselves 'Christian' (as in the 'cultural Christian) from tradition, and would still quite like to get married in Church, have the children babptized and have mum and dad's funeral, and perhaps their own, in Church with a Church service. If you quizzed them about their belief- they would however say that, mostly, they do not believe. In the UK- those people can do so- and the worst their risk is a sarky comment from the Vicar saying at Christmas service, that it would be lovely to see you more often.

What did happen here, is that those above have had a good think, and decided they'd rather not pay the Church tax, and come what may. And yet, and this is what I truly object to on behalf of my Christian friends here who now have to work so hard to keep the Parishes going on a shoe string- those that have opted out still expect the Vicar and Church to marry them in Church, baptize the children and bury mum and dad (worse... often saying things like 'hey Vicar- don't overdo it with the religious stuff, we don't believe in the stuff (true honest- our Vicar friends say it happens regularly)- and if they say NO- then all hell (no pun intended) let's lose about how disgusting, unfair and un-Christian.

A bit like opting out of paying your Golf Club membership and still expect to t-off as before. So, would you pay, or would you not?

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 09:24:30

From Ecumenical News yesterday:

Up to 200,000 Germans are believed to have filed official declarations last year renouncing their membership of the main Protestant church, the EKD, the highest number in almost 20 years with a similar number believed to have left the Catholic Church.

Church members in Germany are required by law to pay tax to fund church activities, which is collected by the government and is used to fund education and social services.

Under German law, anyone who was baptised as a child is automatically a member of the church and obliged to pay the tax, charged as a percentage of their income, regardless of their beliefs or whether they attend church services.

Until recently, many Christians had been prepared to pay the extra tax for the benefits it brings them, including access to church schools and day care facilities that are funded by the government.

The only way to escape paying the tax is to make a formal declaration renouncing membership of the church. This move is also levied with a government fee.

So again, to all those of you are not really 'believers' but quite like the traditions and culture of the Church (normally that you were 'born' in via parents- but not necessarily)- and like a Church wedding, happy to be God Parents (knowing full well you will not fulfil your religious duties undertaken... but never mind) and would like to have a religious funeral service for relatives and yourself- you would pay, and who wouldn't?

It may be so far fetched in the UK, but it is the reality in most of Europe. Censuses in the UK show that still a very significant % of people put down on electoral register/censuses that they are 'Christian' but how would that % be affected if the same happened as in Germany or here where I live???

Iam64 Sat 12-Dec-15 09:31:45

As this doesn't apply in the Uk and I don't like the rather sneering tone taken towards "cultural" Christians, I didn't respond on the other threads where this came up.

Church congregations are generally getting smaller, if we discount the evangelical Churches that is. A pal is who is a Dean in the CoE Church takes the view that people dip in and out of Church attendance, often depending on their age and other commitments. His view on the criticism of people who attend Church regularly in order to get their children into the excellent faith high schools in our town, was that if in 11 years the Church couldn't offer enough to encourage people to remain active members, maybe the Church needs to look at itself, rather than criticise.

The view that people are not 'really believers' because they aren't regular attenders isn't necessarily accurate. I dislike superior attitudes whether they be from people of faith, or people of no faith.

Anniebach Sat 12-Dec-15 09:53:40

Thanks granjura, so not a demand by the church in Germany but a law by government , how odd.

I have said often , and been corrected, for saying this is not a Christian country, someone even posted the figures from the census to prove we were still a Christian country.

I don't like people being forced by law to pay to attend church , the hatched , matched and dispatched lot can irritate me at times , yet I think the church must have open door for every baptism and funeral , the baby and the dead cannot speak for themselves, marriages I am undecided on.

I see no difference in those for whom the church is there just for their wedding to those who turn up for a nativity play because a child in the family is an angel or a king or even the inn keeper so get to speak smile or the politicians who turn up at Westminster Abby for thanksgiving or Rememberance services .

I am sad this is no longer a Christian country , if God is out it leaves a need in people

Yes I would pay if the government made it law, untill then I will give my tithe to charity and my time to the church

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 09:58:18

Totally agree about people who do not attend Church regularly not necessarily being non-believers- totally. I was talking about the many who only go out of tradition (call it culture or not) - but who are not believers.

Not sure who you meant by 'superior' attitude here?!? This is happening right not in Germany, and happened very recently here- and everyone had to search their heart and mind and make a decision- Nothing superior about it at all.¨- just the reality on the ground. And it made me wonder, what would happen in the UK in the same circumstances- and a choice had to be made one way or t'other.

Now, we have chosen not to pay, as we do not attend Church services, and would neither wish to have a Church service for our funeral, and we chose not to be married in Church and didn't have our children baptised. We love our little Church, right in front of our garden- but the upkeep is done by the Council, not the Church, so we pay for that from our Council tax.
We work closely with the Church to help with social activities in the area, for youngsters, the elderly and 'special cases'- and lend our premises to the Church for all their activities. Our small way to contribute differently.

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 10:00:18

right now in Germany of course..

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 12-Dec-15 10:15:22

There is no way anyone could tax you on your actual religion. I wouldn't think God's got a bank account. hmm

Ana Sat 12-Dec-15 10:15:50

Why do you say Britain is not a Christian country, anniebach?

Are you differentiating between churchgoing Christians and those who don't attend church regularly, if at all?

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 10:17:29

Iam64, if you were a paying member of a golf club, and you knew some people were getting in via a hole in the fence to t-off regularly, would you find it fair (knowing that your club is short of members, and paying members' fees were going up all the time to keep the club going?).

granjura Sat 12-Dec-15 10:22:16

jingl- who do you think pays Ministers, staff, and the huge cost of keeping such an institution going, pay for the social activities they organise, etc, etc, etc). The reason the tax has become compulsory in many countries is that Churches (not just the buildings- I mean the running, salaries, and so much more) are vastly expensive to keep going- and that the community should not pay for it, but those who adhere to that particular Church/faith- and not the community via normal taxes.

Of course if you do not want to avail of their services, no-one can know whether you are a believer or not, deep in your heart.

Again, if you play golf at the Golf Club, pay fees (I'm afraid that is the same even if you don't play daily or weekly)- or stop playing.

Anniebach Sat 12-Dec-15 10:32:31

Ana, in my opinion - which means not fact just what I think , there are true Christians who don't set a foot in church and false Christians who go often .

Sorry to bring politics into this but for me a true Christian cannot support the government minister who said we couldn't take many refugees because it would lower our standard of living , it is impossible to support this and claim to be a Christian because it is against his teachings .

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 12-Dec-15 10:38:01

granjura, you can practice a religion without going anywhere near a church. Or even belonging to one. Ask God if you don't believe me. He might answer,"well, I prefer you to do the two or three gathered together thing, but trying to follow the two main commandments of Jesus Christ is the important thing".